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Democrats Stick to Their Guns on the War

From NBC's Mike Viqueira
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is sticking to Democratic themes on Iraq and September 11 today, even as Republicans move swiftly to pass President Bush's detainees legislation, with a vote now scheduled for the week after next. Pelosi calls the invasion of Iraq "an historic blunder" and says that "we pulled our punch" by not focusing more exclusively on Afghanistan in fighting the war on terror. She disparages the Administration's approach, declaring that without a greater emphasis on diplomacy in the Middle East, "we will never win their hearts and minds." Osama bin Laden "is still on the loose," she adds. "The President said 'you can run but you cannot hide'... Apparently he could."

Asked whether Democrats would launch a series of investigations of the Bush Administration should they win the majority in November, Pelosi said, "If your point is that we are going to be bogged down in the past, disabuse yourself of that notion." Republicans have warned voters that a Democratic takeover would mean endless committee inquiries into Administration conduct, including possible impeachment proceedings.

Meanwhile, House Republicans say there's no doubt that they will pass a version of the detainee legislation sought by the President before Congress leaves town for the campaign recess scheduled to begin on September 29. "We're not going to to go campaigning and leave Khalid Shiakh Mohammed hanging around without a way to bring him to justice," said one top aide this morning. Hearings on detainee policy are being held today. And Rep. Duncan Hunter (R), who will shepherd the detainee bill through the House, delivered a long speech on the House floor last night defending Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and slamming Democrats who "sip their lattes and find themselves comfortable" while Republicans keep America safe by implementing a policy of "peace through strength."