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WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement regarding this morning’s speech by President Bush on Iraq:
“Once again, the President missed an important opportunity to articulate, in detail, what his strategy for success is in Iraq. His comments this morning were more of the same vague generalities that he has invoked in the past, buttressed by positive anecdotes. However, anecdotes do not constitute a plan. Nor do they convey the real-world challenges on the ground.
“It is clear that the American people are demanding more than the President is willing to deliver, and their legitimate concerns about our current strategy in Iraq are being driven by their conclusion that the Administration’s efforts are failing.
“The President does himself no good when he describes ‘amazing progress’ in Iraq, without even acknowledging that two-third of Iraqis lack electricity, oil production is below pre-war levels, and unemployment is estimated to be as high as 40 percent.
“The President needs to understand that he does not enjoy a deep well of credibility on Iraq – not after gross miscalculations on weapons of mass destruction, not after claiming that our troops would be greeted as liberators, and not after telling the American people that Iraq would pay for its own reconstruction. These miscalculations, and the unwillingness to acknowledge them, are the very reason that his descriptions are being met with great skepticism by the American people and Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.
“The President’s speech today will not be long remembered. In contrast, the Iraqi elections in eight days could go down in history as an absolutely seminal event in that nation’s history, and we must do everything within our power to try to convince all factions of their stake in the democratic process.”