John Kerry, the Democrat’s 2004 presidential nominee, is in Iowa today to help raise money for local races in 2006. About 200 people gathered on Sunday morning in a Des Moines restaurant to greet Kerry in what one woman called “Democrat Church.” “That gives me the privilege of being the guy who gets to say ‘The mass has ended. Go in peace,'” Kerry joked. Kerry also went for the laugh line when talking about Harriet Miers, the woman President Bush has nominated to serve in the U.S. Supreme Court. “I’ve not practiced law now for 25 years. I’ve never been a judge and I’ve met President Bush, so that means I’m qualified to be on the Supreme Court,” Kerry said, to laughter and applause from the audience. Bush’s 2004 campaign went after what it called “values voters” and on Sunday, Kerry quoted from the Bible to make one of his points. “Religion has become more and more a part of the public dialogue in our country and I think that’s great, that’s fine, providing it translates into something real,” Kerry said. “The book of James, since it is Sunday, reminds us by saying what does it mean, to say my brother, that you have faith if there are no works? Faith without works is dead.” Kerry said he is “thirsty” for a debate about values. “As you think about Christianity…and even as you extrapolate to Islam or to other religions, I can’t find anything in any religion anywhere, I certainly can’t find anything in the three-year ministry of Jesus Christ that says you ought to take health care away from poor children or money away from the poorest people in the country to give it to the wealthiest people in the nation,” Kerry said. “I don’t see that.” Kerry told the crowd they need to put the last election behind them, and focus on the future. Kerry said Democrats shouldn’t sit around and “cry in your tea cup” about Bush, but take that frustration and “channel it.” Before Kerry spoke, the crowd heard from Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, a potential candidate for president himself in 2008. “All of us are focused on a lot of elections, but let me suggest to you that we have the equivalent of a national election in 2006,” Vilsack said. He said there’ll be 38 governors races, a few this year, most next — and the Democratic party has an opportunity to develop a “national” message. “There are many reasons to get engaged in governors’ races in 2005 and 2006, and if we do the job well we’re going to set the table for a great national debate in 2008,” Vilsack sais. “It will be our year because it’s pretty clear that Americans are growing tired and weary of every man, woman and child for themselves.” Republican Senator Sam Brownback, another potential president candidate in 2008, was in Iowa on Saturday and he chided Republicans for questioning President Bush’s choice of Miers for the Supreme Court.
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