Retired Gen. Franks knocks Kerry at Reno rally | NevadaAppeal.com

Retired Gen. Franks knocks Kerry at Reno rally

MARTIN GRIFFITH

RENO – Retired Gen. Tommy Franks launched a four-state campaign swing for President Bush by criticizing Sen. John Kerry’s anti-Vietnam War activities and voting record on the military.

Franks, former commander of forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, faulted Kerry’s votes on major weapons systems and intelligence issues, and against the 1991 Gulf War.

“If his voting record ruled the day, Saddam Hussein would not only be running Iraq but Kuwait,” Franks told about 200 people Sunday at a Reno rally.

“The choice is very, very clear. We need decisive, strong, no-backing-down and no-equivocating leadership,” he said.

Franks praised the Democratic challenger’s military service during the Vietnam War, but said Kerry’s later anti-war activities upset him.

“The men I served with in Vietnam weren’t war criminals and I’m proud I served with them,” Franks said.

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Kerry spokesman Sean Smith accused Franks of distorting Kerry’s Senate voting record.

“He reads (Bush political aide) Karl Rove’s talking points very well,” Smith said. “John Kerry voted for the largest defense appropriation in American history and the largest intelligence appropriation in American history.

“No matter how many attacks they make on John Kerry, it won’t obscure the fact that George Bush has gotten us into a quagmire in Iraq.”

Franks, a registered independent in Florida, said he decided to endorse Bush because of his handling of the war against terrorism.

Other terrorist attacks during the Clinton administration went largely unanswered by the U.S., he said.

“I know a commander in chief when I see one and there’s only one on the ballot,” Franks said. “After September 11th, we were blessed to have a commander in chief who said enough is enough.