A number of television journalists gathered for lunch with the president at the White House today -- a practice becoming more and more common when this president has a major speech to deliver. The following is a review of my notes, and is offered here under the ground rules established by the assembled White House senior aides. Vice President Cheney attended but did not speak.
As we now know, the speech tonight will amount to a full embrace of General Petraeus' recommendations. President Bush strongly insisted there was no White House guidance given to the General before he made his findings known. The president will announce the first of the troop withdrawals starting immediately (just over 2,000 Marines) though as a practical matter such things take time.