We're not sure what the White House hoped to accomplish with the president's grim assessment of current conditions in Iraq last week, but it hasn't seemed to help in any immediate sense.
The president's approval rating stands at 37 percent in a Newsweek poll released over the weekend and in a CNN poll out today. Is that good news or bad news for the White House? It depends on which poll you believe. A 37 percent approval rating is a within-the-margin-of-error two-point increase in the Newsweek poll, but it's a within-the-margin-of-error two-point decrease in the CNN poll.
We'll call it a wash, which is the same description we'd use when it comes to polling on the question that may concern the White House more: When asked which party they trust more to make the right decisions on Iraq, Newsweek's respondents chose Democrats by a 46-34 margin before Bush's press conference and Democrats, again, by a 45-33 margin afterward.
Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.