Wake Me When They Vote Against Bush
The big story over the last several hours is the scoop from NBC News about a meeting yesterday at the White House between 11 House Republicans and Bush, to express their blunt concerns that he no longer has any credibility on Iraq.
In a sign of the growing fissure between the White House and its congressional allies over the war, NBC News reports tonight that 11 Republican members of Congress pleaded yesterday with President Bush and his senior aides to change course in Iraq.
The group of Republicans was led by Reps. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Charlie Dent (R-PA), and the meeting included Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Karl Rove, and Tony Snow. One member of Congress called the discussion the “most unvarnished conversation they’ve ever had with the president,” and NBC’s Tim Russert said it “may have been a defining pivotal moment” in the Iraq debate.
I doubt it Tim, but there's always hope.
Russert described the conversation:
[O]ne said “My district is prepared for defeat. We need candor, we need honesty, Mr. President.” The president responded, “I don’t want to pass this off to another president. I don’t want to pass this off, particularly, to a Democratic president,” underscoring he understood how serious the situation was.
Brian, the Republican congressman then went on to say, “The word about the war and its progress cannot come from the White House or even you, Mr. President. There is no longer any credibility. It has to come from Gen. Petraeus.” The meeting lasted an hour and 15 minutes and was, in the words of one, “remarkable for the bluntness and no-holds-barred honesty in the message delivered by all these Republican congressmen.”
I would normally consider this to be some self-serving CYA from the vulnerable House Republicans, except that a day after this meeting, sure enough Defense Secretary Gates told Congress today that it was possible some troops could come home by the end of this year if Iraqis make progress. Mitch McConnell gave a warning to the Iraqis as well. And the Post tonight got several of the participants to go on the record to confirm that the meeting did take place as described by NBC News.
And I won’t believe anything will change until I see proof.