Mike Allen writes for Time that White House aides are delighted that the U.S. television networks are sending their news anchors to Amman, “ensuring massive coverage of an event that the White House has said is unlikely to produce any major announcement or development.”
Why? Because the White House is simply happy to have Bush in the spotlight — rather than James Baker, whose bipartisan Iraq Study Group has been garnering so much attention in Washington these past weeks.
Writes Allen: “Bush’s aides have begun to chafe at the idea that Baker is needed as some sort of savior for Iraq. Hadley made it clear that the President hopes his Jordan foray will erase any such notion. ‘It’s important, I think,’ Hadley said, ‘for the President to send the message to Prime Minister Maliki that while he is listening to all of these voices for ideas, is open to ideas, that in the end of the day to reassure Prime Minister Maliki that it is the President who will be crafting the way forward on Iraq and to reassure Prime Minister Maliki it will be done in a way that is cooperative with Iraq, rather than imposed on Iraq.’ In other words: Baker is a consultant, not calling the shots.”
In Jordan, Allen writes, Bush’s team hopes “he’ll once again show himself to be in command.” [emphasis mine]