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Capito defends president's Iraq policy

April 25, 2004|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.VA. - Countering recent criticism of President Bush's Iraq war strategy, U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito on Saturday said the United States needs to stay the course to ensure peace.

Echoing Bush, whose West Virginia re-election campaign she's chairing, the Second District congresswoman said stability in the region is vital to U.S. security.

Capito spent four days with the troops about six weeks ago.

"One thing that really struck me is the absolute power and strength of our military," she said in a speech to the Morgan County Republican Club.

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Capito then singled out audience member Richie Adams, who was in the audience wearing a U.S. Army National Guard uniform.

Adams, 34, of Philippi, W.Va., returned Friday from nearly a year in Iraq as a military policeman.

"I want you and your family to know that the sacrifice you've made over the last 11 months ... is very meaningful to everyone in this room," she said.

With that, the more than 130 people in the room stood and applauded.

Before the speech, Adams said he didn't want to comment about the politics of the war.

"I'm just happy to be home with my family," he said.

Capito spoke at two Lincoln Day dinners in the Eastern Panhandle on Saturday.

Her first stop was Cacapon Resort State Park Lodge in Morgan County. She then went to St. Leo's Catholic Church in Inwood, W.Va., to address the Berkeley County Republican Club.

Capito reflected on her 3 1/2 years in Congress, which began with an uncertain presidential election outcome and proceeded to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"We all know we still are very vulnerable," she said.

Capito asked the audience to support Bush's re-election along with her own.

In 2000 and 2002, Capito survived face-offs against deep-pocketed Democrat Jim Humphreys.

Humphreys spent $15 million, nearly all his own money, trying to defeat Capito.

Humphreys isn't running this year, which means Capito will face the winner of a three-way primary May 11 between Democrats Howard Swint, Christopher Turman and Erik Wells. Capito is unopposed in the Republican primary.

Other GOP candidates for various state and local offices attended the dinner to hand out brochures and meet voters.

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