Dems Blast Bush for 'Bring 'Em On' Remark
President Bush addresses a reporter as he leaves Sunday services at St. John's Church on Sunday, July, 6, 2003. The President is celebrating his 57th birthday today. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
July 7, 2003 09:14 AM EDT
WASHINGTON - Democrats blasted President Bush on Sunday for his recent tough talk on Iraq. One White House hopeful said the leader of the free world sounded more like a gang leader.
Last week, Bush lashed out at those attacking American troops, saying "bring 'em on" as he vowed to stay the course in Iraq with a military capable of handling the situation.
Al Sharpton, the New York clergyman who's running for the Democratic nomination in 2004, demanded that Bush apologize to U.S. forces and their families.
"For the president to say, `bring it on,' almost like daring and provoking Iraqis to kill American soldiers, he sounds more like a gang leader in South-Central L.A. than one that is trying to institute a policy of democracy and reconstruction in the world," Sharpton said on CBS' "Face the Nation."
The top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, agreed that Bush's tone was over the top.
"I think that it's perfectly proper for the president to say that he has confidence in our troops. But it seems to me unwise to engage in this kind of cocky rhetoric, because it's not going to be helpful ... either with our troops or in bringing in other countries into this issue," said Levin, speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press."
The Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Sen. John Warner, R-Va., chairman of the Armed Services panel, said the president was doing nothing more than rallying the troops.
"I probably would have said it another way, and I think the president would have too if he had a little more time to think about it," Roberts said on CNN's "Late Edition." But "I think that the statement was aimed more to the troops ..., saying, `You're doing a good job. Keep up the good work. There is no peer to the American forces,' et cetera et cetera."
And Warner said on "Meet the Press" that Bush's message was simply that "'Each one of you, from the privates to the general, you've got the right stuff, the right training, and you know what to do.' It was not a taunting message