White House Spokesman Backs Off Comment, Expects Iraqi Parliament to Work Through August

President Bush's press secretary on Wednesday backed off a comment that appeared to suggest the administration was resigned to Iraqi lawmakers taking August off based on the summer heat in Baghdad.

"I used a dumb line," Tony Snow told reporters.

"The fact is, we expect the Iraqi government to continue working at all times toward the goals of political accommodation and reconciliation. We made it clear. They know that it's important for us, and important for them, to get key pieces of legislation passed," Snow said.

Snow had agreed in a briefing last Friday that Iraqi lawmakers had much work to do before a U.S. progress report is made in September, but said: "You know, it's 130 degrees in Baghdad in August."

The remark has drawn criticism since U.S. troops, many of them in heavy battle gear, don't have the luxury of taking a monthlong vacation to escape the Baghdad heat.

He conceded that "it's clear a lot of Americans don't like the imagery" of U.S. forces working in the sweltering heat while Iraqi lawmakers are in recess.

"We understand the depth of people's dislike of the war and their anxiety about it," Snow said.