President George W. Bush insisted on Thursday he will be a “strong asset” for Republicans battling for election in 2008, despite shaky opinion poll ratings born of a tumultuous presidency.
Bush, who has 16 months left in his second term, laid out a battle-plan for 2008 Republican candidates, based on a robust ‘war on terror’ policy, support for Iraq and low taxes.
“Strong asset,” Bush said emphatically, when asked at a White House news conference whether he would be an asset or liability for Republicans in presidential and congressional elections next year.
Sen. Charles Schumer, the liberal Democrat from New York, raised the hackles and suspicions of Republican conservatives when he spoke warmly of Michael Mukasey, President Bush’s choice to be U.S. attorney general, and said the former judge had the potential to be “a consensus nominee.”
If you are president of the United States, there must be many days when you wish you had stayed in bed. That has to be occurring more frequently for George W. Bush as his tenure in office draws slowly — perhaps all too so for him — to an end.
Former federal judge Michael Mukasey, a tough-on-terrorism jurist with an independent streak, was tapped by President Bush on Monday to take over as attorney general and lead a Justice Department accused of being too close to White House politics.
President George W. Bush has settled on retired federal judge Michael Mukasey as his choice to replace outgoing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, people familiar with the selection process said on Sunday.
The nomination of Mukasey, considered a law-and-order conservative and authority on national security issues, was expected on Monday, according to the sources, who asked not to be named.
Conservatives on Saturday lined up for and against potential attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey, the man they believe has ascended to the top of President Bush’s list of replacements for Alberto Gonzales.
Earlier in the week, Democrats in the Senate threatened to block confirmation of another prospect — Theodore Olson, a longtime GOP ally and former solicitor general who represented Bush before the Supreme Court in the contested 2000 presidential election.
President Bush pointed to political realignment in Iraq’s volatile Anbar province as evidence that Iraq is a fight that the United States is winning.
His claims, however, are not backed by the facts. Here’s a closer look at some of Bush’s assertions in a national address on Iraq on Thursday.
Text of President Bush’s speech prepared for delivery Thursday night:
A new White House report on Iraq will show improved progress on just one of 18 political and security goals — efforts to allow former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party to rejoin the political process, a senior administration official told The Associated Press.
The latest conclusions, to be released Friday, largely track a comparable poor assessment in July. The earlier White House report said the Iraqi government had made satisfactory gains toward eight benchmarks, unsatisfactory marks on eight and mixed results on two.
President Bush, defending an unpopular war, ordered gradual reductions in U.S. forces in Iraq on Thursday night and said, “The more successful we are, the more American troops can return home.”
Still, Bush firmly rejected calls to end the war, saying the insurgents who threaten Iraq’s future are a danger to U.S. national security. American troops must stay in the battle, Bush said, and more than 130,000 will remain after the newly ordered withdrawals are completed in July.
“The principle guiding my decisions on troop levels in Iraq is: return on success,” the president said.