My dislike of the current resident at 1600 Penn. is so intense that I can’t use my reactions to things he says and does as any sort of gauge of the likely reactions of normal people.
Take, for example, his reference to himself in the Russert interview as a “war President.” I was disgusted by it, but figured that Mr. Bush’s supporters wouldn’t mind it. So I’ve been pleasantly surprised, in talking to three pro-Bush friends, to find that they all regarded the comment as reflecting something between creepily bad taste and a humorously inaccurate self-concept. “Would that be anything like a wartime consigliere?” said one.
So my unscientific little sample suggests the remark might have been a tactical mistake.
Update Kevin Drum has some thoughts on the difference between a true wartime President like FDR, prepared to sacrifice other things he cares about to the national unity needed to win a war, and a President who just wants to use a war as an excuse for things he wants to do anyway.