In an interview, [Speaker Of The House Nancy] Pelosi also said she was puzzled by what she considered the president’s minimalist explanation for his confidence in the new surge of 21,500 U.S. troops that he has presented as the crux of a new “way forward” for U.S. forces in Iraq. “He’s tried this two times — it’s failed twice,” the California Democrat said. “I asked him at the White House, ‘Mr. President, why do you think this time it’s going to work?’ And he said, ‘Because I told them it had to.’ Asked if the president had elaborated, she added that he simply said, ” ‘I told them that they had to.’ That was the end of it. That’s the way it is.”
Oh, it’s better than that. When I was on the Hill on Tuesday, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) told us (on the record) the rest of the story. Apparently, Pelosi’s final come-back to the president was the following:
PELOSI: He’s tried this two times — it’s failed twice. I asked him at the White House, ‘Mr. President, why do you think this time it’s going to work?’
BUSH: Because I told them it had to.
PELOSI: Why didn’t you tell them that the other two times?
REUTERS: “A U.S. embassy official said Pelosi, the first woman speaker of the House, had arrived in Iraq at the head of a six-member congressional delegation for meetings with Iraqi and U.S. officials but did not plan any public appearances. The delegation includes John Murtha (news, bio, voting record), a Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania, who has also been vocal in his criticism of the Bush administration’s handling of the war.”
HARPERS: “Six U.S. senators called for a new NIE on Iraq, and in August the Senate passed an amendment demanding that one be prepared. I’ve just learned that?months later and to the immense frustration of Congress?the new NIE is still not ready. The situation came to a head last week, during a closed-door session of the Senate Armed Services Committee […] and those in attendance now believe that senior intelligence officials are stalling because an NIE will be bleak enough to present a significant political liability.”
LA TIMES: “As the legislators debated, the violence here continued. More than 80 Iraqis and at least one U.S. soldier were reported killed in a string of bombings, mortar fire and other bloodshed.”