Both Campaigns Move To Seize Control Of The Iraq Issue
Both presidential campaigns now appear to see the Iraq war as the central issue in the battle for the White House. Newsweek reports that Sen. Kerry's "gambit" is "to revive his campaign trailing by anywhere between one and 13 points in new polls by questioning Bush's credibility on the conflict, his management of postwar Iraq and the no-bid contracts won by his veep's old firm, Halliburton. Kerry is betting that the hard truths of Iraq will undercut Bush's soft-focus picture of a liberated nation, and ultimately the president's image as a war leader. It's a bet that Kerry was unwilling to make until this month." Newsweek adds, "Kerry now intends to repeat and refine his critique through the rest of the campaign spending, NEWSWEEK has learned, the closing week of the election on Bush's war." Newsweek adds that "the reaction from Camp Bush was gleeful." Iraq "remains Exhibit A in the flip-flopping case against Kerry."
ABC News Radio says Kerry today will "lay out a plan for quote, 'cleaning up the mess the President made in Iraq.'" According to the New York Times, a "senior Kerry adviser said the speech would address 'what needs to be done' but would not present a point-by-point exit plan."
The Wall Street Journal says Bush is also "moving to control the Iraq debate with a weeklong effort that signals US resolve to see through that country's chaotic experiment in democracy while tapping the power of incumbency for his re-election campaign." Bush "is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly tomorrow in New York with a speech that frames the Iraq conflict as essential to the war on terrorism, as well as part of a broader movement toward democratic change in the Middle East." On Thursday, Bush "will host Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi at the White House, conferring with him privately before the two appear together before reporters in the Rose Garden."
New Kerry Ad Links Domestic Problems To Spending For Iraq.
The AP reports on a new Kerry ad in which the Democratic nominee "links the cost of the Iraq war to problems at home and vows in a new television ad to both 'defend America and fight for the middle class.' '200 billion dollars. That's what we are spending in Iraq because George Bush chose to go it alone,' Kerry says in the ad, to start airing Monday in 13 competitive states where he is on the air. 'Now the president tells us we don't have the resources to take care of health care and education here at home. That's wrong.'"
Republican Senators Urge Bush To Change Iraq Policies.
As Kerry readies his latest assault on Bush's Iraq policies, Republican senators criticized Bush's handling of post-war Iraq on the Sunday morning talk shows. It is not the first time these particular senators, Chuck Hagel and John McCain, have been critical of Bush's policies. Hagel said on CBS' Face the Nation, "The fact is, a crisp, sharp analysis of our policies is required. We didn't do that in Vietnam, and we saw 11 years of casualties mount to the point where we finally lost. We can't lose this. This is too important. There's no question about that. But to say, 'Well, we just must stay the course, and any of you who are questioning are just hand-wringers is not very responsible.' The fact is, we're in trouble. We're in deep trouble in Iraq." Sen. John McCain, on Fox News Sunday, was asked if the President is being straight with the American people about Iraq. He said, "Perhaps not as straight as maybe we'd like to see. Although I've been with him when he has told audiences that this is a very tough struggle that we're in and made them aware of the difficulties." Commenting on US airstrikes against insurgent-held areas of Iraq, McCain added, "Look, airstrikes don't do it; artillery doesn't do it. Boots on the ground do it. That's one of the fundamentals of warfare."