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From last night’s Special Report with Brit Hume:

On Iraq

HUME: So where are we now in this picture as we wait for the reports from General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker?

FRED BARNES: Something happened in August that Democrats didn’t expect. They expected Congress would adjourn, recess, and Republicans would go out and particularly hear from voters that they better get right on Iraq and oppose the war, and start withdrawing troops. . . .

Republicans didn’t hear that at all. They heard practically nothing about Iraq. And I’ve talked to a number today. What they heard about was immigration. People are mad about the Bush administration and others on immigration and the border being leaky, and so on. That’s what they were mad about.

So this support for something stronger the Democrats thought they would get by peeling off Republicans really hasn’t materialized at all. So, clearly, the White House, the president, the surge, Petraeus, and the whole Iraq policy are stronger now than they were prior to August.

MORT KONDRACKE: I think the Democrats are just out of phase with what is actually happening. And the evidence of success on the military front is beginning to be overwhelming.

You have any number, and General Jones was the latest of the people who say that things are working in certain places in Iraq. The Democrats are impervious to good news about Iraq.

And even Chuck Schumer said yesterday that Anbar had nothing to do with the United States. It’s like the people who say that Ronald Reagan had nothing to do with the fall of Communism, it was all Gorbachev’s doing.

HUME: He said our troops have been unable to protect those people out there. So because our troops were unable, they had to band together to fight the terrorists

KONDRACKE: Funny way to band together, they called us to help them out to fight against al-Qaeda. It’s just flatly wrong.

So I thought that General Jones today was basically supportive of Bush. He said that militarily we were successful, that the Iraqi army is beginning to stand up—it is not ready yet, it won’t be ready for another 12 to 18 months. He is in favor of a strategic shift on the part of the United States, but not a massive withdrawal from Iraq . . .

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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