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Saturday, September 11, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Campaign Notebook
Kerry says Bush gave in to NRA on weapons ban

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Sen. John Kerry accused President Bush yesterday of being beholden to the National Rifle Association and the gun lobby because he hasn't pressed Congress to extend the 10-year-old assault-weapons ban that expires Monday.

Bush, on a campaign bus tour through West Virginia and Ohio, slammed Kerry again for shifting his position on Iraq and said Saddam Hussein would be in power if Kerry were president.

Kerry chose Affton, Mo., to issue his toughest indictment of Bush on the assault-weapons ban. He later reiterated his point in Pennsylvania.

Bush in 2000 said he would support an extension of the ban; he hasn't actively encouraged congressional leaders to renew the 1994 law.

"George Bush, who said, 'Oh, I'm for that,' never asked the Congress to pass it, never pushed the Congress to pass it, never stood up, gives in to the NRA, gives in to the special interests, and America's streets will not be as safe because of the choice George Bush has made," Kerry said.

Kerry is banking on polls that show two-thirds of Americans believe the ban should be renewed.

In Huntington, W.Va., Bush included the Second Amendment in a laundry list of things that he said he stands for. The president also accused Kerry of having more positions in Iraq than all 99 other members of the Senate combined have.

"The newest wrinkle is that Senator Kerry has now decided we are spending too much money in Iraq, even though he criticized us earlier for not spending enough," Bush said.

Kerry attacked Bush this week for mishandling Iraq so badly that the war's price tag is approaching $200 billion, money that Kerry said could have been spent better at home.

In August 2003, when the insurrection in Iraq was growing, Kerry said on a TV show that Washington should spend more, billions, if necessary, to secure the peace.

Cheney backtracks from statement

CINCINNATI — Vice President Dick Cheney tried to backtrack from his charge Tuesday that if Americans make "the wrong choice" on Election Day, "then the danger is that we'll get hit again" by terrorists.

In an interview published yesterday in The Cincinnati Enquirer, Cheney said he didn't mean to imply that "if Kerry is elected, we will be hit by a terrorist attack." Cheney said he meant to say that he believes a Kerry presidency would move away from President Bush's doctrine of pre-empting terrorists by attacking them first and revert to a "pre-9/11 mindset."


The Democratic Party has reversed course, airing television ads in Missouri and Colorado after dropping the states from its first round of post-Labor Day commercials.

NBC's "Today" show beat out ABC's "Good Morning America" for first TV interview rights on Kitty Kelley and her new Bush biography, "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty."

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