DETROIT

Dow announces job cuts, plant closings

Dow Chemical Co. announced yesterday it is closing plants and cutting 1,000 jobs, or about 2.3 percent of its work force, as part of a plan to rid itself of underperforming businesses and boost its global efficiency.

The Midland-based company, one of the nation’s biggest chemical makers, said it will exit the automotive sealers business within the next nine to 18 months in North America, Asia and Latin America.

It will look at options in its European operations.

WASHINGTON

Bush: Vigilance needed if Iran has nuclear weapons

Defending his credibility, President Bush said yesterday that Iran is dangerous and must be squeezed by international pressure despite a blockbuster intelligence finding that Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program four years ago.

Bush said the new conclusion – contradicting earlier U.S. assessments – would not prompt him to take off the table the possibility of pre-emptive military action against Iran.

Nor will the United States change its policy of trying to isolate Iran diplomatically and punish it with sanctions, he said.

“Look, Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous and Iran will be dangerous if they have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon,” the president told a White House news conference a day after the release of a new national intelligence estimate representing the consensus of all U.S. spy agencies.

DES MOINES, Iowa

Candidates criticize Clinton during radio debate

Democratic rivals assailed front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday for a vote against Iran that they portrayed as misguided and dangerous in light of a new intelligence report that says the Iranians stopped pursuing a nuclear weapon years ago.

One month before Iowa’s leadoff caucuses – in a debate broadcast only on radio – the presidential candidates stood together in welcoming the report’s assessment and criticizing President Bush’s assertion that “nothing’s changed” because of it.

They divided on the three-month-old Senate vote to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization – a resolution that only Clinton supported among the Democratic candidates.

WASHINGTON

Bush, Dems battle over war spending

President Bush and congressional Democrats are locked in a struggle over Iraq spending, with neither side budging and each calculating that its argument will be the one to resonate with voters.

For both sides, this rhetorical tug-of-war has become a question of leadership on national security issues and who is more committed to the troops.

“It’s unconscionable to deny funds to our troops in harm’s way because some in Congress want to force a self-defeating policy, especially when we’re seeing the benefits of success,” Bush said in a Rose Garden speech on Monday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wasted no time in responding.

“We could have already given our troops what they need in Iraq and funded our critical needs at home if not for the stubborn refusal of President Bush and his Republican enablers to work with us,” he told reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

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