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Iraq

 

The White House is passing around this quote press secretary Tony Snow, who returns to work today, made this morning on ABC: "Of course people want to be out of the war. On the other hand, do people want to adopt a strategy that is going to weaken the hands of the troops who are there? In other words, do you want to bind our forces by saying, 'We're going to give you a timetable for withdrawal,' knowing that that strengthens the hands of the enemy?… If you frame it that way, I'd love to see the poll results. Why don't you try that one in the next poll because my guess is the American people will say 'No, that's insane!'" 

In advance of Bush's upcoming veto of the Iraq supplemental, the Washington Post looks at the key reason why most Republicans aren't going along with any withdrawal deadlines, even though a majority supports the: The GOP base isn't letting them. "That cohesion reflects the views of the GOP's core voters, who see the war in Iraq in fundamentally different terms than Democrats and political independents do, said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. Voters from those groups tend to see unremitting gloom, but Republican base voters continue to see a conflict that is going reasonably well, with a decent chance of military success. "'That's the dilemma for Republicans going forward,' Kohut said yesterday. 'They've got to look out for their base, but they have to acknowledge the independents have aligned themselves with the way Democrats are thinking on the issue of Iraq.'"

Bob Novak offers up a positive look at one Republican who isn't heeding to the base on Iraq, Chuck Hagel. Novak concludes: "Hagel represents millions of Republicans who are repelled by the Democratic personal assault on Bush but deeply unhappy about his course in Iraq."

The New York Times front-pages how national security adviser Stephen Hadley "is interviewing candidates, including military generals, for a new high-profile job that people in Washington are calling the war czar. The official … would brief Mr. Bush every morning on Iraq and Afghanistan, then prod cabinet secretaries into carrying out White House orders… [T]he idea that the national security adviser is subcontracting responsibility for the nation's most pressing foreign policy crisis … is provoking criticism of Mr. Hadley himself, and how he has navigated the delicate internal politics of a White House famous for its feuding."

On Saturday, Obama and Clinton spoke to the very anti-war crowd at California's Democratic convention, and Newsday suggests that Obama's speech was a direct attack on Clinton even though he never mentioned her by name. "'I am proud that I stood up in 2002 when it wasn't popular to stand up and urged leaders not to take us down this dangerous path!' he shouted, voice breaking. 'Many of you did the same and said this was a bad idea when it wasn't popular to say this was a bad idea!' he added, to wild applause. ' ... But the war went forward and now we've seen those consequences and we mourn the dead and wounded.'"