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“We’ve won the war,” Mr. Kristol said.

Mr. Rove was incredulous at Mr. Jenkins’ assertion that the Vietnam War was better managed than the Iraq war.

“We ended Vietnam in defeat, for which the families of 55,000 fallen heroes had reason to ask themselves if their sacrifices had been made in vain,” Mr. Rove said.

Mr. Rove ended by saying that the deck was stacked against Mr. Bush from the beginning.

“To suggest he’s not interested in ideas is a peculiar form of Bush hatred that causes people to lose their rational senses,” Mr. Rove said. “This president has been on the receiving end of this kind of attitude from the moment he took office.”

“I will defend the president,” said Mr. Rove, who added that Mr. Bush will be vindicated “over the long scope of history.”