Concord, N.H. — Democratic presidential hopefuls stepped up their criticism of President Bush Thursday, saying the commander in chief's "bring them on" comment regarding Iraqi forces amounted to taunting the enemy.
During a campaign appearance in New Hampshire, Dick Gephardt said Bush's comments were hardly presidential, and he complained that the president had not leveled with the American people about how tough the war's aftermath would be.
Last fall, Gephardt, then the House Minority leader, worked with the administration in crafting a congressional resolution that would give Bush the authority to use military force to oust Saddam Hussein and rid Iraq of its weapons.
But Gephardt has been critical of Bush since major combat ended, and took issue with the comments the president made Wednesday. Bush said American troops under fire in Iraq weren't about to pull out, and he challenged those considering attacks on U.S. forces, saying "bring them on."
"He's president -- you don't taunt the enemy," Gephardt said.