Bush Iraq Anniversary; May Day March

Behind The News
May 1, 2008 1:26:58 PM PDT
Mission Accomplished. It seems like yesterday, but in fact it was five years ago today.President Bush, gussied up in his flight suit, landing in a fighter plane on an aircraft carrier not far off shore. And then he uttered the words -- "mission accomplished." At the time some believed he would use it as a political ad for his re-election campaign the next year.

But by the time the election rolled around, the quagmire that is Iraq had already begun. And "mission accomplished" was not exactly how the majority of Americans viewed the situation over there.

They still don't. The sinking economy notwithstanding, it is Iraq that will be Pres. Bush's lasting legacy. It is no accident that Mr. Bush's disapproval rating in the polls is pretty much the same as the percentage of Americans who disapprove of the war.

And for those who think it's quieted down, insurgents today dramatically reminded us that it is a long way from over. At least 35 people were killed, 76 wounded in a double suicide bombing north of Baghdad. It was a brutal assault - the first bomber, a woman, blew herself up in a crowded market in a Shiite town. Then, as security forces began dealing with the carnage, a second bomber blew himself up.

Mission accomplished.

We'll have the latest from Iraq, tonight at 11.

We're also following the large May Day march and protest in Lower Manhattan. Immigration is one issue, but the Sean Bell verdict protestors are also marching.

Will there be civil disobedience? The Bell protestors have been promising that. Tonight at 11, we'll learn what they plan, today and in the future.

And as the Presidential campaign gets out of the pastoral controversy and back to some of the issues, we spied this item today, involving Ralph Nader, once the respected consumer crusader, now viewed as little more than a spoiler.

But even that might be a stretch.

Nader sent out a fundraising letter today, pleading for money. Gas money.

"With gas hovering around $4.00 a gallon in much of the West, we make this simple appeal to you - our loyal supporters," the letter reads. "We need gas money. And we need it now!"

Nader needs the money for a West Coast campaign tour to get on the ballots in Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington.

We'll have the latest from the campaign trail, at 11.

Speaking of politicians, there will be some rough times ahead for Republican Congressman Vito Fossella, who represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn. He was busted last night outside Washington, D.C., on drunk driving charges.

There's some irony here in that, as our assignment editor Howard Price points out, the woman he succeeded in Congress, Susan Molinari, serves as chairperson of The Century Council, a non-profit group that fights drunk driving and underage drinking.

We'll have the latest on Fossella, at 11.

And Stacey Sager reports on the problems facing tens of thousands of college students in this country - who are having trouble getting student loans. It's a complicated problem, and the housing/mortgage crunch is part of it.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg with his AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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