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Gates To Meet With Wavering Republicans Thursday

Defense Secretary Robert Gates will meet with House Republicans whose support for the war in Iraq appears to be wavering during a Thursday morning meeting at the Capitol.

Gates, who sat down with a group of moderate Republicans to discuss the war in July, comes to the Hill as he pushes for a bipartisan solution to the sustained U.S. military presence in Iraq.

Gates told the Wall Street Journal that he "came here with a pretty clear agenda...Mainly I was focused on how we can put Iraq in a place where we can have a long-term stabilizing presence that has broad bipartisan support."  He has also suggested the U.S. military could withdraw as many as 60,000 troops by the end of next year.

Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told reporters Wednesday that he arranged the meeting to give his members another chance to speak with the defense secretary after a much-anticipated progress report on the war.

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