The actual news: President Bush admitted he "miscalculated" what post-war Iraq would be like, before saying that the insurgency since official combat was declared over is a result of a faster-than-expected victory in Iraq.
The best color: Tie.
Policy: "On environmental issues, Mr. Bush appeared unfamiliar with an administration report delivered to Congress on Wednesday that indicated that emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases were the only likely explanation for global warming over the last three decades. Previously, Mr. Bush and other officials had emphasized uncertainties in understanding the causes and consequences of global warming."
And setting/posse: "A cinderblock dressing room, outfitted with a conference table and leather reclining chairs, accessible only by walking through a men's room underneath a small stadium here, where he appeared for a campaign rally. The president was joined by one of his closest advisers, Karen P. Hughes, who is now traveling with him; the national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice; former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York, who was introducing him at rallies across the state; and his press secretary, Scott McClellan."
Characterization of the POTUS mood: He appeared "relaxed," and aides said he was in a "good mood."
The best Bush line: "'Five twenty-sevens — I think these ought to be outlawed. … 'I think they should have been outlawed a year ago. We have billionaires writing checks, large checks, to influence the outcome of the election.'''
The most macho Bush line: "I don't think you give timelines to dictators."
USA Today : LINK
The paper's choice of a lead: "As President Bush prepares for the Republican convention in New York next week, he says losing the election has never crossed his mind and the Iraq war was worth putting his political future at risk."
The actual news: "Bush said he believes voters won't deny him a second term even if they disagree with the war."
The best color: Bush doesn't remember meeting Kerry; Kerry spokesguy David Wade catalogues a lot of meetings.
Characterization of the POTUS mood: "expansive and upbeat"
The best Bush line: "'They've seen me make decisions, they've seen me under trying times, they've seen me weep, they've seen me laugh, they've seen me hug,' he said. 'And they know who I am, and I believe they're comfortable with the fact that they know I'm not going to shift principles or shift positions based upon polls and focus groups.'"
The most macho Bush line: "There's a lot of my friends who come and bass-fish with me. They don't say it out loud, I know they're thinking it: 'Why?' And the answer is because the stakes are high."
Then the Convention Bard — the New York Times shockingly underrated Michael Slackman — allows Bush imageguy Mark McKinnon to talk openly about how the president's plan to appear on a stage-in-the-round for his acceptance speech is a cosmically giant metaphor for, well, pretty much everything. LINK
On this warm Friday before the Republican National Convention, President Bush travels to Mel Martinez-less Miami while trying to take the offensive on two major issues: Senator Kerry's war record and intelligence reforms.
Bush leaves the White House in the early afternoon and has a 4:25 pm ET briefing on Charley damage (pool at the bottom) before a 5:00 pm ET Miami rally featuring Democratic Senator/Republican Convention keynoter Zell Miller.