President Bush admitted that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq has made the country much less stable than it was under Saddam Hussein, blaming the problem on poor decisions. Still, he said, Iraqis should be grateful to the U.S.

"We liberated that country from a tyrant," Bush said. "I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude and I believe most Iraqis express that." Bush also expressed regret over the handling of Saddam's execution.

At least 16 Republican senators are not solidly behind Bush's recent "surge" strategy of sending more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq. Congress may issue a resoluion against the "surge" -- which Bush is free to ignore.