CNN correspondent Rick Sanchez stated that President Bush identified Iraq's Anbar Province "as a place infested with Al Qaeda," causing him to "sen[d] in more troops." Sanchez added: "The result: success, enough to have the president fly in there last week." In fact, Bush never left the heavily fortified base during his secret visit there to see the changes he touted firsthand.
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During CNN's coverage leading up to President Bush's September 13 address to the nation, correspondent Rick Sanchez said that Bush has previously "identified Anbar [Province] as a place infested with Al Qaeda," causing him to "sen[d] in more troops." Sanchez added: "The result: success, enough to have the president fly in there last week." Sanchez did not note, as The Washington Post reported in a September 4 article, that "[a]lthough Bush touted the substantial political and security progress made in Anbar, he did not leave the safety of the base Monday to see those changes firsthand."
As Media Matters for America has noted, in a September 4 washingtonpost.com column, Dan Froomkin described the base as an "enormous, heavily fortified American outpost for 10,000 troops that while technically in Anbar Province in fact has a 13-mile perimeter keeping Iraq -- and Iraqis -- at bay." Froomkin also reported that Marines and soldiers refer to the base "as 'Camp Cupcake,' for its relatively luxurious facilities."
From the 8 p.m. ET hour of the September 13 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
WOLF BLITZER (host): And as you listen to the president, what, in about 48 minutes or so, there are some things you should keep in mind -- specifically, his own words. CNN's Rick Sanchez has been watching all of this for us. Rick is joining us from New York. All right, explain what's going on, Rick.
SANCHEZ: Well, here's what we did, Wolf. We went back and looked at some of the president's old speeches. Let's do this for you. Let's compare what the president said eight months ago when he announced the so-called surge with actual results on the ground.
We've got some graphics I want to show you. Let's go over -- Jeff, let's go over to the big wall. All right, let's start in Anbar Province, good place to start. The president identified Anbar as a place infested with Al Qaeda. So, he sent in more troops. The result: success, enough to have the president fly in there last week. And General Petraeus says that Al Qaeda's presence there is way down.