Massachusetts Senator John Kerry formally kicked off his campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination yesterday with a sharp attack on President Bush. Kerry arrived in Des Moines mid-afternoon, and stopped off for some frozen custard before speaking to about 600 supporters gathered last night in the Temple for the Performing Arts. Kerry brought along men who served with him in Vietnam, and he repeatedly used the word courage to highlight that military experience which he argues sets him apart from his Democratic rivals, and from President Bush..Kerry said he would challenge Bush for taking our country in the wrong direction. amd rushing into a war in Iraq without a plan for peace. “George Bush’s vision does not live up to the America that I enlisted in the Navy to defend, the America I have fought for in the Senate, and the America that I hope to lead as president,” Kerry said. He said it was time to escape the threat of oil barrells, and make the country independent of Middle Eastern sources of oil within the next 10 years. He says the auto industry has political muscle, but we’re in a war and everyone needs to contribute. He called on automakers to raise the mileage their vehicles get. Kerry also attacked Bush for “glorifying greed” here at home and crafting an economic plan that has led to three million job losses in the past three years. He says his economic plan sets the goal to get those jobs back in the first 500 days of his presidendency.Kerry singled out one Democratic competitor for criticism. Kerry said Howard Dean’s plan to roll back the tax cuts for middle and lower-class Americans was wrong. Kerry proposes to erase the Bush tax cuts on what he calls the “wealthiest Americans” while leaving the tax cuts in place for the rest.
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