Leahy Says Iraq War a Mistake; Senator Insists U.S. Should Have Remained Focused on Afghanistan

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Byline: DAVID DECAMP, The Times-Union

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., accused President Bush during a Jacksonville fund-raising trip Thursday of making a mistake in the war on terrorism by going to war in Iraq.

"I wish we had not turned the fighting from Afghanistan to Iraq. I wish we'd stayed there," said Leahy, referring to the war to oust the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.

Leahy, former vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, voted against authorizing the Iraq fight and renewed his criticism of the White House's work.

"We should have had more debate on the war in Iraq. Unfortunately, we were not given good intelligence at the time," Leahy said during a breakfast meeting for the Duval County Democratic Party at the River Club in the Modis building downtown.

Leahy also came to raise money for his re-election in a lunch fund-raiser organized by attorney Wayne Hogan, a big Democratic fund-raiser who recently hosted Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. …