Bush Offers Condolences to Tornado Victims, Plans Tour of Region

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush offered condolences to victims
of violent storms and tornadoes that roared through several Southern states and said he would visit stricken areas Thursday "with a heavy heart."

Bush told reporters at the White House Friday that he had spoken
to Alabama Governor Bob Riley Thursday afternoon and Georgia Governor Perdue.

He said he told the governors he wanted to express "my personal condolences as well as the condolences of the nation for those who lost their lives in the recent tragedies in those two states."

Bush will visit areas hit by a violent storm system that spawned tornadoes that struck an Alabama high school, killing eight students.

The White House said Bush would make two stops tomorrow, but his
destinations were still being worked out with governors in the affected states.

The president said "I go down with a heavy heart. I go down knowing full well that I'll be seeing people whose lives were turned upside down by the tornadoes. I'll do my very best to comfort them."

The burst of tornadoes was part of a line of thunderstorms and snowstorms that stretched from Minnesota to the Gulf Coast. Authorities blamed tornadoes for the deaths of a seven-year-old girl in Missouri, ten people in Alabama and nine in Georgia, and twisters also damaged homes in Kansas.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)