From NBC's Jennifer Yuille
Reprising her role as defender-in-chief, Laura Bush stood by her husband's Iraq policy and blamed the media for his low approval ratings this morning. "I understand why those polls are like that because of the coverage that we see every single day in Iraq. And it is not encouraging coverage, for sure, there's no doubt about it," she told NBC's Norah O'Donnell in an interview. She went on to say that "the drumbeat in the country, from the media from the only way people know what is happening unless they happen to have a loved one deployed there. It's discouraging and I know the facts are not as discouraging."
According to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 69% of those surveyed say that they are less confident there will be a successful conclusion in Iraq.
This is not the first time Mrs. Bush has targeted the media for focusing too much on the negative. A month after Hurricane Katrina, she told a crowd at the Heritage Foundation that she had seen "many more unselfish acts of giving than bad things" on the Gulf Coast but "the media hasn't shown us that much." And during the 2004 election, she entered the debate over stem cell research. "Although you might not know about it from listening to the news lately, the president looks forward to medical breakthroughs that may arise from stem cell research," she said.
White House officials have acknowledged in the past that the First Lady is an effective mouthpiece. She played a pivotal role in GOP fundraising efforts during the 2006 midterm elections raising millions of dollars for Republican candidates. Her favorability ratings always remain high, usually hovering anywhere between 50% and 70%.