In no time at all the White House, through Press Secretary Tony Snow, has let it be known that President Bush would veto any type of short term war funding bill such as the one House Democrats are currently proposing if it were sent to him. When asked about the House Democrats proposal Snow said, “The bill that was at least being whipped yesterday contains elements of the bill the President vetoed already, and if it were to come to his desk, it would be vetoed. We continue to have conversations with members of the House and Senate, trying to put together something that’s acceptable. But again, you take a look, there are a number of spending items, there are also some of the restrictions. Again, this is what we saw yesterday at the end of the day, at any rate. And certainly conditions that were a part of a veto message the first time are still going to be vetoed if they were to come back.”

Defense Secretary Robert Gates also let it be known on Wednesday that he thinks the short term funding of the war is a bad idea. Specifically, Gates said that a two month funding bill would be a disaster for the war in Iraq. “In essence, the bill asks me to run the Top of FormBottom of Form
Department of Defense like a skiff, and I’m trying to drive the biggest supertanker in the world,” Gates said. “And we just don’t have the agility to be able to manage a two-month appropriation very well.” Gates also cautioned everyone about dramatically drawing any conclusions about troop deployments due to the September review of the troop surge. “The evaluation in September will not lead to a precipitous decision or actions, but would point us in a new direction … either because the surge is working, or because the evaluation is that it’s not,” Gates said.

All of this came on a day when 11 moderate Republicans went to the White House to tell President Bush and his top aides that he can’t maintain the status quo on the war without public support. They also let the president know that his war strategy is ruining the GOP’s 2008 chances. It is no surprise that the president and the DOD are not in favor of the Democrats short term funding plan. Let’s face it; the short term funding plan is just a way for House Democrats to buy themselves more time to avoid making the tough decision on whether or not to keep funding the war. In the end, I think that it doesn’t matter what Gates says, if things are looking bad for the GOP this fall, then I believe the moderate Republicans will bail on President Bush.

White House comments

Transcript of Gates/Pace press briefing

 Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at

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