Matt Spetalnick? Well the year is just begun so we'll have to wait and see, but the winner will have a tough time overcoming this doozy:
Seeking to reassert himself on the world stage in the twilight of his term [and how does the writer know what Bush is seeking?], Bush will press NATO for more troops in Afghanistan, try to keep up momentum in the alliance's eastward expansion and attempt to ease strains with Russia.
But with Bush even more unpopular overseas than at home, he could have a hard time swaying world leaders at this week's Bucharest summit as they look to whomever will succeed him in January 2009.
"Many of them are looking forward now to the next president in Washington and are already thinking about what the 2009 summit will bring," said Julianne Smith, a Europe analyst at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies. [Ahh, the old quote from ONE ANALYST at some think tank somewhere...]
Lame-duck status will not be Bush's only obstacle as he ventures abroad for the first in a series of international conferences marking his final year in office. [But wait, there's more!]
Overhanging his travels will be the 5-year-old Iraq war, which has damaged America's credibility with friends and foes alike. [Really?? As far as foes, why would we care about "credibility" if they are truly foes? And friends? Which ones? And in what way do we lack "credibility"]?The latest spike in fighting has increased doubts [Among whom? And exactly how? Many conflicts experience a "spike" in fighting just before the end as the enemy gives a last rousing attempt] of further drawdowns of U.S. forces before Bush leaves office.
He will also be trailed by a financial crisis at home that has roiled global markets and sharpened criticism of his economic record [Bush's economic record??? He wasn't the one that initiated the sub-prime debacle!!], once seen as a bright spot of his legacy [Really?? All I've EVER heard is constant gloom and doom since the day Bush darkened the door of the Oval office. Links, please!!].
I've highlighted where I think the writer leaves "straight news" and heads directly into undisguised bashing. This is a real piece of work. No wonder Conservatives tend to despise the so-called "mainstream media."