President Bush is scheduled to speak at a northeast Iowa rally in Dubuque this morning. The President’s bringing his “Yes, America Can” bus tour to the nation’s midsection. Democrats intend to trail behind in their own “Yes, America Can but Bush Can’t” bus. Bush’s Dubuque stop comes amid the flap over photos of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners. As for other Bush challenges, newly-released polls show 62 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the direction of the country. And high gasoline prices are fueling unease about the economic recovery. Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie served as a sort of warmup act for Bush when Gillespie spoke last night in Sheldon to a five-county G-O-P gathering. During a telephone interview with Radio Iowa, Gillespie stressed the Bush Administration line that abuse in Iraq prisons is not widespread. Gillespie says Americans understand these are “isolated incidents” that do not reflect the nation’s values. He says republicans and democrats alike are “appalled” by the images in the photos. Gillespie’s main job last night, though, was to attack democratic presidential candidate John Kerry on a number of fronts. Gillespie says Kerry is a waffler, and Gillespie cites Kerry’s conflicting statements about whether he owns an S-U-V. Gillespie says it’s another example of how Kerry will say anything, depending on who’s in the audience. Gillespie also criticizes Kerry for coining the phrase “Benedict Arnould” companies to describe firms that shift jobs overseas, then telling the Wall Street Journal he understands why companies make those decisions and the “Benedict Arnould” phrase was from an “over-zealous speechwriter.” Dubuque fire fighters yesterday said their message to Bush is that when it comes to Homeland Security, the “Mission is not Accomplished” because money for “first responders” has been cut in half. The fire fighters union supports John Kerry’s bid for the White House.
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