Evidence of the latter is easy to see, as it comes in a news conference with last best friend concerning Iraq policy, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, giving visual assurance that Bush does not stand alone (although the New York Times includes a somewhat contrary picture of the two, backs to the camera, walking out of the room).
Evidence of the former is tougher, though words seem to take on whatever meaning a cunning politician wants them to. So, there may be no "direct talks" with Iran and Syria, but indirect talks conducted by third parties are semantically possible and often these are more productive (hint: Blair was in town, he believes in engaging these two states, and he is not a member of the U.S. government).
If you buy that, then characterizing the state of affairs when minimal forces remain in Iraq and are not primarily engaged in combat duties by, say, late 2007 early 2008 could easily be characterized as having been achieved by a) conditions on the ground and b) Iraq's ability to pick up the slack (hint: Al-Malaki says his boys will be ready by June). Mission Accomplished!
The point/counterpoint debates and "gotcha" screamfests have nothing to do with what may be going on. We already know that the administration doesn't always believe what it says in public -- Rumsfeld is not here to stay, alas. It is also very difficult to appear to be moderating if one is constantly baited about how extreme and one-dimensional one is. Smart negotiators don't tell a kidnapper how stupid they were to give up hostages for a pizza and a pack of cigarettes. Even dumb ones probably don't.
This president has shown little desire to give up on some ideas easily, but he does. We hear nothing these days about Social Security reform -- but we would if someone got in his face. He doesn't bring up immigration policy, but hit him with a bar rag and you would hear that tune again.
The next meaningful words coming from his mouth will be around Christmas. Until then, this is all just looks like dodging and weaving the crossfire and I put very little stock in any of it.