Sen. Ted Stevens Says Anchorage Paper Is Trying to "Assassinate" Him

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By: E&P Staff Sen. Ted Stevens, the embattled Republican from Alaska, met with the editorial board of the Anchorage Daily News (including its publisher and editorial cartoonist) last week, largely defending his views on Iraq -- but also, as a transcript the paper released today makes clear, attacking the paper for "hanging me weekly" and doing "nothing but try to assassinate me."

Here is an excerpt from the transcript.

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Q. What do you see as the way forward (in Iraq)?

A. Patience, which the press doesn't seem to have much of. (U.S. military commander in Iraq Gen. David) Petraeus has all the qualification of Eisenhower. As a matter of fact I think if he succeeds he will be an Eisenhower.

The great difficulty is people who say "Pull out" don't have an answer when you ask, "What will you do with a new Iraq that's really al-Qaida with the oil production? ... What's your answer going to be to what they want to do to the United States?....

Q. I'm getting a better idea of what you don't think we should do in Iraq, which is not to leave precipitously, than what you think we should do.

A. I'm not a general. What the hell would you ask me that for? ... I don't make any military plans. I review them, and I give them money. ... I don't have any idea what they should do at this point. ... I think we'll succeed, I really do.

Q. I wanted to touch just briefly on your own situation and legal controversies.

A. You're not going to touch it at all or I'm going to leave. We had the understanding it was not going to come up.

Q. I understood the investigation wouldn't come up.

A. It's not going to come up at all.

Q. OK. What about your ability to be effective in Congress?

A. What about it? You're destroying it. More people are repeating what you're writing in your paper than anything else in the country. This paper has caused me more difficulty, and I've told you that before, than anything else. You've created me as the senator-for-life. You've been hanging me weekly.

You read any paper, the information -- most of it is not true -- started right here. And your guys just yesterday, they taunt me. They taunt me with statements that really no respectable reporter would ask a senator. It was already said I'm not going to answer your questions. They say, don't you have any concerns for your own integrity? Don't you have any conscience? That's what your reporters do to me. ...

I've spent hours here with you here in the past, and I've never seen any result of it at all. ... This paper has done nothing but try to assassinate me.

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