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Inside Politics

Bush campaign making strides

Campaign ads take on Kerry

By Bill Schneider
CNN Political Unit

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President Bush speaks Friday in the White House about Iraq and the war on terror.

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YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Play of the Week
George W. Bush
Iraq
John F. Kerry

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- All this year, President Bush has been taking a hammering from Democrats. Republicans were dismayed, wondering when the president was going to hit his stride. Now we know the answer -- this week.

And what happened wins the political Play of the Week.

On Tuesday, Sen. John Kerry went to West Virginia -- a battleground state -- to deliver a critique of Bush's defense policy.

The Bush campaign greeted him with a TV ad: "Though John Kerry voted in October 2002 for military action in Iraq, he later voted against funding our soldiers."

The ad referred to a spending bill for Iraq and Afghanistan passed by Congress last year.

Kerry defended himself at the West Virginia town hall saying, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it."

Which quickly made its way into a new version of the Bush TV ad with a graphic that described Kerry as "wrong on defense."

Maybe the quote was taken out of context. So here's more of it:

"I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it ... Joe Biden and I thought this: We thought, since a lot of mainstream regular folks in America were sharing a big burden of this war, that most of the families whose sons and daughters were called up in the Guard come out of the private sector where they're earning more money."

Clearer now?

On Wednesday, Kerry made this claim, "The [Bush] administration stubbornly holds to failed, unilateral policies that drive significant, important, longstanding allies away from us."

On Friday, Bush gave his response with a major speech marking the one-year anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Bush described Iraq as just one front in the broader war on terrorism, and he cast that as an international effort.

"Among the fallen soldiers and civilians are sons and daughters of Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan," he said.

His point? The United States is not alone.

This week, the Bush campaign got back in the game -- with the political Play of the Week.


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