Sunday, December 18


Yawn. The president's big speech was a big snooze. The teleprompter was badly placed -- he never made eye contact with the audience, was clearly reading. Was he on drugs again? There was no energy, he seemed to be having dry mouth.

A lot of the pre-war intelligence was wrong. I take responsibility for it. But Saddam was a bad guy. I don't take lightly decisions that cause death. I really do listen, honest.

The war is difficult. It's been tougher than we thought it'd be. It doesn't mean that we are losing.

We are making steady gains with a clear objective in view: a democratic Iraq that can defend itself, that will never again be a haven for terrorists and will serve as a model of freedom for the Middle East.

He told the story of one voter holding up his purple finger and saying, "This is a stick in the eye of the terrorists" and another who was asked, Are you Sunni or Shi'a? "I am Iraqi," he replied. Does Dubya seriously expect us to believe that means sectarianism isn't a problem?

We have learned from our experience and fixed what did not work.

We not only can win the war in Iraq, we are winning the war in Iraq.

To retreat before victory would be an act of recklessness and dishonor, and I will not allow it. We would abandon our Iraqi friends and show the Middle Eastern dictators that we don't have any resolve.

He talked about political opportunists. You can either ignore the terrorists or fight them in places like Iraq and Afghanistan -- no middle ground.

Ended it with a little history and a Civil War Christmas carol (Longfellow).

It was a blatant appeal for patience on the part of the American people.

Tim Russert says he's heard from Republican and Democratic senators who've visited Iraq that the Kurdish and Shi'ite militias are stronger than the national army and that unless a strong national government is established that includes the Sunnis in a significant way, there will be no way to raise a strong national army. And if there's no strong national army, there will be no way for us to execute an exit strategy from Iraq.

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