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Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Wednesday | September 25, 2002

Daschle: stop politicizing Iraq

Daschle, unedited, on the floor of the U.S. Senate:

And then I listen to reports of the vice president, the vice president comes to fund-raisers, as he did just recently in Kansas. The headline written in the paper the next day about the speech he gave to that fund-raiser was, "Cheney Talks About War: Electing Taft Would Aid War effort."

And then we find a diskette discovered in Lafayette Park, a computer diskette that was lost somewhere between a Republican strategy meeting in the White House and the White House. Advice was given by Karl Rove, and the quote in the disk was "focus on war."

I guess right from the beginning, I felt, well, first it was pollsters, then it was White House staff, and then it was the vice president, and all along I was asked, are you concerned about whether or not this war is politicized, and my answer on every occasion was yes. And then the follow-up question is, is the White House politicizing the war? And I said without question, I can't bring myself to believe that it is. I can't believe any president or any administration would politicize the war.

But then I read in the paper this morning. Now, even the president. The president is quoted in The Washington Post this morning as saying that Democratic--the Democratic-controlled Senate is not interested in the security of the American people. Not interested in the security of the American people? You tell Senator Inoue he is not interested in the security of the American people. You tell those who fought in Vietnam and in World War II they are not interested in the security of the American people. That is outrageous--outrageous.

The president ought to apologize to Senator Inoue and every veteran who fought in every war who is a Democrat in the United States Senate. He ought to apologize to the American people. That is wrong. We ought not politicize this war. We ought not to politicize the rhetoric about war in life and death.

I was in Normandy just last year. I've been in national cemeteries all over this country, and I have never seen anything but stars, the Star of David, and crosses on those markers. I have never seen Republican and Democrat.

This has got to end, Mr. President. We've got get on with the business of our country. We've got to rise to a higher level. Our founding fathers would be embarrassed by what they are seeing going on right now. We've got to do better than this. Our standard of deportment ought to be better. Those who died gave their lives for better than what we are giving now.

So, Mr. President, it's not too late it end this politicization. It's not too late to forget the pollsters, forget the campaign fund-raisers, forget making accusations about how interested in national security Democrats are, and let's get this job done right, let's rise to the occasion. That's what American people are expecting. And we ought to give them no less.

I yield the floor.

Posted September 25, 2002 11:37 AM | Comments (8)


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