Kerry hits Bush on energy while preparing for last presidential debate

Monday, October 11th 2004, 11:15 am
By: News On 6

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) _ John Kerry said Monday that President Bush has done little to bring down energy costs and encourage alternative energy development, choosing to help energy companies instead of consumers.

``Just like on every other issue, they'll tell you they have an energy plan,'' Kerry said in remarks prepared for delivery. But as usual, it's a plan that warms the hearts of their powerful friends and leaves you out in the cold.''

Setting the stage for his third and final face-to-face meeting with Bush on Wednesday, this time focusing on domestic issues, Kerry detailed his energy plan and criticized the Republican-controlled Congress for failing to pass an energy bill.

``Instead of standing up for you, George Bush has chosen secret meetings with the energy industry behind closed doors in the White House,'' Kerry said. ``And after four years of empty rhetoric and inaction, the Republican-controlled Congress is ending another session without passing a good energy bill for America. At the end of the day, George Bush just couldn't get it done.''

Speaking late Sunday in Albuquerque, Kerry said he would push scientists at the state's major government research labs in Sandia and Los Alamos to develop alternative fuels.

``We're going to get them moving to get us into alternative, renewable energy. We're going to start making America energy-independent,'' the Massachusetts senator said.

The Bush-Cheney campaign said Kerry had worked in the Senate against the president's proposals to decrease the nation's dependence on foreign oil and develop renewable energy.

``John Kerry's obstruction of a national energy policy makes his current political opportunism completely hypocritical,'' said spokesman Steve Schmidt. ``John Kerry will tell people whatever he thinks they want to hear, and his multiple positions are destroying his credibility with the American people.''

To lower energy costs and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, Kerry wants to develop a trust fund for developing clean fuels, develop energy efficient buildings, diversify sources of oil and other fuels and upgrade electricity grids.

Kerry said he came to New Mexico ``to get some clean New Mexico air, get some of that good mountain inspiration'' for the debate with Bush in Tempe, Ariz.

The visit also shores up support in a state where a poll taken after the first debate showed the Democrat virtually tied with the Republican incumbent.

``Here I am in the state of New Mexico. George Bush is still in the state of denial,'' Kerry told the supportive crowd Sunday. ``New Mexico has five electoral votes. The state of denial has none. I like my chances.''