Will the Jan. 30 elections be a success?

The interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi says the violence has become so bad in parts of the country that the elections will be incomplete. 

After months of suicide bombs, assassinations, and intensifying violence,  he now acknowledges the insurgency has made parts of Iraq too dangerous for elections.

At the Pentagon, this announcement prompted some fancy footwork.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld Wednesday said, “Just having elections in Iraq is an enormous success and a victory.”

But according to officials in Iraq and Jordan, nearly 40 percent of the Iraqi people live in areas where election workers are afraid to go. By most accounts, it’s a setback for the Bush administration which repeatedly declared that Iraq’s voting day would be a turning point.

“Freedom is on the march,” said President Bush last September.

The Bush administration has been forced to change its tune, not just on the status of Iraq, but also on the key reasons for the invasion.

On the heels of a front page story in the Washington Post last Wednesday, officials at the White House acknowledged that the hunt for Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction is over.

The Bush administration says the violence in Iraq, coupled with no new leads, prompted U.S. weapons inspectors to end their fruitless search last month.

It was four months ago when the top U.S. inspector gave Congress an interim report. Charles Duelfer, who led the weapons hunt in 2004, concluded that Saddam destroyed all of his weapons of mass destruction 14 years ago.

The White House officials say they will let Duelfer’s analysis stand, undercutting the administration’s main justification for this war.

Regardless of why the U.S. went in, a large minority of Americans still support the invasion and the ongoing occupation.  And underscoring that point, top Bush supporters refer to November’s presidential election: When it comes to Iraq or the lack of WMD, President Bush’s victory makes it clear where most Americans stand.

'Hardball' airs weeknights, 7 p.m. ET