Spain’s new president says he wants to pull his country’s troops out of Iraq, but Iowa Congressman Jim Leach says it’s hard to tell if this is an isolated case of unrest among U.S. allies. He says we don’t know, and everyone is piecing it together. He says the recent terrorist bombing in Spain was a “seminal event,” bringing substantial terrorism to the heart of a European capital. He says how the government handled it was also a factor. Leach,a republican, says the situation in Spain could have a big impact on terrorism. He says one of the tragic aspects of the government shifting power in Spain is that it might be perceived by the terrorists as vindicating terrorism itself. He says it might signal them that if they do terrorist acts in other countries, it might cause a change in government due to citizen concern. Leach says he believes the U.S. has to push for quicker action in Iraq. He says that action should be based on creating a new democratic government in Iraq.He says if you have deadlines for elections, those deadlines become the basis for the withdrawal of troops. He says if you set deadlines based on troop withdrawal, you may end up being in the country longer than you would like. Democrat John Kerry has said in his campaign that some foreign leaders have told him they would like to see Kerry elected over President Bush. Leach, says it’s pure speculation. He says he’d be confident there would be some foreign leaders who would vastly prefer President Bush, and others that would prefer another leader. Leach says that’s true of the American public, as he says he expects this to be a close election. Leach says, “luckily foreign leaders don’t vote here.” Radio shock-jock Howard Stern came up in the conversation about the election. Stern has been highly critical of the president since Stern’s program was pulled from several cities over indecency concerns. Leach was asked how much impact Stern might have on the election. He says he thinks the president would be happy to run an election if the opponent were Howard Stern. Leach however says he’s not thought through the “political dimension” of how that might work out. Leach made his comments in a conference call with reporters.
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