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Vice President Cheney Praises Bush, Slams Kerry - 2004-09-02

Vice President Dick Cheney has accepted the Republican Party's nomination for reelection, calling the 2004 presidential campaign one of the most important in the nation's history. Mr. Cheney praised President Bush's efforts to keep America safe from terrorism, while criticizing Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.

"Mr. Chairman, delegates, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans: I accept your nomination for vice president of the United States," he said.

Vice President Cheney told delegates to the Republican National Convention that this year's election is a defining moment in American history.

He said on the question of American's role in the world, the differences between Senator Kerry and President Bush are sharp and the stakes for the country are high.

The vice president accused the Democratic nominee of frequently changing his mind on important issues. "On Iraq, Senator Kerry has disagreed with many of his fellow Democrats. But Senator Kerry's liveliest disagreement is with himself," he said. "His back-and-forth reflects a habit of indecision, and sends a message of confusion. And it is all part of a pattern. He has, in the last several years, been for the No Child Left Behind Act -- and against it. He has spoken in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement -- and against it. He is for the Patriot Act -- and against it. Senator Kerry says he sees two Americas. It makes the whole thing mutual -- America sees two John Kerrys."

Vice President Cheney reviewed what he says are some of the Bush administration's leading accomplishments since taking office three-and-a-half years ago.

On domestic issues he pointed to education reform, a growing economy and lower taxes.

Mr. Cheney said the administration will never lose sight of the greatest challenge of our time: preserving the freedom and security of the nation against terrorism.

He says President Bush is optimistic about America's future, and is determined to keep the country safe.

"Our President understands the miracle of this great country. He knows the hope that drives it and shares the optimism that has long been so important a part of our national character," he said. "He gets up each and every day determined to keep our great nation safe so that generations to come will know the freedom and opportunities we have known - and more."

In a highly unusual move, a member of the opposition Democratic Party gave the keynote address at the Republican convention.

Just 12-years ago Senator Zell Miller addressed the Democratic convention that nominated Bill Clinton for president.

However this year Senator Miller says he has become frustrated by what he regards as the liberal nature of the Democratic Party, and has decided to throw his support behind the Republican president.

"Right now the world just cannot afford an indecisive America," he said. "Fainthearted, self-indulgence will put at risk all we care about in this world. In this hour of danger our President has had the courage to stand up. And this Democrat is proud to stand up with him."

Senator Miller took aim at the leaders of his own Democratic Party, saying they are motivated more by partisan politics than by national security.

When it comes to Iraq, he says Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator.

Mr. Miller lashed out at Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, charging he would hurt America's military. "For more than twenty years, on every one of the great issues of freedom and security, John Kerry has been more wrong, more weak and more wobbly than any other national figure," he said. "As a war protester, Kerry blamed our military. As a Senator, he voted to weaken our military. And nothing shows that more sadly and more clearly than his vote this year to deny protective armor for our troops in harm's way, far-away. George Bush understands that we need new strategies to meet new threats."

President Bush arrived in New York Wednesday evening and was endorsed by firefighters, the human and heroic symbols of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks that defined his first term in office and are a main focus of his reelection campaign.

Mr. Bush will accept his party's nomination for reelection and address the convention on Thursday night.