On the Defensive

The "Talking Points Memo": President Bush wants to convince you his Iraq policy is working.

Now you may remember "Talking Points" saying on June 17th that the president better start defining Iraq or he was going to lose the country. Latest polls have support for the Iraq war below 40 percent, which is a disaster.

Nobody but the president can make the case. And so tomorrow, he will give a speech at Fort Bragg (search) designed to persuade you that the sacrifice America is making in Iraq is worth it.

Mr. Bush has now reached critical mass. And if he doesn't turn public opinion around soon, his second term could become a failure. About 75 percent of the national media is anti-Bush. And those people are pounding the president. If he doesn't respond effectively, he will be damaged, which is exactly what happened to Lyndon Johnson (search) in the mid-'60s.

In addition to Iraq, the president has two other huge problems — rising oil prices and the chaotic southern border. Working Americans are getting badly hurt at the pump. Gas prices for regular unleaded gasoline are up 67 cents a gallon in four years. There's a variety of reasons for that, but they don't matter. If gas prices continue to rise, the economy will totter, and if that happens, you can say hello to President Hillary Clinton (search).

The border is simply inexplicable. Everybody knows that millions of illegal aliens coming into this country each year pose a grave security risk and are creating chaos. Just this weekend on Long Island, where I live, scores of illegals were found living in one small house, impacting the entire neighborhood. And when authorities closed the house down, they were called racist.

President Bush must know he has lost momentum. And even many Republicans are losing patience. His Social Security reforms are going nowhere. And he's backed off tax reform this year.

The president must begin to assert himself and speak directly to you. He also must stop ignoring problems that are getting worse, i.e: gasoline and the border.

It may not be fair, but Mr. Bush will be judged by what he accomplishes in his second term. His administration is not off to a good start. His approval rating is down almost 20 percent in two years. And he's on the defensive.

So tomorrow evening is very important for the president. Obviously.

And that's "The Memo."

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

A new poll taken in France says relations between Americans and the French are not good, "pas

By all accounts, the Billy Graham Crusade in New York over the weekend was a big success. Even the Clintons showed up. Apparently Mr. Graham is a fan of Bill Clinton.


REV. BILLY GRAHAM, EVANGELIST PREACHER: I told him before an audience that I thought that, when he left the presidency, he should be an evangelist...



GRAHAM: ... because he has all the gifts, and he could leave his wife to run the country.


Wow. The words "Lord help us" come to mind, but that may be ridiculous.

—You can watch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com