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Bush weighs skipping Olympics opening

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The White House left the door open Tuesday to President Bush skipping the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics to protest China's human rights record and its crackdown in Tibet.White House spokeswoman Dana Perino, however, suggested that the president might attend some of the athletic events at the Olympic Games in August if he skipped the opening.The president has said since last year that he plans to attend the Olympics, but he has never been specific about his visit. Bush has stressed he's a sports fan who wants to support U.S. athletes at the games.Asked whether Bush will attend the opening ceremonies, typically a major showcase for the host country, Perino would not be definitive. "We haven't provided any schedules on the president's trip," she said.Pressed on whether Bush's decision to attend the Olympics is "irreversible" or could be affected by developments, Perino hedged.

"Any time the president -- the president can always make a change," she said. "But the president has been clear that this is a sporting event for the athletes and that pressuring China before, during and after the Olympics is the best way for us to try to help people across the board in China, not just Tibetans."
Bush is under heavy pressure from Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to boycott the opening ceremonies as a protest of the Chinese government's handling of Tibet, among other issues, a move endorsed Monday by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton.All about Olympic Bush added, "I'm a sports fan. I'm looking forward to the competition. And each Olympic society will make its own decision as to how to deal with the athletes."(From Ed HenryCNN White House Correspondent)

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