Does the president still want to talk about Iraq?

With some groups threatening to boycott Iraq's new parliament, a spokesman for a Bush ally declares the voting a "fraud."

By Tim Grieve

Published December 22, 2005 7:17PM (EST)

When PBS's Jim Lehrer tried to get George W. Bush to talk the other day about revelations that his administration has been spying on American citizens without obtaining warrants, the president snapped back: "It's not the main story of the day ... The main story of the day is the Iraqi election."

We're wondering if the president still feels that way today. Bush would no doubt like the press to be talking about something other than his surveillance program, but the Iraqi elections probably aren't high on his list, either. In Baghdad today, a number of secular Shiite and Sunni Arab groups said they'll boycott the legislature elected last week unless there's an international investigation into more than a thousand allegations of fraud and other shenanigans related to the voting.

Among those protesting the election: Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a man whose "courage" and "leadership" Bush has been known to praise in the past. A spokesman for Allawi told the Associated Press that the election was "fraudulent" and that the parliament that resulted from it will be "illegitimate."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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George W. Bush Iraq Iraq War Middle East War Room