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Democrats Question Bush Leadership


Opposition Democrats are trying to strengthen their national security credentials ahead of this year's U.S. Congressional elections. President Bush has been giving a series of speeches meant to reassure Americans that his strategy for success in Iraq is vital to security at home.

America's opposition party launched a new national security strategy this past week, in hopes of making gains on an issue President Bush has dominated since the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

In the Democratic Party's weekly radio address, retired General Wesley Clark -- who was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, and may run again in 2008 -- said the nation is endangered by what he calls the president's mistaken policies and priorities.

"This administration has taken us on a path to nowhere, replete with hyped intelligence, macho slogans and an incredible failure to see the obvious. It started with a fight we didn't finish against Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, and included a war we didn't have to fight in Iraq," said General Clark.

President Bush says he was right to invade Iraq, because the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein in power. He continued a series of speeches this past week to show that his strategy for success in Iraq is making progress.

"I wish I could tell you the violence in Iraq is waning, and that all the tough days in the struggle are behind us," said Mr. Bush. "They are not. There will be more tough fighting ahead, with difficult days that test the patience and resolve of our country. Yet, we can have faith in the final outcome."

President Bush says he knows the work in Iraq is difficult, but he feels strongly that success there is vital to U.S. security.

Democrats are trying to capitalize on falling public support for the war in Iraq and for the president's leadership. A new Time magazine poll shows the president's approval rating at 37 percent, the lowest that survey has recorded.

Republicans say there is little new in the Democrats' new security strategy, that U.S. troops in Iraq are making progress, and politicians there understand the urgency of forming a government of national unity.

In his own weekly radio address Saturday, President Bush turned to domestic issues, defending his record tax cuts, saying they have helped stimulate the U.S. economy. President Bush wants all his tax cuts made permanent to maintain productivity and consumer confidence.