Politics

Democrats Flee in Terror as Daschle Attacks Bush on War

Soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D.-S.D.) unleashed another of his patented partisan attacks November 14, accusing President Bush of not doing "enough" to win the war on terrorism.

In this instance, HUMAN EVENTS Assistant Editor David Freddoso could find no Senate Democrat willing to express support for Daschle’s view. The only senator who did was turncoat "Independent" Jim Jeffords of Vermont. Fully out-of-the-closet Democrats struggled mightily to dodge reacting to what Daschle had said, often claiming they hadn’t heard it, even though it was repeatedly broadcast in the media.

"I’m troubled that we haven’t found bin Laden in all this time," Daschle said opening his routine press availability. "And frankly, I think that it really causes many of us to be concerned about whether or not we are winning the war on terror."

Daschle went on to argue that Bush was not doing "enough" to win. "I think there are increasing questions about whether or not the administration can legitimately say we are winning the war," he said. "You know, the front-page stories today ought to be a wake-up call to this country and to this administration that, whatever they’re doing, it’s not enough."

A reporter challenged Daschle to be specific. "Senator Daschle," he said, "aside from . . . creating a Homeland Security Department, what should the administration do differently on the war on terrorism?"

Daschle had no specific answer-but suggested, again, that Bush was holding back on the war effort. "I would hope," he said, "that whatever resources have not been applied, whatever resources organizationally have not been utilized, that they be utilized. And the sooner, the better."

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Senator, do you agree with what Sen. Daschle said last week, that President Bush is not doing enough to win the war on terror?

SEN. DANIEL AKAKA (D.-S.D.): I don’t have information to answer that. I don’t have information that he is not doing enough. What I read in the papers-I think we are correctly seeking the kind of coalition and the multilateral support that we should have. We should continue our efforts in Iraq. . . . I voted against Iraq, and there are three reasons. One is that at that time we did not have the UN sanction, we did not have the multilateral support, and, third, we don’t have a post-war strategy.

Are you saying that the attention to Iraq is distracting the President’s ability to otherwise wage the war on terror?

AKAKA: Well, I think these two are related with terrorism. And this is just one phase of the movement to keep the peace in the rest of the world.

Do you have any specific suggestions you could tell President Bush about what he should do differently to make the war on terror better?

AKAKA: I feel that we need to continue to get as much multilateral-especially from the Arab countries. Without that, I would be reluctant about moving in.

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Do you agree with Sen. Daschle’s statement last week that President Bush is not doing enough to win the war on terror?

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D.-N.C.): I didn’t actually see what the senator said. I heard about it, but I’d have to know exactly.

What he said was, the administration has to realize that "whatever they’re doing, it’s not enough." He also said we have to be concerned about whether we’re legitimately winning the war.

EDWARDS: Did he say what it was he was concerned about, about the war on terrorism?

Well, that actually was going to be my follow-up, since he didn’t give any really specific suggestions for the President. I was wondering whether you agree with him and whether you have any specific suggestions.

EDWARDS: Well, with all due respect to you, I want to actually see what he said before I comment on whether I agree or disagree. But I’d be glad to take a look at it for you.

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Do you agree with what Sen. Daschle said last week, that President Bush is not doing enough to win the war on terror?

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D.-IOWA): Well, I haven’t heard about that. I don’t know if I’d have any comment on that right now. I think that all elected officials, from President Bush to every congressperson, every senator, I think that all-Republicans and Democrats-take their oath of office seriously to uphold and defend the Constitution and protect the country from all enemies, foreign and domestic. I think we’re all trying to do our best. Everyone-trying to do whatever we can to protect the American people.

Would you have any specific suggestions for the President so that he could strengthen our efforts for homeland security against terrorism?

HARKIN: Uh, no, at this time no. No, I really don’t.

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Do you agree with what Sen. Daschle said last week, that President Bush is not doing enough to win the war on terror?

SEN. JIM JEFFORDS (I.-VT.): Well, I’d say yes, generally. It’s a little early to be too in depth about that-a lot of it depends on what goes on now. But to me, the biggest problem has been our intelligence. There’s no reason, when I look back on it, how our spies and intelligence organizations could have missed the evidence that was out there leading up to 9/11. And there was obviously a miscommunication. So I think we learned more after that, but there’s no excuse for us having allowed that to happen.

What specifically would you recommend to the President to strengthen that area and maybe others you might think are weak?

JEFFORDS: Just coincidentally, one of the former heads of the British intelligence has a summer home in Vermont, and he came over to talk to me, and said that there’s no way you should not have known that. You have to have your own operatives in that area. They’ve had people over there working for a couple hundred years, and there’s no way that should have happened to this country the way it did.

Should the CIA deal with and pay unsavory characters-maybe even people who have committed atrocities-to get that kind of information?

JEFFORDS: I ran into another British intelligence officer, who said, yeah, put a billion dollars on his head, and he’ll be taken out. . . . He said, we’ve been over there for hundreds of years, and that would have never happened to us. How you look at that and find what we should do, we have to really, obviously, know what we’re doing in there, in trying to protect ourselves and have some ability to have agents over there.

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Sen. Daschle said last week that President Bush is not doing enough to win the war on terror. Do you agree with that statement?

SEN. TIM JOHNSON (D.-S.D.): I don’t know. I think that the war on terror needs to be a high priority. And we should not allow the Iraqi situation, as serious as it is, to distract us from unfinished business in the war on terror.

Would that be a specific suggestion? That’s my next question-if you have any specific suggestions for winning the war on terror?

JOHNSON: Well, one of the best things we can do in the Iraqi situation is to hold together a strong, multilateral alliance, so there is a global response to Iraq, and that way we are more likely to hold together our alliance in the war on terror. And what we don’t want to do is unnecessarily alienate the Islamic regimes in that part of the world, since that could undermine our efforts in the war on terror.

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Sen. Daschle said last week that he thought Bush was not doing enough to win the war on terror? Do you agree with that statement?

SEN. HARRY REID (D.-NEV.): That President Bush is not doing enough to win the war on terrorism?

Right. . . . What he said was, the administration needs to realize that "whatever they’re doing, it isn’t enough." . . .

REID: Well, I don’t think I have any comment on that today. I only slept a couple of hours last night.