Glad to know I’m just being patriotic.
Bush’s two-day China stop — his third as president to the communist giant — was the centerpiece of a weeklong Asia tour, but an acrid debate at home about the war in Iraq has followed him here. While overseas, the White House has not let a day go by without a no-holds-barred verbal counterattack against Democratic critics of the president’s war policies.
Bush appeared determined Sunday to scale back the rhetoric. Appearing before reporters at his hotel before he attended a lavish dinner with his Chinese hosts, Bush rejected the notion that it was unpatriotic to disagree with him. (Watch business and pleasure in Beijing — 3:17)
“People should feel comfortable about expressing their opinions about Iraq,” he said. “This is not an issue of who is patriotic and who is not patriotic. It’s an issue of an honest open debate about the way forward in Iraq.”