WASHINGTON – Several members of Congress touring Baghdad were unhurt Tuesday when a truck bomb blasted U.N. headquarters there, but at least one tempted fate by missing an appointment with the chief U.N. official there.
Cantwell said the meeting was scheduled for 1:00 p.m. local time at coalition headquarters, but because the delegation's plane was running late leaving Jordan, the meeting never happened.
Instead, she and de Mello were supposed to speak by phone at approximately 6:00 p.m. local time. The explosion occurred shortly before 4:00 p.m. local time.
News of the attack troubled members, but did not deter them from their mission, visiting military sites to learn how operations are going.
"Our faith and resolve is unshaken here," said Rep. Harold Ford, D-Tenn., among the lawmakers who spoke with reporters in Washington by telephone after the delegation had left Baghdad and flown to Kuwait City, Kuwait.
Nevertheless, Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., called the attack "a terrible blow to our efforts to put an international face on our efforts to bring reconstruction to Iraq."
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said his meeting with chief U.S. administrator in Iraq L. Paul Bremer (search) was interrupted by news of the bombing. Bremer immediately left for the attack scene.
Members of the delegation, which included Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., John Sununu, R-N.H., Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., as well as McCain, Cantwell and Ford, debated whether to beef up U.S. forces in Iraq and how much that will cost.
McCain said he "believes we'll have to spend a lot more money and will have to increase the size of our military."
Members said they have not in any way modified their schedule because of the blast, except that a press conference originally planned for Wednesday morning at the Baghdad airport was cancelled due to security concerns.
Plans for another congressional delegation's trip have not been scuttled by the blast. Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., is leading a bipartisan group later this month to Iraq, where they will meet with U.S. troops, evaluate morale and get more details about attacks on American forces. They will also look into the contracting process for rebuilding Iraq.
Davis said the bombing and a bus bombing in Jerusalem on the same day add to the need for the group to address terror issues with U.S. and Iraqi leaders. He said he suspects the bombing of the U.N. headquarters will influence other nations to help in the peacekeeping process.
Joining Davis will be Reps. Chris Shays, R-Conn., Martin Meehan, D-Mass., Ed Schrock, R-Va., Bill Shuster, R-Pa., Mark Kennedy, R-Minn., Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Mike Rogers, R-Mich., Michael Burgess, R-Texas, Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Chris Chocola, R-Ind.
Fox News' Julie Asher and The Associated Press contributed to this report.