Staged media event

Leave it to George W. Bush to try and capitalize on the death of a has-been al-Qaida leader by staging a so-called "strategy" retreat that is such an obvious media event that even the media ain’t buying.

Reports The New York Times:

President Bush gathered top aides at Camp David here on Monday to calibrate the best way forward in Iraq during what the administration described as a critical juncture, following the death last week of the most-wanted terrorist in Iraq and the final formation of a unity government there.

The meeting was as much a media event as it was a high-level strategy session, devised to send a message that this is "an important break point for the Iraqi people and for our mission in Iraq from the standpoint of the American people," in the words of the White House counselor, Dan Bartlett.

It came as Republicans began a new effort to use last week’s events to turn the war to their political advantage after months of anxiety, and to sharpen attacks against Democrats. On Monday night, the president’s top political strategist, Karl Rove, told supporters in New Hampshire that if the Democrats had their way, Iraq would fall to terrorists and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi would not have been killed.

"When it gets tough, and when it gets difficult, they fall back on that party’s old pattern of cutting and running," Mr. Rove said at a state Republican Party gathering in Manchester.