Top Dem: Obama like Cheney on Iraq

A senior House Democrat likened President Barack Obama to former Vice President Dick Cheney over his handling of the war in Iraq.

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), the former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee who's been plagued by ethics investigations, compared the Democratic president to the former Republican vice president in an interview with the New York Daily News.

Rangel blasted Obama for having stayed in Iraq to continue the war initiated by the preceding administration, accusing the president of being there for oil — a refrain leveled often by Democrats against Bush during the Iraq war.

"We are trying to buy our friends there," Rangel told the Daily News. "Stuff like that makes Cheney look good."

The veteran lawmaker is seeking reelection to his seat from the Harlem district he's held since winning in 1970, making him one of the most senior Democrats in the House. He's facing several primary challenges in the wake of ethics investigations into how he had reported some tax and income figures, as well as disclosure of corporate-funded trips.

With that in mind, Rangel hammered away at the president in kicking off his reelection bid in the heavily Democratic district.

"I challenge anyone to tell me we aren't there because of the oil," Rangel said of the U.S. engagement in Iraq. "The lack of an honest explanation [for the war] is consistent with Bush and Cheney."