Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, one of the best Bush watchers and analysts in the news business today, was interviewed by MSNBC today about Bush's rhetoric in reaction to negative polling data. (Real player video) He talks about Mr. Bush's remarks today going back to his West Texas Tough style in reaction to the growing criticism and concern about his handling of Iraq. Milbank pointed to Bush's almost daring people to attack American soldiers.
Lester Holt, the interviewer, asked about Mr. Bush using terrorist rhetoric to talk about U.S. troops being killed. Mr. Milbank agreed that the 1600 Crew is trying very hard to make a "terrorist" theme stick rather than the "quagmire" Vietnam analogy that appears to be gaining ground. They even replayed Dubya's nervous remarks comparing his invasion in Iraq with Clinton's bombing of Iraq as if he needed that comparison to legitimize his actions. (As always Ari Fleischer echoed this talking point in his briefing today. They're good at staying on point.)
This whole piece is billed by The Post as "President Bush's confidence of successful postwar operations in Iraq" but he seems less confident than I have seen him in a while. I guess he doesn't much like the fact that folks just aren't buying what he is selling quite so readily as they once were.