Polls Close in Iraq

1-30-05- President Bush is congratulating the Iraqi people on today's election, and praising their bravery. He says Iraqis have "refused to be intimidated by thugs and assassins."

He says by turning out to vote, they have "firmly rejected the anti-democratic ideology of the terrorists."

In brief remarks at the White House, Bush said "the world is hearing the voice of freedom from the center of the Middle East."

He said the United States will continue working to prepare Iraqis to secure their own country.

Iraqis defied threats of violence and calls for a boycott to cast ballots today in their first free election in a half-century.