WASHINGTON (CNN) - Ahead of an interim report on progress in Iraq, President Bush is expected to use Tuesday's town hall meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, as a way to talk directly to Americans about how he would like to eventually get to a "post-surge" phase in Iraq, senior officials told CNN.
However, senior administration officials said that the Bush administration does not plan to make any major changes in its Iraq strategy despite increased calls from Republican lawmakers to begin a drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq.
In addition to reassuring the public, Bush's message is also intended to do some "hand-holding with Republicans on the Hill," in the words of one senior official, to make sure the GOP defections slow down.
It is unclear how that message will play with the growing ranks of Republican senators who have expressed frustration with the Bush administration over its repeated calls for a new strategy, but its inability to significantly retool its Iraq policy.
"Why waste more time in not moving on to the next phase of the strategy, which is to change a mission and redeployment of our troops?" Sen. Olympia Snowe, a Maine Republican, said on CNN's "American Morning" Tuesday.
The White House has urged patience, saying the recent addition of 21,500 U.S. troops intended to beef-up security in the Iraqi capital was just completed two weeks ago.
One of those dissenting Republicans, Sen. Lamar Alexander, said the so-called "surge" in U.S. forces is not an adequate strategy and called on Bush to implement a plan that "has more broad support in the country, in the Congress, than his current strategy does"
"A new strategy would (be) to say, 'Let's get out of the combat business and into support, equipping and training, as promptly as we honorably can,'" the Tennessee Republican told CNN's "American Morning."
An interim assessment of the Iraqi government's progress on key milestones is expected to be presented to Congress later in the week.
It will show "some of the benchmarks have been made, some of them haven't" and will set off a debate that will result in "the beginning of a new way," White House spokesman Tony Snow told CNN's "American Morning" on Tuesday.
"What Congress will get this week is a snapshot of the beginning of the retooling of the mission in Iraq," Snow said. "Everyone says, 'We want to do it a different way.' We agree. It's just now started."
- CNN White House Correspondent Ed Henry contributed to this report