White House does not budge on Cheney comments

The White House on Thursday refused to give any ground in a row between Vice President Cheney and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) after the Speaker tried to reach out to President Bush to complain about comments Cheney had made about her and Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.).

The White House on Thursday refused to give any ground in a row between Vice President Cheney and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) after the Speaker tried to reach out to President Bush to complain about comments Cheney had made about her and Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.).

The vice president said in an interview in Japan on Wednesday that "if we were to do what Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Murtha are suggesting, all we'll do is validate the al Qaeda strategy."

That comment resulted in a stinging response from Pelosi, who accused Cheney of continuing to "question the patriotism of those of us in Congress who challenge the Bush administration's misguided policies in Iraq."

Pelosi added that Cheney's "latest attack is beneath the office of the vice president, especially at a time of war."

The Speaker added that she hopes Bush "will repudiate and distance himself from the vice president's remarks," and she tried to call the president Wednesday to discuss the issue. Pelosi failed to get Bush on the line but talked to White house Chief of Staff Josh Bolten.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino rejected the notion that Cheney was questioning the patriotism of Pelosi or Murtha.

"He was questioning the strategy," Perino told reporters aboard Air Force One. "And anyone who puts forward a strategy has to be able to explain the consequences of those actions if they were to move forward."

She added that both Bush and Cheney believe that Pelosi's and Murtha's plan "would leave the region in chaos." 

- Klaus Marre