March 11, 2006 in Nation/World

PR blitz launched on Iraq war strategy

Michael A. Fletcher Washington Post
 
Associated Press photo

President Bush listens to a question after he spoke Friday at the National Newspaper Association Government Affairs Conference.
(Full-size photo)

WASHINGTON – President Bush next week plans to begin a series of speeches again explaining the administration’s strategy for winning the war in Iraq, as the White House returns to a familiar tactic to allay growing public pessimism about the war that has helped keep the president approval rating near its historic low.

After previewing the upcoming speech in his radio address today, the president is scheduled to make remarks on the war at George Washington University on Monday. The appearance, which will be followed weekly by as many as four other speeches, marks the start of the White House’s latest effort to convince skeptical Americans that it has a coherent plan for victory as the war nears its third anniversary later this month.

Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other Cabinet members will be making speeches on Iraq in advance of the anniversary of the U.S. invasion.

The public relations offensive is being launched amid intense concern in the White House about polls showing that a growing majority of Americans disapprove of Bush’s handling of the war and harbor growing doubts about the prospects for success. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found that four in five Americans believe that the ongoing sectarian violence in Iraq will mushroom in to civil war. Also, more than half of those surveyed believe the United States should begin withdrawing troops from Iraq, the poll found.

Meanwhile, the president’s approval rating remain at 41 percent, virtually unchanged since January and among the lowest in his presidency.


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