What will the impact of the Blair decision be on Bush's war leadership? The three networks took different tacks. In an ABC Exclusive, Jonathan Karl (subscription required) obtained the reaction from Vice President Dick Cheney during his visit to Japan. He was pleased by the British pullout, seeing "significant progress…an affirmation of the fact that there are parts of Iraq where things are going pretty well."
From the White House, NBC's David Gregory quoted both that Cheney soundbite from his rival Karl's Exclusive and similar upbeat spin from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: "She denied that the so-called Coalition of the Willing in Iraq is falling apart." By contrast, Democratic Presidential candidates meeting for an early debate in Las Vegas "urged the President to follow Britain's lead." Bob Schieffer, anchor of CBS' Face the Nation, saw in Blair's announcement an echo of that Vietnam War dictum: "Declare victory and just leave." He predicted this will make "the President more isolated than he is now." Schieffer flatly contradicted Secretary Rice: the coalition "is now coming apart."
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