Washington, DC – Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid gave the following speech on the Senate Floor tonight.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Tonight the Vice President has come out of his bunker and is speaking at a gathering of Washington DC insiders, which is closed to the press.
“Unfortunately, he brought his bunker mentality with him. He is repeating the same tired attacks we’ve heard from administration officials over the last two weeks.
“In the last 24 hours, 10 of our brave soldiers have been killed in far off Iraq. On such a night, you would think Cheney would give a speech that honors the fallen and those still fighting by laying out a strategy for success.
“Instead we have the Vice President of the United States playing politics like he’s in the middle of a presidential campaign.
“Yesterday, a bipartisan majority of the United States Senate gave the administration a vote of no confidence for its Iraq policy. We said the era of their “No Plan, No End” approach is over.
“Apparently, the White House didn’t get the message. The Vice President’s speech tonight demonstrates once again that this Administration intends to “stay the course” and continue putting their political fortunes ahead of what this country needs –a plan for success.
“Our troops and the American people deserve better.
“The White House needs to understand that deceiving the American people is what got them into trouble. Now is the time to come clean, not to continue the pattern of deceit.
“So again, I ask Vice President Cheney to make himself available and answer the American people’s questions.
“If he has time to talk to DC insiders… oil executives… and a discredited felon – Ahmad Chalabi - who is under investigation for giving this nation’s most sensitive secrets to Iran, he has time to answer the questions of the American people.
“The Vice President needs to stop stonewalling and hold a press conference.
“Finally, I would urge the members of the Bush administration to stop trying to resurrect their political standing by lashing out at their critics. Instead, they need to focus on the job at hand – giving our troops a strategy for success in Iraq.
“Just this week, we’ve seen Stephen Hadley… Donald Rumsfeld… President Bush… and Vice President Cheney lash out at their critics….yet they all remain silent when it comes to giving our troops and the American people a plan for success in Iraq.
“Tired rhetoric and political attacks do nothing to get the job done in Iraq.
“America can do better.”
Originally published on Wednesday November 16, 2005