Griff Notes 10/24/06

Karl Rove liked my tie today – he complimented me on it. He also said that he believed that the GOP’s “Get Out the Vote” effort will be even greater than in 2004 and that the Republicans will “hold onto Congress.” And for the guy who’s known as “the Architect,” you have to take him seriously – on both accounts, of course!

Whether it was the President’s right-hand man, Dan Bartlett who was engaged as ever or my old boss, Tony Snow, who spoke with great passion, the message was clear: Despite an unpopular war and a recent rise in violence in Iraq, the President still believes that the war can be won and America will be better off for it.

Of course, it also helped that the guy in charge in Iraq, Gen. Casey, predicted this morning that Iraqi Forces should be ready to “take control of the security situation within the next 12-18 months.”

In conversations Brian and the Judge had on the air as well as the ones I had with the power brokers off the air, it is now apparent that this administration isn’t opposed to changing the course to win. They realize that “staying the course” will not suffice. (Snow pointed out that only 8 times in the past has the president ever used the term.) And they made the case that the “cause” is still worth fighting for and they seem to have bottled up the party opposition to sticking with them. (Although comments by Sen. Lindsey Graham today suggest that the course change will become priority number one after the elections.)

When I asked the President’s National Security Adviser “what the greatest threat to America was,” Stephen Hadley told me it was still very much “extremism” among radical Islamists. He also said that we are making progress in getting the security to hold and that the Iraqi government is growing more confident, not less confident, that this goal will be achieved.

So this year’s theme is clear – “It’s the War, Stupid!” And it isn’t hard to form a Democrat argument that perhaps the folks in charge have had enough time to get the job done. Bartlett told me that it was the Democrats lack of plan that would ultimately cause the Democrats to “come up short” in the election. To put it bluntly, these are indeed interesting times that we are living in. The stakes truly couldn’t be higher.

By the way – the tie I was wearing? Deep blue with sharks chasing minnows on it.

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