Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry canceled his appearances in eastern Iowa today — running mate John Edwards spoke, instead, at a town hall meeting in Davenport this afternoon and Edwards will headline a six o’clock rally in Cedar Rapids. Campaign aides say Kerry’s voice is strained and he needs to rest it in advance of next week’s debate with President Bush. Kerry spoke in Columbus, Ohio, this morning, however, and attacked President Bush for saying a “handful” of terrorists are responsible for the violence in Iraq. “CIA estimates, the reporting, the ground operations and the troops all tell a different story,” Kerry said. Kerry said a report from a deputy of the provisional coalition authority in Iraq indicates “we are losing the peace” and Iraqis “are earning money throwing grenades at American soldiers.” Kerry is repeating his assertion that President Bush “rushed to war without a plan to win the peace.” Kerry accused the President of forcing one military aide to retire early because that aide said a greater number of troops were needed to keep order in Iraq. “You have a mess in Iraq, and that’s not the kind of leadership this nation deserves,” Kerry said, his voice cracking at the end. At this afternoon’s town hall forum in Davenport this afternoon, Kerry’s running mate John Edwards focused on fighting the war on terror. First Lady Laura Bush is scheduled to attend an invitation-only event in Eldridge, Iowa tomorrow morning.
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