President Bush got a preview Tuesday of the Iraq commission's ideas for changing war policies, as the White House sought to dampen the report's impact by emphasizing that Bush will be listening to other voices as well.
Over lunch at the White House, former Secretary of State James Baker, the Iraq Study Group's co-chairman, gave Bush a private briefing on the general outline of the conclusions, said Dana Perino, a presidential spokeswoman.
The report will be released this morning. The bipartisan commission, led by Baker and former Rep. Lee Hamilton of Indiana, will give a copy of the report to Bush at 7 a.m. After the presentation to the president, the group is to brief Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his team via secure videoconference from the White House.
The report was expected to urge the United States to reach out for more help on Iraq's security - including talks with Iran and Syria - and to gradually change U.S. troops' mission from combat to training and support, with a broad goal of withdrawing the Americans by early 2008.
Bush has resisted engagement with Iran and Syria, which the United States accuses of being bad actors on the world stage as well as fomenting instability in Iraq. Bush has rejected any timetable for U.S. troop drawdowns.
On Tuesday, White House spokesman Tony Snow said, "We're going to give it a careful review. As we have mentioned, there are other ongoing studies within the administration."
Bush is expected to hear in about two weeks the conclusions of in-house examinations of Iraq policy, anchored by a review of military options by Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Snow said Bush already is taking the advice of Sen. John Warner, R-Va., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who said Bush has a "moral obligation" to seek input on a new Iraq strategy from Democrats who are about to take control of Congress.