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Kerry Criticizes Bush on Economy - 2004-06-15

Democratic presidential contender John Kerry renewed his attacks on the Bush administration's economic record Tuesday, even as the president defended his policies at the White House.

Senator Kerry took his campaign to New Jersey where he slammed the president's economic policies.

Mr. Kerry accused President Bush of ignoring American values by giving tax cuts to the wealthy while saddling the middle class with budget deficits and debt.

"Your hard earned tax dollars are actually paying corporations to export your jobs," he said. "So more and more of you are working harder and you are still not able to get ahead."

Senator Kerry accused the president of failing middle class Americans because he said many families are working harder, earning less and paying more for health care, college education and energy.

At the White House, the president had a much more optimistic view of the domestic economy and said his tax cuts have helped spur economic growth and create new jobs.

"What I am pleased about is the fact that our economy is strong and getting stronger," said Mr. Bush. "All indications are that the economic stimulus plan we put into place is working. There is strong growth. There are new jobs being added."

Senator Kerry will focus on the economy as he travels to several key battleground states in the mid west over the next two weeks. Bush campaign officials have taken to calling this the Kerry "pessimism and misery tour."

But the administration's boasting on the economy was dampened somewhat by a new report from the Labor Department Tuesday. The report said consumer prices in May registered their largest increase in more than three years, driven mostly by higher prices for energy and food.

The presidential campaign has focused on Iraq and the economy for months now but that could change next week with the publication of former President Bill Clinton's autobiography.

"A lot of presidential memoirs, they say, are dull and self-serving. I hope mine is interesting and self-serving," said Mr. Clinton.

The former president is expected to dominate the airwaves in a number of interviews about his book and Democrats appear to be divided about what impact, if any, all the attention on the Clinton legacy will have on the Kerry campaign.