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Kerry: Dick Cheney "The 'American Idol' of Outlandish Claims"

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It can't be easy for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to be holed up in a White House they have turned into their own private Fantasyland. Bound by stubbornness and a warped agenda no longer supported by most Americans, they're now forced to stick to the same old distortions and lies about Iraq despite knowing that the public no longer believes in them or their war. And, with the help of other leading Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is sticking to his guns and staying on message about what the American people resoundingly said in November -- which is that they've had it with Team Bush's failed Iraq policy and they want the grown-ups in the Democratic party to take over. Reid must have known that the right-wing smear machine would come after him when he truthfully announced on the Senate floor that "We are less secure from the many threats to our national security than we were when the war began. As long as we follow the President's path in Iraq, the war is lost." White House surrogates have been attacking Reid ever since, but they rolled out Dick Cheney on Tuesday to join in the smears and even made Bush himself quit watching Cartoon Network long enough to throw in some distortions. "I thought his speech yesterday was unfortunate, that his comments were uninformed and misleading," said Cheney. "Senator Reid has taken many positions on Iraq. He has threatened that if the President vetoes the current pending supplemental legislation, that he will send up Senator Russ Feingold's bill to de-fund Iraq operations altogether." "What's most troubling about Senator Reid's comments yesterday is his defeatism. Indeed, last week, he said the war is already lost." And Bush jumped in yesterday as well, expressing his disappointment that Democrats won't be the same, mindless rubber-stampers that his Republican lapdogs were when running the previous Congress. "The bill they announced yesterday includes some of the worst parts of the measures they had earlier passed with narrow majorities in the House and the Senate," said Bush. "They know I'm going to veto a bill containing these provisions, and they know that my veto will be sustained." Of course, he had to also throw in the tired old line about Democrats making life easy on the bad guys. "Precipitous withdrawal from Iraq is not a plan to bring peace to the region or to make our people safer at home," said King George. "Instead, it would embolden our enemies and confirm their belief that America is weak." Senator John Kerry (D-MA) who, unlike Cheney, knows a little something about actually fighting in a war, quickly came to Reid's defense, blasting the vice president as "the 'American Idol' of outlandish claims." Here's Kerry:
"Dick Cheney's attacks on Harry Reid are as disturbing as they are disingenuous. He is the American Idol of outlandish claims. No one has been more wrong about Iraq from day one than Vice President Cheney. The Cheney Doctrine has been a recipe for disaster in Iraq that has put American troops in unforgivable danger and made America less secure. "The Vice President has only been consistent in his miscalculations and misdirection. I could hardly believe my ears when the Vice President had the nerve to accuse Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of being uninformed. This is the same man who claimed that we would be greeted as liberators in Iraq and that the Iraqi insurgency was in its last throes, when in fact the civil war was growing. It is time for the Vice President to return to his secure, undisclosed location to rejoin his neocon friends rather than attack the Majority Leader who is fighting to keep faith with American troops."
Reid's office was also in full rapid-response mode in knocking down the attacks from Cheney, who has set unofficial White House records for being wrong about almost every word he's said about foreign policy and the Iraq war.

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"Vice President Cheney should be the last person to lecture anyone on how leaders should make decisions," said Reid Spokesman Jim Manley after Cheney's remarks. "Leaders should make decisions based on facts and reality, two words that seem to be foreign to the Vice President" "This is the same guy who said Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and that we would be greeted as liberators," continued Reid's spokesman. "And it's the same guy who continues to assert that Saddam Hussein had links to al Qaeda long after our own intelligence agency conclusively refuted this notion. To suggest he lacks credibility would be an understatement." Reid himself shrugged off Cheney's remarks, saying simply "I'm not going to get into a name calling match with the administration's chief attack dog." And the Majority Leader also had some words for a president who appears to have totally immersed himself in a fantasy world. "The President apparently remains in a dangerous state of denial about the situation on the ground in Iraq and its impact on our security at home," said Reid. "Although the President rightly stated that the American people voted against failure in Iraq last November, they also clearly voted against a policy that is leading us to failure Â- and that's what the President's stay the course strategy does." "Each day we stay the course in Iraq further weakens our fight against terrorism and other threats throughout the world. The President repeatedly used the phrase 'precipitous withdrawal' in his remarks. There is nothing precipitous about insisting that the President change course after more than four years of his failed policy. We hope the President will join us in giving our troops the resources and strategy they need and deserve." The unified House-Senate supplemental bill containing the Iraq-withdrawal language is expected to get a vote in the House today and in the Senate on Thursday, setting up the certain veto of troop funding next week by President "Support-The-Troops" Bush. After that, we'll see if a few more Republicans don't jump ship on the beleaguered Bush and override his veto when they realize they're making the vote that may determine their chances for reelection in 2008.
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Bob Geiger is a writer, activist and Democratic operative in Westchester County, NY.
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