DULUTH, Minn. – Sen. John Edwards (search), blaming President Bush for a missing cache of explosives in Iraq, said Thursday that "our men and women in uniform did their job, George Bush didn't do his job."
The Democratic vice presidential candidate assailed Bush for criticizing Sen. John Kerry (search) rather than answer questions about the disappearance of nearly 400 tons of high explosives from a military depot in Iraq.
"As he has done over and over for the past four years, George Bush refuses to step up and take responsibility," Edwards said. "It is time for him to step aside and that'the troops in Iraq, not the president, bore the responsibility for searching for the explosives.
"No matter how you try to blame it on the president, the actual responsibility for it really would be for the troops that were there. Did they search carefully enough — didn't they search carefully enough?" Guiliani said on "Today."
Edwards told supporters at a rally at the University of Minnesota that Bush "sent his chief surrogate out to defend the fact that he didn't do anything. And this is what Rudy did, he blamed the troops. He said they didn't do their job. He couldn't be more wrong."
"Let me say this very clearly on behalf of John Kerry and myself: Our men and women in uniform did their job. George Bush didn't do his job," Edwards said.
Later, in a statement, Edwards said that if Bush "is going to have his friends out there blaming the troops, then he needs to back up his claims with evidence." The North Carolina senator called on Bush to show the order that he issued for troops to secure the explosives, "show us the order that your friends accuse our troops of ignoring."
On "Today," Guiliani said the missing weapons episode doesn't support an overall impression that Bush is not willing to accept responsibility for mistakes or admit to them. "I think what it shows is that the president is not willing to put blame on the troops when it isn't clear that they should be blamed. Things go wrong in war," Guiliani said.