Iowa Senator Tom Harkin talked about the war in Iraq and its potential impact on the upcoming election during his weekly teleconference with reporters today (Thursday). Harkin, a democrat, said again he was sorry he voted to go to war, and blames the republican president for his vote.
Harkin says, “We were told things that were just absolutely not true.” Harkin says they were also told the vote was not an authorization to go to war, but an authorization to get U-N inspectors back into Iraq. “Do I regret it? You bet I regret it, because I believed President Bush and I shouldn’t have,” Harkin said.
Harkin says discontent with the war and the Bush administration should make a difference in the November elections. Harkin says he sees the House of Representatives going democratic and the Senate ending up 50-50.
Harkin was asked if he thinks senators and representatives who voted for the war will be hurt in the November election. Harkin says it depends on how they handle the issue. Harkin says he came back to Iowa and apologized for his vote and said it was a mistake. Harkin says he was “misled and I think a lot of us were misled by that . So I think if someone is forthright and tells the truth about why or how they voted on that, I think people will understand.”
Harkin’s Iowa counterpart, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley recently said criticizing the war hurts the morale of U.S. troops. Grassley says Democrat President Franklin Roosevelt was not criticized during World War Two. Harkin said he disagreed with that and quoted Republican Senator Howard Taft’s comments made in 1941.
He quoted Taft as saying, “The maintenance of the right of criticism the long run will do the country maintaining it a great deal more good that it will do the enemy and it will prevent mistakes that might otherwise occur.” Harkin says Taft made those comments just a few days after Pearl Harbor. Harkin also says Democrat Harry Truman held hearings on war profiteering at the height of World War Two.