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Bush, Pentagon assert support for Maliki

From NBC's Courtney Kube and Domenico Montanaro
At his speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, President Bush emphasized support for Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

"Prime Minister Maliki is a good man," Bush said, "a good guy with a difficult job, and I support him. And it is not up to the politicians in Washington, D.C to say whether he will remain in his position. That is up to the Iraqi people, who now live in a democracy, not a dictatorship."

Video: President Bush speaks to the Veterans of Foreign War annual meeting in Kansas City.

The Pentagon echoed sentiments out of Bush and the White House this morning, saying the Department continues to support Maliki.

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell conceded that the pace of political progress in Iraq has "not been to anyone's liking," but added that Maliki's government is "the government we have been working with, and we will continue to be supportive of their efforts."

"This is our guy right now," Morrell said.

Also asked about reports that the U.S. will drawdown the U.S. troops in Iraq to about 110,000 be next September, Morrell said only, "It's premature to judge where we're going to be one year from now. Way premature."