The White House took a step back Monday from President Bush's confident assertion two months ago that "absolutely, we're winning" the war in Iraq.
"I'm not playing the game anymore," White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said. "It's one of those things where you end up ... trying to summarize a complex situation with a single word or gerund, and -- or even a participle."
Snow was questioned repeatedly on the point because former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said Sunday that the situation in Iraq was "grave and deteriorating, and we're not winning, we are losing. We haven't lost."
Snow, asked Monday whether Bush still believed the U.S. was winning, said, "I think at this point it ceases to be fruitful to jump into this." He said that "we will win, and we have to win."