In how many ways was Bush underwhelmed by the ISG proposals? He "did seek to dispute its analysis, taking pains to temper his comments," ABC's Martha Raddatz (subscription required) observed. NBC's David Gregory pointed out that he "refused to acknowledge the blunt assessment" of the ISG that "US strategy in Iraq has failed." CBS' Jim Axelrod repeated the ISG phrase "grave--and deteriorating" and contrasted it with Bush's description--"unsettling"--of the sectarian violence.
The correspondents tipped their hat to the questioning skills of the BBC's Nick
Robertson Robinson about that "unsettling" choice of words. "It will convince many people that you are still in denial about how bad things are in Iraq and question your sincerity about changing course." "It is bad in Iraq," Bush chuckled. "Does that help?" Axelrod call Bush "defensive;" Raddatz used "testy."
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