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Gore calls Cheney remarks 'sleazy'
Updated: 2004-09-10 13:48

Vice President Dick Cheney's remark that "the wrong choice" by voters could result in another terrorist attack was "a sleazy and despicable effort to blackmail voters with fear," Al Gore said yesterday.

The former vice president criticized the Bush-Cheney administration -- which he repeatedly called the Bush-Halliburton administration -- for its "failed record" on the economy, health care and the war in Iraq during a speech at the headquarters of the United Steelworkers of America.

"The claim by Bush and Cheney that the American people must give them four more years in office or else be 'hit hard' by another terrorist attack is a sleazy and despicable effort to blackmail voters with fear," Gore said.

"They are going back to the ugliest page in the Republican playbook: fear," he said. "They're not even really trying to convince you to vote for George Bush. Their only hope, they've decided, is to try and make you too afraid to vote for John Kerry. It's the lowest sort of politics imaginable. It is not worthy of a presidential candidate."

Cheney told supporters in Des Moines on Tuesday that, if Kerry were elected, the United States risked falling back into a "pre-9/11 mind-set" that terrorist attacks are criminal acts that require a reactive approach."It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States," Cheney said.

Gore joined other Democrats, including Kerry and running mate John Edwards, in condemning Cheney's statement, with Kerry saying that Bush and Cheney were playing politics with the war on terror in a "shameful and irresponsible" effort to scare voters into re-electing them.

Bush declined to discuss the issue with reporters on Wednesday. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Cheney was talking about differences in how Bush and Kerry would approach the war on terror.

Meanwhile, Kerry's campaign recently announced a $45-million advertising buy through the November election, aimed at 20 battleground states, but it has sharply scaled down the battlefield with its newly released ad "Wrong Choices," which debuted Wednesday.

Campaign officials said the ad would begin airing in seven states, with an eighth to be added later in the week. Combined with an independent advertising campaign by the Democratic National Committee, the Democrats will be focused for now on 14 swing states.

With fewer than 60 days remaining in the campaign, the new ad buy indicates that the Democrats have begun targeting their electoral map strategy more carefully, with a dozen or so top-tier targets and others relegated to lesser priority.

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