In today’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow tried to argue that the Nov. 7 midterm elections could be read as a mandate for President Bush to increase U.S. troops in Iraq:
QUESTION: Tony, the president obviously, though, did not read what happened November 7th as a mandate to start bringing troops home.
SNOW: The president believes that — if you take a look at the elections, you can read any number of messages. I mean, when people were asked in exit interviews what was their top concern, Iraq was number four; corruption was number one.
No results from the midterm elections pointed to the American public calling for an escalation of U.S. troops in Iraq. A CNN poll taken days after the election found that just 16 percent of the American public believed the President should increase U.S. troops in Iraq. In contrast, 60 percent wanted some or all troops withdrawn.
As ABC News noted, the midterm elections showed that the “war in Iraq is a serious concern.” Fifty-seven percent of voters said that they disapproved of Bush’s handling of the war.