Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bush says bin Laden tape aided re-election

Bush says bin Laden tape aided re-election: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush said his 2004 re-election victory over Sen. John Kerry was aided by Osama bin Laden, who issued a taped diatribe against him the Friday before Americans went to the polls, The Examiner newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Bush said there were "enormous amounts of discussion" inside his campaign about the 15-minute tape, which he called "an interesting entry by our enemy" into the presidential race.

Bush's comments in the Washington newspaper were excerpts from the new book "Strategery" by Bill Sammon, a long-time White House correspondent.

"What does it mean? Is it going to help? Is it going to hurt?" Bush told Sammon of the bin Laden tapes. "Anything that drops in at the end of a campaign that is not already decided creates all kinds of anxieties, because you're not sure of the effect.

"I thought it was going to help," Bush said. "I thought it would help remind people that if bin Laden doesn't want Bush to be the president, something must be right with Bush."

In an ABC News interview before leaving on a visit to India and Pakistan, Bush said he was optimistic that bin Laden would be brought to justice. Bush said he would be discussing with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf efforts to track down the al Qaeda leader.

Many experts believe bin Laden is hiding on the Pakistan side of the border with Afghanistan.

"So long as I'm the president, we'll stay on the hunt and we'll use resources and power and influence to convince others to join us on the hunt as well," Bush told ABC. "I'm an optimistic person. I believe we will bring him to justice."