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Gregoire Makes a Surprise Trip to Iraq

Liz Jones
01/06/2009

Governor Chris Gregoire is in Iraq this week to meet with National Guard troops from Washington State. She spoke with reporters today (Tuesday) on a conference call from Baghdad. She says returning guard members tell her the situation in Iraq has greatly improved. KUOW's Liz Jones reports.

TRANSCRIPT

GREGOIRE: "The most common description of those who have been here before is that when last here it was like the wild, wild west. And now it's nothing like it was back then. Much, much better than what it was before."

GREGOIRE SAYS MORALE IS HIGH. BUT SOME TROOPS ARE WORRIED ABOUT POSSIBLE REDEPLOYMENT TO AFGHANISTAN. ANOTHER CONCERN IS WHETHER PRESIDENT–ELECT OBAMA WILL MAKE ANY CHANGES TO VETERAN'S BENEFITS.

SECRECY AROUND GREGOIRE'S TRIP LED TO WILD SPECULATION ABOUT HER WHEREABOUTS. REPORTS HAD SURFACED THAT SHE MAY BE UP FOR AN APPOINTMENT IN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION.

GREGOIRE: "I'm really sorry. I am not aware of that speculation. I indicated early on to the Barack transition team and the President elect that I was not interested in any appointments. I have not intention of leaving the state."

GREGOIRE IS TRAVELING IN IRAQ WITH GOVERNORS JOHN CORZINE OF NEW JERSEY AND RICK PERRY OF TEXAS. SHE'S SCHEDULED TO RETURN HOME THURSDAY NIGHT.

I'M LIZ JONES, KUOW NEWS.

© Copyright 2009, KUOW

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