Quick trip to Baghdad pick-me-upper for Bush
Flying into Baghdad unannounced, meeting with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and spending 5½ hours in the heart of the war zone clearly energized President Bush.
The president reveled in the attention he received for the clandestine trip once he was back home in the White House and talking to news media in the Rose Garden on Wednesday.
Going to Baghdad so soon after terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death last week was a way to leverage the impact of that important battlefield victory and his expectation of steady progress in quelling terrorism.
Word that the president had been in Baghdad must have spread quickly around Iraq as soon as he was on his way home. The visit should be a major psychological victory for the elected Iraqi representatives as they try to begin functioning as a unified government.
The president said he senses something different happening in Iraq. Recent events in the war do renew hope that the U.S. will sooner than later get out of Iraq and that a friendly government will emerge from the rubble.
Was the trip worth the potential danger to the commander-in-chief? It is too soon to know, but it was a much-needed public relations event aimed at the homefolks by a president whose popularity continues to sink in public opinion polls.
The president has 2½ years remaining in office and he needs to hear more than the drumbeats of disapproval.
These recent events will get him a bounce in the polls, but a majority of the American people sees the war as a mistake, even as he insists as he did Wednesday that he "did the right thing in Iraq."