I keep hearing that Bush has been humbled. Somehow I don't get that impression myself.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The attitude of many Democrats on Iraq -- a quick pullout of U.S. troops -- shows a lack of understanding of world politics and increases the threat of attacks in the United States, President Bush said Monday.
With the midterm congressional election just over two months away, the Republican president said while he doesn't question the patriotism of his Democratic opponents, he strongly disagrees with their opinions on Iraq.
"There are a lot of people in the Democratic Party who believe that the best course of action is to leave Iraq before the job is done. Period. And they're wrong," Bush said at a Washington news conference.
"I will never question the patriotism of somebody who disagrees with me," Bush said. "This has nothing to do with patriotism. It has everything to do with understanding the world in which we live."
Leaving Iraq before a stable democracy is established increases the risk of a domestic attack, Bush said.
"I repeat what our ... our leading general said in the region. He said: 'If we withdraw before the job is done, the enemy will follow us here.' I strongly agree with that," the president said.
Bush criticized political opponents who applauded a federal judge's ruling last week blocking the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping program. The program continues while the administration appeals the ruling.
"Those who heralded the decision not to give law enforcement the tools necessary to protect the American people just simply don't see the world the way we do," he said.
And he chided political opponents for not sharing his vision of how domestic security should be ensured.
"They say, on the one hand, you can't have the tools necessary and herald the fact that you won't have the tools necessary to defend the people and, sure enough, attack would occur, and [they'd] say, 'How come you don't have the tools necessary to defend the people?' "
Voters expect politicians to cooperate in Washington, something he hasn't seen in his time in the Oval Office, Bush said.
"People expect us to come here to solve problems. And thus far, the attitude has been: Let's just kind of ignore what the president has said and just hope somebody else comes and solves it for us," he said.
The president said if he were running now, he would focus on the economy and national security issues.
"I'd be telling people that the Democrats will raise your taxes. That's what they said. I'd be reminding people that tax cuts have worked in terms of stimulating the economy," Bush said.
Bush said the Iraq war has helped improve national security by showing the U.S. is committed to fighting the lack of hope and the resentment that breed terrorism.
And the best way to give people hope is by establishing democracy, he said.
"You don't succeed by leaving before the mission is complete, like some in this political process are suggesting," he said.
Sometimes I wonder if people are making this demand knowing that as long as Bush is around it will not happen. I can not imagine the chaos that would ensue if these people had their way. I think they know that too, deep down.
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