White House Steps Up Rhetoric, Denies Charges

The White House is ramping up the rhetoric against its opponents. President Bush says his Iraq war critics are buying into what he calls "the enemy's propaganda."

The president says those critics somehow think America's "provoking" terrorists by fighting them in Iraq. But he says Iraq's not their real motivation — they just "hate everything America stands for."

President Bush's speech to military officers Friday included his latest blasts at critics following the leak of the National Intelligence Estimate. Democrats seized on the document's finding that Iraq is helping recruit Islamic extremists worldwide.

Thursday, at a GOP fund-raiser, Bush accused Democrats of doing nothing but complaining and obstructing. He said the Democrats have become the "party of cut and run."

But at the same time, the White House was bracing for an onslaught of questions about the new Bob Woodward book, State of Denial.

The book is the third on the Bush presidency by the legendary Washington Post reporter. The first two books were seen as friendly to the president, even admiring. And they were welcomed by the White House.

This one is neither.

At more than 537 pages, the book depicts a Bush White House that has known the war in Iraq is getting worse, not better. It accuses the administration of trying to disguise a rise in attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq.

When Press Secretary Tony Snow began his Friday briefing, the questions about Woodward's book came right away.

Snow responded by offering a critique.

"You know, in a lot of ways, the book's sort of like cotton candy," he said. "It kind of melts on contact."

"We've read this book before," Snow said. "This tends to repeat what we've seen in a number of other books that have been out this year, where people are ventilating old disputes over troop levels."

Snow then said it's wrong to say that President Bush views the war through rose colored glasses.

Snow accused those who talked to Woodward of being in essence disgruntled employees — people who had lost arguments within the administration and were getting their own side of the story out.

But it was also pointed out to the Press Secretary that the White House did not question the accuracy of Woodward's first two books about the administration.

"Are you saying this because you're on the losing side of the argument now," asked Martha Raddatz of ABC News. "Because you're on the losing side of the argument as to why you're defensive as to what's in that book."

"Attacks on our troops are up," Snow said. "That's no secret."

"Are you in a state of denial," Raddatz asked, "do the american public have a sense of what s going on there?"

"I think the American public have a pretty good sense," Snow replied.

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