Candidates on the Campaign Trail
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KWAME HOLMAN: Five days before the election, President Bush and John Kerry are concentrating primarily in the Midwest, on a handful of states where polls show the race is too close to call. The president stumped today in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan, — the same three he campaigned in yesterday. Typical of his campaign stops lately, the president asked supporters in Saginaw, Michigan, to help get voters of all persuasions to the polls.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: It’s good to be back in Saginaw. I am grateful so many of you came out to say hello. Listen, I’m traveling your state, asking for the vote and asking for your help. (Cheers and applause) It is close to voting day.
In our free land, free citizens we have a duty in our country to vote. In our free land, free citizens must vote, and so I’m asking you to get your friends and neighbors to go to the polls. Turn out our fellow Republicans, find independents who understand we have a better tomorrow ahead of us, and don’t overlook discerning Democrats. (Cheers and applause) Tell your fellow citizens that if they want a safer country, a strong country, and a better country, to put me and Dick Cheney back into office. (Cheers and applause)
KWAME HOLMAN: Moving on to Dayton, Ohio, the president again accused Sen. Kerry of changing positions on the war in Iraq.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: What does that lack of conviction say to our troops who are risking their lives in this vital cause? (Cheers and applause) Think about what that says to our allies who have joined our cause.
Think about what that says… that lack of conviction say to our enemies– that if you make things uncomfortable, if you stir up trouble, John Kerry will back off. And that’s a very dangerous signal in the world in which we live. (Cheers and applause) Just this week, Sen. Kerry showed his willingness to put politics ahead of facts and the truth.
He criticized our military’s handling of explosives in Iraq, when his own advisers admitted he didn’t know what had happened. His spokesman has now had to acknowledge that the explosives may have been moved before our troops arrived. (Cheers) A president needs to get all of the facts before jumping to politically motivated conclusions. (Cheers and applause) The senator’s willingness to trade principle for political convenience makes it clear that John Kerry is the wrong man for the wrong job at the wrong time. (Cheers and applause)
KWAME HOLMAN: John Kerry also was in Ohio, addressing a crowd at the University of Toledo.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: I hope George Bush can hear that. That is the rumble of change coming at him..
KWAME HOLMAN: The senator took the opportunity to gloat about last night’s World Series victory by the Boston Red Sox.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: It’s been 86 years! About a year ago, when things weren’t going so well in my campaign, somebody called a radio talk show and they said, thinking they were just cutting me right to the quick, they said, John Kerry won’t be president until the Red Sox win the World Series. (Cheers and applause) Well, we’re on our way! We’re on our way!
KWAME HOLMAN: Sen. Kerry then responded to President Bush’s repeated charge that he makes statements without first understanding the facts.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: I’m going to imply the bush– apply the Bush standard to this. Yesterday… yesterday George Bush said, and I quote him, a political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your commander-in-chief when it comes to your security. (Applause)
Well, Mr. President, I agree with you. George Bush jumped to conclusions about 9/11 and Saddam Hussein. George Bush jumped to conclusions about weapons of mass destruction, and he rushed to war without a plan the win the peace. George Bush jumped to conclusions about how the Iraqi people would receive our troops. He not only jumped to conclusions, he ignored the facts that he was given by his generals, by the Congress, by the experts.
KWAME HOLMAN: The senator pointed specifically to the missing explosives in Iraq.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: Here’s the bottom line: They’re not where they’re supposed to be. You were warned to guard them. You didn’t guard them. They’re not secure. Guess what? According to George Bush’s own words, he shouldn’t be our commander-in-chief, and I couldn’t agree more. (Cheers and applause)
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN (singing): I believe in a promise land –
KWAME HOLMAN: This afternoon, Sen. Kerry got some help from rocker Bruce Springsteen, who played, and endorsed the senator, before tens of thousands of mostly Kerry supporters near the state capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin.
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: Ladies and gentlemen, the next president of the United States…
KWAME HOLMAN: Sen. Kerry reminded the crowd how important every vote will be next Tuesday.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: Every single one of you has to remember it was 537 votes in Florida and one vote on the Supreme Court. Wisconsin helped win the presidency for John Kennedy in 1960. I’m asking you to help me win the presidency in 2004.
KWAME HOLMAN: Tomorrow, John Kerry will break away from the Midwest and spend the day campaigning in Orlando, West Palm Beach, and Miami, Florida. President Bush will head east to campaign in Manchester and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and then return to Ohio for events in Toledo and Columbus.