From “Quick exit from Iraq is likely” by Robert Novak, appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times, September 20, 2004:
“Well-placed sources in the administration are confident Bush’s decision will be to get out. They believe that is the recommendation of his national security team and would be the recommendation of second-term officials. An informed guess might have Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state, Paul Wolfowitz as defense secretary and Stephen Hadley as national security adviser. According to my sources, all would opt for a withdrawal.”
From the President’s Remarks at Ask President Bush Event in Derry, New Hampshire, September 20, 2004, notably, a mere few hours after Novak’s column appeared:
“It’s tough as heck in Iraq right now because people are trying to stop democracy. That’s what you’re seeing. And Iraqis are losing lives, and so are some of our soldiers. And it breaks my heart to see the loss of innocent life and to see brave troops in combat lose their life. It just breaks my heart. But I understand what’s going on. These people are trying to shake the will of the Iraqi citizens, and they want us to leave. That’s what they want us to do.
And I think the world would be better off if we did leave — if we didn’t — if we left, the world would be worse. The world is better off with us not leaving. It’s a mistake to pull out.”