A new AP/Ipsos poll shows that nearly two-thirds of the American public disapproves of the way George W. Bush is handling the war in Iraq. And a recent Newsweek poll shows that 57 percent of Americans support a U.S. Senate plan that calls for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by March 2008.
So what do you have to say for yourself if you work for George W. Bush and you're asked to defend the president's plan to veto any legislation that sets a timetable for a troop withdrawal? If you're White House spokeswoman Dana Perino, what you say is that the change the American people demanded when they went to the polls in November is the one that the president provided when he decided to send more troops to Iraq.
From today's White House press briefing:
Reporter: I think Sen. Reid is saying, look, the president doesn't -- he's not the sole determinant of the discussion about the way forward in Iraq. The president has the way he wants to proceed, but Harry Reid is saying that Congress is speaking for the American people when it comes to how to proceed in Iraq, not the president.
Perino: I don't think the American people are saying that the generals should be handcuffed and that there should be micromanagement by Sen. Harry Reid as a military advisor. He should be the senator from Nevada and the leader of the Senate. The American people have wanted change in Iraq, and they got it. The president announced a new policy on Jan. 10th that was quite different and divergent from where we were before ... And so my point is, we have an opportunity for [congressional leaders] to come down and discuss how we're going to get money for the troops. I understand that they might not agree with the president's policy, but there is a new one, and it's been implemented according to Gen. Petraeus and many others on the ground.