BUSH GAINS IN THE POLLS: “Public discontent with the Iraq war has slightly eased, increasing President Bush’s political maneuvering room at a critical point in debates over war costs and troop levels. A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows an uptick in support for the president’s handling of the war. As Mr. Bush prepares to follow Congressional testimony by top Iraq Gen. David Petraeus with a speech to the nation tonight, the proportion of Americans who believe the troop surge is helping and that victory remains possible has edged up.”

UPDATE: But Bill Quick thinks Bush is missing the real opportunity: “I still believe there is one way Bush can save his presidency as well as guarantee a GOP sweep in 2008, and that is to strike hard at the Iranian regime, and keep striking it until it falls. If he does so, the world will suddenly become a far safer place, and even I will revise my opinion of his watch drastically upward.” I’ll be surprised if that happens.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Some people are reading the Quick link as an endorsement of an attack on my part. No, I’ve been against that for quite a while — I’d like to see the mullahs brought down, but I don’t think invasion is the way to do it. I’m lukewarm on air attacks — post-invasion evidence suggests that the 1998 Operation Desert Fox bombing did more harm to Saddam’s weapons program than we thought, but the Iranians have probably learned a lot from that too.