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Press Conference Caps Bush's Best Week in Months - by Ross Kaminsky

Wednesday's press conference given by President Bush in the White House Rose Garden was the best I can remember him giving...ever. Despite the mother of all red-eye trips, a secret trip to Baghdad to meet with the Iraqi Prime Minister (who didn't know Bush was coming until 5 minutes before he arrived), Bush was obviously energized.

He didn't say anything like "ingrinable" or "strategery", and even made what I, as a stupid movie geek, found to be a very funny joke when he called on a reporter named Roger, and then said "Roger, Roger."

There was a minor gaffe which we learned about later: Bush asked a reporter if he was going to ask a question "with his shades on" not knowing that the reporter has an eye disease for which he has to wear sunglasses. Bush called the reporter later and apologized in what seemed like a very pleasant conversation. (Click HERE for the story.)

In any case, Bush gave a good answer to every question. He was firm about our support for Iraq. He stressed the importance of our commitment there, made no promises about withdrawing troops, and had excellent retorts for stupid questions like "Why didn't you tell the Iraqi Prime Minister sooner that you were coming?" (Those might not have been the exact words, but that was the question.) Bush's obvious answer: "I'm a high-value target for some."

The conference over all was the most solid performance I've seen from President Bush and was a great highlight to a solid week for him.

Al-Zarqawi was killed, Rove was not indicted, he made a successful trip to Baghdad, and he had his first noticeable uptick in poll results in months.

All this is a fragile foundation but a foundation nonetheless for improved Republican prospects for November, including making it more likely that GOP candidates will not shy away from having the President campaign for them.

I believe that some part of today's stock market rally, the first in 8 trading days for the Nasdaq, was due in some part to the improving possibility of the Republicans keeping control of Congress. As Oscar Wilde might say if he were still around "The only thing worse than electing Republicans to Congress is not electing Republicans to Congress", and that's especially true for financial markets.

In any case, although I'm not a huge fan of President Bush, I'm glad he had a good week. In this case, it meant we all had a good week.