Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Dems respond to Bush press conference, say they'll reinstate oversight

Just minutes after President Bush wrapped up a press conference that focused largely on the Iraq war, Democrats unleashed a wide range of responses--including a press conference of their own--RAW STORY has learned.

While criticizing the president for his shifting rhetoric on Iraq, members of the House and Senate also suggested policy ideas that they may spearhead if they take control of one or both houses.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Reps. Jack Murtha (D-PA), Ike Skelton (D-MO), and Jack Reed (D-RI)—each of whom hold high positions on key committees—took questions from reporters as well today, and came down hard on the president.

"He backed himself into a corner by demonizing anybody who came up with any policy alternative," said Murtha, a decorated former marine whose Iraq withdrawal proposal has received wide criticism and invited public assaults on his patriotism and courage by Republicans.

"The president's inability to answer whether or not we should have pernament bases raises more question than is warranted," said Levin.

Noting that the Defense Appropriations Bill specifically prohibits allocating funds to such a project, Murtha said "we're not gonna fund permanent bases.

"We said point blank we're not," added Murtha.

In that same conference, Democrats suggested that they would reinstate the oversight committee axed by Republicans in 1995. That way, they said, military officials would be able to testify publicly about the situation they face in Iraq which, the president admitted today, is worsening.

But they weren't the only high-ranking Democrats to respond to the president today. Moments after the president wrapped up his question and answer session with reporters, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi released a statement which harshly criticized the president, his conduct of the war, and his Secretary of Defense.

Pelosi, who will most likely become Speaker if Democrats retake control of the House in November, said that "three and a half years after the war in Iraq started, Baghdad remains a battleground, the pacification of the Sunni heartland has been declared militarily unachievable, and American casualties continue to mount." She added that the president's acceptance of the need for diplomacy is "long past due."

"Mr. Bush said that Americans won’t stand in a cross-fire between rival factions. We already are," Pelosi insisted in a written statement. She goes on to point to our low level of military readiness as evidence that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's performance—contra the president's assertion—"does not constitute a good job."


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