Exclusive: Pelosi Says Bush 'Has to Answer for This War'

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There may be a growing battle between Congress and President Bush over the Iraq War strategy, but new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she won't block funding for additional troops.

Pelosi's position, revealed in an exclusive interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer, comes days after a group of senators announced a bipartisan resolution condemning the Bush administration's plan to increase U.S. forces in Iraq by more than 20,000 troops.

While the Senate resolution would be nonbinding, it would send a message to the president, and at least a dozen Republican senators have already offered their support.

In the interview with Sawyer, Pelosi said Democrats in Congress would not be held responsible for putting the soldiers in the troop surge in additional harm's way by blocking funds. She also called the situation in Iraq a "tragedy" and a "stark blunder."

Pelosi also spoke to Sawyer about her breaking ground as the first female speaker of the House.

Sawyer:One hundred hours in, what's the word that you would use for yourself in those first 100 hours? Tough? Determined? What's the word?

Pelosi: Accountable. Democrats came into power. We said we were ready to lead, prepared to govern, and that we would make a difference, and we did what we promised we would do in the first 100 hours, to make our country safer, our economy fairer, and the country energy independent.

Sawyer: As we sit here right now, 3,500 troops are moving in. That's the first of the surge. It has begun. Fifty-one percent of the American people say they want Congress to stop the surge. Money is the method at hand to do that.

Are you going to move to cut off funding for troops going into Iraq as part of the surge?

Pelosi: Democrats will never cut off funding for our troops when they are in harm's way, but we will hold the president accountable. He has to answer for his war. He has dug a hole so deep he can't even see the light on this. It's a tragedy. It's a stark blunder.

It is, I think, very difficult for the president to sustain a war of this magnitude without the support of the American people and without the support of the Congress of the United States. That's why Congress will vote to oppose the president's escalation, from the standpoint of policy. We will have our disagreement.

Sawyer: But short of that -- questions posed, resolutions passed -- short of that, are you acquiescing in the surge if the pocketbook is the only other control mechanism?

Pelosi: The president knows that because the troops are in harm's way, that we won't cut off the resources. That's why he's moving so quickly to put them in harm's way, but we will hold the president accountable. He has to answer for his war.

Sawyer: Are [you] saying that the president deliberately manipulated the timing that he sent the troops in order to avoid congressional action?

Pelosi: Well, I would certainly hope he didn't manipulate the timing of sending the troops in. I think he could have told us about it sooner and invited any comments we might have had, any constructive proposals we might have had. We found out about it as the troops were going in.

Sawyer: You have talked about beginning withdrawals in four to six months. Everyone would like to know, what would you propose that we do if suddenly it looks like a complete conflagration? What is the Democratic plan in the event of that?

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