10/4/04 9:00 AM EST
In Ohio, Kerry Lays Groundwork For Debate On Domestic Issues
In advance of Friday's domestic issues debate, John Kerry yesterday visited Austintown in the battleground state of Ohio, where he "delivered a populist message to this long-suffering industrial region, visiting a picket line and telling blue-collar workers here Sunday that President Bush has been dishonest about the economy's health," according to the Washington Post. The Post adds the "town-hall-style forum in a high school gymnasium, in which Kerry discussed a lack of health insurance, low wages and the outsourcing of jobs overseas, was part of an effort by his campaign to shift the national debate to economic issues in advance of Friday's debate." Kerry's performance was enough for the New York Times to compare him, somewhat unfavorably, to Bush's predecessor, calling him the "the candidate consigned to the empathetic Bill Clinton's shadow," as he "spent the better part of that time sharing the pain of 500 members of what he calls the squeezed middle class, was bathing in their embrace." Kerry "reeled off the ways he is trying to extend Mr. Clinton's legacy: with promises of balanced budgets and fiscal discipline, of help for people 'who are playing by the rules,' and with an attack on his opponent reminiscent of Mr. Clinton's on the elder George Bush." The NBC Nightly News reported Kerry "arrived in Ohio planning to talk about jobs and tax cuts, but the controversy over Iraq's weapons proved too tempting to pass up," as Kerry questioned the pre-war intelligence on Iraq's nuclear program. NBC adds that today, Kerry "returns to the issue of stem cell research. Democrats call that a sleeper issue aimed at independent swing voters." USA Today reports Kerry visited Ohio "with a new emphasis on jobs and new evidence that he's competitive in a presidential race transformed, at least for now, by last week's debate on foreign policy." The Washington Times reports Kerry said "Bush's tax policies have helped accelerate the flow of companies moving out of the United States to take advantage of tax savings."