There was a promise from the White House that we were going to hear unprecedented details in this speech. We deserved this to happen." Everything that you're hearing on the left, all the looniness from the left, he dealt with in this one bite. This sounds like you giving this speech." And I was going, "Rah, rah. was ever in Iraq, and he says appeasement will not work. BEGALA: Well, I thought that the tone was interesting. And yet, there wasn't the same Reagan-esque, sunny optimism that President Reagan always gave us in the Cold War, where, again, we were facing implacable foes, great ideological struggle. I mean, that's an awfully tall order to ask of just one speech, at 10 a.m. But I think the audience sounded a lot more -- KAGAN: Don't go knocking my time slot, Paul. BUCHANAN: You know, I think what the president did was outstanding. And now he actually called it, it was radical Islam. He gave ideas of what their methods are, how they recruit, what their goals were. The goal that would be a base for them, then they would spread out from there. I think this is possibly a turning point, where at least American people will start saying, yes, this, is something we can win, we need to win, but it is going to be a tough battle. KAGAN: OK, we have one minute left, so I'm going to give about 20 seconds to each of you.

I don't know that we heard that." From the October 6 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show: LIMBAUGH: Right on, right on, right on. In fact, I got a note from my mistress in Georgia this morning, who was watching the speech. That's exactly right." KAGAN: I want to go ahead and take a closer look at President Bush's speech from two sharply contrasting viewpoints. KAGAN: Paul, I'm going to go ahead and start with you. KAGAN: Well, Paul, he wasn't coming here to promise us a rose garden. The president, for years now, has -- before the war, supporters said it would be a cakewalk; others said that we'd be greeted as liberators. The president himself gave that famous speech with the banner "Mission Accomplished" behind him. This is an important shift in tone for the president. First of all, it was a very strong speech, and he was extremely confident. I think what he did -- then he tied the communism into it, which is something tangible Americans can understand, know that it was a tough battle but that we won it, showing some real hope there. Paul, first of all, do you think this is going to change the numbers?

Limbaugh was reportedly told by management that he would never make it as on-air talent, and should consider going into sales.

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BEGALA: Well, I thought that the tone was interesting. And yet, there wasn't the same Reagan-esque, sunny optimism that President Reagan always gave us in the Cold War, where, again, we were facing implacable foes, great ideological struggle.

KAGAN: Well, Paul, he wasn't coming here to promise us a rose garden. I think that -- I know the president's very close aide, Karen Hughes, who's now at the State Department, has just come back from a tour of the Muslim world. I think that the speech may have been more directly aimed at Muslim popular opinion than American popular opinion.

Now what this bite that you just heard is -- he didn't say it, but this is a refutation of every point that the left makes: "Hey, we just need to talk to these men. And for that, I welcome in Paul Begala, a former member of the Clinton administration. We also heard from the president, as he said, "No act of ours has incited terrorists." He's addressing the idea of those who believe that what has taken place in Iraq and the U. presence in Iraq has actually led to more violence. He was coming here to give us an update in the war on terror. And will Democrats actually come up with a plan as an alternative?

He is now a CNN political contributor, also sharing the title of CNN contributor, Bay Buchanan, a conservative strategist. BEGALA: It will not change the numbers, because the numbers are being driven by facts on the ground, not words in the air.

Limbaugh is getting serious." Kagan, who is based at CNN's headquarters in Atlanta, is the anchor of CNN Live Today, a news show that airs weekdays from 10 a.m noon ET and that carried Bush's speech live.

Shortly after Bush concluded his speech, Kagan introduced CNN national security correspondent David Ensor, whom she called "our CNN fact-checker." While noting that Bush "had promised some unprecedented details," which, she suggested, he did not provide, she then made a statement in Bush's defense when Ensor suggested that reporters would be looking for corroboration of Bush's assertion that "the United States and our partners have disrupted at least 10 serious Al Qaeda terrorist plots since September 11th, including three Al Qaeda plots to attack inside the United States": KAGAN: We've been listening to President Bush as he speaks in the Ronald Reagan Amphitheater, speaking to the National Endowment for Democracy, refocusing the nation's attentions on the war on terror and the situation on Iraq. We're going to get to that in just a moment, but the president saying things like, "Now we will see freedom's victory.

KAGAN: But, David, in some ways it's hard to prove a negative of something that hasn't happened.

It is true we have not seen a major terrorist attack in the United States since 9-11, and don't you, indeed, have to count that as a victory, as something that Americans can look to as success?

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