White House candidate John Edwards criticized President Bush in a televised response Thursday for failing to pull out of Iraq, but also spread some of the blame to the Democratic-led Congress.
Edwards’ dual criticisms came in a unique two-minute ad that he paid for on MSNBC and that aired after Bush addressed the nation. Bush said he has agreed to reduce the number of U.S. troops from their highest level of the war, but rejected calls to leave Iraq.
Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina and the 2004 vice presidential nominee, said Congress has the power to end the war by withholding funding that isn’t contingent on a timeline for withdrawal.
“Our troops are stuck between a president without a plan to succeed and a Congress without the courage to bring them home,” Edwards said in the video. It was shot at his home in Chapel Hill, N.C., with an American flag in the background.
“No timeline, no funding. No excuses,” Edwards said. “It is time to end this war.”
Edwards’ campaign refused to say how much it paid for the ad, but industry experts estimated the spot would cost between $100,000 and $150,000. The campaign sent an e-mail to supporters Thursday morning, asking for donations to help pay for it.
Edwards’ criticism of Congress is an indirect challenge to his primary rivals, including Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Barack Obama of Illinois, Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Joe Biden of Delaware.
Dodd spokeswoman Colleen Flanagan responded, “While we admire Mr. Edwards’ willingness to speak out against the war, it would be better if he were still in the Senate, fighting along with Senator Dodd, working to make a real world difference rather than more commentary from the sidelines.”