Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and his running mate, John Edwards, are trying to backtrack on their support of the war in Iraq.
Kerry and Edwards reviewed the same prewar intelligence on Iraq that was given to President Bush, and both supported the decision to go to war, Cheney said. Last week, a Senate panel determined that intelligence was flawed.
“Now it seems they’ve both developed a convenient case of campaign amnesia,” Cheney said during a $500-per-plate breakfast fund-raiser for a Republican congressional candidate.
He said the Democratic senators “are criticizing the president for looking at the same information that they did and coming to the same conclusion that they did. If the president was right, and he was, then they are simply trying to rewrite history for their own political purposes.”
Bush and Cheney 'are the ones with amnesia'
Responding directly to Cheney’s criticism, Kerry campaign spokesman Chad Clanton said Bush and Cheney “are the ones with amnesia. It’s as if they’ve forgotten that they’re go-it-alone foreign policy has made America bear the overwhelming share of casualties and costs in Iraq.”
In Boston, Kerry, who voted for the war, said he and Edwards were proud of the fact that they opposed the $87 billion aid package for Afghanistan and Iraq “when we knew the policy had to be changed. We had to get it right. We needed other countries involved. We needed to reach out to our allies. We needed to put other boots on the ground. The job of the president is to have the maximum ability for success and the minimum risk and cost to the American people.”
Following the Senate panel’s report critical of prewar intelligence, Kerry and Edwards called the CIA’s work slipshod but declined to answer a hypothetical question of whether they would have voted against the congressional resolution authorizing force based on what they know now. They made the comment in an interview with The New York Times.
The Senate Intelligence Committee report concluded that the CIA provided unfounded assessments of the threat posed by Iraq with weapons of mass destruction.
Monday’s breakfast, which raised about $200,000 for the campaign of Charles W. Dent, who is vying for the open seat in Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District, was the first stop of Cheney’s daylong swing through Pennsylvania.