By Editor-in-chief
updated 12/21/2006 10:24:21 AM ET 2006-12-21T15:24:21

President Bush wasn’t halfway through his news conference when the mixed reviews started pouring in from mainstream America, where concerns are mounting about the commander in chief’s handling of Iraq.

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“I think it is clear that we are not pulling out anytime soon,” said a moderate Democrat from San Francisco, posting his opinion at while the news conference was underway Wednesday.  “I predict troop escalation. Bush wants victory, nothing less.”

“It sounded to me like President Bush finally gets it,” replied Jonathan Reid of Blacksburg, Va. “He sounds like he is willing to finally listen to advice from both sides of the issues. I am now very excited about what next year will bring.”

Reid was one of the few who found hope in Bush’s news conference. Indeed, a long-running tracking poll at shows that only 10 percent of the community – which consists largely of grassroots opinion leaders – supports the president’s policies and barely a third support the Democratic Party’s position. Eight in 10 members hold out “little hope” for success in Iraq.

“My biggest worry is that (Bush) has his eye so tightly fixed on his write-up in the history books that he cannot grasp the answer” to Iraq, wrote a HOTSOUP member who goes by the username “ezwriter.”

“I guess I need to take off my rose-colored glasses,” wrote “Elena” from Illinois. “Somehow, I thought Bush understood the message, but, judging by the speech I just read, this appears not to be the case.” She was particularly frustrated with Bush’s request that Americans not let the war curb their appetite for shopping.

“Shopping? Has he lost his mind entirely?” she wrote.

The San Francisco man who goes by the username “ModerateDemocrat” summed up the sentiments of many voters, blaming both political leaders and the mainstream media for focusing on everything but solutions to Iraq. “Everyone wants to play politics all the time,” he wrote. “We need to have a serious analysis of this problem so that we can come to an informed decision after looking at all the angles. We need a real debate here; otherwise we are just taking a stab in the dark.”

“That, as we have all seen, is a recipe for disaster.”

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