Senate reaction to the speech

US senators have reacted to President Bush's speech on the Iraq war.

    Bush had appealed to Americans to support the war in Iraq

    Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat and the Senate minority leader, said: "While I appreciate the president's increased candour, too much of the substance remains the same and the American people have still not heard what benchmarks we must meet along the way to know that progress is being made."

    Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican and the Senate majority leader, said: "I fully agree with the president that while there is always a place for thoughtful dissent here at home, the stakes are too high for us to allow political games and partisanship to detract from our objective of helping establish a free, stable and democratic Iraq."

    Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, said: "It's wrong for [Bush] to attempt to silence his critics by calling them defeatists. And it's wrong for him to gloss over the cherry picking of intelligence that led us to this war. ... The president should acknowledge, as his own generals do, that the Iraq war has emboldened the terrorists and increased their ranks. He should acknowledge, as his own generals do, that our overwhelming presence in Iraq is putting our soldiers, and American citizens, at greater risk."

    Edward Kennedy said Bush was
    wrong in trying to silence critics

    Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House and an Illinois Republican, said: "Any questions about the progress made in Iraq should have been answered by watching this week's historic elections. ... Our troops are getting the job done - and when they do, they will come home."

    Nancy Pelosi, House minority leader and a California Democrat, said: "Tonight the president acknowledged more of the mistakes he has made in Iraq, but he still does not get it. Iraq did not present an imminent threat to the security of the United States before he began his war of choice. The president's speech tonight was further evidence that after almost three years, he still does not understand that crucial fact."

    Roy Blunt, acting House majority leader and a Missouri Republican, said: "The Iraqis this week took a big step toward the advancement of their own democracy, demonstrating that they are serious about peace, democracy and prosperity. As the president reinforced tonight, we will not abandon them now."

    Senator Bill Frist called for
    support on the war in Iraq

    Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat, said: "The president needs to realise that his misguided, Iraq-centric policies are draining our military and intelligence capabilities and are undermining our efforts to combat al-Qaida and its allies."

    John Warner, a Virginia Republican, said: "[Bush] is trying very hard to explain this complex situation to the public. Tonight was a high-water mark in his acknowledgment that mistakes have been made and that he has to accept his share of the blame."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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