Amid all the noise in Washington, the President just hit the shot heard 'round the world.

As I noted last Friday, the President has out-maneuvered the Speaker and the Majority Leader and the anti-war, anti-Bush industrial complex. Nevertheless, I did not see any of the end-of-the-week rap-up shows even mention the Iraq funding impasse. The mainstream media are at a loss on how to cover this huge story, as it is so dramatically at variance with the prevailing template of a discredited President in free fall.

Of course, if the standoff had gone the other way, the MSM would have known exactly how to play it (in big, bold type): BUSH CAVES. Troops to Come Home.

As it is, for most of the day, the MSM have been reluctant to cover the impending announcements (hoping for a miracle, I suppose).

The news this morning: No Confidence Vote on Attorney General, THE IMMIGRATION BILL, the immigration bill-inspired conservative insurgency, Michael Moore Is Back, Jimmy Carter Pronounces Bush Worst Ever, AL GORE (and perhaps the Iraq funding bill may be approved without timelines).

Finally, after the formal announcement this afternoon, the NYT and the Washington Post ran front page articles and NPR led with this Harry Reid quote: "For heaven's sake, look where we've come. It's a lot more than the president ever expected he'd have to agree to."

Bottom Line: this is the most important moment of the year in politics thus far. Kudos to the President for standing firm. He is still in the cellar in terms of popularity. He is still opposed by two houses of Congress who want his scalp. He still has miles to go in the Middle East. But, having said that, he could have given up the ghost and lost everything on this showdown. He didnít. Perhaps we only forestalled disaster, but, thankfully, today we did not lose everything.