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Tuesday, 22 August 2006 07:59

DNC: Bush Renounces Smears, But Will Cheney, Rove and Mehlman Follow?

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NEWS RELEASE

News from the Democratic National Committee:

Bush Renounces Smears, But Will Cheney, Rove and Mehlman Follow?

Washington, DC - During today's news conference, President Bush pledged not to attack the patriotism of his critics. This stunning reversal comes after years of work by the President and his top surrogates and strategists to smear anyone who disagrees with the President or challenges his policies.

"President Bush seems to have turned over a new leaf today with his claim that he will not attack the patriotism of those who disagree with him," said DNC Communications Director Karen Finney, "If the President is sincere, he should have his GOP hatchet men like Vice President Cheney, Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman also stop attacking the patriotism of those who disagree with the Bush Administration's failed policies in Iraq and agree to provide the American people an honest debate based on the facts on the ground."

President Bush: I will never question the patriotism of somebody who disagrees with me. [Press Conference, 8/21/06]

BUSH CAMPAIGN ATTACKED JOHN KERRY'S PATRIOTISM

Bush Campaign Surrogate Scott O'Grady Charged Kerry With "Treason." Scott O'Grady, an Air Force pilot who survived being shot down over Bosnia in 1995, said that Kerry committed "treason" during the Vietnam War during an appearance coordinated by the Bush re-election campaign with other military veterans in St. Paul, Minnesota. [Associated Press, 8/14/04]

Bush Refused to Specifically Condemn Swift Boat Attack Ad. According to the New York Times, "Bush put his remarks about the advertisement by the Swift boat group in the context of his previous calls for a ban on advertisements from third-party groups known as 527's, using large, unlimited donations. Only when pressed by reporters whether he specifically meant the commercial from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, did he say 'all of them.' 'I don't think we ought to have 527's,' Mr. Bush said.His press secretary, Scott McClellan, said Mr. Bush had not intended to single out the Swift boat advertisement as one that should be stopped." The Times also stated that when asked "the first of several questions about the Swift boat advertisement, Mr. Bush ignored the query and instead responded, 'I think we ought to be debating who best to be leading this country in the war against terror. And that's what I'll continue to try to convince the American people of, is that I'm the right person to continue to lead the country.'" Bush "did not criticize the Swift boat group or address the content of the advertisement." [New York Times, 8/24/04]

BUSH "ORDERED" ATTACKS ON TOM DASCHLE

Republican Party Chairman Marc Racicot Accused Daschle Of Blaming America. On March 17, 2003, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) pointed out that on the Iraq issue, President Bush "couldn't create the kind of diplomatic effort that was so critical for our country." Republican National Committee Chairman Marc Racicot equated Daschle's criticism with criticism of our country. Racicot released a statement saying, "It is disheartening and shameful for Senator Daschle, who has previously advocated and authorized the use of force in Iraq, to now blame America first. I urge all Americans to reject such divisive and brazen political posturing." [Washington Times, 3/21/03; RNC News Release, 3/17/03]

Bush Ordered Attacks On Daschle. Bush called on senior White House advisers and the Republican Party leadership to wage attacks against Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. According to the Washington Times, "The White House is escalating its attacks against Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle... [W]ith polls showing the Republican Party is losing some support in its handling of the economy, President Bush last week ordered senior advisers to take the gloves off and sharpen their rhetoric." [Washington Times, 12/7/01]

ROVE AND RNC ATTACKED PATRIOTISM OF VIETNAM VETERAN JACK MURTHA

Rove Said Murtha Advocates "Cutting and Running" Because of Iraq Criticism. In a speech to New Hampshire Republican officials here Monday night, the White House deputy chief of staff attacked Democrats who have criticized the U.S. war effort in Iraq, such as Sen. John F. Kerry and Rep. John P. Murtha (Pa.), who he said advocate "cutting and running." "They may be with you for the first shots," Rove said of such opponents. "But they're not going . . . to be with you for the tough battles." [Washington Post, 6/13/06]

RNC Attacked Vietnam Veteran Jack Murtha For Criticizing the Bush Administration on Iraq. The Republican National Committee launched a direct assault against Murtha on its Web site, featuring his "Democrat Cut-and-Run Tour of America" and a map of the United States flying little white flags. [Salon, 8/4/06]

RNC Said Jack Murtha Claims America Is More Dangerous Than Iran and North Korea. In a fundraising email from August 9, RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman wrote that: "The message from Connecticut is clear, and Ned Lamont isn't alone. He is joined by Rep. John Murtha.who claims America is more dangerous than Iran and North Korea." [RNC Email, 8/9/06]

REPUBLICANS ATTACKED VIETNAM VETERAN MAX CLELAND'S PATRIOTISM

Chambliss Did Not Serve in Vietnam Because of Deferment. Saxby Chambliss never served in the military. Chambliss received a student deferment and, due to a bad knee, a medical deferment from fighting in Vietnam. [Boston Globe, 11/1/02]

Republicans Said Vietnam Hero Sen. Max Cleland Lacked The Courage To Lead. In his 2002 effort to defeat incumbent Senator Max Cleland (D-GA), Congressman Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) ran television advertisements featuring Osama Bin Laden's photograph and saying, "Since July, Max Cleland has voted against the president's vital homeland security efforts 11 times. Max Cleland says he has the courage to lead, but the record proves that's just misleading." Chambliss' attacks ignored the fact that Senator Cleland lost both legs and an arm serving his country in Vietnam. [Atlanta Journal Constitution, 10/26/02; Washington Post, 10/25/02]

BUSH ATTACKED PATRIOTISM OF SENATE DEMOCRATS

President Bush Implied That Senators Who Disagreed With Him On The Structure Of A Homeland Security Department Were Not Interested In America's Security. Speaking in New Jersey, the president referred to the Senate's consideration of a bill creating the Homeland Security Department. Bush declared, "I asked Congress to give me the flexibility necessary to be able to deal with the true threats of the 21st century by being able to move the right people to the right place at the right time so we can better assure America we're doing everything possible. The House responded, but the Senate is more interested in special interests in Washington and not interested in the security of the American people." [Bush remarks in Trenton, New Jersey, 9/23/02, emphasis added]

David Broder: Bush Charge "Never Should Have Passed [His] Lips." Bush was widely criticized for this claim, by sources including commentator and columnist David Broder, who said, "The off-the-cuff remark, made in reference to the dispute over the Department of Homeland Security, not Iraq, was one that never should have passed Bush's lips; it was an offensive exaggeration and an imprudent venting of presidential frustration." [Washington Post, 10/9/02]

ANYONE WHO CRITICIZES THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION ON IRAQ OR TERRORISM

Rumsfeld Said War Critics Of Bush Could Encourage Enemy To "Take Heart." The New York Times wrote, "[Rumsfeld] suggested that those who have been critical of the administration's handling of the war in Iraq and its aftermath might be encouraging American foes to believe that the United States might one day walk away from the effort, as it has in past conflicts...he went on: 'To the extent that terrorists are given reason to believe he might, or, if he is not going to, that the opponents might prevail in some way, and they take heart in that, and that leads to more money going into these activities, or that leads to more recruits, or that leads to more encouragement, or that leads to more staying power, obviously that does make our task more difficult." [New York Times, 9/8/03]

Ashcroft Said Critics Of His Justice Department's Anti-Terror Activities "Aid Terrorists." During the months following September 11, the Bush administration greatly expanded federal powers of law enforcement. The Patriot Act, which President Bush signed in November, 2001, gave the government more flexibility to conduct searches, monitor Internet communications, detain or deport suspects, examine electronic records on individuals and observe financial transactions. Attorney General John Ashcroft "resolutely defended the Justice Department's anti-terrorism tactics" when he told a Senate committee, "To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty; my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists - for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies, and pause to America's friends." [Washington Post, 12/7/01; 11/20/01; 11/9/01; Testimony of Attorney General John Ashcroft, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 12/6/01; New York Times, 11/25/0]

Vice President Cheney Suggested Democrats Calling For 9/11 Investigations Were Seeking "Political Advantage" In A "Time Of War." Responding to calls for an independent investigation into September 11, Vice President Cheney suggested the critics were simply operating with political motives. Cheney told a New York audience, "what I want to say to my Democratic friends in the Congress is that they need to be very cautious not to seek political advantage by making incendiary suggestions, as were made by some today, that the White House had advance information that would have prevented the tragic attacks of 9/11. Such commentary is thoroughly irresponsible and totally unworthy of national leaders in a time of war." [Meet the Press, 5/19/02; Washington Times, 5/17/02]

NEWS RELEASE 

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