Sun, Jun 20, 2004 - Page 7 News List

Bush himself is to blame for chaos in Iraq, Edwards says

REUTERS , HOUSTON

US Senator and possible Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards blasted the Bush administration on Friday for the chaotic aftermath of the Iraq war and said US President George W. Bush, not his underlings, is to blame.

"If you look at what's happening, there's a lot of discussion and debate around the country about Don Rumsfeld and whether the secretary of defense should be fired and whether he should resign," Edwards said in a fiery speech to the Texas Democratic Party annual convention.

"Let me say this very simply -- the person who is responsible is the commander in chief," he said to loud applause from the enthusiastic crowd in Bush's home state.

"Where I come from, we say a fish stinks from the head down," said Edwards, who is from North Carolina.

Edwards is considered one of the top candidates to be Senator John Kerry's running mate in the November election. He praised Kerry profusely and urged the delegates to work hard for his election.

At one point, his speech was interrupted by chants of "V.P., V.P." which brought a smile to his face, but no comment.

Prominent Texas trial lawyer John O'Quinn, wearing a necktie that looked like a US flag, spoke after Edwards and criticized Republicans for questioning the patriotism of Democrats.

He ripped off his tie, held it up and said: "They can put that idea where the sun don't shine."

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