— From NBC's Ken Strickland and Huma Zaidi
In a news conference today, Senate Democratic leaders lashed out against the Bush Administration, as they latched onto claims made in Bob Woodward's book "State of Denial" -- such as the Administration ignoring pleas that more troops were needed in Iraq to quell the insurgency there. These Democrats also renewed calls for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to be fired. Said Carl Levin, ranking member of the Armed Services Committee: "The President has got to end his stubborn insistence that things are going just fine in Iraq." And said Minority Leader Harry Reid: "It's time for the misleading, the mistakes, the misconduct to end."
But at his briefing today, White House press secretary Tony Snow compared Woodward's book to cotton candy, in that it "kind of melts on contact." He said allegations that the Administration ignored advice from military commanders are untrue. "The reason for not going with the suggestion is that the Generals and the military commanders had suggested a different course of action. But on the other hand, if you take a look at the arc of troops during that year, guess what happened? More troops were added during the course of the year," Snow said. "The President has also made it clear that he continues to respond, as Commander-in-Chief, to developments on the ground and to requests from commanders," he added.