Think this testimony will get the saturation coverage September’s appearance got?

The top military commander in Iraq gave some insight yesterday into what he will consider as he prepares to report to the president and Congress in April on the way ahead…

The security trend lines all are favorable, the general said. “Attacks have continued to go down. We’ve had a five-month period consistently of a level of attacks we’ve not seen since spring of 2005,” he said. “This past week was the fourth-lowest since October 2004.”…

The general said he is encouraged by the statistics and what he sees around the country. “In fact, the level of attacks has come down in recent weeks below a level we thought might be the ‘irreducible minimum,’” he said…

The way ahead in Iraq will not be easy, the general said. “Each day something bad happens,” he said. “(But) the relative degree of the bad news tends to be less.”…

“We are going after al Qaeda relentlessly wherever they are, and wherever we can find them, we put our teeth into their jugular,” Petraeus said.

As always the focus will be on troop levels, a point to which Petraeus alludes twice in the interview — once in the context of anti-AQ Sunni tribesmen “thickening” U.S. forces as the surge brigades depart and again in the context of the Iraqi Army’s capabilities, for more of which see this encouraging Wash Times article from this morning. He’s avoiding any “final battle” with AQ in Mosul for the moment, he says; read the Times piece and you’ll see that when it comes, it may be the Iraqi 2nd Division that gets the call.

As distasteful as it is to game out the political repercussions of battle reports, they’re a fact of life so let’s do it. That Pew poll I linked a few days ago shows that a majority thinks the mission will now succeed (while an even greater majority thinks the war was the wrong decision); John McKinnon connects the dots in today’s Journal and says that spells good news for a certain Maverick.

The recent change in public opinion appears pronounced among independent voters, and independents who see progress in Iraq are much more likely to support Republican John McCain, at least so far…

The Pew findings show that independents who think the war is going well favor the Arizona Republican versus Sen. Obama by a large margin of 31 points, 58% versus 27%.

It’s not just McCain who benefits. Hillary’s beating Obama solidly on the C-in-C question. If Petraeus’s report is as rosy as this suggests, it’ll take even more of the sting out of her 2002 vote among centrist Democrats. We may be in store for a ceremonial, crap-eating mea culpa for her infamous expression of incredulity the last time around to re-establish her hawkish credentials. Strength, Hillary.

Exit question advice to the GOP: Call Cordesman to testify.