The same commitment
to compete that John Kerry demonstrated during his primary campaign
emerged as he and President Bush squared off at the beginning
of 2004's long general election campaign.
As a senator and candidate, Kerry has been a critic of President
Bush's domestic and foreign policy.
the domestic front Kerry voted against the tax cuts the administration
advocated, against the proposal to drill for oil in Alaska's Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge coastal area, and against approving the
nomination of Attorney General John Ashcroft.
He has further blamed the president for sluggish economic growth,
a net loss of jobs during his tenure, and what he says is a lack
of affordable health care.
Kerry has also been sharply critical of the administration's foreign
policy and homeland security efforts, which he says are woefully
underfunded. He has argued that Democrats must take the foreign
policy debate back from their GOP rivals, and has said he welcomes
the debate. Borrowing a phrase from the president himself, Kerry
has invited Mr. Bush to "bring it on" when it comes
to foreign policy issues.
Kerry has also said he is determined to run a tough campaign,
vowing to fight what he calls the GOP's "attack dogs."
In March, Kerry was recorded unaware using tough language while
speaking to a group of union workers:
"Oh yeah, don't worry, man. We're going to keep pounding,
let me tell you -- we're just beginning to fight here. These guys
are the most crooked, you know, lying group of people I've ever
seen," microphones picked the senator up as saying.
A White House spokesman called Kerry's comments "harsh, angry,
bitter" and Republicans accused Kerry of running a negative
campaign and unfairly labeling the president a liar and crook.
he was talking about the "attack dog" Republican operatives,
not the president, but refused to back down from the comments.
"John Kerry is a great counter puncher," Douglas Brinkley
told the NewsHour in March. "If you punch him he punches
back harder. There's a great resilience to him."
Kerry's penchant for "counter punching" and the president's
own promise of a "spirited campaign" the stage is set
for a long, rough-and-tumble contest leading to November.
By Jason Manning, Online NewsHour