Sen. Kerry was quick to denounce Allawi's message as inaccurate. The NBC Nightly News reported "Kerry, who in recent days has accused the president of lying to the country about a crisis in Iraq, suggested today's Rose Garden appearance was also a misleading attempt to put the best face on the war." Kerry was shown saying, "The fact is that the CIA estimates, the reporting, the ground operations, and the troops all tell a different story." ABC World News Tonight also showed footage of Kerry's reaction, "The Prime Minister and the President are here, obviously, to put their best face on the policy." CBS Evening News added that Kerry also said "it's unrealistic to expect elections could be held in January without some dramatic shift in policy."
Bush Says Kerry's Pessimism Threatening War Effort, Cheney "Appalled" By Disrespect" For Allawi.
The Bush camp, in turn, responded to Kerry's criticism. Reuters reports Bush, back on the campaign trail in Maine (a state where the latest polls show him and Kerry running neck-and-neck) accused the Democratic nominee "of spreading a pessimism about Iraq that threatens the war effort. 'Mixed signals are the wrong signals,' Bush said." Bush "blasted recent charges by Kerry that the Iraq war had made America less secure, and he said they amounted to a preference by the Democrat for the dictatorship of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. 'You cannot lead the war on terror if you wilt when times are tough,' Bush said in front of a flag-draped airport hangar. 'You cannot expect the Iraqi people to stand up and do the hard work of democracy if you are pessimistic about their abilities. You cannot expect the Iraqi people to do the hard work if you say that they'd be better off with Saddam Hussein in power. What kind of message does it send our troops, who are risking their lives and who see firsthand the mission is hard, but know the mission is critical to our success?' he said." In a reference to the violence, he said, "We can grieve, but we will not waver."
The Washington Post says Vice President Cheney, speaking near Kansas City, also "shot back at the Massachusetts senator for criticizing Allawi, who addressed a joint meeting of Congress early in the day. 'I must say I was appalled at the complete lack of respect Senator Kerry showed for this man of courage when he rushed out to hold a press conference and attack the prime minister, the man America must stand beside to defeat the terrorists,' Cheney told 3,000 supporters, who erupted in boos."
Bush Rhetoric On Iraq, Terrorism Likened To McCarthyism.
In a front page "analysis" story, the Washington Post reports that President Bush "and leading Republicans are increasingly charging that Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry and others in his party are giving comfort to terrorists and undermining the war in Iraq a line of attack that tests the conventional bounds of political rhetoric." The Post adds that such "accusations have been a component of American politics since the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 and surfaced in the modern era during the McCarthy communist hunt and the Vietnam War protests."