The two-week momentum towards a new strategy for the war in Iraq has come to a screeching halt. The Amman Summit and the Iraq Study Group both presaged a Presidential speech to the nation unveiling his new course. Both ABC and NBC led with the news from the White House that the speech has been delayed until after the New Year. CBS led with facts on the ground in Baghdad--another massive killer truckbomb.

"Stalling"--that is how NBC's David Gregory quoted the Democrats on the delay. Majority Leader Harry Reid declared of Bush: "The ball remains in his court and time is running out." ABC's Martha Raddatz reported that the President put off his speech because he is "particularly interested" in a 40,000-troop military reinforcement in Baghdad and al-Anbar province.

ABC again consulted its military analyst Jack Keane, the former general. CBS consulted its political analyst Nicolle Wallace (no link), a former aide at the Bush White House. Keane asserted that deploying the extra troops would bring "decisive victory." Wallace told us that the White House's task was to alter Bush's strategy "to be different enough--and it still has to be consistent with the President's initial goals and vision."

Both Keane and Wallace seem more like advocates than analysts.

Contrast this with ABC's George Stephanopoulos (no link), who delivered the results of his network's poll on the Iraq War. Very much like CBS' poll yesterday, ABC's found majority support for ISG proposals and minimal support (15%) for Bush's troop buildup: "If he chooses that route he is going into a hurricane-force head wind."


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