The democratic presidential candidates say President Bush needs to use the momentum created by Saddam Hussein’s capture to recapture the hearts of allies who’ve not participated in the war in Iraq. Massachusetts Senator John Kerry appeared in a live, half-hour-long forum broadcast on seven television stations on Sunday, and right out of the box he called Hussein’s capture “monumental.” Kerry says it’s an important event for Iraq and our soldiers, but Kerry says “we deserve diplomacy that’s as good as our troops.” Kerry says it’s a “great moment” for the President to reach out to the world and convince other countries that they have a stake in the outcome in Iraq. Kerry says nothing will advance the cause further than to expand the military coalition and reduce the sense that the U.S. is occupying a Middle Eastern country.Kerry says the capture of Hussein is a “great moment,” but it’s not at the center of the war on terror. Kerry says the focus should be on al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations and improving relationships with other allies. Kerry says the Bush Administration’s approach to the war on terror “is creating more terrorists and making us less safe.” Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean has opposed the war in Iraq. In a prepared statement, Dean said Hussein’s capture gives President Bush an opportunity to “set a new course and take the American label off the war” by getting other nations involved. Dean says now that the dictator is captured, the transition from occupation to full Iraqi sovereignty would be accelerated. Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt voted to give Bush authority to wage war in Iraq, and he calls Hussein’s capture a “major step toward stabilizing Iraq and building a new democracy.” Gephardt, though, warned that the war on terrorism is unfinished and will be a “long and difficult struggle” that will require greater support from other allies. North Carolina Senator John Edwards says the military has accomplished a great success, and now President Bush should “use this opportunity to chart a course in Iraq that will bring in our allies in a meaningful way.” Edwards will deliver a speech on foreign policy in Des Moines this morning at 10 a.m.
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