Lottery Post Journal

Bush Attacks Kerry for 'Dour Pessimism'

An UNEDITED story from Reuters today:

CHANHASSEN, Minn. (Reuters) - President Bush sought momentum on Saturday from his second debate with Democratic Sen. John Kerry by attacking Kerry for saying he has a consistent position on Iraq and would not raise middle-class taxes.

"Who's he trying to kid?" Bush told thousands of cheering supporters in the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen. "He can run, but he can't hide."

Bush aides were clearly buoyed by Bush's aggressive pernormance on Friday night after the president was widely panned for a lackluster pernormance in their first debate that helped the Massachusetts senator catch up in the polls.

At stump speeches in the swing states of Iowa and Minnesota, and earlier in St. Louis, Bush jumped on Kerry's debate denial that he had shifted positions on Iraq.

Kerry had said: "I've never changed my mind about Iraq. I do believe Saddam Hussein was a threat. I always believed he was a threat."

"With a straight face he said, 'I have only had one position on Iraq,"' Bush told about 8,000 supporters at a rally in Waterloo, Iowa. "I could barely contain myself. He must think we've been on another planet."

Bush said Kerry had said in the spring of 2003 it was the right decision to invade Iraq but now says it was the wrong war. Kerry has said repeatedly that Bush rushed to war without a plan to win the peace.

"You know, after listening to his litany of complaints and his dour pessimism, it was all I could do not to make a bad face," said Bush, criticized after the first debate for scowling and looking irritated.

Bush aides rejected Kerry camp charges that Bush got angry at the debate when Kerry complained about "going it alone" in Iraq. "You tell Tony Blair we're going it alone," Bush had said, referring to the British prime minister, an Iraq ally.


Bush senior campaign adviser Karen Hughes said Bush was "impassioned" and "he was not going to let it stand."

Bush also challenged Kerry's pledge not to raise taxes on middle-class Americans to pay for his spending promises.

"We're not going to let (the) senator tax you. We're going to whip him in November," Bush said.

Asked if he would pledge not to raise taxes on middle-class Americans, Kerry looked into the camera and said: "I am not going to raise taxes. I have a tax cut."

Bush estimated Kerry's spending promises at $2 trillion and that his plan to take away tax cuts for Americans making more than $200,000 a year would raise $600 billion to $800 billion, leaving a gap of at least $1.2 trillion. The Kerry campaign disputes those figures.

"He can't have it both ways. To pay for the big spending program he's outlined during his campaign he will have to raise your taxes. He can run but he cannot hide," Bush said.

The Kerry campaign dismissed Bush's charges.

"The president continues to think he is running against some imaginary figure that his ad-makers created. It's time to come back to reality. He's running against John Kerry, who has a plan to get the country back on track," Kerry campaign spokesman Phil Singer said.

The third and last presidential debate is on Wednesday in Tempe, Arizona.

Bush's senior adviser, Karl Rove, said Bush would attack Kerry's 20-year Senate record again and try to portray him as a liberal out of touch with mainstream America.


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