WASHINGTON — President Bush on Sunday described as "uncivil" Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's critical remarks of the administration's policies in Iraq.
Kennedy (D-Mass.) said last week the case for going to war against Iraq was a fraud "made up in Texas" to give Republicans a political boost. The longtime senator also alleged that the money for the war is being used to bribe foreign leaders to send troops.
In an Oval Office interview with Fox News' Brit Hume, Bush said that while he respected Kennedy, the senator "should not have said we were trying to bribe foreign nations."
"I don't mind people trying to pick apart my policies, and that's fine and that's fair game," Bush said in the interview that will air tonight. "But, you know, I don't think we're serving our nation well by allowing the discourse to become so uncivil that people say -- use words that they shouldn't be using."
Kennedy's comments, part of the drumbeat of criticism Bush has received lately from Democrats, were described as a "new low" by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Kennedy dismissed DeLay's comments, saying that GOP leaders are avoiding questions about Bush's policies "by attacking the patriotism of those who question them."
Kennedy elaborated on his comments in an interview on CNN Friday, saying the administration is announcing an $8.5-billion loan to Turkey, and that country will then provide military assistance in Iraq.
"It didn't have to be this way," he said. "We wouldn't have to be providing these billions of dollars to these countries to ... coerce them or bribe them to send their troops in, if we'd done it the right way, if we'd gone to the United Nations, if we had built an international constituency."