KWAME HOLMAN: By plane, train, bus, and even helicopter, John Kerry and President Bush crossed the country this week in one of the busiest stretches yet this campaign season. The president began his push in Virginia on Monday.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: There's a philosophical divide here in this campaign.
KWAME HOLMAN: While John Kerry already was traveling through the Southwest, stopping for a picturesque question-and-answer session with reporters at the Grand Canyon. Kerry responded to the president's challenge that he answer "yes" or "no" on whether he would have voted to authorize use of force in Iraq given the information available today.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it was the right authority for a president to have. I would have used that authority as I have said throughout this campaign, effectively.
KWAME HOLMAN: Tuesday in Florida, and teamed with former political rival Sen. John McCain, the president responded to Kerry.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: After months of questioning my motives and even my credibility, Sen. Kerry now agrees with me that even though we have not found the stockpile of weapons we all believe were there, knowing everything we know today, he would have voted to go into Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power. I want to thank Sen. Kerry for clearing that up. (Cheers and applause)
KWAME HOLMAN: Meanwhile, Kerry was in Henderson, Nevada, criticizing the president for supporting plans to store the nation's nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain outside Las Vegas.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: My message to Nevada is very simple: Yucca Mountain? Not on my watch -- will not happen. No!
KWAME HOLMAN: President Bush followed Kerry to the southwest on Wednesday, campaigning in Arizona and New Mexico before his own stop in Las Vegas. There the president picked up on Kerry's Yucca Mountain remarks.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Now, my opponent's trying to turn Yucca Mountain into a political poker chip. He says he's strongly against Yucca here in Nevada, but he voted for it several times. (Laughter and applause) And so did his running mate. My point to you is that if they're going to change, one day they may change again.
KWAME HOLMAN: The two running mates also were out campaigning. Yesterday in Dayton, Ohio, Vice President Cheney assailed John Kerry's statement that he would fight a "sensitive" war on terror in an effort to get other nations involved.
VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: A sensitive war will not destroy the evil men who killed 3,000 Americans and who seek the chemical, nuclear and biological weapons to kill hundreds of thousands more. The men who beheaded Daniel Pearl and Paul Johnson will not be impressed by our sensitivity.
KWAME HOLMAN: Today in Flint, Michigan, John Edwards accused Cheney of distorting Kerry's words and reminded the vice president that Kerry "spilled his blood" for the country during the Vietnam War. Kerry, too, was on the attack yesterday in Carson, California, zeroing in on the president's consideration of a national sales tax.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: That's going to hurt small businesses, it's going to hurt jobs, and it's going to hit the pocketbooks of those who need tax relief the most.
KWAME HOLMAN: Last night, President Bush was in nearby Santa Monica, attending a fundraiser with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. By today, the president had made it to Beaverton, Oregon, where he talked on stage with a group of small-business owners.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: When you reduce individual income taxes for SCorps and sole proprietorship, you are really saying we are going to stimulate the small business sector of America. It's paying off. I'm telling you it's paying off.
KWAME HOLMAN: Kerry was in Oregon as well, and at a neighborhood talk in Springfield, cited a newly released report that he says demonstrates the Bush tax cuts disproportionately benefit the rich.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: Over the last four years, the burden of taxes has shifted from the wealthy to the middle class. The middle class is paying more taxes.
KWAME HOLMAN: After today, John Kerry will spend several days away from the campaign, while the president continues stumping through the weekend.