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Inside Politics

Kerry: Bush has failed to secure America

Democrat plans to visit three states Wednesday


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Sen. John Kerry made a campaign stop Tuesday in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he discussed the situation in Iraq.
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GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (CNN) -- Sen. John Kerry is scheduled to campaign in Sioux City, Iowa, on Wednesday morning, where he is to give a speech tying together his themes of the economy, national security and criticism of Bush's performance as commander in chief.

The Democratic candidate is to head to Rochester, Minnesota, before making a stop in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and ending the day in Ohio. His running mate, Sen. John Edwards, will be in Florida for early voting events before rejoining the campaign trail in Minnesota.

Tuesday, Kerry blasted what he called President Bush's failed policies that favored tax cuts over strengthening homeland security.

Speaking to a cheering crowd in New Mexico, Kerry said he intends "to be a president who fights the war on terror, defends the country, but who also knows how to fight for the middle class in American and the people struggling to get into it."

Earlier in the day, appearing before an audience at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, just one week before the general election, Kerry said America's security has paid the price for the president's decisions.

"Three years after the deadliest attack in our nation's history, George Bush still hasn't done what's necessary to protect America because he's too busy protecting his tax cuts for the wealthy and the well-connected," Kerry said.

He charged that despite warnings about vulnerabilities from the FBI, the CIA and the Department of Homeland Security, Bush has not taken action.

"We don't need a president who thinks we can't afford to fund homeland security. We need a president who believes we can't afford not to. And that is the kind of president I pledge to you I will be," the candidate said to applause.

He accused Bush of choosing "$89 billion in tax cuts he gave to folks making more than $1.2 million a year" over expensive measures needed to secure the country's chemical plants, borders, shipping containers and public transportation.

He also charged that Bush has allowed the jobs of thousands of airport security screeners to be cut and has failed to prepare hospitals for bioterror attacks.

"It's not enough to talk tough and not have a tough policy," he said. "That's wrong, and we're going to change it."

The Massachusetts senator pledged to invest $60 billion over the next 10 years to protect the country by securing the nation's ports and borders, its transportation systems, and its chemical and nuclear plants.

He also promised to give the country's first responders -- firefighters and police officers -- the tools and manpower they need to do their jobs.

"We have a lot of catching up to do, and we need to begin now," Kerry said. "We have to fix the problems and close the gaps that George Bush has left in our homeland security. We have to build an America that is safer and stronger."

He also attacked the president over the latest revelations about 380 tons of powerful explosives missing from a weapons storage depot in Iraq, saying that Bush tried to hide information about the missing explosives until after the election.

"He has stood in front of the American people day after day, telling us how much progress we are making in Iraq and how much safer we are under his leadership, without ever mentioning the loss of these deadly explosives," Kerry said.

"George Bush has not offered a single word of explanation. His silence confirms what I have been saying for months: President Bush rushed to war without a plan to win the peace."

Kerry said that Bush will ask for another $70 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The American people deserve a commander in chief who will tell the truth in good times and bad. This president has failed that fundamental test."

Kerry has made several visits to the battleground state of Wisconsin, a state narrowly won by Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore in the 2000 election. Later Tuesday, he is to head to events in Nevada and New Mexico before ending up in Iowa.

On Thursday, singer Bruce Springsteen is to appear with Kerry in Madison, Wisconsin, and Columbus, Ohio, campaign spokesman Mike McCurry said. Springsteen may also appear with the candidate Monday.


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