The Note: Brutal Honesty

Several opponents of the President's Iraq troop increase hold a 1:30 pm ET press conference at the Capitol in Washington, DC. Participants include House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos (D-CA), Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN), Vote National Chairman Jon Soltz, and Iraq war veterans Robert Loria and Andrew Horne.

In a videotaped interview at 11:00 am ET, Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA) will outline details of a strategy to use appropriations to oppose the war in Iraq at

Politics of Iraq:

In a must-read, the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman has one anonymous Republican lawmaker who is "close to the leadership" saying that GOP leaders have "50 to 60 Republicans on their watch list, with between 40 and 60 expected to break with the White House tomorrow." LINK

Weisman Notes that Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) "threatened to block a planned week-long recess" in the Senate "unless Democratic and Republican leaders first agree on terms for bringing to a vote a bipartisan resolution opposing the troop buildup."

"For a time on Wednesday, an unusual scene played out on the House floor, with some Republicans coming forward one by one to speak against the Iraq policy while fellow party members argued against them," writes Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times. LINK

The Wall Street Journal's ed board calls this week's House debate on a vote of no-confidence in the mission in Iraq "one of the most shameful moments in the institution's history."

The Washington Post's Walter Pincus reports that Democrats on the Senate intelligence panel have questioned whether the recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq "gave political advantage to the Bush administration by making 'rapid withdrawal' of U.S. troops the only alternative military option the NIE explored." LINK

Presidential presser:

ABC News' Karen Travers and Nitya Venkataraman report on Bush's press conference yesterday where he insisted to reporters that Iran is supplying insurgents in Iraq with weapons. LINK

"What you actually saw was both the press and the President learning from the lessons of the Iraq war," said ABC News' George Stephanopoulos to Charlie Gibson during the network's live coverage of the presidential press conference. "A lot of the reporters in that room determined to press on the quality of this intelligence and how the Administration knew what it was claiming, and the President determined not to over-promise, not to make claims that he couldn't support, about whether the senior officials in the Iranian government were actually behind this," added Stephanopoulos.

Washington Post: "Iranians Aid Iraq Militants, Bush Alleges" LINK

Washington Times: LINK

Under the headline "Bush Declares Iran's Arms Roles in Iraq Is Certain," the New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stoleberg and Marc Santora write, "Mr. Bush's remarks amounted to his most specific accusation to date that Iran was undermining security in Iraq. They appeared to be part of a concerted effort by the White House to present a clearer, more direct case that Iran was supplying the potent weapons -- and to push back against criticism that the intelligence used in reaching the conclusions was not credible." LINK

"President Bush said Wednesday that he did not believe morale of troops in Iraq had declined because of repeated deployments to the war zone," writes the Los Angeles Times' Peter Spiegel. LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

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