Dems Accused of Turning 'Obstructionism' Into Fund-Raising Appeal

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

( - Sen. Barbara Boxer, the California Democrat who suggested that Dr. Condoleezza Rice lied to the nation in her effort to "sell" the Iraq war, is now trumpeting her "tough" questioning of Rice in a fund-raising appeal to Democrats.

The Republican National Committee called Boxer's actions "an interesting prism for viewing the Democratic Party."

In a Jan. 25 message requesting donations to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Boxer wrote, "The Republicans were expecting the Senate to confirm Dr. Rice with little debate and questioning from the Foreign Relations Committee. They didn't count on me to ask the tough questions."

At the televised confirmation hearing on Jan. 18, Boxer told Rice, "I personally believe ... that your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell this war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth."

Rice defended herself, saying, "I have to say that I have never, ever, lost respect for the truth in the service of anything." Later, Rice told Boxer, "Senator, we can have this discussion in any way that you would like, but I really hope that you will refrain from impugning my integrity."

Boxer was widely criticized for suggesting that Dr. Rice lied. But Boxer now describes her behavior as "taking a stand" and taking her senatorial "advise and consent role" seriously.

"That's why I took a stand last week and voiced my concerns about Dr. Rice's misleading statements leading up to the war in Iraq and beyond," Boxer said in the DSCC fund-raising letter.

"I will continue to make my voice heard on the Senate Foreign Relations committee, but in order to put the brakes on four more years of misdirection in Iraq and reckless policies at home, we need to elect more Democrats to the Senate during the 2006 midterm elections." Readers at this point are invited to "click here" to contribute to the DSCC.


In a response to Boxer turning her "obstructionism" into a fund-raising appeal, the Republican National Committee issued the following statement:

"While President Bush and Republicans in Congress are working to implement the agenda on which they campaigned by strengthening Social Security, lowering healthcare costs and winning the War on Terror, the Democrats led by Sen. Boxer are sending out self-aggrandizing fundraising letters proudly bragging about their obstructionism.

"Sen. Harry Reid's refusal to condemn these tactics shows that Sen. Boxer and her message of obstructionism have become the new face of the Democratic Party," the Republican message concluded.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Reid said he was "not familiar" with Boxer's letter on behalf of Senate Democrats.

Sen. Boxer is not the only Democrat to rise in objection to Rice's nomination as secretary of state. As many as a dozen Democrats have said they plan to vote against her nomination.

In Tuesday's nine-hour debate, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) had sharp criticism for Rice, accusing her of giving "false reasons" for going to war in Iraq.

Sen. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.) said a number of Bush administration officials have lied about the reasons for going to war in Iraq. He said Dr. Rice is among those who "have been instrumental in deceiving Congress and the American people."

Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich) said Rice "clearly overstated and exaggerated the intelligence concerning Iraq before the war in order to support the president's decision to initiate military action against Iraq."

And Sen. Robert Byrd said, "Dr. Rice responsible for some of the most overblown rhetoric that the administration used to scare the American people into believing that there was an imminent threat from Iraq."

Some Democrats, however, rose in defense of Rice and President Bush's right to choose his Cabinet.

Senate leaders predict that Dr. Rice will be confirmed, now that the anti-war venting is over.

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