Vice President Dick Cheney sharply attacked Democratic Party Presidential nominee John Kerry's position on Iraq, as he made the case for Mr. Bush's reelection in November. Mr. Cheney's remarks came on the third night of the Republican National Convention in New York City, as he accepted the party's nomination for a second term.
Mr. Cheney criticized Senator Kerry's opposition to using preemptive strikes when the United States is threatened. "He talks about leading a 'more sensitive war on terror,' as though Al Qaida will be impressed with our softer side," he said. "He declared at the Democratic Convention that he will forcefully defend America -- after we have been attacked. My fellow Americans, we have already been attacked, and faced with an enemy who seeks the deadliest of weapons to use against us, we cannot wait for the next attack. We must do everything we can to prevent it -- and that includes the use of military force."
The Vice President offered a stark contrast between Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry, who he said denounces American action when other countries do not approve, as if the whole object of our foreign policy were to please a few persistent critics. "George W. Bush will never seek a permission slip to defend the American people," he said.
He issued a sharp indictment of Mr. Kerry's voting record in congress, particularly his decision to oppose an 87 billion dollar military spending bill to support U.S. troops. "Senator Kerry is campaigning for the position of commander in chief. Yet he does not seem to understand the first obligation of a commander in chief -- and that is to support American troops in combat," he said.
Mr. Kerry has defended his vote by saying he wanted spending for the Iraq war to be paid for by increased taxes on the rich.
Mr. Cheney said the Bush administration's policies in the Middle East and on terrorism took years, and he said the future of U.S. security depends on keeping those commitments. "For that reason, ladies and gentlemen, the election of 2004 is one of the most important, not just in our lives but in our history," he said. Earlier Wednesday, Mr. Kerry criticized Mr. Bush's leadership of the war in Iraq and what he called the failure to make any plans for peace in that country. He made his comments to a veterans groups in Tennessee.