Bush Rockin' a News Conference in a Few

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Oct 25, 2006 10:25 AM

He's addressing Iraq.

Along with this Mark Kennedy ad in Minnesota, is this a signal of a bolder move to politically face the Iraq issue head-on? In the past, whenever Bush has spoken frankly about Iraq in successive speeches, his numbers have gone up, although it feels like we're in a different climate now. Kennedy's running pretty far behind and Bush isn't running for anything, so who knows how this will play. I have a feeling folks in more competitive races won't take this tack.

On the other hand, depending on the level of frankness from Bush, it may be what people are looking for.

Watch live, here.

Enemy has evolved...Earlier was made up of Baath Party members...Overestimated capability of civil service...Did not expect the Iraqi Army to melt away in the face of coalition forces...Despite that, much progress has been made. Various votes, permanent government chosed

"Al Qadea was unable to stop this progress."...Routed the terrorists in Fallujah, they changed their tactics...Commends Shia for resisting being provoked into sectarian violence, early on...Sectarian violence has sharply increased in recent months, particularly in Baghdad...We are shifting our tactics as well

Our mission is to help the government...Our goals are unchanging; we are flexible in our methods. Military constantly changing methods...Increasing force levels during Election Days, now moving more forces to Baghdad...They've rounded up and killed key death squad and insurgent leaders...Training Iraqi guard...Military solution alone will not stop violence, Iraqi people must make tough decisions to solve

1. Working with political and religious leaders
2. Helping Iraqi leaders work on national compact on difficult issues: condemned violence and agreed on schedule for milestones
3. Reaching our to Arab states, asking them to support Iraq in its mission to get the Sunni insurgents disarmed.

Unity government has been in office for just over five months, has to solve problems from years of tyrannical rule, against many forces trying to stop

"We're making it clear that America's patience is not unlimited, but we understand the unique challenges they face."

"I know the American people understand the stakes in Iraq. They want to win. They will support the war as long as they see a path to victory. Americans can  be sure that we will prevail."

Commission taking a fresh look, "I welcome all these efforts."

"There is tough fighting agead. The road to victory will not be easy. We should not expect a simple solution."

"If we do not defeat the terrorists or extremists in Iraq...they will launch new attacks on America from this new safe haven."

"I'm not satisfied either, and that is why we're taking new steps to secure Baghdad...But we cannot allow out dissatisfaction to make us question our purpose in this war."

"We must not fall prey to the sophisticated propaganda from the enemy" --CNN, we're talkin' to you.

"We must gird ourselves for the sacrifices yet to come."

Q & A:

"I will send more troops to Iraq if Gen. Casey tells me I need more troops in Iraq to achieve victory."

"The political way forward and the military way forward must go hand-in-hand."

"You can't leave until the job is done. Our mission is to get the job done as quickly as possible."

Typical moody David Gregory question: "Why shouldn't people think that changing your message from "stay the course" to "adapting to win" is just a political decision?"

This is substantially different-- benchmarks will help us win, an artificial timetable leads to defeat

"I'm giving this speech today because I think I owe an explanation to the American people."

Update: Can I add that if Bush ignores Iraq, he's playing politics by ignoring a tough issue. If he addresses Iraq, he's playing politics by addressing a tough issue. No-win for him with the media.

You say you'll entertain any idea to help us win? Will you work with Iran and Syria? Huh? Huh? Come on, just say it.

Um, no. They gotta get their stuff in line first.

Come on, are you sure? Why won't you let Iran come to the table? Please?

"If they will verifiably stop enrichment, the United States will be at the table with them." 

Update: Austin Bay got to interview Donald Rumsfeld over lunch. Good stuff. H/t Instapundit.

Update: Check with Hot Air for video in a bit. I bet they'll have it.

Update: They do have it, along with an instructive comparison of Bush's statements and the Dem "strategy," which consists of "they're wrong. We deserve change." All right, but what kind? They don't know.

Update: Here's a transcript of the presser. And, 18 months in Iraq?