Joe Biden had some tough words for President Bush Tuesday.
(CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who has criticized the White House for their “fixation” on Iran, called the president’s tough comments Tuesday on that nation’s nuclear program a “charade” in light of a newly-released assessment of Tehran’s nuclear capabilities.
The report said that Iran halted its development of a nuclear weapon four years ago.
President Bush said Tuesday that he only learned of the 2003 intelligence assessment last week. In remarks at a White House press conference, the president also said the report shows that Iran could again try to acquire nuclear weapons and remains dangerous, adding that the international community should keep up its pressure on Tehran over its nuclear program.
“I refuse to believe that,” said Biden, speaking on the campaign trail in Iowa. “If that’s true, he has the most incompetent staff in modern American history and he’s one of the most incompetent presidents in modern American history.”
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman linked the administration’s conduct to its actions before the Iraq war, saying that “for this president to knowingly disregard or once again misrepresent intelligence about the issue of war and peace, I find outrageous. [T]his is exactly what he did, exactly what he did in the run-up to the war in Iraq, in consistently exaggerating the intelligence.”
“If past is prologue, I do not trust this administration,” said Biden. “I do not trust them to level with us. I do not trust them to tell us the truth.” The senator has said that if the administration goes to war with Iran, President Bush should be impeached.
The White House response was muted. “Sounds like someone’s running for president,” said Press Secretary Dana Perino. “The RNC can therefore provide more comment.”
RNC spokesman Brian Walton added, “Apparently Joe Biden has seen recent polling that shows his statistical insignificance and is looking for relevance in the debate by offering heated rhetoric.”
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser