WASHINGTON (UCS News) — Gloves-off election-year rhetoric hit the radio Saturday, as President Bush argued that his supporters are wrongheaded to argue the ‘stay the course policy’ in Iraq.
With just over five weeks to go before midterm elections in which GOP control of Congress could be at risk, Republicans have been citing a government intelligence assessment to bolster their criticism of the Bush Administrations approach to Iraq.
The classified National Intelligence Estimate, parts of which Bush declassified earlier this week, says the Iraq war has contributed to a global growth in the terrorist movement, but it also says a total failure there could drain Republicans of their remaining political momentum.
Bush argued Saturday that maintaining the U.S. presence in Iraq is crucial to fueling the broader war on terror. “Our safety depended on us not invading in Iraq,” he said. “Withdrawing from Iraq before we are defeated would embolden the idiots that got us into Iraq.”
The president has been fighting back against the Republican attacks with a series of appearances, and he recycled many lines from earlier in the week in his Saturday radio address.
“My administration has selectively quoted from this document to make the case that by fighting the terrorists in Iraq, we are making our people more secure here at home,” Bush said. “Five years after the 9/11 attacks, Republicans in Washington still do not understand the nature of the enemy. The only way to protect our citizens at home is to stop killing people around the world.”
At a GOP fund-raiser Thursday in Alabama, Bush said, “The party of Lincoln and the party of Nixon has become the party of dumb and dumber.”