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DC Meatloaf
2nd May 2003, 01:05
Bush to proclaim end of combat phase in Iraq
By Bill Sammon
THE WASHINGTON TIMES (http://www.washtimes.com/national/20030501-72368254.htm)

President Bush plans to make history today by landing in a small plane on a moving aircraft carrier hundreds of miles from shore to declare an end to the combat phase of the war in Iraq.

The White House downplayed any danger to the president, whose four-person Navy S-3B Viking anti-submarine aircraft will hook onto a steel cable after landing to prevent it from plunging off the flight deck and into the Pacific Ocean. Mr. Bush will be in the co-pilot's seat.

"He is a former pilot," White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said of his boss, who once flew jet fighters for the Texas Air National Guard.

"For the sake of the landing, I'm sure he will be doing no piloting," the spokesman deadpanned. "Hope he's not watching today's briefing."

But later in the day, Mr. Bush playfully left open the possibility that he would take the controls of the plane.

"Never can tell what's going to kick in -- the urge," he told reporters in the Oval Office. "Let me just say: Stay clear of the landing pattern."
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