No issue more sharply divides American voters this election year than the war in Iraq. The immediacy of the threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was the president's biggest justification for invading the country. Democratic challenger John Kerry says the failure so far to find any of those weapons means President Bush misled the country into war. President Bush says the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power. Correspondent Scott Stearns has spent the last week covering the president on the campaign trail and asking Republican voters what they think about Mr. Bush when it comes to Iraq.
Bush: "I appreciate you all coming out. There's nothing better than taking a bus trip on a Saturday with your family. Nothing better than ending the bus trip in Erie, Pennsylvania."
Stearns: "Some critics of the president say that because we haven't yet found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that that was a mistake. What do you feel about that?"
Voter1: "Well, the intelligence said that they were there. And I remember watching television news reports with Colin Powell showing these trailers and things that the intelligence said that was there. And when they get there, they are not there. So where did they go if they were there?"
Voter2: "First of all, there were weapons. They are in parts unknown. They were there, and I believe what he did, he did with conviction."
Voter3: "I believe that there are things that will be found buried in the sand. And I think they are getting closer. And I believe that Saddam Hussein was such a devious person, a man who killed his own people, that it's time to rid the world of that type of pest."
Voter4: "I think I believe like him that there were weapons but they were hidden. And I believe they were hidden maybe in Syria."
Voter5: "Oh, I believe it was a mistake. I believe it was spin. I believe it was spin away from the economy, that diverted attention away from the economy. And I think that's why his popularity is so high right now because everybody is waving the American flag, but nobody is looking at the innocent loss of life over there right now. And it's going to continue."
Voter6: "There's a lot of evidence that proves that they did have them. We even have the sheets from Saddam Hussein saying that he did have them. So it's not an issue. I think they are misinformed. And it doesn't matter to me. That's not the only reason we were there anyway."
Voter7: "We got rid of Saddam Hussein anyway. And he was nothing but a bad dictator, and I think we are doing the right thing."
Voter8: "I believe we should have gone to war. We need to put to rest all the bad people in the world trying to attack us. So I'm glad we went to war."
Voter9: "Yeah, that maybe was a mistake to go there because there was supposedly weapons of mass destruction but they really weren't there. But look at what happened in that country. They are going to be a free country. And I think that means a lot to us here, and I hope it does to the Iraqi people too."
Voter10: "We need to stabilize it over there. It was just a time bomb waiting to happen."
Voter11: "The campaign is way too much focused on 9/11, and the war, and he's really trying to use that. And they should focus on other policies because in four years, hopefully we are going to have some other issues to deal with other than the war itself, and I'd like to see what he is going to do."
Voter12: "I don't think he made the connection between Iraq and nine-eleven. I do support the president, but that's one of his policies that I don't support. And I'm interested in it because I'm a supporter of the military, but I don't think he is using them for the correct reasons."
Voter13: "The people there are obviously living much better lives than the dictatorship before, so wasn't it worth it?"
Voter14: "I think he is a good commander-in-chief and he does an excellent job in that. I know that Kerry probably could be a good commander-in-chief too. And the question is: Do we want to change horses in the middle of the stream? And I think that is a big issue, so that is why I'm for Bush. I don't think we should right now."