Snow Dismisses Gordon Smith’s Criticisms Of Iraq Policy, Says Senator Is Just Being ‘Emotional’


Last week, Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) — who originally supported the war in Iraq — delivered a scathing indictment of President Bush’s policy in Iraq, stating it “may even be criminal.” Yesterday on ABC This Week he called it a “dereliction” and “deeply immoral.”

The administration isn’t taking him very seriously. Today, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow dismissed the comments, stating that “politics are emotional.” When the reporter questioned whether Snow was “saying Republican Senator Smith is not in favor of democracy,” Snow replied, “I don’t know.” Watch it:


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QUESTION: You’re just going to blow it off. A Republican senator is saying that president’s policy may be criminal and it’s immoral and you’re just saying…

SNOW: What would you like me to say? Should I…

QUESTION: Don’t you think you should answer for that? You’re saying — you said from this podium over and over that the strategy is victory, right?

SNOW: And it continues to be.

QUESTION: And you have a Republican senator saying there is no clear strategy, that you don’t have a strategy.

SNOW: Well, let’s let Senator Smith hear what the president has to say. We understand that this is a time where politics are emotional in the wake of an election. And you know what? Senator Smith is entitled to his opinion.

But I’m not sure exactly what you would like…

QUESTION: How about answering the central thrust about the strategy, not about…

SNOW: OK, the strategy’s pretty simple. If you take a look, for instance — if you take a look at the Baker-Hamilton commission report, what do they talk about? They talk about building greater capability on the part of the Iraqis, so that you can have an Iraqi government that governs itself, sustains itself, defends itself, is an ally in the war on terror, is a democracy.

I don’t think it’s immoral to be a democracy. I don’t think it’s immoral to have state that is able to stand up and defend itself against acts of terror. I don’t think it’s immoral to defend the Iraqi people against acts of terrorism aimed at Muslims.

QUESTION: And the senator’s not saying that’s immoral. He’s saying that the U.S. — he’s saying, of course…

SNOW: That’s the U.S. policy. You know what? I’ll tell you what. You’re engaging in an argument, and you’re trying to fill in the gaps…

QUESTION: It’s a Republican senator saying it, not me. And he’s not — of course he’s in favor of democracy.

SNOW: I understand that. Then tell me exactly…

QUESTION: Are you saying Republican Senator Smith is not in favor of democracy?

SNOW: Well, I don’t know.