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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Cheney: War Critics Dishonest

WASHINGTON -- In the sharpest White House attack yet on critics of the Iraq war, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said Wednesday that accusations the Bush administration manipulated intelligence to justify the war were a "dishonest and reprehensible" political ploy.

Cheney called Democrats "opportunists" who were peddling "cynical and pernicious falsehoods" to gain political advantage.

Democrats cried foul, but President George W. Bush, at a news conference in Kyongju, South Korea, defended Cheney. He said it was "patriotic as heck" to disagree with him but that Democrats were irresponsible for accusing him of misleading Americans about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

The comments were the latest salvo in an aggressive White House counterattack launched as Democrats step up their criticism of the war.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada responded that "tired rhetoric and political attacks do nothing to get the job done in Iraq."

Reid, who has led the push for a probe into the intelligence, said that Cheney's speech showed "this administration intends to 'stay the course' and continue putting their political fortunes ahead of what this country needs -- a plan for success."