WASHINGTON, July 4 (UPI) -- Democrats are criticizing President Bush's "bring 'em on" remark as a dare for militants to attack U.S. troops in Iraq.
White House Pess Scretary Ari Fleischer said Bush was only expressing his faith in the strength and capability of U.S. forces when, talking about militant attacks, he made that remark, CNN reported.
Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri, who is seeking the Democratic 2004 presidential nomination, said the president should stop with the "phony, macho rhetoric."
Fleischer said that Bush "expressed it, said it, because he views it as a way to express confidence in the forces." CNN said that privately, more than one White House official acknowledged that, at a minimum, the Bush line was open to misinterpretation.
Gephardt said in a statement, "We need a serious attempt to develop a postwar plan for Iraq and not more shoot-from-the-hip one-liners."
Another Democatic contender, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, called the comment "unwise (and) unworthy of the office."