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Democrats’ Comments on Invading Iraq

August 13, 2002 GMT

Comments from potential Democratic presidential candidates on the possibility of military action against Iraq.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle on ABC’s ``This Week″ program early this month:

``We strongly support a regime change, but I think we’ve got to get our ducks in order. Do we have the support of our allies? Do we have an appropriate plan for what happens once the regime change takes place? Do we have the ability to do this logistically? Is the military supportive of the efforts overall? These are all questions that I think have to be addressed.″


Vermont Gov. Howard Dean in a phone interview Monday:

``If Saddam is shown convincingly to have atomic weapons or biological weapons, we must get rid of them. We must have a long-term plan. The president must do two things: First he must convince Americans Saddam has these weapons, and he has not done that, and he has to show us a 10-year-plan because American troops will be in Iraq for 10 years.

North Carolina Sen. John Edwards on CNN’s ``Late Edition″ in February:

``I think that a lot of us, including myself, believe that the regime change in Iraq is going to be necessary, given what’s happened with Hussein, with his not letting the weapons inspectors in, continuing to develop and proliferate weapons of mass destruction. We can’t let this continue, we are going to have to do something. I think people will be very supportive of whatever action is necessary.″

House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt in a June speech to the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars and the Council on Foreign Relations:

``I share President Bush’s resolve to confront this menace head-on. We should use diplomatic tools where we can but military means when we must to eliminate the threat he poses to the region and our own security.″

Al Gore, the 2000 Democratic nominee, to a group of young Democrats in late July:

``I am all for the overthrow of Saddam, but I think that the principle of ‘first things first’ does apply ... and I seriously question why we would be publicly blustering and announcing an invasion a year or two years in advance.″

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry in late July to the Democratic Leadership Council:

``I agree completely with this administration’s goal of a regime change in Iraq. Saddam Hussein is a renegade and outlaw who turned his back on the tough conditions of his surrender put in place by the United Nations in 1991. But the administration’s rhetoric has far exceeded their plans or their groundwork. In fact, their single-mindedness, secrecy and high-blown rhetoric has alienated our allies and threatened to unravel the stability of the region.″

Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman on Fox News Sunday this month:

``Every day Saddam remains in power with chemical weapons, biological weapons and the development of nuclear weapons is a day of danger for the United States of America. I hope that the president and I hope the leadership of Congress will before the end of this year schedule a debate in which we will grant President Bush authority to take action to remove Saddam Hussein. Leave it to the president as commander in chief and to our military when and how to do that.″