ABC boosts coverage for Iraq update


NEW YORK -- ABC is planning its sixth "Iraq: Where Things Stand" reporting blitz beginning Sunday in advance of next week's progress report on the war.

"Iraq: Where Things Stand" has been a long-standing franchise for the network, which first did a series for "World News Tonight" under the guidance of the late anchor Peter Jennings in November 2003. ABC has continued the tradition with reports from ABC, BBC and NHK correspondents and the results of a poll of Iraqis about how the U.S. troop surge is viewed in their country.

It's the fourth such poll overall and the second this year. ABC News senior vp Paul Slavin said Thursday that the results show Iraqis' feelings about their country and expectations before and afterward.

"The poll kind of brackets the surge, and we're able to see how that surge has impacted Iraqi opinions and perceptions," Slavin said. The poll results will be released Monday.

The main correspondents involved in reporting the stories all week are Martha Raddatz, who last week made her 14th trip into Iraq since the war, and Terry McCarthy, who worked at Time on the first "Where Things Stand" and has since moved to ABC. McCarthy also reports from Iraq.

Raddatz last week interviewed President Bush when he visited Iraq, as well as Gen. David Petraeus, who told her in a scoop that he would recommend a reduction in American troops.

All of ABC's platforms will be involved in this "Iraq: Where Things Stand," including "This Week With George Stephanopoulos," "Good Morning America," "World News With Charles Gibson" and "Nightline."