Kerry blasts Bush on security, education

By Gus Bode

The Daily Iowan (U. Iowa)

ANAMOSA, Iowa (U-WIRE) – A Democratic presidential hopeful made his case for greater accountability in American leadership July 19 to a group of supporters.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., told a crowd of 75 at the National Motorcycle Museum that the U.S. economy, education system, and foreign policy are in need of remedy. The 59-year-old former prosecutor contended that President Bush’s leadership has left millions jobless and has compromised security both at home and abroad.

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“This administration is the single most say-one-thing-do-another administration in the 19 years I’ve been in the Senate,” said Kerry, who was first elected in 1984. “We are six months away [from the caucuses] at a moment when Iowa has the opportunity to set this country on a different course.”

Kerry defended his congressional vote authorizing the use of force against Iraq, but he criticized the way Bush has carried out his responsibility. Like Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., Kerry, who has served 18 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and six years on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he advocated securing support from the United Nations before invading Iraq.

“My vote was 100-percent correct based on the information we were given and intelligence reports,” Kerry said. “I told the president, ‘Don’t rush this war. Bring in the U.N.; take time to do the diplomacy.'”

The decorated Vietnam veteran touted his ability to create jobs, make the United States less dependent on foreign oil, and formulate a health-care system that will ensure coverage for everyone. He also said he will strive to bring security back to America and reform a “separate but unequal” school system that depends on a property-tax base.

“We’re going to crisscross this country together to hold the president accountable for making a mockery of the words, ‘Leave no child behind,'” Kerry said. “Under no circumstance should we be opening firehouses in Baghdad while shutting them down in the United States.”

Kerry appeared comfortable and poised to take questions from the press and supporters, and he spoke one-on-one with those who had concerns to address with him. After a brief tour of the collection of rare and antique motorcycles, the lanky Yale University alum, sporting New Balance sneakers and sunglasses, positioned himself atop a 2003 100th Anniversary Harley-Davidson and rode it down Anamosa’s dusty streets, much to the delight of onlookers.

Angie Spink, a Marion resident and committed Kerry supporter, said she had been following his career and campaign for approximately six months and feels that health care and foreign policy are key issues in this election.

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“I want Bush out, and I want a Democrat in,” she said. “He’s the most electable of the group; he’s the strongest candidate in each area.”

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