President Bush Gets Heated With Martha Raddatz Over Afghanistan

President Bush got hit with a curveball today as Martha Raddatz opted to ask about the deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan instead of the economy

President Bush got hit with a curveball today as Martha Raddatz opted to ask about the deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan instead of the economy. A visually agitated Bush went into an impassioned diatribe of how important it is to stick to our guns in Afghanistan and help secure the country. I have to say that I agree fully with the President on this one. It's just too bad he's virtually forgotten about the effort there, diverting vital resources to Iraq instead.

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Q Can I just add to that, a couple weeks ago --

THE PRESIDENT: No, you can't. This is the second follow-up. You usually get one follow-up, and I was nice enough to give you one. I didn't give anybody on this side a follow-up, and now you are trying to take a second follow-up.

Q Can I just say --

THE PRESIDENT: They just cut off your mic. You can't, no.

Q A couple weeks ago you said --

THE PRESIDENT: Now she's going to go without the mic. This is awesome.

Full transcript below the fold..

WhiteHouse.gov:

I'm pleased with the Afghan army, that when they're in the fight they're good. I wish we had completely eliminated the radicals who kill innocent people to achieve objectives, but that hasn't happened yet. And so I think it's very much in our interests to continue helping the young democracy. And we will.

Yes. Obviously you've got a follow-up.

Q But do you think we're winning? Do you think we're winning?

THE PRESIDENT: I do, I think we're making good progress. I do, yes.

Q Can I just add to that, a couple weeks ago --

THE PRESIDENT: No, you can't. This is the second follow-up. You usually get one follow-up, and I was nice enough to give you one. I didn't give anybody on this side a follow-up, and now you are trying to take a second follow-up.

Q They didn't try.

THE PRESIDENT: I know you try.


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Yes.

Q Can I just say --

THE PRESIDENT: They just cut off your mic. You can't, no.

Q A couple weeks ago you said --

THE PRESIDENT: Now she's going to go without the mic. This is awesome. (Laughter.)

Q A couple weeks ago you said that in Iraq, in 2006, you said we were winning and the strategy was working to keep up troop morale.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

Q How can we believe that you're not doing the same thing here?

THE PRESIDENT: You tried to ask me that question before. It's a repeat. Look, I said --

Q No, I'm talking --

THE PRESIDENT: Can I finish, please? The question you asked me before at the exclusive I gave you on the ranch was: You said that we were winning in the past. I also said that there was tough fighting. Make sure you put the comments in place.

So what I'm going to tell you now is, we're making progress in Afghanistan, but there's tough fighting. I'm under no illusions that this isn't tough. I know full well we're dealing with a determined enemy. I believe it's in our interest that we defeat that enemy. And so, yes, we're making progress. But it's also a tough battle. We're facing people who are willing to strap bombs on themselves and walk into places where the innocent dwell, or the innocent shop, and kill them.

Is it in our interest to confront these people now, whether it be in Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Europe, or anywhere else? And the answer is, absolutely, it's in our interest. And the notion that somehow we can let these people just kind of have their way or, you know, let's don't stir them up, is naive or disingenuous, and it's not in our nation's interests. We are in a global struggle against thugs and killers. And the United States of America has got to continue to take the lead.

And so in Afghanistan, yes, we're making progress. Does that mean that it's over? No, it doesn't mean it's over. We're in a long struggle, as I've told you many a time, against these jihadists. You defeat them ultimately by the advance of democracy. See, this is an ideological struggle. These aren't isolated, law-enforcement moments. We're dealing with a group of ideologues who use asymmetrical warfare -- that means killing innocent people -- to try to achieve their objectives. And one objective is to drive us out of Afghanistan, Iraq, the Middle East, or anywhere else where we try to confront them.

And so, yes, I mean, look -- is it tough? Yes, it's tough. Is it difficult? Absolutely. Is it worth the fight? In my judgment, yes, it is.

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