Bush's War (Speech)


President Bush addresses the nation and the world (and Carl Levin) tonight at 9:01 pm ET from the White House library. Without using the word "surge," the President is expected to call for sending 22,000 additional U.S. troops to Iraq, according to ABC News' Martha Raddatz.

The troop increase is expected to include five additional brigades for Baghdad and one additional brigade for Al Anbard (which will be done by holding a brigade already there that was scheduled to leave). Two brigades are supposed to be in Baghdad in 30 days or more (one is already in Kuwait). The additional three are planned to be phased in over several months.

There will likely be benchmarks for security, but the President reportedly will not tie U.S. troop commitment to benchmarks.

After the speech, Democrats will probably have somebody (perhaps Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)) come to the Senate Gallery and make a response to whatever Bush says and then take questions. On Nightline at 11:35 pm ET, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) will offer his reaction to the President's speech.

Prior to the President's speech tonight, Gen. Wesley Clark joins Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) to discuss the situation in Iraq today at 12:15 pm ET.

You can watch and listen to full coverage of the President's remarks throughout the ABC News universe.

On the traditional television network, ABC News will broadcast President George Bush's address from the White House live at 9 p.m., ET on Wednesday, January 10. Charles Gibson will anchor the network's coverage from New York.

ABC News Radio will also provide extensive coverage, with Gil Gross anchoring and Ann Compton reporting from the White House. Following the speech, ABC News Radio will have analysis from military experts, reaction from Democratic and Republican lawmakers, and additional reporting from Aaron Katersky.

ABCNEWS.com and ABC News Now will also cover the President's speech, starting at 7:30 pm ET on NOW. As part of the coverage, ABCNEWS.com will invite viewers to vote online on the President's plan. The results will be broadcast live on the digital channel and on the website.

ABC News' continuing/continuous coverage of the President's speech continues now, with The Note's pre-game show, previewing the political stakes for Mr. Bush this evening.

With a lot on the line, we asked a diverse group of keen political observers -- ranging mostly from older white men who live in Washington to younger (relatively) white men who also live in Washington -- what the stakes and challenges are for the President tonight. While their views are not as colorful as the pre- and post-game analysis of Terry, Howie, and Jimmy, here's what we found:

David Gergen, adviser to several presidents of both parties: "The President has to walk a real tightrope tonight."

Norm Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute: "This is Bush's last chance to make his case, and, frankly, it might already be too late."

Charlie Cook, independent political analyst from the Cook Political Report: "The danger for the President is that the country has stopped listening to him on Iraq. This is a very, very hard sell."

Stuart Rothenberg, independent political analyst from the Rothenberg Political Report: "Republicans want Iraq off the table by the end of this year, but the White House just doesn't seem to get it."

Stephen Hess, Brookings Institution: "You normally don't get a seventh chance to make a first impression. Somehow, the President has to convince the country to change its collective mind, and that is a difficult thing to do this far into a very costly war."

Ken Duberstein, chief of staff to Ronald Reagan: "If the President can convince the country that he has a real, new plan to fix things, the American people will give him a chance to try, but that is going to be tough to do. We'll see."

John Podesta, chief of staff to Bill Clinton: "Democrats are going to listen to the President's plans, but, frankly, the time for listening is over. Every Democrat in Congress is going to have to ask if the plan can work, and we already know what the answer to that is."

Lawrence Korb, broadcasting from CAP, "Had the President simply adopted my plan of two years ago for a Phased Redeployment, we could have been out of Iraq by now and well into screwing up Iran."

Michael Beschloss, historian: "President Taft faced a very similar circumstance."

Bill Kristol, the Weekly Standard: "The President will be making a terrible mistake if he calls for any fewer than 40,000 additional troops. I worry about his spine."

Mark McKinnon, long-time Bush media adviser: "The President is as calm and at peace as I have ever seen him. He knows what he wants to do."

Any Republican appearing on Larry King Live: "Yada yada yada, a surge, though too little too late, might be our last best chance."

Any Democrat appearing on Larry King Live: "Yada yada yada, an escalation, because that's what this really is Larry, hasn't worked in the past and won't work now."

Jack Hanna, renowned animal expert, appearing on Larry King Live: "Larry, it's good to be here yet again tonight. I knew things in Iraq were bleak when Steve Irwin passed away."

Donna Brazile, Al Gore's presidential campaign manager: "The country has already spoken. If Bush's words don't reflect the national mood and the Democratic mandate from the midterms, it will be a big waste of time. He might be pre-empting 'Deal or No Deal,' but based on the leaks we have heard already, I think 'no deal' is the likely response from Capitol Hill -- from both parties."

(Of course, none of those quotes are real, although they might as well be.)

See below for more schedule items.

Politics of Iraq:

If you read just one newspaper story today, let it by the one in the Washington Post that is as brilliant as it is long overdue. The paper's Abramowitz, Wright, and Ricks write that when President Bush goes before the American people tonight, he will be "ordering his top military brass to take action they initially resisted and advised against." LINK

Without ruling out eventually considering more muscular approaches, House and Senate Democrats are planning votes on symbolic resolutions which, in the words of the New York Times' Jeff Zeleny and Carl Hulse, "would do nothing in practical terms to block Mr. Bush's intention to increase the United States military presence in Iraq." LINK

But with Republican officials conceding that "at least 10" of their own Senators were likely to oppose the plan to increase troop levels in Iraq, Democrats are seeking to isolate the President politically over his handling of the war.

Even though we have heard some GOP disapproval of the President's plan in recent days (Smith, Snowe, Collins, etc.), the dynamics of the Republican presidential contest are such that the top-tier contenders for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination are standing with the White House with very little daylight between each other on the dominant issue of the day.

Earlier today, Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) broke his silence and endorsed adding five brigades in Baghdad and two regiments in Al-Anbar province. (See below for more).

"Make or Break" read the headline on ABC News' "Good Morning America" in setting the stage for the President's speech this evening.

White House counselor Dan Bartlett told ABC's Diane Sawyer that "President Bush will make clear that the Iraqis themselves will have to solve the sectarian violence."

Without so much as a hint of irony in his voice, Andy Card, the former Bush White House chief of staff who famously told the New York Times in 2002, "from a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August, told NBC's "Today" in a taped piece that aired this morning, "this is not a campaign" when describing the President's effort to sell his "New Way Forward."

The New York Times' Rutenberg looks at the rhetorical battle between the use of "surge" versus "escalation." LINK

The Los Angeles Times on same: LINK

". . . the search goes on, in this country obsessed with hookups and breakups, for the right relationship metaphor to describe our deadly embrace of Iraq," writes Maureen Dowd in her New York Times column. LINK

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank Sketches the "fuzzy" position of Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) on the surge, describing him as "perhaps the most endangered of all GOP senators in 2008." LINK

"'I don't really now what they're thinking about proposing, so given that it wouldn't be wise for me to suggest that I do or don't know whether their conditions are appropriate," said Sununu.

Sen. Kennedy appears to have the support of Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR).

"'I want to see the details,' Smith told KGW-TV, 'but if it is designed to, if it's just authorization, I think that is a smart thing. It gives congress leverage.'" LINK

But EMK doesn't have the support of everyone in his own party.

Under the headline, "Kennedy Proposal Uncovers Party Rift, the Washington Times' Jon Ward looks at the Democrats' careful and calculated step away from Sen. Kennedy's proposal to require congressional approval for a troop surge. LINK

Bloomberg News' Nicholas Johnston combs through the options for Democrats as they figure out how to oppose the President's troop surge in Iraq. LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper reports: "In language and attitude this debate sometimes seems to have gone beyond policy disagreements. Democrats sometimes act as if this is an intervention -- as if the president needs to be compelled to stop this war since, in their view, he has lost all sense and reason. Whether or not they're right, and however they decide to stop him, most Democrats no longer seem willing to listen to anything the president has to say about Iraq." LINK

Democratic agenda:

Mark Leibovich of the New York Times has some fun with Rob Cogorno -- a top aide to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and keeper of the "100 Hours" clock. LINK

The New York Times' Greenhouse previews today's expected vote on the minimum wage in the House and the debate of coupling a wage hike with tax breaks for small businesses that awaits the Senate. LINK

House Democrats were joined by a number of Republicans passing a bill to implement more of the 9-11 Commissions suggestions but the Independent Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman may offer a different measure for the Senate to take up, reports the Washington Post's Spencer Hsu. LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

The Bush Administration officially withdrew some of its most controversial nomination to the federal appellate bench yesterday, reports the Washington Post's Jeffrey Smith. LINK

Neil Lewis of the New York Times reports on the same, suggesting some on the right understand. LINK


Mike Fitts, associate editor of The State in South Carolina, bemoans the media's paring down of the presidential candidates before the voters get a chance to find out who they are. LINK

2008: Republican:

Per Roll Calls' David Drucker, most of the Iowa GOP chairs interviewed said John McCain is not conservative enough to win their support. When asked blindly which GOP candidate is exciting the base, Drucker Notes that a majority of those who responded with a name mentioned former Gov. Romney.

The Hill's Susan Crabtree reports that both Sen. McCain and former Gov. Romney are competing for the support of House Republicans. LINK

2008: Republicans: McCain:

The Los Angeles Times' Janet Hook delivers a must-read story on pressure being applied to Democrats from the anti-war liberal activist MoveOn.org wing of the party. LINK

Note, too, the MoveOn plans to air radio and television ads against Sen. McCain in early nominating states.

John Fortier opines how Bush's troop surge complicates Sen. McCain's strategy for a presidential win. LINK

The Arizona Republic's Billy House reveals that one of former Sen. Dennis DeConcini's chapters of his new book (publication date is Feb. 1) portrays McCain as "having backstabbed him and the other three senators during the investigation by leaking misleading and damaging information to the media." LINK

The Tucson Citizen carries Sen. McCain's op-ed on victory still being possible in Iraq. LINK

2008: Republicans: Romney:

Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) has broken his silence on the "surge," joining President Bush and Sen. McCain, Romney's chief rival for the Republican nomination, in supporting a plan to place additional U.S. troops in Baghdad and Al Anbar.

"In consultation with Generals, military experts and troops who have served on the ground in Iraq, I believe securing Iraqi civilians requires additional troops. I support adding five brigades in Baghdad and two regiments in Al-Anbar province. Success will require rapid deployment," says Romney.

The Boston Globe's Scott Helman reports on a letter circulating from activists touting Romney's firm and conservative stances that position the former governor as the one with "conservative credentials" in 2008. LINK

2008: Republicans: Giuliani:

The New York Post's Maggie Haberman writes up Rudy Giuliani's near silence on the President's plan to increase troop levels in Iraq. LINK

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was quoted by the Dallas Business Journal in December saying that he thought sending more troops makes sense, but he has remained largely silent on the issue despite his strong support for the President's war effort.

New York Daily News gossip columnists Rush and Molloy preview the upcoming book, "Giuliani: Flawed or Flawless." LINK

The AP's Devlin Barrett follows the New York Daily News and New York Times reporting from the weekend and looks at Rudy Giuliani's web of business interests and writes of the difficult untangling that lays ahead for Giuliani should he decide to run for president. LINK

2008: Republicans: Gilmore:

In its coverage of former Gov. Jim Gilmore's (R-VA) decision to set up a presidential exploratory committee, the Richmond Times Dispatch has Stu Rothenberg saying that he could "envision a scenario in which Gilmore's anti-tax philosophy would prevail in a crowded Republican field" while maintaining that such a scenario is "highly unlikely."


More coverage from the Washington Times. LINK

2008: Democrats:

Per The Hill's Alexander Bolton, Sens. Obama, Clinton, and Edwards are hastening attempts to tap into Sen. Evan Bayh's (D-Ind.) impressive fundraising network of more than $10 million. LINK

2008: Democrats: Clinton:

The New York Times' Pat Healy explores the history and weighs the pros and cons of basing a presidential campaign inside the Beltway, as Healy reports, Sen. Hillary Clinton has decided to do. LINK

2008: Democrats: Biden:

On Nightline last night, Georgetown University law professor Neal Katyal told ABC News that Sen. Joe Biden's (D-DE) assertion that congressional action to stop the war is unconstitutional is wrong. "The Constitution gives the Congress the power to say, 'No more war, we are going to stop funding this war,' or to put conditions on it as they see fit," Katyal said. "The founders are absolutely clear: By giving Congress the power to declare war, and the power to fund war, they gave Congress, not the president, the power to get ourselves out of war."

2008: Democrats: Obama:

Sen. Obama, who typically gets "stellar marks from greens," has come under scrutiny from environmentalists for joining Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) in pushing the Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Promotion Act of 2007 which would provide incentives for research and plant construction, reports the Washington Post's Elizabeth Williamson. LINK

2008: Democrats: Vilsack:

David Yespen of the Des Moines Register writes that Vilsack's final Condition of the State speech "began with a long-winded series of thank yous" and "became a presidential campaign speech when he attacked U.S. involvement in the Iraq war and the planned expansion of it." LINK

Mike Glover of the AP focuses on Vilsack's anti-Iraq rhetoric last night. LINK

The Des Moines Register's Tom Beaumont on the same: LINK

Here is a link to Gov. Vilsack's his full text: LINK

2008: Democrats: Gore:

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. wonders if former Vice President Al Gore, an Apple director and member of a special committee which investigated and exonerated Steve Jobs for backdating, might have something new to say about the decision and the public debate over corporate ethics.

2008: independent: Bloomberg:

Mr. Bloomberg goes to Washington and testifies before a Senate committee with two beneficiaries (Sen. Lieberman and Sen. McCaskill) of Michael Bloomberg's support in 2006. The New York Times' Lipton and Chan have more. LINK

Mayor Bloomberg's secure phone in the kitchen of his home got a full airing at yesterday's Senate hearing. The New York Daily News' Michael Saul has the details. LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called for another multibillion-dollar wave of borrowing Tuesday for new reservoirs, courthouses, classrooms and prison beds -- core public resources that, he said, are strained by California's growing population," writes the Los Angeles Times Peter Nicholas. LINK

Sonya Geis of the Washington Post takes a macro look at Gov. Schwarzenegger's attempt at "post-partisanship." LINK

The San Francisco Chronicle ed board calls the Gov. Schwarzenegger's universal health care plan a "huge step." LINK

The San Francisco Chronicle's Debra Saunders dissents in an op-ed Schwarzenegger's proposal for illegal immigrants to obtain health coverage. LINK

Schwarzenegger's plan comes under scrutiny from David R. Henderson of the Hoover Institution on the Wall Street Journal's op-ed page.

Bush library:

Not everyone at Southern Methodist University seems pleased with the prospect of housing the George W. Bush presidential library and some faculty and students are expressing concerns about a lack of information about the plan for the library. The New York Times' Blumenthal has the story. LINK


Presidential candidates may not have to wear radiation suits while campaigning in Nevada, as government scientists fail to convince wary Nevada citizens that a proposed non-nuclear explosion test will not pose a health hazard to state residents, the Las Vegas Review-Journal's Keith Rogers reports. LINK

Political potpourri:

Alyson Ward of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram takes a quick look at some memorable presidential candidacy announcements throughout history. LINK

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman gets the Schweitzer treatment. LINK

Other schedule items:

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds a 9:30 am ET hearing on "Where We Are -- A Current Assessment of Iraq" in Hart 216.

Vice President Cheney delivers remarks to a Joint Session of the Virginia General Assembly at Jamestown Memorial Church at 2:00 pm ET in Jamestown, VA.

The Senate convened today at 9:30 am to take up ethics reform.

The Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearings on "Balancing Privacy and Security: The privacy Implications of Government Data Mining Programs beginning at 9:30 am ET in Washington, DC. Meanwhile, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee continues its hearings on Iraq.

Senator Hillary Clinton attends a HELP Committee Hearing on the challenges and opportunities relating to health care for all Americans at 10:00 am ET in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

The House Democratic leaders discuss their 100 Hours Agenda today at 10:00 am ET in the House Radio TV Gallery and then the House convenes to discuss a federal minimum wage increase.

After the House vote on the minimum wage bill the President of the AFL-CIO John Sweeney joins U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and others to call on Senate support of a "clean" $2.10 increase to the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes and Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Dina Powell attend a Private Sector Summit on Public Diplomacy at 12:45 pm ET. The Secretary of State delivers remarks at 1;30 pm ET.

Governor Tom Vilsack (D-IA) was scheduled to attend his weekly Governor's Weekly Press Conference in the Kennedy Conference Room at the State Capitol in Des Moines, IA. At 10:00 am ET Mr. Vilsack was also schedule to attend the Iowa Chief Justice's Condition of the Judiciary Address.

The Supreme Court meets for arguments and decision at 10:00 am ET.