White House Retires 'Stay the Course' Phrase

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Apparently in response to the potency of Iraq as an election issue, President Bush has decided not to use the phrase "stay the course" anymore to describe his Iraq policy.


It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

Here's a sampling of the debate over Iraq, just two weeks before the fall election.

Ms. KATHERINE HARRIS (Republican Candidate for Senate, Florida) If we follow the Democrats' strategy of a cut and run, or tell the terrorists when we're going to cut and run, then our troops will have died in vain.

INSKEEP: Republican Katherine Harris last night debated the senator she wants to replace - Democrat Bill Nelson of Florida.

Senator BILL NELSON (Democrat, Florida) What we ought to be doing is recognizing there's not going to be a military solution; it's going to have to be a political solution.

INSKEEP: Iraq is by no means the only issue in this fall's election, but this month's news has added to its urgency. It's an unusually violent month. The U.S. military has acknowledged that its efforts to secure Baghdad are not working.

Today in Britain, a survey finds more than 60 percent of British voters saying they want their troops home from Iraq by the end of the year. At the White House, the Bush administration is not acknowledging any change in strategy, but officials are acknowledging a change in language.

Presidential Press Secretary Tony Snow says President Bush has retired that signature phrase, stay the course.

TONY SNOW (White House Spokesman): Because it lent the wrong impression about what was going on. And it allowed critics to say, well, here's an administration that's just embarked upon a policy not looking at what the situation is, when in fact, it's just the opposite. The president is determined not to leave Iraq short of victory. But he also understands that it's important to capture the dynamism of the efforts that have been ongoing to try to make Iraq more secure, and therefore enhance the clarification with a greater precision.

INSKEEP: That's White House Spokesman Tony Snow.

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