FORD: ATTACKS ON BUSH CRITICS "DISCONCERTING"

FORD: ATTACKS ON BUSH CRITICS "DISCONCERTING"

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While emphasizing that he had not yet acquainted himself with the details of Richard Clarke’s testimony Wednesday before the 9/11 Commission, 9th District U.S. Rep. Harold Ford called the Bush administration’s strident attacks on Clarke and other policy critics “disconcerting” and said they were meant to undermine the integrity of the critics rather than to rebut their facts. Ford, who has declined so far to cast public doubt on the administration’s bona fides concerning Iraq, said in a telephone interview that, “It now appears from what we’ve learned in the last couple of days that the president was determined to go to war in Iraq and may have exaggerated the evidence he had for doing so.” But the congressman focused his concern on the fate of Rick Foster, the chief Medicare actuary, who was allegedly threatened by superiors with firing if he made public his cost estimates of the administration-backed prescription-drugs measure narrowly passed in Congress last December. Foster’s estimates were considerably higher than those pushed by the administration and if accurate, Ford said, put the future of Medicare in jeopardy. “What bothers me in that case and in the case of Clarke is that the administration has not bothered to deal with the policy issues that were raised but has concentrated on attacking the people who have raised questions,” said Ford.

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