WASHINGTON – The Bush administration and its Republican supporters are now fighting back against what they call "weapons of mass distortion," that is, Democratic charges that President Bush misled the country about pre-war intelligence on Iraq.
At the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld quoted President Clinton's view of the former Iraqi leader back in 1998.
Click in the video box to the right to watch a report by FOX News' Jim Angle.
"'I have no doubt today that, left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again,'" Rumsfeld said, quoting the former president. He was referring to weapons such as poison gas that Saddam had used on his own people.
That action alone is one of many reasons that the U.S. Congress made regime change in Iraq official U.S. policy in 1998, Rumsfeld noted.
The defense secretary quoted the act of Congress, which flatly states that Iraq poses a continuing threat to the security of the United States "by continuing to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations."
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., gave his colleagues a 10-page catalogue Tuesday under the heading of "Weapons of Mass Distortion." It lists quotes from Democrats talking about the threat posed by Saddam. Several of the quotes were also posted on a GOP Web site.
"I can support the president. I can support an action against Saddam Hussein because I believe it's in the long-term interests of our national security," Sen.Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., is quoted in an interview with NBC's Tim Russert.
In a March 2003 interview with FOX News' Bill O'Reilly, Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., is quoted saying, "The lessons we learned following September 11 were that we can't wait to be attacked again, particularly when it involves weapons of mass destruction. So regrettably, Saddam has not done the right thing, which is to disarm, and we're left with no alternative but to take action."
Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, Republicans said Democrats are just trying to politicize pre-war intelligence.
"Now, instead of focusing on our work, which we need to be doing, Democrats want to go back and revisit and refight the pre-war intelligence," said Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo.
"All they do is to object and obstruct and attack and distort, complain," said Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss.
Democrats, however, are unrepentant.
"Why is this president striking out, trying to attack his critics? Because, frankly, he's vulnerable. He's vulnerable on the charge that his administration did not level with the American people when it came to the reality of the ground in Iraq before we invaded," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the Senate Minority Whip.
That is the subject of an ongoing analysis by the Senate Intelligence Committee, but relentless attacks from Democrats make clear they're not waiting for the completion of the report.
Republicans have now decided they can no longer sit on the sidelines just wringing their hands as they have been.