GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Wednesday called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Syria outrageous and accused Democrats in Washington of playing politics with Iraq.
“Washington is a broken place right now, dysfunctional in some respects, which has been evidenced by the trip by Nancy Pelosi to Syria, but also evidenced by the failure to deal with overspending,” the former Massachusetts governor said at a news conference in the Iowa statehouse.
Romney’s comments came as Pelosi met with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus over White House objections, and as President Bush and the Democratic congressional majority struggle over the Iraq war. Democrats want to include in a war-spending bill a date for U.S. troop withdrawal. Bush has threatened to veto any measure that includes a timetable.
“I’m going to suggest that the Democrats in Washington provide the funding necessary to support the foreign policy which is established by the president of the United States. It is not up to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to dictate to the commanders in the field or to the commander in chief,” Romney said.
Asked whether he backed Bush’s veto threat, the GOP candidate said he would let the president make his own decision on the tactics he employs to ensure troops are funded. But he took the opportunity of the question to assail Democratic maneuvers in Congress.
“They can have an up or down vote but putting pork projects into a bill or putting in place various nonbinding resolutions in the bill, these are confusing and unnecessary,” Romney said. He then reiterated his support for increasing troop levels in Baghdad.
Romney brought up Pelosi’s trip twice, both times unprompted.
“Frankly, the decision of Nancy Pelosi to go to meet with Assad in Syria is one which I find outrageous,” Romney said, the second time.
Defying Bush, Pelosi, D-Calif., met with the Syrian president Wednesday in an attempt to pressure the Bush administration to open a direct dialogue with the Middle Eastern country. Democrats say the administration’s attempts to isolate Syria have failed to force the Assad government to change its policies.
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