Kerry says Bush guilty of ‘arrogant boasting’ on Iraq but truth catching up |

Kerry says Bush guilty of ‘arrogant boasting’ on Iraq but truth catching up

Associated Press Writer

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Democrat John Kerry said Monday that President Bush sent troops into war without necessary equipment and accused the commander in chief of “arrogant boasting that he’s done everything right in Iraq.”

“Mr. President, your management or mismanagement of this war, your diversion from al-Qaida and from Osama bin Laden, your shift of the troops to Iraq when there was nothing to do with al-Qaida, nothing to do with 9/11, has made America less safe, not more secure,” Kerry said.

The Democrat’s campaign also rolled out a TV ad showing Bush saying “I truly am not that concerned about him” – a reference to Osama bin Laden. The ad seeks to make the case that “It’s time for a new direction” on Iraq and the war on terror. Bush denied in the final debate that he had ever said he wasn’t worried about Osama.

As for U.S. forces, Kerry referred to a report in The Washington Post that the U.S. commander in Iraq, Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, said last winter that his supply situation was so poor that it threatened the troops’ ability to fight.

“Despite the president’s arrogant boasting that he’s done everything right in Iraq and that he’s made no mistakes, the truth is beginning to come out and it’s beginning to catch up with him,” Kerry said.

“I will never be a commander in chief who just cavalierly, ideologically and arrogantly dismisses the advice of our best military commanders in the United States.”

Kerry made his remarks the same day that the president planned a major terrorism speech and signed the homeland security spending bill into law.

“John Kerry is a politician who is declining in the polls, who is grasping at issues, who voted against money for Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Bush-Cheney spokesman Steve Schmidt. “John Kerry has demonstrated his ability to say anything at anytime to anyone if it benefits him politically.”

Kerry criticized the president’s conduct in Iraq while in Florida, urging voters to take advantage of laws that let residents cast their ballots for the Nov. 2 election beginning Monday.

He said an early vote would help prevent a repeat of the nail-biting finish of 2000 that saw the election decided in a Florida recount

“This is important. If you vote early now, we don’t have to stay up late on Tuesday night, Nov. 2,” Kerry said. “I want you to get out and get the job done.”

Florida, the 2000 battleground that decided the election by 537 votes, remains close this year. President Bush planned a campaign trip Monday as well.

In polls taken after the first presidential debate, one showed Bush ahead and others showed the candidates running neck-and-neck in the state, which offers 27 electoral votes.

Democrats said they have 46,000 volunteers mobilized to help get out the early vote, delivering a blizzard of phone calls and mail.

While asking for votes, Kerry also planned to lay out his prescription for avoiding another flu vaccine shortage like the one this season.

Kerry wants manufacturers to report vaccine supplies to public health officials, encourage the donation and public buyback of surplus vaccines, establish a reserve of the inoculations and encourage more drug makers to produce the vaccine.

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