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Des Moines Register: End Assault on Liberties says Biden

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Des Moines Register: End Assault on Liberties says Biden

By JASON CLAYWORTH

Americans must reverse the Bush administration's "assault on civil liberties," which has fueled the war on terror, Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Biden said Monday.

Biden, a U.S. senator from Delaware, is in Des Moines partly to discuss his five-point plan that would decentralize Iraq and bring thousands of American troops home. He is scheduled to speak at 3 p.m. today at Drake University.

Biden said in an interview Monday that issues such as the detention of hundreds of prisoners after Sept. 11, 2001, in a U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay and the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program have eroded the credibility of the United States.

The prisoners, of different nationalities, have been held for years without being charged. Many have been taken to other countries, where they have been released for a lack of evidence.

"There's been an assault on civil liberties by this administration," Biden said. "It has damaged us internationally in terms of our world credibility. It has increased, not diminished terror around the world. And, in the name of fighting terror, we have invaded the civil liberties of America. It's got to stop."

Biden, 64, is the chairman of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee and is an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq. He has proposed a detailed plan for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

The plan, essentially, gives feuding groups in Iraq power to govern themselves.

The central government would oversee common interests such as border security and the distribution of oil revenues.

In a national Fox News poll conducted March 27-28, Biden trailed Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Dennis Kucinich and Bill Richardson.

Biden, Kucinich and Richardson had single-digit numbers.

In addition, a poll of likely Iowa Democratic caucusgoers taken March 19-22 by the American Research Group, a Manchester, N.H., polling firm, also placed Biden in the single digits.

Dennis Goldford, a political science professor at Drake University, said Biden shouldn't be counted out. Goldford noted that John Kerry was down in the polls before gaining the Democratic nomination in 2004.


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