Tuesday, February 10

Winds, Changing. Worms, Turning...

Bush's Political Base Seems Restive, Anxious

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Some of George W. Bush's conservative political supporters are increasingly restive and anxious about the president's economic policies as well as his attempts to justify the war against Iraq.

Popular conservative television news anchor Bill O'Reilly, usually an outspoken Bush loyalist, said on Tuesday he was now skeptical about the Bush administration and apologized to viewers for supporting prewar claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

"I was wrong. I am not pleased about it at all and I think all Americans should be concerned about this," O'Reilly said in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America."

Pollster John Zogby said Bush was on the defensive with some polls showing him slightly behind Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, his probable Democratic opponent in the Nov. 2 presidential election.

"The president is on the ropes right now. The question is, how will he adjust? Right now, the issues are not in his favor. Many Americans still think the economy is poor and his rationale for the Iraq war seems a little thin," he said.

"Bush's greatest asset was his unimpeachable integrity in the eyes of most Americans. But with no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that integrity has been chipped away and right now some large lumps are falling off it," Zogby said.