Washington Quoting repeatedly from Osama bin Laden, President Bush said Tuesday that pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq would fulfill the terrorist leader's wishes and propel him into a more powerful global threat in the mold of Adolf Hitler.
With two months until an Election Day that hinges largely on national security, Bush laid out bin Laden's vision in detail, including new revelations from previously unreported documents. Voters were never more united behind the president than in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, and his speech was designed to convince Americans that the threat has not faded five years later.
Democrats have been increasing their criticism of the president's policies in Iraq as the congressional elections approach, with the latest salvo coming in a letter Monday that suggested he fire Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.
The White House rejected the idea, both in a written response from chief of staff Joshua Bolten and in a lengthy verbal rebuttal from spokesman Tony Snow.
"It's not going to happen," Snow said. "Creating Don Rumsfeld as a bogeyman may make for good politics but would make for very lousy strategy at this time."
To make the administration's strategy more clear, the White House on Tuesday published a 23-page booklet called "National Strategy for Combating Terrorism," which Bush described as an unclassified version of the strategy he's been pursuing since 9-11. The booklet's conclusion: "Since the Sept. 11 attacks, America is safer, but we are not yet safe."
Democrats dismissed Bush's actions as a public relations strategy that avoided real solutions.
"A new glossy strategy paper doesn't take the place of real change that will make our country safer," said Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis.
Bush's speech was the second in a series linked to next week's anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. Bush planned a third speech today from the White House, laying out his plan to change the law so that detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, can be tried for crimes before military commissions.
Also Tuesday, the White House said Bush was extending for one year the national emergency he declared following the 9-11 terrorist attacks because the "terrorist threat continues" and measures adopted to deal with that emergency must remain in effect.