WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lashed out at Republicans on Thursday, saying they want the Iraq war to drag on and are ignoring the public's priorities.
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"They like this war. They want this war to continue," Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters. She expressed frustration over Republicans' ability to force majority Democrats to yield ground on taxes, spending, energy, war spending and other matters.
"We thought that they shared the view of so many people in our country that we needed a new direction in Iraq," Pelosi said at her weekly news conference in the Capitol. "But the Republicans have made it very clear that this is not just George Bush's war. This is the war of the Republicans in Congress."
Asked to clarify her remarks, Pelosi backed off a bit.
"I shouldn't say they like the war," she said. "They support the war, the course of action that the president is on."
"And that was a revelation to me," she said, "because I thought the American people's voices were so -- and still are -- so strong in this regard."
Pelosi, who opposed the U.S.-led invasion from the start, said the war was "a catastrophic mistake."
Despite being forced to make concessions on multiple fronts, Pelosi said Democrats have been fiscally responsible and attuned to the public's concerns. As a result, she said, voters will reward Democrats in next year's presidential and congressional elections.
Democrats "set a high water mark" on many bills, she said. "Where we have to come to is a different place," thanks to the "political reality of not having a president of the United States. And nothing speaks more clearly to Democratic victories in the next election than when you see this is what is possible."
In response, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in statement: "Republicans have stood on principle to protect current and future generations of Americans, whether it polled well or not. The success our troops are having in Iraq today is proof positive that our stance was the right one."
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