Kerry Says Bush Iraq Policy Diverts Resources From US Needs
While some political analysts (including Bush strategists) believe the continued emphasis on Iraq and national security is boosting President Bush in the presidential race, Sen. Kerry's campaign appears to disagree. The Democratic nominee yesterday returned to the Iraq issue, this time linking the US-led war to the economy, health care and other domestic priorities. In a speech that garnered attention from all three networks and local TV newscasts in battleground states, Kerry told his Cincinnati audience, "George W. Bush's wrong choices have led America in the wrong direction in Iraq. And they have left America without the resources we need to address our needs here at home." Media reaction to the speech was largely positive. USA Today thought Kerry "threw President Bush's own words on Iraq back at him. . .in a biting catalog of Bush's 'miscalculations' and their costs." NBC Nightly News, said Kerry" opened a new front today." The senator's "new buzz word: 'choices' urging voters to see the choice, costs in the war in Iraq differently." ABC World News Tonight summarized Kerry's main argument, noting the Massachusetts senator said the "Bush Administration's conduct of the war in Iraq, had diverted vital resources from a whole range of important areas health care, education, and homeland security."
Kerry delivered his speech in the same Cincinnati venue Bush used to make his case for the Iraq war two years ago. According to the Dayton Daily News, Kerry referenced that fact, saying, "Here in Cincinnati he [Bush] said that if Congress approved the resolution giving him the authority to use force, it did not mean that military action would be unavoidable. But he chose not to give the weapons inspectors the time they needed to get the job done and give meaning to the words 'going to war as a last resort.'"
Meanwhile, the Washington Times reports on its front page that Bush's "re-election strategists hope Sen. John Kerry keeps talking about Iraq and Vietnam for the next 54 days because they think national security is the president's strong suit. 'As long as they're talking about national security, we're winning every single day and he's digging a deeper hole,' said a senior Bush strategist. 'Amazingly, even when Bill Clinton gives Kerry advice to stop talking about Iraq and Vietnam, he proceeds to keep talking about both of them. It's very helpful.' Bush strategists say such topics serve to reinforce their portrayal of Mr. Kerry as a flip-flopping political opportunist who takes all sides of every issue."
In Minnesota, Kerry Also Addresses Iraq In Session Billed As Discussion On Drug Prices.
Kerry also traveled to Minnesota yesterday for what had been billed as a discussion on drug reimportation. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Kerry "used an intimate Midwestern backyard setting Wednesday to assert that President Bush's middle initial, W, signifies he has been wrong on health care policy and many other issues. 'W stands for wrong: wrong choices, wrong direction, wrong leadership for this country,' Kerry told about 150 Democrats who were invited to meet him in the back yard of Sarah and John Pacchetti's yellow frame house." Kerry spoke about the Iraq war, responding "to Bush's charges that he has flip-flopped on Iraq by voting to authorize the president to wage the war and then criticizing him for doing so."