Cheney broke with his six-year practice of avoiding news conferences during his regular visits to Capitol Hill to accuse Reid of using the Iraq War to try to gain Democrats additional seats in the 2008 congressional elections. Reid later responded at the same Capitol podium that Cheney had used earlier. “The president sends out his attack dogs often – also known as Dick Cheney – and he was here again today attacking not only me, but the Democratic Caucus,” Reid said. The vice president spoke hours after President Bush invoked the memory of the Sept. 11 attacks to claim that Iraq-based al-Qaida operatives could inflict “deadly consequences on the streets of our cities” if the Democratic-led Congress enacted the legislation designed to force withdrawal of U.S. combat troops. Bush decried the actions of unnamed “Democratic leaders” 10 times in his seven minute statement at the White House before leaving on a trip to New York. WASHINGTON – With tempers flaring Tuesday on the eve of congressional action, Vice President Dick Cheney denounced the Democratic leader of the Senate for pressing for timelines to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq beginning later this year. Cheney heatedly attacked Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Senate majority leader, for making what Cheney called “uninformed and misleading” statements and for orchestrating Democrats’ “blind opposition” to the Bush administration’s latest policy in Iraq. Cheney also accused Reid of advocating three different policies for funding the Iraq war and of misrepresenting recommendations by the Iraq Study Group. Cheney, a hard-nosed Washington insider with experience on the White House staff in the 1970s, Congress in the 1980s and the Pentagon in the early 1990s, accused Reid of “defeatism,” adding that legislation requiring phased withdrawal of U.S. combat troops over a six-month period “would guarantee defeat.” The House is expected to adopt the measure today followed by the Senate on Thursday, setting the stage for Bush to fulfill repeated threats to veto the bill. Such a step would be the second veto of his presidency. The $124.2 billion legislation sets a nonbinding goal for an end to offensive U.S. combat operations in Iraq by next April 1, with the first withdrawals of combat forces beginning by this Oct. 1. The legislation calls for combat troop withdrawals to begin as early as July 1 if the Iraqi government fails to quell sectarian violence with political reconciliation. The White House attacks on Reid came on a day that Pentagon officials announced that back-to-back suicide truck bombings on a U.S. outpost in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad had killed nine U.S. soldiers and wounded at least 20 others in the deadliest ground attack in 16 months. An al-Qaida-linked Islamic group called the Islamic State of Iraq claimed responsibility for the attack on a unit of the 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, N.C. The soldiers were among more than 30,000 combat and support troops ordered into Iraq by Bush on Jan. 10 to bolster efforts by 132,000 U.S. soldiers already deployed across a nation the size of California. Neither Bush, Cheney nor Reid mentioned the attack in their rhetorical sparring. Reid urged Bush to sign, rather than veto, the disputed legislation because it “transitions the U.S. mission” in Iraq from combat to training Iraqi forces, protecting American troops and conducting targeted attacks on al-Qaida forces. “The president is in a state of denial,” Reid insisted. “The war cannot be won militarily.” The U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the subsequent four year occupation have claimed the lives of at least 3,333 U.S. soldiers, wounded at least 24,764 and cost taxpayers more than $400 billion. Meanwhile, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, a candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, announced that he had submitted a resolution to the House seeking the impeachment of Cheney. Kucinich said Cheney ought to be removed from office because of his role in the Bush administration’s escalating campaign of accusations against Iran – accusations that Kucinich said recalled the road to war in Iraq in 2003. [email protected] (202) 263-6400 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!