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Fox Audience: Dems Need a Plan

Reported by Judy - March 24, 2006

Fox News' live audience show "Dayside" on Friday (March 24, 2006) featured Rep. Harold Ford talking about George Bush's "Happy Iraq" tour, but even this supporter of Bush's war had to face a question about the Demcrats' plans for straightening out the mess Bush created.

"Dayside" co-host Juliet Huddy asked Ford, a Tennessee Democrat, about Bush critics who say he has lost control of the war because of recent remarks by Bush that troop levels in Iraq will be up to the next president. Ford suggested Bush looked out of control because he denied there is a civil war in Iraq even though the prime minister of Iraq says there is one, as well as because of his comments about troop levels being up to the next president.

"If the president wants to punt that (decision), then it’s reasonable for people to raise serious questions about whether he is exerting the kind of leadership that we’re gong to need to win this and to give the Iraqi people a chance to govern themselves and concomitantly our troops an ability to reduce our presence," Ford said.

A stronger argument for Bush, Ford said, would have been to say, "We can’t leave now because if we do, Iran is the real winner. You give them a Saddam-less Iraq. … We give them an iraq where America and Israel are despised now more than they have been in a generation. An Iran that's building a nuclear weapon, and a U.S. military that in many ways is trying to figure out its way in the Middle East. This is not the time to leave."

Instead of saying that, however, Ford said Bush "has done more in the last few days to dampen enthusiasm and confidence in the American people. ... Few people believe he has a coherent and firm strategy. The greatest threat we face in winning in Iraq is if the American people lose confidence. Because if we lose confidence ... we can't stay there in full force. I think he has to explain why we have to be there. And if his answer for us being there, is number one, there is not a civil war, and it's clear from the Iraqi leadership that there is a civil war underway, and two, that he is just waiting for the next president to make a determination about troop levels, I think it's fair for his critics ... to raise that."

"Dayside" then went to its audience for questions, with the first one coming from a man who asked: "We hear a lot of negative talk from Democrats. What would be your plan that would be different from what the president is doing?"

Ford had already said he would fire Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. "I like Don Rumsfeld, but if he worked in the real world, he would be fired by now. If he was the CEO of a company that promised we would have sales at this level, and we would have employee morale at this level, and we would have errors reduced to a certain level -- he's been wrong on everything. I think that would raise confidence levels among those who believe we have to win and that a new strategy can be put in place," Ford said.

That apparently wasn't good enough for the guy in the audience, so Ford said besides getting a new secretary of defense, he would listen to the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, who has been calling for a summit of world leaders on the Iraqi situation. "There is no advantage to having a monopoly on misery in Iraq. We shouldn't want that," he said. Ford also said he would establish a strategy to get the U.S. off Middle Eastern oil.

This demand that Democrats have a plan is interesting. Wouldn't it have been better if George Bush would have had a plan going into Iraq? Bush screws up everything and it's the Democrats who get criticized for not having a plan.

I guess the first question ought to be, what exactly is Bush's plan? What is the plan from the guy in charge? Tell me that, then I'll tell you what I'd change.

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