A Big Moment for a Troubled White House
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President Bush will address the State of the Union tonight increasingly isolated from his own party in Congress. We hear the latest on the troop buildup from the new general in charge and reaction on Capitol Hill. Also, an update from Lebanon on violent protests an calls for a general strike in Beirut. On Reporter's Notebook, with Republicans driven away by the war, can the State of the Union address find support from Democrats on a domestic agenda?
Protests in Beirut Turn Violent ()
In Beirut, Lebanon, weeks of protest turned violent today and Hezbollah has called a general strike against the elected government. There have been deaths and hundreds of injuries. Annia Ciezadlo reports from Beirut for The New Republic.
- Annia Ciezadlo: Special Correspondent for The New Republic
Bush Names General Petraeus to Lead Troop Surge in Iraq ()
Five Republican Senators, including the influential John Warner, are now publicly opposed to President Bush's increase of troops in Iraq. House Republicans want the White House to submit monthly progress reports on what they call "strategic benchmarks" of progress. General David Petraeus, who takes over from General George Casey, will carry out the increase of 21,500 troops in Iraq. Petraeus appeared for confirmation before the Senate Armed Services Committee, now run by the Democratic majority. He said the focus of the additional troops will be less on killing insurgents than on security in civilian neighborhoods. We get reaction.
- Julian Barnes: Pentagon Reporter, Los Angeles Times, @julianbarnes
- Fred Kaplan: columnist for Slate.com
- Dan Schnur: Communications Director, McCain's 2000 Presidential Campaign, @danschnur
Iraq's Oil Reserves ()
Since the Iraq war began, there have been claims from some quarters that the real US objective was oil. Iraq's reserves reportedly are the world’s fourth largest, after Saudi Arabia, Canada and Iran. But Iraq's oil is located only in the Shiite South and the Kurdish North, leaving Sunnis out of the picture. In his speech on the latest troop buildup, President Bush said Iraq's parliament should pass "legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis." But skeptics claim the real motive is to give foreign oil companies the biggest share of the pie.
State of the Union Strategy? ()
With his own polls at historic lows because of Iraq, the White House says George W. Bush will act "boldly" for the remaining two years of his presidency. Tonight, as required by the Constitution, he'll deliver his annual message on the State of the Union. Can he change the subject to a domestic agenda? We hear from political observer Joe Conason and former presidential speechwriter Mark Davis.
- Mark Davis: former speechwriter for President Bush, Sr
- Joe Conason: political commentator and writer
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