From NBC's Mark Murray
Here's a quick final thought today since the morning version of First Read isn't publishing tomorrow... Earlier this week, proponents of Bush's troop surge were seeing some things finally break their way just before Gen. Petraeus' September report on the situation in Iraq. First, some Democrats started to speak positively about the surge. Even Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton said it was working in Al Anbar Province, although she added that it was too little, too late (and then stated on Wednesday that the surge failed). Next came the new multi-million-dollar TV ad campaign arguing that a withdrawal from Iraq would be disastrous.
But that good news for the White House and its allies came to a crashing halt today -- with today's updated NIE report (which said that security in Iraq will continue to improve modestly, but that the level of sectarian violence there will remain high), and the speech by GOP Sen. John Warner (who argued that the White House should begin a small withdrawal of troops).
Is it fair to say that we're back to where we were before the week started: that the surge and Iraq remain perilous political issues for the White House and the GOP?