No More 'Stay The Course'

president Bush in iraq
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
The White House has abandoned "stay the course," or at least those words, in reference to the war in Iraq.

For months now, Republicans have challenged anyone who questioned the war strategy by accusing them of wanting to "cut and run." That seems not to have worked as Americans, long weary of the war, want some sign that things are improving — or at least changing.

It's a little surprising that the White House has gotten caught in this verbal trap. The Republicans, going back to Newt Gingrich in 1994, have slaughtered the Democrats in the war of words.

Gingrich brilliantly printed out a list of words that Republicans could use to their own advantage and another list with words that would make their opponents seem — well here's a few of them: pathetic, pessimistic, permissive, obsolete.

As Gingrich said, "words matter." And the White House, with midterm elections on the doorstep, has realized that "stay the course" really means "lose."

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith