Auld Lang Resign: Topsy-Turvy Politics of '07

"The president has clearly bet his legacy and put all the chips in the pot on Iraq," said Stephen Hess, a presidential expert with the Brookings Institution in Washington, "and it looks better for him at the end of the year than it did at the beginning of the year."

In January, the president unveiled his troop-surge strategy, arguing more U.S. troops were needed to quell ongoing bloodshed.

"The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people -- and it is unacceptable to me," he said in January, announcing the administration was sending an additional 20,000 American troops to fight in Iraq.


By September, the president was appealing to the nation in a primetime address – declaring the troop-surge strategy a success.

Bush announced some troops would be coming home and wouldn't be replaced, though his plan will leave 7,000 more troops in Iraq next summer than before the troop surge.

Former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, who resigned this year after being diagnosed with cancer and citing financial reasons, said people inside the White House were frustrated with the coverage of the war.

"One of the things that we saw in the White House when I was still there was an improving situation on Iraq," Snow said in an interview with ABC News. "It was frustrating for a long time because nobody would cover it."


Toward the end of the year, however, news reports began suggesting the troop surge was working.

"That has taken Iraq off the front burner as an issue, and that's going to have all kinds of political implications in 2008," said ABC's Roberts.

Despite the reports of progress in Iraq, however, the families of U.S. soldiers cannot forget the human toll.

Almost 800 U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq this year, and about 6,000 were wounded -- bringing the overall Iraq War total to almost 4,000 killed and 28,000 wounded.


Political Controversy

This past year was also a year of political controversy.

Washington roiled in February with revelations of squalid conditions at Washington's Walter Reed Army Medical Center, renewing focus on veterans' health issues.

And who could forget the contentious congressional testimony of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, whose explanation of his role in the firings of federal prosecutors and the surveillance program even angered Republicans on the Senate Justice Committee.

"It seems to me that it is just decimating, Mr. Attorney General, as to both your judgment and your credibility," said Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., when questioning Gonzales on Capitol Hill about his actions surrounding the domestic spying program.


In July, Bush outraged Democrats when he commuted the 30-month prison sentence of I. Lewis Libby Jr., the former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, who was convicted of four felony counts for lying during the Valerie Plame CIA leak investigation.

"Libby's conviction was the one faint glimmer of accountability for White House efforts to manipulate intelligence and silence critics of the Iraq War. Now, even that small bit of justice has been undone," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Then there was the humorous, if not uncomfortable news video of Vice President Dick Cheney in October nodding off during an emergency meeting about the California wildfires.

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