Vice President Dick Cheney picked up a quarter of a million dollars for the Bush/Cheney reelection effort with his appearance last night at a fundraiser at a Des Moines country club. Cheney gave a half-hour-long speech, and most of it was focused on defending the invasion of Iraq. Cheney chastised the media for the way it has characterized a new report on the search in Iraq for weapons of mass destruction. The chief U.S. weapons inspector testified before Congress Thursday, and Cheney said the report offers “overwhelming” evidence that Saddam Hussein had plans to develop biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. Cheney says “there’s no question Hussein had invested billions in developing illegal programs of weapons of mass destruction and don’t let anybody tell you this was not a significant threat.”Cheney said “it’s hard to tell sometimes from what you see in the media what happens out there. I didn’t come here today to beat up on the press. Tempting, but I didn’t. But I sat there last night and read David Kay’s report…and then simultaneously watched some of the news coverage of the session and I didn’t recognize that they were the same thing.” Cheney said the report offered a long list of details which pointed to Iraq’s potential to use weapons of mass destruction, such as a network of labs and safe houses that contained equipment for chemical and biological weapons research as well as biological organisms hidden in a scientist’s home. Cheney said Iowa Republicans should challenge the Democratic presidential candidates on the war issue. Cheney said “it’s important to remind people if they’re tempted to listen to the other side” and ask the Democrats what their strategy is for the war on terror. Cheney said he hasn’t heard a strategy, other than the “turn-the-other-cheek” policy he said was prevalent during the Clinton Administration. Cheney said he doubts the Democrats have a plan for going after al Qaeda and “take them down where they live.” Cheney briefly mentioned the American economy and credited the tax cuts for pulling the economy out of recession. Cheney said “we’ve made significant progress in getting the economy back on track.” He cited a report which found 57-thousand new jobs were created in the past month.
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