LAS VEGAS - President Bush on Thursday defended his decision to use Nevada's Yucca Mountain as the nation's high-level nuclear waste dump, an unpopular move in a swing state that he won four years ago.
"I said I would make a decision based upon science, not politics. I said I would listen to the scientists, those involved with determining whether or not this project could move forward in a safe manner and that's exactly what I did," Bush told supporters in this city 90 miles southeast of the proposed waste site.
Bush accused Democratic Sen. John Kerry of pandering to Nevada voters by playing both sides of the issue, part of a broader effort to cast the Massachusetts senator as someone who bends to the political winds.
"He says he's strongly against Yucca here in Nevada, but he voted for it several times," Bush claimed.
That is not exactly true.
Each time Kerry has faced the simple choice of voting whether or not to send waste to Yucca Mountain, he has voted against it. But he has voted for some measures that had provisions to allow nuclear dumps there. Some 16 years ago, Kerry voted for an overall budget bill that included a provision favoring putting the nuclear waste in Nevada.