With record low public approval ratings, President Bush is continuing a campaign to convince Americans that he has a plan for success in Iraq. Nearly two-thirds of Americans disapprove of how the president is handling that war.
President Bush continues this latest public outreach on Iraq with a Saturday radio address marking the third anniversary of fighting, and a Monday speech in the Midwest state of Ohio about what progress has been made so far.
White House Spokesman Scott McClellan says the speeches are meant to update Americans about the president's strategy for victory in Iraq, the lessons he has learned, and how he is fixing what has gone wrong.
"The speeches give the president an opportunity to talk about developments in Iraq in the broader context, and speak in greater detail about events on the ground," he said. As commander-in-chief, he believes it is important to keep the American people updated on our strategy, and the progress we are making, and the challenges we continue to face."
The campaign began this week, with a speech on training a new Iraqi army. McClellan says Monday's speech will focus on how Washington is working with all aspects of Iraqi society to rebuild communities, and achieve the stability that he says can only come from freedom.
"The president will highlight concrete ways and examples of real progress that is being made and how our strategy is succeeding," he said. "This remains a difficult and tense period in Iraq. Often times, the progress that is being made doesn't get as much attention as the dramatic and horrific images of violence that people see on their TV screens."
McClellan says it is necessary for the president to put accomplishments in Iraq in context for Americans, because, he says, it is much easier for the news media to report on sectarian violence and attacks on U.S. troops.
"It is not that those shouldn't be covered, but sometimes when images of violence are being covered to a much greater extent, then, the progress that we are making on the ground gets lost," he said. "It doesn't get the same kind of attention."
U.S. public opinion polls show nearly four of five Americans, and 70 percent of the president's own Republican Party, believe Iraq will collapse into civil war.
President Bush says he understands that, amid the daily news of car bombs and kidnappings and brutal killings, many Americans are now wondering if the entire mission in Iraq is worth it. He says it is, because America is better off without Saddam Hussein in power, given the former dictator's history of pursuing and using weapons of mass destruction.
The immediacy of the threat from those suspected weapons was the president's biggest justification for invading Iraq three years ago. No weapons of mass destruction have yet been found.