President Bush and rival John Kerry campaigned in Iowa today, offering indictments of their opponent’s fitness to be commander-in-chief of the war on terror. Kerry spoke at a rally in Waterloo this morning, and accused Bush of losing sight of the real war against Al-Qaida and other terrorists by diverting American forces into Iraq — without the broad support of other countries. “The president says he’s a leader,” Kerry said. “Well, Mr. President, look behind you. There’s hardly anyone there. It’s not leadership if we haven’t built the strongest alliance possible and if American is going almost alone.” Kerry said Bush is too stubborn to admit reality. “He is, I think, literally in denial,” Kerry said. “He ignored the leaders of both parties in Congress. He ignored outside experts who predicted virtually every problem that we now face now in Iraq…and just as today, against all the evidence, he insists we’re making good progress.” Kerry said he’ll lead Iraq into a “fresh start.” Kerry said American troops have been doing their job bravely and honorably, but the problem has been that Bush — the commander-in-chief — hasn’t been doing his job. Bush spoke at a rally in Mason City this morning, and fired back, accusing Kerry of misunderstanding the war on terror. “We’re in the midst of a global war on terror against a well-trained, highly-motivated enemy…who hates America,” Bush said. The President said Kerry can’t win a war if he didn’t believe we’re fighting one. Bush accused Kerry of referring to the war on terror as “an intelligence and law enforcement operation.” Bush said the war requires the full use of American military power. And Bush said Kerry has said too much to be able to bring new nations into the coalition working in Iraq. “Senator Kerry’s view of alliance building is to call them the coerced and the bribed, is to insult the friends who stand with us and try to placate countries who disagree with us,” Bush said. Bush said Kerry misunderstands the battle in Iraq when Kerry calls Iraq a diversion from the war on terror. Both Bush and Kerry have moved on to campaign in other Midwestern states. Their runningmates, though, are on the way here. Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards will campaign in eastern Iowa tonight and tomorrow. Vice President Dick Cheney will be in central Iowa tomorrow.
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