Bush Shores Up Support Among GOP Leaders Ahead of Memorial Day Recess

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - President Bush, hoping to shore up support among Republicans before the Memorial Day recess, met with GOP leaders on Capitol Hill Thursday.

"He asked us to keep the faith," said Ohio Rep. Deborah Pryce. "We're all behind him."

Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum also expressed his support for the president, despite his sagging approval ratings in the wake of the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal. "This is a tough time for this country, but yet we feel very good about having a strong leader who is decisive," he said.

Bush's approval ratings have slipped to the mid-to-low 40s, the lowest of his presidency. No recent president has been re-elected with such numbers this close to the presidential elections.

"We didn't talk about polls," said Ohio Rep. David Hobson, after the meeting with Bush. "He believes in what he's doing and he will stay on course for his beliefs, no matter what the political cost is."

"We'll all be concerned until Election Day," said Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch. "But we remain confident. We believe in President Bush. He will win re-election."

House Republicans are upset with their Senate counterparts, who seem to be, in the words of House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), "too mesmerized by the prison photos" to move forward on key legislation.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) has also been at odds with the White House in recent months over legislation like the highway bill, which Bush has threatened to veto and which remains stuck in Congress.

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