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FROM THIS EPISODE

After months of bad news and lowering expectations, President Bush today sounded bullish after yesterday's surprise visit with Iraq's new Prime Minister. Bush said Nouri al-Maliki's first priority is security, especially on the streets of Baghdad, where the Prime Minister inaugurated ---Operation Forward Together.--- With the November elections also on his mind, the President challenged the Democrats to come up with a better plan. We hear about today's security crack down in Baghdad, whether the new Iraqi government can hold the country together, and whether Republicans in the US can control the debate or lose the midterm vote depending on what happens on the ground. We speak with journalists and media analysts, pollsters, political strategists and experts in foreign policy.
  • Reporter's Notebook: Federal Debt and Middle-Class Spending
    New spending for Iraq, Afghanistan, bird flu and Katrina will add up to $95 billion at a time when the national debt is more than $8 trillion. At the same time, personal spending is on the rise and the savings rate has dropped below zero. Peter Whybrow, director of UCLA's Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and author of American Mania, says biology has something to do with our compulsive drive for more.

President---s press conference on his trip to Iraq

Pew Poll on GOP's concern over President's shrinking popularity

CBS News Poll on Bush's low approval ratings despite Zarqawi's death

USA-Gallup Poll on President's approval rating

Bailey's article on reasons behind President Bush---s surprise visit to Iraq

Burns' article on President Bush's trip to Iraq

Barry Posen's (Boston Review) article on Iraq exit strategy

San Francisco Chronicle article on split among Democrats over Iraq

Brian Katilus (of Center for American Progress) on why we should leave Iraq

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