WASHINGTON — Democratic Sen. Joe Biden, a White House hopeful, criticized the Bush administration's foreign policy and national security strategy Thursday as "a dangerous combination of ideology and some incompetence."
The administration has "dug us into a very deep hole without many friends to help us out," Biden, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a speech at the National Press Club four days before the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
"It's time for America to begin to recapture the totality of our strength - militarily, economically, diplomatically," Biden said. "That's what's been missing the last five years."
The six-term Delaware senator is one of several prominent Democrats offering policy proposals. Biden has indicated that he's interested in seeking his party's nomination a second time. He ran in 1988 but dropped out of the race after it was revealed that he had lifted portions of a speech from a British politician without attribution.
In his speech, Biden contended that the Bush administration has failed in just about every foreign policy endeavor it has undertaken. He also offered a plan for making the country safer.
Among his proposals:
-Implementing the security-strengthening recommendations from the bipartisan commission that studied the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
-Working to prevent potential threats to the country's security rather than relying on a strategy of "military pre-emption."
-Building effective alliances with like-minded countries and with international organizations to pool resources, information, ideas and power.
-Developing "institutions of democracy" - political parties as well as an independent media and judicial system - in the Middle East and beyond.
Tracey Schmitt, a Republican National Committee spokeswoman, said Biden and other Democrats offer "a dangerous combination of both seriously flawed policies that ignore the threat facing America and an eagerness to play politics with a difficult war during campaign season."
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.