Washington, DC (Rotters) - President Bush today continued his quest for input into a resolution of the unpopular Iraq war by broadening his outreach to national news and opinion media figures. Bush hosted a roundtable discussion of the Iraq study group's recommendations with Cabinet members and featured experts Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly. The meeting was described by White House staffers as "jovial" and "very productive".
Administration critic Ann Coulter was also invited, but was unable to attend, according to her publicist, as she was scheduled to make a lower court appearance today in order to enter a plea in regards to voter fraud charges leveled against her.
"It's important that the American people be aware both of his consultations and our level of concern about making him appear right," stated press secretary Tony Snow.
"I don't think the president is necessarily looking for the right answer," said Republican strategist Ron Kaufman. "He's looking for a miracle... the miracle of a stable democracy for the people of Iraq. If some radio talk show host or television pundit can help postpone or stall the impending "final solution" in Iraq, then the president has made a good decision."
The meeting with Limbaugh and O'Reilly was said to be very relaxed and "convivial" in contrast to the gravity of the subject matter according to White House sources. O'Reilly took the opportunity to present Limbaugh with an Andrea Mackris autographed cigar, which he promptly lit and smoked throughout the meeting. "I think this is the first cigar that's been in the White House since the Clintons left," quipped the president, "or at least since Bandar came by after 9/11."
The White House remained closed lipped in regards to the specifics of O'Reilly's and Limbaugh's recommendations, but stated that the president felt cheered by the advice given and valued the important fairness and balance given to the harsher and more specific recommendations of the Baker/Hamilton Iraq Study Group Report.
"Like 19% of Americans, this administration is convinced that we will succeed in Iraq," Bush said after the briefing, "There's no need for the fat lady to be singing over spilled milk just yet."