Bomb plot fans partisan flames

December 31, 2009|By The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — - The political war over the failed Christmas Day bombing of a U.S. airliner showed no signs of abating Wednesday as leaders of both parties escalated their attacks, employing fiery rhetoric in assessing blame for the Detroit incident.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney led a Republican offensive to assail President Barack Obama's leadership on national security, charging that the American people are less safe because Cheney believes Obama is "pretending" that the United States is not at war with terrorists.

"We are at war and when President Obama pretends we aren't, it makes us less safe," Cheney, one of Obama's strongest critics, said in a statement to Politico. "Why doesn't he want to admit we're at war? It doesn't fit with the view of the world he brought with him to the Oval Office. It doesn't fit with what seems to be the goal of his presidency - social transformation - the restructuring of American society."

Top aides to Obama and Democratic leaders pushed back aggressively, accusing Cheney and other Republicans of politicizing the incident in ways they say Democrats did not during previous terrorist acts.

"Cheney was out there today saying that the president doesn't recognize that we have a war on terror," White House senior adviser David Axelrod said in an interview.

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