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Armitage backs off insurgeny-Bush link

Sept. 29, 2004 at 2:25 PM

WASHINGTONQ, D.C., Sept. 29 (UPI) -- U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said Wednesday anti-U.S. attacks ahead of the elections were not targeted at any specific candidate.

Under intense questioning by Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., on comments he made last month in Poland, Armitage said he had "carelessly" answered questions concerning whether Iraqi insurgents were trying to adversely affect President Bush's chances in the Nov. 2 election.

"There is evidence that they're trying to disrupt our elections ... (but) not in favor of either" candidate, he told the House International Relations Committee Tuesday.

In Warsaw on Sept. 17, Armitage had said: "They are trying to influence the election against President Bush."

The remarks in Poland were criticized by Democrats who said Republicans were trying to politicize the violence in Iraq.

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