Bush Suggests Kerry Would Be An Indecisive Commander-In-Chief
In what ABC World News Tonight called the GOP campaign's "harshest attacks yet on Senator John Kerry," President Bush yesterday told audiences in New Mexico and Arizona that he was better suited to be commander-in-chief than Kerry. Said Bush, "I know what I'm doing when it comes to winning this war. And I'm not going to be sending mixed signals." According to USA Today, Bush later said, "There is an enemy out there which hates us. . . . They behead people because they know we have hearts. We must bring them to justice. . . . If we're uncertain or if we double-speak, the world will drift toward tragedy." The President, adds the AP, also criticized Kerry's proposal "to begin to withdraw troops from Iraq within six months of taking office. 'We all want the mission to be completed as quickly as possible. But we want the mission completed,' the president said. 'The mission is not going to be completed as quickly as possible if the enemy thinks we will be removing a substantial number of troops in six months.'" In New Mexico and during his stop in Arizona, says NPR, "Bush was accompanied by Arizona Sen. John McCain."
Local TV newscasts in swing states gave coverage to Bush's latest campaign stops, with Bush's criticism of Kerry and his claim that he is "the guy with experience" as the main themes. For example, KSAZ-TV of Phoenix, Arizona reported "Bush said it once, twice, six times in all. America and the world are safer because of his policies. Each time to thunderous cheers. Bush painted John Kerry as a liberal without once mentioning him by name." On KPNX-TV, also in Phoenix, Bush was shown saying, "I'm the guy with experience when it comes to dealing with the new world that dawned on September 11th 2001." WCPO-TV of Cincinnati, Ohio said Bush accused Kerry of "sending dangerously mixed signals on troop levels in Iraq."
Kerry Aides Frustrated By "First Rounds" Of Iraq Debate With Bush.
The New York Times headlines its story on Bush's criticism of Kerry's Iraq proposals "Bush's Mocking Drowns Out Kerry's Explanation of Iraq Vote." So far, Kerry's "aides and advisers concede" to the Post, the senator "has failed to get his message across, as" President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney "have mocked his efforts as 'a new nuance' that amount to more examples of the senator's waffling. . . . Kerry's friends concede the first rounds have gone to the president 'it's frustrating as hell,' Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware said on Wednesday." The Christian Science Monitor, meanwhile, says Kerry stumbled "when he took the bait and answered Bush's question about whether he would have authorized an invasion of Iraq even knowing that no weapons of mass destruction would be found."
Bush Tells "Adoring" New Mexico Crowd He Was "Raised Around The Corner."
In its coverage of Bush's visit, the Albuquerque Tribune reports the President "whipped up the faithful today in a rally at Eclipse Aviation. Billed as 'Ask the President,' the event quickly became 'Love the President' for 1,100 true believers. . . . 'I was raised right around the corner,' Bush said. 'This is a state where we don't have to have a tour guide to escort us around.'" The "adoring" crowd "was dotted with members of the public who had been asked by the Bush campaign to be ready with their stories about how their lives or businesses had been positively impacted by Bush policies."
Changing Demographics Make Southwest More Competitive. Knight Ridder reports that "the road to the White House has taken a sharp turn this year to the Southwest, where changing demographics, fast growth and shifting political sensibilities could make the region decisive in November. . . . The political landscape of the Southwestern states has shifted dramatically, in large part to an influx of new residents from costly and overcrowded California, from the harsh winters of the Midwest and from impoverished Mexican villages. Arizona's population alone grew by 40 percent in the 1990s, and the pace hasn't slackened."
Bush Extends McCain "Rare" Invitation To His Texas Ranch.
Sen. John McCain spent the night Wednesday at Bush's Texas ranch, in what the Dallas Morning News termed a "rare" invitation to a member of Congress, "so rare that the White House was hard-pressed to cite a precedent."
Democrats Convinced McCain "Secretly" Backs Kerry.
According to the Financial Times "many Democrats cannot help but be convinced that Mr McCain is secretly pining for them. 'In his heart and mind, I think he's closer to John Kerry,' one former Kerry aide confessed."