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Bush Says Survey Shows Upbeat View

September 24, 2004|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — President Bush on Thursday countered gloomy assessments of the situation in Iraq by citing a survey that suggested that Iraqis were more upbeat about their future than Americans were about theirs.

"I saw a poll that said the right track-wrong track in Iraq was better than here in America," Bush said in a Rose Garden appearance with interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

"It was pretty darn strong. I mean, the people see a better future," he said. He was responding to a question about polls showing that a majority of Iraqis view the Americans as occupiers, not liberators in their violence-torn country.

The president's remark was derided by Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, running mate of Bush's Democratic rival, Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts. "I'm telling you, George W. Bush needs to come back to planet Earth and get out of fantasy land," Edwards said in Davenport, Iowa.

Bush was referring to a survey by the International Republican Institute, a nonprofit group aimed at promoting democracy, which showed that more than 51% of Iraqis felt their country was headed "in the right direction." Thirty-one percent said it was headed in the wrong direction.

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