Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) responded this morning to Sen. Russ Feingold’s call to censure President Bush over his warrantless spying program. Frist condemned the censure for “the signal that it sends that there is in any way a lack of support” for President Bush, and said he was “hoping deep inside that the leadership in Iran…[was] not listening.” Watch it:
Full transcript below:
STEPHANOPOULOS: You heard Senator Feingold there. He wants Democrats and Republicans to come together on the censure resolution he’ll introduce tomorrow. I can’t imagine you’re going to support that.
FRIST: George, what was interesting in listening to my good friend, Russ, is that he mentioned protecting the American people only one time, and although you went to politics a little bit later, I think it’s a crazy political move and I think it in part is a political move because here we are, the Republican Party, the leadership in the Congress, supporting the President of the United States as Commander in Chief, who is out there fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban and Osama bin Laden and the people who have sworn, have sworn to destroy Western civilization and all the families listening to us. And they’re out now attacking, at least today, through this proposed censure vote, out attacking our Commander in Chief. Doesn’t make sense.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you’re against it. Are you going to allow it to come up for a vote?
FRIST: Well, George, this is the first I’ve heard about it. I really am surprised about it because Russ is just wrong. He is flat wrong. He is dead wrong. And as I was listening to it, I was hoping deep inside that that the leadership in Iran and other people who have the U.S. not in their best interest are not listening because of the terrible signal it sends.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You’re saying that censure resolution weakens America abroad?
FRIST: Yes. Well, I think it does because we are right now in a war, in an unprecedented war, where we do have people who really want to take us down and we think back to 9/11 and that war on terror is out there. So the signal that it sends that there is in any way a lack of support for our Commander in Chief, who is leading us with a bold vision in a way that we know is making our homeland safer is wrong. And it sends a perception around the world and, again, that’s why I’m saying as leader at least of the Republican side of this equation, that it’s wrong, because leadership around the world of our sworn enemies are going to say, well, now we have a little crack there. There is no crack. The American people are solidly behind this president in conducting this war on terror.