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Clinton campaigns with Kerry today
Updated: 2004-10-25 20:17

Former President Clinton plans to attend a rally with John Kerry today in Philadelphia, then travel to Florida for a rally tonight. Kerry and President Bush continue their campaigns through swing states today with the election a week from tomorrow.

Bush is charging Kerry with having a limited vision of the war on terror that won't keep America safe, in a campaign speech revamped to call attention to the central argument of his re-election bid.

"There will be new language. There are many different arguments to be made to make the same point," White House communications director Dan Bartlett said of remarks Bush delivers Monday at a rally in Greeley, Colo. The president was headed to Iowa afterward for events in Council Bluffs and Davenport.

The new speech is part of a multi-pronged, final-stretch effort by Bush to hone the defining issues of the campaign and find a way to break the neck-and-neck status of the race.

Monday's focus on the war on terror includes a new television ad that closely tracks the president's remarks. With former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani by his side, Bush accuses Kerry of not having what it takes to prosecute the anti-terror battle.

Then on Tuesday, Bush plans an address on the economy. It's an area where Kerry believes he is stronger, but Bush will contrast what he says is the economy-boosting impact of his tax cuts with a charge, denied by Kerry, that the Massachusetts senator would raise taxes on all Americans if elected. That argument would come as Bush appeared at three rallies in Wisconsin and one back in Iowa.

Meanwhile, Kerry said his wife simply made a mistake when she said she didn't know if first lady Laura Bush has ever held "a real job."

"She misspoke, as many of us do in life. And I've misspoken. How many times have I misspoken or the president or somebody else?" Kerry said in an interview for broadcast Monday on NBC's "Today" show.

Kerry said he loves his wife's "outspokenness. I think Americans love her. Because she's authentic. She speaks her mind. And she tells the truth. And Americans want the truth."

Teresa Heinz Kerry recently apologized to Mrs. Bush after telling USA Today she didn't know if the president's wife has ever had "a real job." Heinz Kerry said later she'd forgotten about Mrs. Bush's 10-year stint as a schoolteacher and librarian.

Clinton, in an interview broadcast Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America," said he talked to his doctors before deciding to campaign and said they advised him to get to his appearance sites early so he can get some rest, if necessary.

"I feel good. My chest is normally feeling a little bit tender in the morning but I get up and start moving around and I feel better," he said. " ... I just sleep and walk, read books, watch baseball, that's what I do."

Asked if he thought Kerry could win, Clinton replied, "I think so, but it's very close. Our country is divided culturally, pretty evenly now, and each party has a base vote of about 45 percent so the election will turn on what percentage of that 45 percent shows up, who's done a better job of registering ... and how the other 10 percent sees it."

"I think this is really one of the most difficult elections to call that I have ever seen," Clinton said. He advised Kerry not to seek a "silver bullet" for his campaign in the last week but instead to assure voters that is committed to his campaign promises and will follow up on them if elected.

"I think he should get out there and convey confidence and make it clear that he has outlined some very specific plans for the future," he said.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe told CBS' "The Early Show" Monday he believes it's important for Clinton to "be out there talking to the base supporters of this party."

But Republican Party Chairman Ed Gillespie said Clinton's appearance with Kerry was "obviously a sign that Sen. Kerry doesn't feel that he's got energized Democrats" and is hoping for "a little charisma transplant" from the former president.


Kerry, said Gillespie, is "hoping that Bill Clinton can energize voters, but his name is not on the ballot. It's John Kerry's name on the ballot."

Former President Clinton said his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, was not worried that it was too soon for him to campaign but "didn't want me to do too much, and I don't either," according to a transcript of the interview, which was scheduled to air Monday on "Good Morning America."

"I think you know there's only so much anyone else can do in a campaign that he or she is not the candidate in," Clinton said. "But I want to do this. Sen. Kerry asked me to do it. And I want to do it."

Al Gore is heading to the epicenter of the 2000 recount battle that lost him the presidency, looking to fuel anger over that election into Democratic votes in this election. Gore scheduled campaign events in Broward and Palm Beach counties, both hotly contested during the recount battle.

President Bush and Sen. John Kerry stayed on the offensive in swing states Sunday as the presidential race entered its final full week. In a television interview, Bush said it is "up in the air" whether the nation can ever be fully safe from another terror attack and suggested terrorists may still be contemplating ways to disrupt the election.

Kerry ridiculed Bush's statement, suggesting it echoed an earlier assertion — later withdrawn — by the president that the war on terror could not be won.

"You make me president of the United States, we're going to win the war on terror," Kerry said at an evening rally in Boca Raton, Fla. "It's not going to be up in the air whether or not we make America safe."

Earlier, Kerry spoke at a predominantly black church for the fourth consecutive Sunday, this one in Fort Lauderdale in heavily Democratic Broward County, and promised worshippers their votes would be counted this time. The county saw some of the worst of Florida's 2000 vote-counting abuses. "I want you to turn out," the Democrat said.

Kerry pressed his attack on the president's record in new television ads, while on the campaign trail he sought to strike a more inspirational tone, saying in a speech on faith that values he practices as a Roman Catholic "will guide me as president."

The Democrat took on church bishops who have criticized his support for abortion rights and expanded embryonic stem cell research and who have said he should be denied Holy Communion for not advancing church teachings. "I love my church, I respect the bishops, but I respectfully disagree," Kerry said.

With polls showing the race still tight, the campaigns were focusing their efforts on fewer than a dozen states that remain highly competitive, with both camps making last-minute scheduling decisions to reflect realities on the ground.

Kerry was headed to New Hampshire after Florida. Bush won both states in 2000. The Republican incumbent campaigned in New Mexico, which Democrat Al Gore narrowly won. Speaking at a high school stadium in Alamogordo, Bush cited his differences with Kerry over Iraq.

On a day when Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group claimed responsibility for ambushing and killing 50 U.S.-trained Iraqi soldiers, Bush declared: "Our troops will defeat Zarqawi and his likes overseas in Iraq so we do not have to face them here at home."

In a taped interview with Fox News Channel's "Hannity and Colmes," Bush was asked whether the nation would always be vulnerable to another terror attack and whether Americans would always have to live with that.

"Yes, because we have to be right 100 percent of the time in disrupting any plot and they have to be right once," Bush said. He said the nation is safer from terrorism, but "whether or not we can be ever fully safe is up — you know, up in the air."

Bush said he was sure terrorists still "think about" trying to disrupt the Nov. 2 elections, citing the March 11 train bombings in Madrid that killed 191 people right before Spain's national elections.

"I don't want to alarm anybody because ... there's nothing specific at this point in time — a kind of general intent," Bush said in the interview, to be broadcast Monday night.

Bush caused a flap at the G0P convention in New York in late August when he said of the war on terror: "I don't think you can win it." The comment, made in an interview with NBC, complicated GOP efforts to portray him as a resolute leader.

The president quickly backed away from the earlier remark, asserting that the war on terror could be won, even if not in a conventional sense, and that he "probably needed to be more articulate."

In the Fox interview taped Saturday, Bush also was asked whether a nuclear, chemical or biological attack in the United States is a real possibility. "Yes it is," Bush replied. "That's the biggest threat we face." Fox released excerpts of the interview on Sunday.

White House communications director Dan Bartlett dismissed Kerry's criticism of Bush's "up in the air" comment. "This is a debate we are more than happy to have. The president said we can win the war on terror and we will win the war on terror," Bartlett said.

Bartlett said Bush would spend the upcoming days focusing more closely on the two central issues: the war on terror and the economy. He will give a new speech on Monday in Greeley, Colo., on fighting terrorism and a new one on the ecnomy on Tuesday in Wisconsin, Bartlett said.

New ads will be aired to bolster these messages, along with a 60-second spot in the final days that will make an "emotional, heartfelt" appear for keeping Bush in the White House. "It's our closing pitch to undecided voters," Bartlett said.

In all, both campaigns are spending nearly $40 million on TV ads in the final week of the campaign.

Closing its own $150 million ad campaign, Kerry's camp said it planned to run a series of previously released television commercials with the candidate offering messages both hopeful about the future and sharply critical of Bush.

Meanwhile, Gore, on a tour of mostly black churches in Florida, told blacks embittered by his narrow loss in the 2000 presidential election to turn anger into energy at the polls. "Don't turn it into angry acts or angry words," the former vice president said in Jacksonville.

And a judge's order requiring some provisional ballots in Michigan to be counted even if they are cast in the wrong precinct was put on hold Sunday, the second time in as many days that a federal appeals court dealt a setback to Democrats seeking to ease voting restrictions. Such ballots are used when voters say they are properly registered but their names are not on voter rolls. On Saturday, the same three-judge panel rejected a similar ruling in Ohio.

Polls showed little movement, with the race essentially even nationally and in the major swing states.

Kerry strategists canceled plans to visit Colorado this week, suggesting his campaign was giving up on that state, even though Kerry was just there.

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