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Bush, Kerry Campaign Following Debate - 2004-10-09


President Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry are back on the campaign trail after their second debate Friday evening.

President Bush continues to attack Senator Kerry as a politician who he says is too indecisive to lead.

"Much of what my opponent said last night is contradicted by his own record," said President Bush. "Twenty years of votes that earned him the most liberal label. He voted 98 times to raises taxes, more than 200 times to break spending caps. He voted against tort reform although last night he tried to claim he now supports it."

At a political rally in the Midwest state of Missouri, the Republican president continued a familiar theme of his campaign: that Senator Kerry is a so-called flip-flopper on national security issues who changes his opinion to take whatever view is most politically opportune.

"Several of his statements just don't pass the credibility test," he said. "With a straight face, he said, I've only had one position on Iraq. He must think we've been on another planet. In the spring of 2003, as I ordered the invasion of Iraq, Senator Kerry said it was the right decision. Now he says it is the wrong war."

Senator Kerry said he has been consistent on Iraq. Rallying Democratic supporters in the Midwest state of Ohio, he said he has always believed Saddam Hussein was a threat but one that should only be dealt with militarily behind a broad enough coalition to share the costs and solid enough intelligence to justify an invasion.

Senator Kerry says his plan for Iraq includes expanding the coalition there to improve security so the United Nations can organize elections in January as scheduled.

"The Secretary General of the United Nations said they don't have enough people in there to be able to have the elections and they don't have the security for the people they need to have them,"said Senator Kerry. "We need a president who knows how to get those people in there. I will do that. That's my four-point plan, and I ask you to compare it to George Bush's four-word plan: More of the same. We need a president who leads America forward and gets us out of this mess and gets our troops home where they belong."

Senator Kerry says President Bush is unable to improve the U.S. economy because he insists on keeping tax cuts that the Democratic challenger says unfairly favor wealthier Americans at the expense of the Middle Class.

"How can he serve America properly if he can't address America's problems," he said. "It all boils down to this. Twenty four days from now the American dream is on the ballot. And we have to decide, we have to decide Ohio, Loraine County, we have to decide all across this country whether we are going to move this nation of ours forward in a new direction or whether we are going to be stuck with the same bad choice and the same serious mistakes from the last years."

After a day of campaigning, both men meet privately with political aides to prepare for their third and last debate this coming Wednesday in the southwest state of Arizona.

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