He said the formation of a new government would give Iraqis confidence in their future.
Bush's statement, during a brief question-and-answer session with reporters in the Roosevelt Room, came on the heels of a similar admonition by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a visit to Iraq. Rice had spoken of a "sense of drift" nearly four months after Iraqis held parliamentary elections.
Bush said insurgents were using violence to prevent democracy from taking hold. "One way to help bring confidence to the Iraqi people that those few will not be able to determine the future of that country is for there to be unity government that steps up and says, `I'm willing to lead.'
"And so I sent Secretary Rice to Iraq with that message," Bush said. "And the message is that the people of Iraq have voted and now it's time for the elected leaders to stand up and do their job." He said he looked forward to a unity government "that will reject the sectarian violence, will reject the militias, reject (terror leader Abu Musab) al-Zarqawi and the terrorists that are trying to create enough chaos so that America loses it nerve.
"And I'm not going to lose my nerve as the president," he said.