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US Presidential Race is Getting Down to the Wire


President George Bush and Senator John Kerry have different strategies going into the final stretch of the election. Political observers says Mr. Bush is focusing on defining differences with Senator Kerry while rallying core conservative supporters in states he narrowly lost in the 2000 election.

President George W. Bush

"With your help we will carry Pennsylvania on November the Second (Cheers)."

Stephen Wayne, a professor of politics at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., says the Bush Campaign has stopped trying to attract the remaining small percentage of undecided American voters.

Stephen Wayne, Georgetown University

"The final strategy for the Republicans is very clear they believe that they have done the best they can with the independent voters and that there is no more independent voters to be had. So they are trying to maximize their base and bring out as many Republicans as they can. The way you do this is call the Democratic candidate liberal and you go back to the fundamentals of faith and fighting and tax cuts to do so.

Analysts say Senator Kerry is concentrating on getting his supporters to the polls on Election Day. But his campaign advisers say they are making a strong push for undecided voters or those who may be leaning towards President Bush. In order to do that, they say, Mr. Kerry now launches daily attacks on Mr. Bush over the situation in Iraq. Some of the attacks include new allegations the US failed to secure a huge cache of powerful explosives that were allegedly stolen by looters after the US-led invasion in Iraq.

John Kerry, Democratic Party Presidential Candidate

" Now we know that our country and our troops are less safe because this President failed to do the basics, this is one of the great blunders of Iraq"

Michael McDonald, a political analyst with the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., says Mr. Kerry's attacks against Mr. Bush are designed in part to fire up and win over less motivated voters in key states like Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Michael McDonald, Political Analyst Brookings Institution

"Mr. Kerry, he is counting on a higher turnout rate where many of the occasional voters who do not often participate in US elections are going to show up to the polls. These people are less tied to the political parties and more persuadable, so Mr. Kerry is banking on these people to come over to his side. "

Political Observers say the candidates may also use the final hours of the race to argue they can best lead the country in a time of war. Republican strategists say the President will make September 11th a constant theme, reminding voters to go to the polls thinking about the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

President George W. Bush

"The people of the United States will choose the leader of the free world in the middle of a global war. Will America return to the defensive, reactive mind set that sought to manage the dangers to our country or will we fight a real war with the goal of victory?"

Analysts say Mr. Kerry will try to convince voters he can do a better job than Mr. Bush on domestic issues and fighting the war against terrorism.

John Kerry, Democratic Party Presidential Candidate

"Let me tell you something ladies and gentleman, you make me President, of the United States, we are going to win the war on terror and it is not going to be up in the air whether or not we make America safe."

Political Analyst John Fortier with the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., says this election -- like others -- ultimately comes down to the incumbent's performance in office.

John Fortier, Political Analyst American Enterprise Institute

"The election is about George Bush. Do we want to change horses now in a time of trouble? The President will say he is a strong leader; it is a difficult time I was there after 9-11. John Kerry will say he (George Bush) has led us astray by going into Iraq, led us away from the war on terror that is really the fundamental election issue."

In the search for every possible vote, both campaigns are using

high-profile celebrities. California's Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger campaigned for Mr. Bush. Senator Kerry got a helping hand from the former President, Democrat Bill Clinton.

As Election Day nears both candidates are keeping their schedules flexible so they can spend time in fewer than a dozen states where any last-minute changes could improve their chances of winning the election.

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