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Kerry, Bush Battle Over Economy    - 2004-09-15

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry launched a new attack on President Bush's economic record Wednesday in a speech in Detroit. Administration officials were quick to come to the president's defense.

Senator Kerry told the Detroit Economic Club that President Bush has created more excuses than jobs and said it was time for the president to accept responsibility for the economic problems of the past four years.

"Four more years of the same choices from an administration that says we should celebrate an economy of job loss, that incentives for outsourcing jobs from America is good for our country and that even wants to tell you that this is the best economy of our lifetime," said Senator Kerry. "Ladies and gentlemen, John Edwards and I believe that the measure of a strong economy is a growing middle class where everyone has the chance to work and get ahead."

Senator Kerry also said that Mr. Bush is leading what he called "the excuse presidency, never wrong, never responsible and never to blame."

His comments drew a strong reaction from presidential spokesman Scott McClellan who briefed reporters at the White House.

"John Kerry's pessimism will not create one single job," he said. "John Kerry's failed policies of the past have been dismissed by his own advisers as the wrong policies. So the failed policies of higher taxes, more regulation, more litigation and more government control of people's lives would put the brakes on our economy."

One of the main differences between the two candidates on the economy is tax policy. President Bush says his tax cuts have already sparked the creation of new jobs and he would like to make them permanent.

Senator Kerry says he would keep the tax cuts for middle income Americans if elected, but would seek to cancel the tax break for those making more than $200,000 a year.

Most public opinion polls indicate the economy remains a top issue in this presidential campaign, along with Iraq and the war on terrorism.