Kerry Should Admit His Mistake, RNC Says

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

( - Maybe it's time for John Kerry to admit some mistakes of his own, the Republican National Committee suggested in a daily memo to broadcasters.

Sen. Kerry's recent attacks on President Bush -- over missing explosives in Iraq -- are based on disputed data, the RNC noted on Thursday. It noted that there are growing doubts about information leaked to the New York Times and CBS News -- including the amount of explosives that disappeared from Iraq's al Qaqaa munitions depot.

ABC News reported Wednesday night there may have been only three tons of RDX at the al Qaqaa facility -- not the 141 tons mentioned in reports that Kerry has seized upon.

The New York Times (with CBS) reported Monday that 380 tons of HMX and RDX had disappeared -- supposedly because U.S. troops failed to secure the explosives that were known to be at the al-Qaqaa facility.

The Kerry campaign holds Bush accountable -- without knowing whether the explosives were even there when U.S. troops arrived at al-Qaqaa. Subsequent reports suggest that Saddam may have removed the explosives -- maybe with the help of the Russians -- in the run-up to the war.

"It looks like the leaked info serving as the basis for Kerry's 'wild charge' doesn't hold water," the RNC release said.

Moreover, Ambassador Paul Bremer, who headed the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, reminded Fox News on Wednesday that he was in Iraq when Baghdad fell.

According to Bremer, removing a huge amount of explosives from al-Qaqaa at that time "would have required a great deal of organization...It is not something you do overnight with a few looters. The insurgency was not organized. It was not organized until late in the summer. And secondly, I was on the ground there. There was no traffic on the streets."

The RNC also points to an April 3, 2003, CBS News report, which said that a search of the al-Qaqaa facility -- by the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division -- "turned up no high explosives like the ones Kerry accuses the president and U.S. troops of losing, although CBS said the 3rd ID did find "nerve agent antidote and Arabic documents on how to engage in chemical warfare."

"Is there anything at all that supports John Kerry's wild claim on those Iraqi explosives?" the RNC asked.

"People on the ground say it was almost impossible to truck-out tons of explosives once the fighting began. The leaked documents providing the launch pad for Kerry's attack are highly suspect. Our troops were at the site two weeks after the war began and found WMD evidence, but no explosives."

In recent days, Kerry and his campaign repeatedly have called on President Bush to "admit his mistakes."