"Thanks for your question. I don't necessarily buy your premise," GW tells a well-behaved but clueless member of the White House Press Corps named Sheryl, who doesn't seem to understand why the Leader of the Free World isn't apoplectic over some new poll that suggests the majority of Americans think Democrats could run the country better than Republicans [NOT]. With his eye on the prize, Dubya makes it clear he isn't going to let polls or pols prevent him from staying the course.
"When you're in a theater like that, it's important to hear words of congratulations sometimes, to hear that their efforts are appreciated -- and doing hard work. And I got to do that," says a jet-lagged but supremely confident GW during at a Rose Garden press conference this morning, reviewing his surprise visit to Baghdad yesterday and reaffirming his commitment to finish what we started in Iraq. A few soundbites to savor:
I appreciated [Prime Minister Maliki's] determination. He's got a plan to succeed, and I appreciated their determination -- the cabinet's determination to succeed. The policy of the US government is to stand with this new government and help them succeed.
Operation Together Forward started this morning . . . a joint effort to establish security in the capital city . . . We gotta recognize that it's going to take time for these operations to take hold . . . [Maliki] understands how important it is to rein in these militias . . . This government has got to deal with corruption at all levels in order to earn the confidence of all Iraqis . . .
I'm proud of the US military, and that's a message the military and their families must hear. We'll deal with [Haditha and other alleged wrongoing on the part of our military] . . . in an upfront way, but I'm not going to let these incidents stain the reputation of our military.
My advice to [the Iraqis] is to use their energy assets as a way to unite the country . . . The best way to suggest a government do something is to put it out through the press . . . I suggested ownership in energy assets [see the Alaska Permanent Fund] . . .
I'm convinced this governent will succeed, and one of the reasons is because they're thinking positively about the future [and not dwelling on revenge for past injuries].
My message to the enemy is, don't count on us leaving before we succeed.
Asked whether he really believes the tide is turning, the President says something to the effect of "Did I say that?" adding "I sense something different happening in Iraq." While we swooned at "Mission accomplished," and "the tide is turning" floats our boat, we understand there are some things a President can't say in "polite" company and agree with David Ignatius' post-game analysis on Fox:
There is a moment of opportunity. The president is careful about using phrases like "the tide is turning." I think he's being appropriately cautious in his rhetoric.
It must be what Austin Bay calls the "Tony Snow Effect." Meanwhile, even as the President explains why benchmarks -- not arbitrary withdrawal dates -- will foil the enemy, and John Kerry predictably calls for "an amendment to withdraw troops from Iraq by the end of this year":
It's not enough to argue with the logistics or to argue about the details . . . It is essential to acknowledge that the war itself was a mistake . . . It was wrong, and I was wrong to vote for that Iraqi war resolution.
Anti-war activists at a liberal gathering booed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday for opposing a set date for pulling U.S. troops from Iraq.
Allahpundit has hillarious highlights of "the Shrill One’s" "Take Back America speech" at HotAir.
Why do I feel so strongly about this? My husband is so much like President Bush and I watched him perform with integrity throughout thirty years in the Army. He would never back down when he believed strongly about something. He still doesn’t in retirement. Character sticks.
Be sure to check out the gorgeous Rose Garden photos at The Wide Awake Cafe. Can you pick out Tony Snow in the
cess press pool?