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What top Democrats are saying about possibility of war with Iraq

Here is what leading Democrats said recently about war with Iraq:

"This is a tough call. I don't think this is a black and white question. It's a judgment call. (But) it's extraordinarily dangerous to allow Saddam to get nuclear weapons. . . . At the end of the day, I come down on the side of doing the things that are necessary to get ready to do it."

_ Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., in an interview

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"If the rest of the world does not see what it regards as a sufficient provocation to justify an invasion by the United States, then the diplomatic costs would be extremely high. . . . I am all for the overthrow of Saddam. But I think the principle `first things first' does apply and has to be followed if we are going to have any chance of success."

_ Al Gore, to college interns

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"We should use diplomatic tools where we can but military means when we must to eliminate the threat he poses to the region and our own security. New foreign-policy initiatives can help remove one of the legs of Saddam's survival by reducing the desperation of many in the Arab world who see him as a defiant ray of hope. At the same time, we should be prepared to remove the other leg with the use of force."

_ Rep. Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations

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"Even if we go it alone in Iraq, we can topple Saddam. We can win. But what this administration has failed to do is to advance on the international stage—through the process of international law and through our allies—the rationale for doing so and the evidence for that rationale."

_ Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., in a speech to the Democratic Leadership Council

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"Every day Saddam remains in power with chemical weapons, biological weapons and the development of nuclear weapons is a day of danger for the United States of America."

_Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., on the campaign trail.

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"We all support strongly a regime change, but I think we need to get our ducks in order.

. . . These are all questions that I think have to be addressed over a period of time, and until they've been satisfactorily addressed, I think we've got to take great care."

_ Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., on ABC

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(Compiled by Steven Thomma and Ron Hutcheson.)

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(c) 2002, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

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