Going Public, Going to Baghdad: Presidential Agenda-Setting and the Electoral Connection in Congress
President Bush and administration officials sought to persuade the domestic public, lawmakers in Washington, and the international community of the need to take military action against Saddam Hussein's regime, even after the decision to go to war had apparently been made. Using the power of the presidential bully pulpit and sending high-ranking officials to the airwaves and speech circuits, the administration spared no effort to make the case for ‘disarming’ Saddam, by force if necessary. But was ‘going public’ — appealing to the American public to try to increase support for the president's preferred policy — a necessary or even useful step on the president's road to Baghdad? This chapter argues that ‘going public’ was useful in at least one sense: improving the president's chances of success in the Congress.
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