As Debate Nears, Kerry And Bush Exchange Criticism On Iraq
President Bush and John Kerry will meet for their first debate Thursday evening. The focus of the first encounter will be foreign policy. In anticipation, both campaigns are rolling out prospective lines of attack which were heavily covered in both the broadcast and print media. Bush has begun focusing on Kerry's seemingly contradictory statements on Iraq, noting that Kerry could "debate himself" for 90 minutes. Kerry, meanwhile, has stepped up his criticism of the President for saying the mission in Iraq was "accomplished," and for presenting an overly optimistic view of developments in Iraq. NBC Nightly News reports the "attacks on Iraq" are "increasingly heated." The CBS Evening News reported, "For the Democrats, new charges that Mr. Bush is glossing over the bad news in Iraq, hiding the need for more US troops to secure Iraq's elections." The New York Times reports that Bush mocked Kerry "as indecisive under pressure" and Kerry accused the President of "refusing to come clean with the American people."
Meanwhile, new TV ads from both camps illustrate the candidates' lines of attack in Iraq.
NPR reports this morning that "the Kerry campaign is stepping up its advertising in more than a dozen states. The latest ads try to paint President Bush as being out of touch with reality when it comes to the situation in Iraq." NPR also reports, "Newly released Bush-Cheney campaign ads depict Sen. Kerry as being indecisive on many issues." The Bush campaign yesterday unveiled a new ad that "hammers Sen. John Kerry for making inconsistent statements about the war in Iraq, a possible preview of President Bush's line of attack in Thursday's presidential debate," according to the Washington Times. The Washington Post reports the Bush ad "splices together footage of seemingly contradictory Kerry comments on the war. Some of the statements are taken out of context, however, discarding Kerry's criticism of the war and using only phrases in which he was supportive of the administration." The Post adds that six hours after the Bush ad was unveiled, "the Democratic presidential nominee released a counterattack spot, charging that the president 'still doesn't get it' on Iraq and 'has no plan' for quelling the violence there."