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Cheney Links Iraq Violence, U.S. Elections

Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday the increase of violence in Iraq is linked with efforts to influence the outcome of next week's elections, in which Republicans are struggling to keep control of Congress.

"It's my belief that they're very sensitive of the fact that we've got an election scheduled and they can get on the websites like anybody else," Cheney said. He said al Qaeda and other elements were trying to "break the will of the American people" because "they think we don't have the stomach for the fight long term."

Asked if the attacks were timed to influence the U.S. elections, Cheney said, "That's my belief."

Eight days before the elections, Cheney was interviewed by Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto" and CNBC's "Kudlow & Company."

Now in its fourth year, the Iraq war is a political liability for President Bush and Republican allies, who control the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Democrats need to take 15 House seats and six Senate seats in the election to win control of both chambers.

The U.S. death toll in Iraq for October alone exceeds 100 — the fourth-deadliest month for U.S. troops since the war began in March 2003. Over the course of the war, more than 2,800 Americans and thousands of Iraqis have died.

Cheney, who 17 months ago said the insurgency was in its last throes, said that "there's going to be probably a continued level of violence for some considerable period of time in Iraq." He said that unlike other wars, it was unlikely there would be some dramatic turning point that signals progress.

"There is progress," Cheney said. "It's just — you're not going to see the kind of thing ... a victory like Midway in World War II where we sank all the enemy carriers, or a surrender ceremony at the end of the war. It's the kind of thing where you have to keep grinding it out day after day after day. It's tough."

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