ABC News’ Teddy Davis Reports: Former Bush strategist Matthew Dowd breaks fully from President Bush on the Iraq war and says that he even drafted — but never submitted — a "Kerry Was Right" op-ed, in an interview with The New York Times. In speaking out, Dowd becomes the first former member of Bush’s inner sanctum to break so publicly with him.
As recently as February of this year, Dowd indicated in a short essay for Texas Monthly that he was open to the possibility that the right answer in Iraq might be a "serious increase in troop strength". But in his interview with The New York Times, Dowd fully embraces a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq as the kind of wholesale change he thinks is needed.
Dowd, who was integral to Bush’s 2004 effort to paint Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., as a flip-flopper who could not be trusted to keep the country safe, also tells The New York Times that he had even written but never submitted an op-ed entitled "Kerry Was Right," arguing that the Massachusetts Democrat was correct in calling last year for a withdrawal from Iraq. Dowd says that the expected deployment of his son to Iraq was an important factor in his souring on the war.
White House counselor Dan Bartlett reacts to Dowd’s criticism by telling The New York Times that it is reflective of the national debate over the war.
"It’s an issue that divides people," Bartlett tells The New York Times. "Even people that supported the president aren’t immune from having their own feelings and emotions."