The Chicago Tribune's Mark Silva begins his analysis of the press conference writing that "President Bush is displaying increasing frustration with the gulf between Main Street America's perception of the conflict and his own unflinching optimism." LINK
Bloomberg's Holly Rosenkrantz and Richard Keil have Leon Panetta, who was chief of staff under President Bill Clinton and was named last week to a bipartisan group established by Congress to assess U.S. Iraq policy, speaking for the entire Gang in saying that President Bush is unlikely to sway public opinion through speeches. LINK
"'The only way he's going to turn this around is if in fact he can show that there's a unity government in Iraq, that there's a reduction in violence, that we've got security forces that we've deployed and that we're beginning to withdraw troops,' Panetta, a Democrat, said."
Politics of Iraq:
Fareed Zakaria writes in a Washington Post op-ed that for all of his "misgivings about the way the administration has handled Iraq," he is not convinced that Iraq is a "hopeless cause that should be abandoned." LINK
An inquiry into the so-called "paid propaganda" in Iraqi newspapers has cleared the Lincoln Group of any violation of military policy, reports the New York Times. As Thom Shanker Notes, the "results of the investigation have been awaited with apprehension across the military and within the Bush administration," yet they may do little to assuage the concerns already expressed by members of Congress. LINK
The Wall Street Journal editorial page asks what would happen if the U.S. lost in Iraq. Its answer: a laundry list of scary things, from losing credibility on nuclear proliferation to an increase in terrorist attacks in the U.S. But, the ed board writes, all those nattering nabobs of negativity aren't helping win the war: "the desire among so many of our political elites to repudiate Mr. Bush and his foreign policy is creating a dangerous public pessimism that could yet lead to defeat -- a defeat whose price would be paid by all Americans, and for years to come."
"With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Duckworth was declared a winner with 44 percent, or 14,019 votes, to Cegelis' 40 percent, or 12,939 votes," reports the AP's Christopher Wills. LINK
Duckworth "narrowly won the Democratic nomination for Congress to run against Republican state Sen. Peter Roskam for the west suburban seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde," the Chicago Tribune reports. LINK
Rick Pearson and John Chase of the Chicago Tribune look ahead to the Ryan verdict and the expected "spirited and contentious" general election campaign. LINK
The good news/bad news graph for the current governor: "Blagojevich's victory was the first time an incumbent Democratic governor had won the party's nomination for re-election since the late Gov. Otto Kerner in 1965. Yet the vote for Eisendrath, who ran a low-key campaign, reflected concern among Democrats about Blagojevich's first-term leadership and his promises for the future."
The Chicago Tribune editorial board also looks ahead to the Balgojevich vs. Topinka match-up and each candidate's vulnerabilities from the start. LINK
"Illinois will have a campaign for governor between two of the most engaging, upbeat, fun and energetic people in local politics. Expect it to be absolutely brutal."