White House In "Panic Mode" Over Iraq
Administration officials yesterday denied President Bush was considering a "gradual" pullout from Iraq in light of plummeting GOP support for his policies, as the New York Times had reported in Monday's edition. The AP reports the White House said Bush "is not considering a withdrawal of US forces," and the Financial Times calls the White House's message "defiant" in the face of "intensifying bipartisan pressure." The Los Angeles Times also says "the White House brushed off calls from a growing chorus of Republican lawmakers to change course in the conflict," while McClatchy runs a similar report under the headline "Bush Stays Course, Rebuffs Demand For Change."
Yet ABC World News said White House officials "are extremely worried." White House spokesman Tony Snow "will not say that on camera," but one White House official told ABC, "We are in panic mode." The CBS Evening News reported, "Senior Pentagon officials tell CBS News a debate is under way to determine what conditions must exist short of victory to begin pulling troops out of Iraq. The White House publicly denies this, but clearly political support is weakening inside the Administration."