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The Political Fallout from the New York Times' Leak

This story is a further example of how the political environment can change very quickly. President Bush was already looking better after two weeks of positive news (holding CA-50, killing Zarqawi, Rove cleared, a new government in Iraq) before the New York Times irresponsibly disclosed details of a top secret program aimed at protecting the nation from future terrorist attacks. The program was legal, effective, and had strong bi-partisan support: both 9/11 Commission Vice Chair Lee Hamilton and Rep. John Murtha (Pa.) strongly urged the Times not to disclose the program.

Politically, this is a clear winner for Bush and the GOP. The issue plays to Bush's strengths and continues to paint the picture of the President as a stalwart fighter, protecting America's safety while the left-wing press does their best to undermine as many successful anti-terror programs as possible.

The Times and the far left are so completely out of touch with where the country is on national security and terrorism issues they probably thought this disclosure would hurt Bush politically. They are clueless.

But while this is a huge win politically for Bush, it doesn't have to be a loss for Democrats. This brewing scandal is a tailor-made opportunity for a Democrat to show his or her independence from the far-left, borderline anti-American media. Hillary Clinton would measurably improve her chances of becoming President if she walked down to the Senate floor and denounced the New York Times for harming American security.

So while the issue helps Republicans, it provides a huge opportunity for Democrats to send a message to the public on how seriously they take the War on Terror. They would be smart to take it.