Greg Michell, author of Why Obama Won, writes in Huffpost:
On May 1, 2003, Richard Perle advised, in aUSA Today Op-Ed, “Relax, Celebrate Victory.” The same day, exactly six years ago, President Bush, dressed in a flight suit, landed on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln and declared an end to major military operations in Iraq — with the NOW-INFAMOUS “Mission Accomplished” banner arrayed behind him in the war’s greatest photo op.
Chris Matthews on MSNBC called Bush a “hero” and boomed, “He won the war. He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics.” He added: “Women like a guy who’s president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It’s simple.”
PBS’ Gwen Ifill said Bush was “part Tom Cruise, part Ronald Reagan.” On NBC, Brian Williams gushed, “The pictures were beautiful. It was quite something to see the first-ever American president on a — on a carrier landing.”
Bob Schieffer on CBS said: “As far as I’m concerned, that was one of the great pictures of all time.” His guest, Joe Klein, responded: “Well, that was probably the coolest presidential image since Bill Pullman played the jet fighter pilot in the movie Independence Day. That was the first thing that came to mind for me.”
Everyone agreed the Democrats and antiwar critics were now on the run…”
By Elisabeth Bumiller
WASHINGTON, May 1–President Bush’s made-for-television address tonight on the carrier Abraham Lincoln was a powerful, Reaganesque finale to a six-week war. But beneath the golden images of a president steaming home with his troops toward the California coast lay the cold political and military realities that drove Mr. Bush’s advisors to create the moment.
The president declared an end to major combat operations, White House, Pentagon and State Department officials said, for three crucial reasons: to signify the shift of American soldiers from the role of conquerors to police, to open the way for aid from countries that refused to help militarily, and–above all–to signal to voters that Mr. Bush is shifting his focus from Baghdad to concerns at home.
”This is the formalization that tells everybody we’re not engaged in combat anymore, we’re prepared for getting out,” a senior administration official said.
By Michael R. Gordon and Eric Schmitt
BAGHDAD, May 2–The Bush administration is planning to withdraw most United States combat forces from Iraq over the next several months and wants to shrink the American military presence to less than two divisions by the fall, senior allied officials said today.”
Which is why I read HuffPost before the NY Times…