Bush, showing emotion, urges patience with Iraq: "As the Iraqi forces gain experience and the political process advances, we will be able to decrease our troop levels in Iraq without losing our capability to defeat the terrorists." Sen. Reid responds: "After nearly 1,000 days of war in Iraq, our troops, their families and the American people deserve more than just a Bush-Cheney public relations campaign." [WP, NYT, WT]

Bush admitted "some setbacks," but "offered nothing new substantively." [WP, USAT]

Bush's advisors doubt that the war will be a "determining factor" in '06 House races; still unknown "is how Americans will be able to measure any progress, and whether it is realistic to believe his ambitious goals." [NYT]

Bush "came much closer than he has before to matching the hard-nosed assessments of the war that have long been made by American commanders" in Iraq. [NYT]

Bush "is staking the rest of his presidency on his conviction that the conflict can be won." [USAT]

Alito, as member of the Reagan administration, designed a strategy for eventually overturning Roe v. Wade. [WP, NYT, LAT, USAT]

Court of Appeals hints it might repeal Bush's power to detain Jose Padilla. [NYT, WT]

Military planted positive articles in Iraqi newspapers as a component of "'information war' against an insurgency adept at spreading its message through local and international media, largely with violent acts." [WP, NYT]

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) comes out in favor of Murtha's plan for withdrawal. [WT, USAT]

Pentagon directive mandates plan for post-conflict stability in the next war. [WP]

Supreme Court begins parental notification case; advocates from both sides turn out. [WP, WP, NYT, USAT]

Oil executives clarify their responses about energy task force. [WP]

Bush helps raise $500,000 for Viriginia Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, candidate for Senate. [WP]

White House holiday decorations are simpler this year. [NYT]


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