George Bush and John Kerry are back in Iowa today. President Bush and John Kerry are trading barbs over the war on terror. Kerry, who is campaigning in Waterloo, says Bush decided to invade Iraq and created a dangerous second war, diverting attention from the war on terror. Kerry says Bush likes to say he’s a leader, but there are very few countries following Bush’s lead in Iraq. Bush, meanwhile, is campaigning in Mason City and questioning whether Kerry has the mettle to fight the war on terror, to stand on principle rather than on the sands of political convenience. Bush and Kerry have been in Iowa at the same time once before in August when they both appeared in Davenport. Today, they’re talking at the same time but from behind lecterns that stand about 83 miles apart. The shortage of flu vaccine has become another debating point in the presidential campaign. This past weekend, Governor Tom Vilsack, a democrat, lambasted President Bush for the vaccine shortage, and suggested Iowa was being shortchanged on what is still available. This morning, Vilsack’s Lieutenant Governor, Sally Pederson, held a news conference to deliver a similar message at a senior center in Des Moines that had to cancel its flu shot clinic because it had no vaccine. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry yesterday said the situation was an example of President Bush’s “failed leadership” and Kerry said if Bush can’t get flu vaccines to Americans, how can Bush “protect them against bioterrorism?” But President Bush says the blame falls on the manufacturers and on trial lawyers who’ve driven other companies out of the vaccine business, leaving just a few companies still manufacturing flu vaccine. Despite the constant handshaking on the campaign trail, Bush himself says he will not take a flu shot this year. Is this flu vaccine shortage an issue that will determine how Iowans, particularly older Iowans, will vote? A spokeswoman for A-A-R-P of Iowa says the group hasn’t done any polling, so doesn’t know what Iowa seniors think about the flu vaccine shortage or whether the issue may have a political impact.
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