In a conference call with Speaker Dennis Hastert and conservative bloggers, Majority Leader John Boehner addressed the controversy over his remarks on CNN yesterday. Boehner said, “Let’s not blame what’s happening in Iraq on Rumsfeld… The fact is, the generals on the ground are in charge, and he works closely with them and the president.” Harry Reid has accused Boehner of blaming senior military officers for problems in Iraq and asked him to apologize. Today, Boehner said:
I went out there to do my best to force Kerry to apologize for his insensitive remark about our troops. And I have no doubt that because I was out there punching away at him, this is retribution coming back at me. There’s not a living, breathing person who knows me who doesn’t know that I love our troops, that I support our troops, from the generals all the way down.
We’re in a difficult fight, and if there’s somebody we ought to be blaming for our problems in Iraq, why the hell don’t we blame the terrorists? They’re the ones who are increasing the pressure in Iraq as we lead up to Ramadan, as they have in the past, and I have no doubt that this increased pressure also has something to do with the fact that we’ve got elections coming up. I’m a big supporter of the troops. I think they’re brave, I think they’ve done a great job, and I have nothing to apologize for.