'Results matter,' president says in counterattack to Kerry's convention speech

Friday, July 30th 2004, 6:18 am
By: News On 6

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) _ President Bush launched his counterattack Friday against John Kerry, saying his Democratic rival spent 18 years in the U.S. Senate with ``no signature achievements.''

``My opponent has good intentions, but intentions do not always translate to results,'' Bush told thousands of supporters who repeatedly interrupted his remarks with standing ovations.

Appearing at a baseball stadium at Southwest Missouri State University, Bush said that during eight years on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Kerry voted to cut the intelligence budget but had no record of reforming America's intelligence-gathering capability. Problems with the intelligence agencies have been blamed for many of the failures surrounding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Bush also said Kerry has no significant record for reforming education or health care.

The president said that Kerry and running mate John Edwards consistently oppose reforms that limit the power of Washington and leave more power in the hands of the people.

``This week members of the other party gathered in Boston,'' Bush said. ``We heard a lot of clever speeches and some big promises. After 19 years in the United States Senate my opponent has had thousands of votes but very few signature achievements.''

Bush also mounted a defense of his record, saying that Kerry would erase gains made in the past four years in the economy and U.S. security.

``We are turning the corner and we are not turning back'' in the war on terrorism and on issues from improving education and health care to maintaining the tax cuts he has put in place, said Bush, declaring: ``Results matter.''

``They're going to raise taxes, we're not,'' Bush said of Kerry.

He said the Bush administration has ``a clear vision on how to win the war on terror and bring peace to the world.''

Bush also contrasted the longtime government service of Dick Cheney to Edwards, a first-term senator.

``I appreciate my running mate,'' said Bush. ``He's not the prettiest man in the race, but he's got sound judgment.''

Offering broad outlines of his re-election agenda, Bush promised better times and fresh ideas, declaring ``we have more work to do.''

In response to Bush's speech, the Kerry campaign said ``results do matter'' and that Bush's policies have led to record deficits, skyrocketing health costs, lower quality jobs, a military that is stretched too thin and a nation isolated from its allies.

In his acceptance speech Thursday night, Kerry hit hard at the president's handling of the Iraq war and the war on terror.

``Saying there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq doesn't make it so,'' said Kerry. ``Saying we can fight a war on the cheap doesn't make it so. And proclaiming mission accomplished certainly doesn't make it so.''

Outside the minor-league baseball stadium where Bush spoke, hundreds of protesters carried signs and chanted.

``I'm so frightened about what's happening to the country,'' said Joan Wagnon, 72, of Springfield. She held a sign reading, ``Don't waive your rights while waving your flag.''

Bush did not stay up to watch Kerry's convention address but read and saw reports about it, spokesman Scott McClellan said. Adviser Karl Rove watched the speech, McClellan told reporters.

``I think the senator of Massachusetts is a walking contradiction,'' McClellan said. Although he called Kerry's speech ``nicely crafted,'' he criticized Kerry's Senate record and said he is ``running as fast and as far as he can from that record.''

In a trip focused on the Midwest, the president campaigns Saturday by bus in Ohio, the second bus tour he has made in the state in three months. He will wrap up two days of campaigning with a rally Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh, just hours after Kerry speaks in a nearby suburb. It will be his 31st visit to Pennsylvania since being elected.

Bush won Missouri in 2000 with 50 percent of the vote to Al Gore's 47 percent, and in Springfield, Mo., the president appeals to some of his strongest supporters in the state.

``This is a turnout game and whoever mobilizes their base most effectively is going to win the state,'' says political science professor Martha Kropf of the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

Missouri has lost nearly 40,000 manufacturing jobs since Bush took office, but the picture has improved markedly in the past year, with the labor force as a whole adding 83,000 jobs.