WASHINGTON – President Bush made a last-minute change to his schedule Friday to meet with the top U.S. commander in the Middle East to consult on possible changes in Iraq war tactics, FOX News learned.
The one-on-one meeting with Gen. John Abizaid was previously unscheduled.
"We are constantly adjusting tactics so we can achieve our objectives and right now, it's tough," Bush told the Associated Press.
Iraq has topped Bush's agenda recently in appearances to raise money for Republicans battling Democratic challengers on the campaign trail.
Some Democrats have called for a change in Iraq -- which Bush labeled a "cut and run" strategy.
"Some leaders have said should not spend another dime in Iraq...some say get out now...some in couple of months...that's why Democratic party...party of cut and run," Bush said at a fundraiser for the Republican Senatorial Committee.
Seventy-four American troops have died in Iraq in October.
"One of the reasons you're seeing more casualties is the enemy is active and so are our troops," Bush said.
Bush will meet Saturday with Abizaid and Gen. George Casey, who leads the U.S.-led Multinational Forces in Iraq. Bush generally meets with them every two weeks.
U.S. forces change their tactics often, said White House spokesman Tony Snow.
"What I'm telling you is, tactically you adjust all the time," Snow said. "He is entertaining no change in believing that you can't do it militarily alone, you can't do it politically alone, can do it economically alone."
The president has often said that U.S. goals in Iraq remain the same: to have a country that can sustain itself, govern itself and help in the War on Terror.
The White House said that while Bush might change tactics in Iraq, he would not change his overall strategy despite growing opposition and Republican anxiety that his policy could cost the GOP control of the House or the Senate — or both.
"He's not somebody who gets jumpy at polls," Snow said.
An independent commission led by former secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton of Indiana is exploring options for a new Iraq strategy.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, at a Pentagon news conference, said the government of Iraq is going to have to take over its country's security "sooner rather than later."
He said the biggest mistake would be to not continue turning regions of the country over to the Iraqis, even if it means that the U.S. has to go back and retake control because the Iraqis are overwhelmed. He did not elaborate.
Republican Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Rick Santorum want to split Iraq into regions for Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds but the White House called the proposal a non starter.
On another contentious foreign policy issue, Bush said he would not comment on a report that North Korea had apologized for conducting a nuclear test until he had a chance to consult with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is in Beijing for talks with Chinese officials on the nuclear standoff.
The mass-circulation Chosun Ilbo reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il had told the Chinese that "he is sorry about the nuclear test." The North Korean leader also raised the possibility the country would return to arms talks.
Bush took questions for about 10 minutes after a roundtable with senior citizens on the Medicare drug program.
He said Republicans were missing an opportunity if they were not talking about the drug plan and how it's working on the campaign trail.
He brushed off changes proposed by Democrats, including having the government negotiate drug prices rather than individual insurance plans.
"We will resist any changes to weaken this program," Bush said.
Bush made an impromptu stop at a local CVS drug store, posing behind the pharmacy counter for pictures and examining the literature the Medicare pharmacists hand out to customers.
"Millions of seniors are benefiting," the president said. "Our seniors are saving money. They're getting better coverage. It's a plan that I'm real proud of. ... Our compassionate approach to health care is working for America's seniors."
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, standing at Bush's side, pledged continued improvements in the program.
"We're going to get better at it," he said. "We're getting better at it every year. It'll be better this year than it was the last."
FOX News' Bret Baier, Wendell Goler and The Associated Press contributed to this report.