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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Kerry Returns to Florida, Hammering Bush on Iraq

The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > Kerry Returns to Florida, Hammering Bush on Iraq: "September 22, 2004
Kerry Returns to Florida, Hammering Bush on Iraq
By RICHARD W. STEVENSON

ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 21 - Senator John Kerry returned to Florida on Tuesday after an absence of a month, campaigning in a crucial swing state with a newly aggressive attack on President Bush's handling of Iraq and a feisty critique of the president's record on health care.
Appearing in Orlando with his running mate, Senator John Edwards, and earlier in Jacksonville, Mr. Kerry sought to project the aura of a candidate hitting his stride. His staff was equally upbeat, asserting that the campaign's polling showed Mr. Kerry running neck and neck or even a little ahead of Mr. Bush in Florida, a claim impossible to assess because there have been no public statewide polls since the state was hit by hurricanes in the last month.
'These guys have got me in a fighting mood,' Mr. Kerry said of Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney at a late-night rally here in a voice made hoarse by campaigning.
A day after delivering his most pointed critique of Mr. Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, Mr. Kerry tried to stay on the offensive. Noting that Mr. Bush had told reporters in New York earlier in the day that the Central Intelligence Agency had been 'guessing' about what conditions might be like in Iraq when it made its most recent assessment, Mr. Kerry said to the crowd here, 'Ladies and gentlemen, does that make you feel safer? Does that give you confidence that this president knows what he's talking about?'
Earlier, Mr. Kerry used his first news conference since early August to press his case that only a new president can salvage a situation in Iraq getting worse by the day."

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