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Democrats, Republicans Focus on Iraq War


The Democratic Party is interpreting last week's Congressional victories as a reflection that the American people are unhappy with the Republican White House and the Iraq War. But, the question of what the United States should do about Iraq is a subject for hot debate.

The chairman of the Democratic Party, Howard Dean, told Fox News Sunday Americans have made it clear they do not want the United States to, in his words, "stay in Iraq forever."

"We can't have a stay the course mentality," said Howard Dean. "We need to get out of Iraq."

He said U.S. lawmakers in the new Democratic-controlled Congress will be discussing many different kinds of Iraq War scenarios. But he acknowledged that they will still need to work with the White House.

"The truth is the President is still in charge of military and foreign policy," he said. "We need to work with the President to get ourselves out of Iraq."

One day after Tuesday's election, President Bush announced that U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld would be stepping down.

White House chief of staff Josh Bolten pointed to that decision as evidence that the Bush administration is willing to make what he called "course [tactical] adjustments." He spoke on CNN's Late Edition program.

"Nobody can be happy with the situation in Iraq right now," said Josh Bolten. "Everybody's been working hard, but what we have been doing has not worked well enough or fast enough, so it is clearly time to put fresh eyes on the problem."

Meanwhile, Republican Senator John McCain, who has indicated his interest in running for president in 2008, said he believes that pulling out of Iraq is not the answer.

"The question is, 'Is what is the solution?' And I believe that a withdrawal or a date for withdrawal will lead to chaos in the region," said John McCain. "And most military experts think the same thing. I believe there are a lot of things we can do to salvage this, but they all require the presence of additional troops."

He spoke on the NBC television program Meet the Press. On the same show, Senator Joseph Lieberman, who says he still supports the Democratic Party even though he recently left it to become a political Independent, also emphasized that he does not want to see a withdrawal.

"If we pick up and leave, Iran and the terrorists, the extreme Islamist terrorists, will surge in and dominate that country," said Joseph Lieberman. "Then, we will have a real hell in Iraq that will affect the security of the entire Middle East and the United States of America, in our war against the Islamist terrorists."

Lieberman added that success in building a free and independent Iraq would be a significant victory in the larger U.S. war for hearts and minds in the Muslim world.

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