Bush Speech: Live Blog

7:00 – The audience is coming to attention as Bush walks across the stage. He looks a bit nervous but as soon as he got to the podium, he looks happy to face this audience.
7:03 – He underscores Iraq as one phase of the overall war on terror, vowing that terrorists will not chase us from the battle with a couple of blows.
7:06 – It appears to me that the soldiers at Fort Bragg have orders not to react. Bush has not paused much in his delivery, as he normally would if he expected applause or cheers, such as a stump speech. His pace, therefore, is better than normal.
7:10 – He will not allow defeat on his watch — nice touch.
7:11 – Notes that only a year ago, Iraqi sovereignty was restored. Notes that progress has been uneven but has kept moving forward. Int’l orgs and nations have pledged $34 billion for reconstruction. Security forces has 160,000 men trained and equipped, and have led a major operation to clear out terrorists from Baghdad. Eight million people voted in the elections. None of this should be news to Americans, but the reminder is what is needed.
7:14 – The strategy has a political track and a military track. Broad outlines of the plan as it has existed all along.
7:16 – Bush stresses the international components of the coalition, underscoring the dozens of nations participating in the war.
7:17 – Three new tactics: partnering coalition units with Iraqi units, working with new Iraqi intelligence service, working closely with the Iraqi ministries on stabilization.
7:18 – “We’ve learned that Iraqis are courageous.”
7:20 – Good explanation, again in broad strokes, why timelines and exit strategies only work for retreats. “It sends the wrong message to the Iraqi people” — well, yeah. It reminds them of 1991, primarily.
7:21 – Also a good point about sending more troops. If we continue to escalate our numbers, it starts looking like a permanent occupation — and it will discourage the Iraqis from standing up for themselves.
7:23 – Eliminate the environments that create the “ideology of murder”, a good way to avoid the mention of Islam in any negative connotation, yet still remain accurate.
7:24 – “The terrorists do not understand America” … They understand some Americans, however.
7:25 – “We fight in Iraq because the terrorists want to kill Americans, and Iraq is where they have made their stand.”
7:27 – Find a way to thank the military – check this site.
7:30 – A good finish to the speech; it looks like he started to choke up when he talked about the high calling of a military career. He spoke for almost exactly 30 minutes, giving a good presentation.
I wish he had given more specifics about the reconstruction — as Beam suggests in the comments, how many schools we’ve rebuilt, how much electricity restored, and so on. He had an opportunity to talk above the heads of the media filters here, and it’s a shame he missed it. Nevertheless, he didn’t sugar coat the issues on the ground and he talked about the necessity of seeing it through.
7:35 – Mort Kondracke on Fox thinks it’s one of the best speeches on the war that Bush has given. He calls it rich in content; I agree.
7:37 – Mara Liasson (NPR) also gives it good marks, and points out that this isn’t a make-or-break moment for Bush, but simply time for him to address the nation on this issue.
7:39 – Brit Hume asks John Warner about the so-called flypaper strategy, and Warner lashes out at quagmire talk.
7:43 – Added link above to MoveOnPAC’s astroturfing site for people who can’t write their own letters to newspaper editors.
7:46 – General Wesley Clark now on Fox … He gives Bush credit for addressing the strategic issues, but faults him for not addressing some of the specifics of bombing rates. He worries that we’re creating terrorists — if we weren’t in Iraq, we wouldn’t have the number of terrorists we have now. In one breath, he says that terrorists can’t get to the Americans in Afghanistan because we’re hard to get to, and then he says we should send more troops to Afghanistan. As always, Clark is mostly incoherent on this point.
7:52 – At least Clark refuses to drink the “exit strategy” Kool-Aid, but he wants the Bush administration to give Americans the statistics on bombings and attacks in the future. Don’t we get plenty of that from the media already? Has anyone missed that data?
7:58 – Carl Cameron says the 82nd Airborne left the auditorium “very enthusiastic”. The Fox gang emphasizes that more engagement from the President on the war with the nation is needed — and I agree. Glenn Reynolds thinks that this speech indicates more will follow, and I hope he’s correct. And thanks for the link, Glenn.
8:02 – John McCain – “Bush laid out a clear exit strategy – when the Iraqis can take over, we will leave.”
8:05 – McCain on the rhetoric coming from Senator Kennedy, et al: “It’s a free country.” Okay … On Durbin: “He hurt his own party … He apologized … I’m a great believer in redemption.” Okay … I guess comity is the highest value.
8:07 – McCain defends the MOU: “I don’t think you will see a filibuster on a Supreme Court nominee.”
8:14 – Oh, goody. Charles Rangel is on the tube now. Time to get a beer.
8:15 – Damn. No beer. And now Rangel claims that Bush planned to kill Saddam before 9/11. If so, he didn’t do much about it — his national-security plan only mentioned tightening the sanctions in place. Rangel says that Bush should go to Europe to get them to take over — when they haven’t even done that in Europe, in Kosovo, which has Truck fascinated at the moment.
8:22 – Newt Gingrich: This was a rational, fact-based speech. He thinks that people will see a “calm, steady purposefulness.”
8:27 – Great point by Gingrich on the idea of this being Bush’s war — that undermines the entire American system. Congress authorized the war, it authorized the funding; this is an American war against a deadly enemy. He also rips Durbin’s remarks as “destructive as any I’ve heard”.
I think that just about closes out the reaction for the speech. Again, I think Bush did a very good job, with just a few missed opportunities. Check my trackbacks for further reactions, and thank you for hanging in there with me tonight.
UPDATE: Get more reaction at PoliPundit and PrairiePundit.

19 thoughts on “Bush Speech: Live Blog”

  1. Infinite Loop?

    I won’t be able to listen to Bush’s speech live tonight as I’ll be participating in a work teleconference with some folks in China.

  2. What should Bush say?

    Like a lot of Americans I’ll be tuned in when President Bush gives his scheduled speech about Iraq tonight. He’s certainly getting a lot of advice about what to say. Former (and presumably present) presidential candidate John Kerry weighed in…

  3. Mini-Review: Bush Speech

    Bush’s most cogent articulation of the strategy, difficulties and stakes in Iraq to date; the use of bin Laden’s assessment of the importance of the conflict was particularly effective. The only thing that could have enhanced its political impact would…

  4. Initital Thoughts

    I think we should all mass mail Chirs Matthews some IUD’s.
    Other thoughts can be found here:
    Mark Coffey
    Power Line
    Captain’s Quarters

  5. “As Iraqis Stand Up, We Will Stand Down.”

    Highlights from the President’s primetime speech on Iraq: Looking back: June 2004: Iraq achieves free sovereignty January 2005: Iraqis hold free elections Notable infrastructure improvements: roads, schools, health clinics, basic services (electricity,…

  6. Presidential Adress-Mini-LiveBlog

    Watching CNN to provide balance.
    Thanks the troops and their families-nice.
    Invoking September 11-this will drive moonbats crazy.
    “Same terrorists as we are facing worldwide”–paraphrased.
    We will take the fight to the enemy–nice.
    Same murd…

  7. The $1M Army Recruitment Speech

    Let me preface this with the following facts….called upon by President Bush in order to help the country: – The Captain served 9 years active duty (The Captain’s wife is currently serving) – We fly an American Flag outside our…

  8. President Bush’s Speech on Iraq Sovereignty Anniversary

    Well, I missed it. The fiance had an after work work function and didn’t get home until late, and we ate dinner when she got here. Of course, I also thought the speech would be at 9.
    From the Blogospheric reaction, it appears the president d…

  9. Tonight’s Speech

    I only caught parts of the President’s speech tonight, but what I did here, I really liked. He was strong in his message without showing some of the exasperation that he must be feeling with the leadership of the political party from across the aisle…

  10. Excellent Speech

    I agree with Mort Kondracke that tonight’s was one of George Bush’s best speeches. (Transcript here.) It was clear and concise, and obviously heartfelt. The President made a strong, if familiar, case for the importance of the Iraq War to the gene…

  11. Guessing When The War Will End

    I am watching Chris Mathews on MSNBC, foregoing the usual predictable patriotism of FOX News for something more representative of the center-LEFT (more left) part of the country. A very attractive young lady, who said her husband is in Iraq and felt t…

  12. “Our mission in Iraq is clear”

    President Bush spoke to the nation last night. It was a speach intended to reassure and encourage us as the fight continues in the GWOT.
    The troops here and across the world are fighting a global war on terror. This war reached our shores on Septemb…

  13. A Few Thoughts On Tonight’s Speech

    Terrorist forces learned only too well from our time in Somalia that “weak” America can be made to retreat. It was Clinton’s worst mistake and has made this job all that much harder. The Democratic Party has added to that presumption with their weak-…

  14. Bush Brings It

    The Cap’n has reaction to the reaction. Love the line about, “Oh, goody. Charles Rangel is on the tube now. Time to get a beer.” I’m a teetotaler myself, but if I had to listen to Rangel or any other member of the anti-war crowd for any stretch of ti…

  15. They were ordered not to applaud…yeah, that’s t

    I would expect professional soldiers to be able to follow such a simple order for 30 minutes. They didn’t:

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