Reid to Bush: ‘We Are Speaking for the American People’

By Nitya

Apr 10, 2007 1:27pm

ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf Reports: After President Bush made his bipartisan invitation, Democratic leaders huddled up to deliver a rebuttal.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., did not take kindly to Bush’s invitation. He didn’t say he would reject the invitation, but bristled at what he described as "preconditions."

"The president is inviting us down to the White House with preconditions," Reid said. "Things are not OK in Iraq.  As the Pope said on Easter Sunday, a slaughter is taking place in Iraq.  The Pope further said nothing good is coming from Iraq. The president must realize that.  He has to deal with Congress. We are an independent branch of this government, and by our Constitution we have equal say that he has.  And he’s got to listen to us.  Because we are speaking for the American people; he isn’t."

Reid pointed out that he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote a letter to the President on March 28 as the Senate was poised to pass its version of the supplemental asking for frank negotiation on the supplemental.

Back on March 28th, Reid said "Our phones are open, we look forward to working with him, day or night."

Today, Reid said: "He wants to go down there and say, ‘I want a clean bill.’  That’s not negotiating. I mean, I am — prided myself on being a pretty good lawyer, trial lawyer.  I’ve settled lots and lots of cases.  But you never settle a case going in saying, ‘You can come and meet with me, but here’s what the result’s going to be before we meet.’  That doesn’t work. And the president has to realize it doesn’t work in the practice of law, it doesn’t work in the business world and it doesn’t work in government."

Earlier in the presser, Reid said, "We must fight a more effective war on terror.  That’s what Congress is demanding, and the president should be leading us in that direction, not threatening vetoes. Democrats are determined to make sure the troops have the funds they need, just like we were the ones who demanded that they have sufficient body armor, up-armor on the Humvees and other vehicles."

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