- 8 Nov 06, 07:18 PM
Only last week, Vice-President Dick Cheney said he and Mr Bush were not up for election - it would be full speed ahead in Iraq, irrespective of the result of the mid-term polls.
That full-speed-ahead policy has hit a wall.
President Bush, faced with the prospect of a bitter fight with the newly powerful Democrats - a fight he would probably lose - has opted for appeasement. He has thrown raw meat to the Democrats, in the shape of his defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.
He was asked whether this amounted to a new direction. He couldn't quite bring himself to say yes, but he did say that the man he had asked to replace Mr Rumsfeld, former CIA director Robert Gates, would provide new leadership and a fresh perspective.
Mr Bush knows and has accepted that his Iraq policy has been repudiated. There is no room for pretence and no room to hide.
If the Democrats can come up with a better plan, he is ready - desperate even - to hear about it.
Justin Webb is the BBC's chief North America radio correspondent.
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