Bush drops 'stay course' Iraq slogan
WASHINGTON - The White House on Monday said President George W. Bush was no longer using the phrase "stay the course" when speaking about the Iraq war, in a new effort to emphasize flexibility in the face of some of the bloodiest violence there since the 2003 invasion.
"He's stopped using it," said Tony Snow, the White House press secretary. "It left the wrong impression about what was going on and it allowed critics to say, `Well, here's an administration that's just embarked upon a policy and not looking at what the situation is,' when, in fact, it is the opposite."
Bush used the slogan in a stump speech Aug. 31, but has not repeated it for some time. Still, Snow's pronouncement was a stark example of the complicated line the White House is walking this election year in trying to tag Democrats as wanting to "cut and run" from Iraq, without itself appearing wedded to unsuccessful tactics there.
Democrats have increasingly pressed a case this fall contending that Republicans are stubbornly proposing to "stay the course" in a failing effort to stanch violence in Iraq - an approach that strategists in both parties consider to have been fairly successful, especially as violence has continued to mount in Baghdad.
In the past few weeks a number of Republican lawmakers and party elders have also come forward to express doubts about whether the administration's approach to stabilizing Iraq is succeeding and to suggest new strategies.
Bush and his aides have met those complaints with a new emphasis on adaptability for the United States' war plan. Bush has stressed - as he did in an interview on ABC News on Sunday - that he does not have "endless patience" and expects the Iraqis to take more responsibility in securing their own country.
In the same vein, administration officials are heightening emphasis on setting milestones for Iraq to take over responsibility for ensuring security while disbanding sectarian militia groups.
Snow said discussions with Iraqi officials included creating timetables for Iraq to deal with disarming sectarian militia. http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061024/NEWS07/610240359/1009
White House no longer saying 'stay the course'
Phrase fails to explain policy
October 24, 2006
• Criticism of Iraq war helps Dems
The White House discarded "stay the course" as U.S. policy in Iraq on Monday.
White House press secretary Tony Snow and presidential counselor Dan Bartlett disclosed the policy change, saying the short-hand description failed to "capture the dynamism" of the flexible U.S. approach to security setbacks on the ground.
Polls show wide public disapproval of Bush's handling of the war in Iraq.
The announcement followed President George W. Bush's weekend review of policy with his military commanders and follow-up meetings with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"What you have is not 'stay the course' but, in fact, a study in constant motion by the administration and by the Iraqi government -- and frankly also by the enemy," Snow told reporters at a White House briefing. "You constantly have to adjust to what the other side is doing."
Snow said Bush administration officials were abandoning the policy description because it "left the wrong impression about what was going on."