White House ignores Zapatero comment

March 17, 2004 at 12:37 PM

WASHINGTON, March 17 (UPI) -- The White House turned an official blind eye and deaf ear Wednesday to Spain's prime minister-elect saying he wanted Democrat John Kerry in the White House.

Spokesman Scott McClellan, questioned on reaction to comments by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in London's Guardian newspaper, said he had not seen them and retreated into the mantra of continued cooperation with Madrid in the war on terrorism.

"Obviously there is a time for elections and there is a time for focusing on how we can work together on issues of mutual concern," McClellan said. "We have a strong alliance with Spain and we want to continue to work together against terrorism."

Zapatero's is an ardent critic of the Iraq war and continuing U.S.-led occupation. He has vowed to withdraw Spain's 1,300 soldiers from Iraq.

Zapatero's Socialist Party won the reigns of government Sunday in the aftermath of the al-Qaida linked bombings in Spain on Thursday which are felt to be in retaliation for Spain's cooperation with Washington.

"I think Kerry will win. I want Kerry to win," he reportedly told the British paper.

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