Feinstein Asks Bush About White House Role in Allawi Speech
Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush should say whether Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi was coached by the White House or Bush campaign when he gave Congress an optimistic account last week of security in his homeland, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein said.
Feinstein, a California Democrat, said in a letter to Bush she felt ``profound dismay'' after reading reports, including one in the Washington Post, that Allawi received help with the speech from White House and Republican campaign aides. Allawi assured a joint session of the Senate and House that Iraq would be secure enough to hold elections in January.
``To learn that this was not an independent view, but one that was massaged by your campaign operatives jaundices the speech and reduces the credibility of his remarks,'' said Feinstein. She voted in favor of authorizing Bush to use force in Iraq when the Senate on Oct. 11, 2002, passed the resolution.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan on Sept. 28 said he wasn't aware of any help presidential assistants gave Allawi. ``None that I know of,'' he said in response to reporters in Washington. ``No one at the White House.''
White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan referred to McClellan's remarks today when asked about Feinstein's letter.
At least 46 people were killed and 137 injured by explosions in Baghdad today, Iraqi and U.S. officials said. Most casualties occurred in three coordinated car bombings, and 35 of the dead were children, the Associated Press reported
Democrats such as Delaware Senator Joseph Biden questioned Allawi's assertions about security in Iraq, noting insurgents continue to kidnap foreigners and attack U.S. soldiers.
In her letter, Feinstein asked Bush about the Washington Post's report that Dan Senor, a former spokesman for the U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority who now makes appearances on behalf of the Bush campaign, helped Allawi rehearse his speech in New York.
The articles also said officials from the British Foreign Service and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad coached Allawi on his delivery and aided with the speech's text.