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Bush: Democrats weak on terrorism

The president says Democrats are 'cut-and-run' obstructionists who offer only criticism and second-guessing.

Published September 29, 2006

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - President Bush suggested Thursday that Democrats don't have the stomach to fight the war on terror, battling back in the election-season clamor over administration intelligence showing terrorism spreading.

"Five years after 9/11, the worst attack on the American homeland in our history, Democrats offer nothing but criticism and obstruction and endless second-guessing," Bush said at a Republican fundraiser.

"The party of FDR and the party of Harry Truman has become the party of cut and run," Bush told a convention-center audience of about 2,000 people. The event put $2.5-million in the campaign accounts of Alabama Gov. Bob Riley and the state GOP.

Democrats went on the defensive against Bush's comments.

"On his watch, five years after 9/11, he not only has failed to capture Osama bin Laden, but as the (National Intelligence Estimate) indicates, his failed policies have made America less safe and spawned terrorism, not decreased it," said Karen Finney, spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee.

Bush's no-holds-barred speech, one of his most powerful yet on the campaign trail, came less than six weeks before midterm elections in which Democrats are seeking to strip Republicans of their control of one or both houses of Congress.

The war of words continued a nearly weeklong tussle by both parties over the implications of a newly revealed analysis of terror trends put together by the nation's top intelligence analysts in 16 spy agencies.

The document concluded that Iraq has become a "cause celebre" for jihadists worldwide, whom it said have grown in number and geographic reach. The report said the factors, such as the Iraq war, that are fueling the jihadist movement's growth outweigh its vulnerabilities and that, if the current trend continues, risks to the U.S. interests at home and abroad will grow.

Portions of the report were leaked over the weekend, and Bush ordered the key judgments - four of its 30 pages - declassified on Tuesday.

[Last modified September 29, 2006, 01:39:15]

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