updated 6/11/2004 6:38:50 PM ET 2004-06-11T22:38:50

“I think this is fascinating,” says MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. “Months before the election, and these guys are like middleweights not heavyweights.  They‘re not slowly doing their Sunday punch.  They‘re banging each other hard.” 

Here are some of their more recent quips:

  • "Democrat John Kerry on Thursday accused President Bush of creating a "backdoor draft" by requiring thousands of soldiers to remain in the military if their tours of duty extend to Iraq or Afghanistan." -June 3
  • "This is the second time this week that John Kerry has embraced policies that were initiated by President Bush to fight and win the War on Terror.  John Kerry's speech was more me-tooism and ignored the reality that funding for biodefense has increased 1,600 percent since President Bush took office." -Steve Schmidt, Bush-Cheney '04 Spokesman, June 2
  • "Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry argued on Thursday that Americans face greater dangers because of the Bush administration's mishandling of Iraq and vowed that if elected president, he would 'never let ideology trump the truth.' 'They've made America less safe than we should be in a dangerous world,' Kerry said as he began an 11-day campaign focus on national security."-Associated Press, May 27
  • "Bush-Cheney '04 released the campaign's newest television ad, entitled 'Patriot Act.' The ad highlights the importance of the Patriot Act in winning the War on Terror and John Kerry's continued efforts to play politics with important security matters. 'The Patriot Act is an important tool in fighting the War on Terror. This important law is helping our nation track down terrorists with the same tools used to fight drug dealers and organized crime,' said former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik. 'Once again, John Kerry is on both sides of a very important issue.  After voting to support the Patriot Act in the U.S. Senate, he's now attacking the common-sense law on the campaign trail,' said Bush-Cheney '04 Campaign Manager Ken Mehlman." -Bush-Cheney04, May 25
  • Kerry spokesman Phil Singer said:  “When it comes to crafting consumer-friendly energy policies, George Bush has been an abject failure.  But when it comes to crafting a policy that lines the pockets of big oil companies, he’s been a smashing success.  The fact is that while gas prices skyrocket and consumers get pinched, oil companies are raking in record profits.  Meanwhile everyday Americans are struggling to deal with theserecord gas prices on top of their other family expenses.  When is George Bush going to come up with a plan that helps these Americans cope with this crisis?  America is waiting.” -JohnKerry.com, May 17
  • A group calling itself "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" attacked John Kerry's claims that he witnessed war crimes in Vietnam and demanded also that he authorize the Navy to independently release his military records. -May 4, 2004
  • Bush's campaign released a commercial Wednesday that contends "Kerry's problem is not hat people don't know him. It's that people do."  -April 21, 2004
  • Democratic White House challenger John Kerry accused President Bush on Tuesday of a “breach of faith” by taking unilateral action in Iraq and promised to build more international support for reconstruction. “The way the president went about this was more than a mistake ... the president broke promises,” said Kerry. -April 13, 2004
  • Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry on Wednesday called the situation in Iraq "one of the greatest failures of diplomacy and failures of judgment that I have seen in  all the time that I've been in public life." "Where are the people with the flowers, throwing them in the streets, welcoming the American liberators the way Dick Cheney said they would be?" Kerry said in an interview with American Urban Radio Networks. "Since I fought in Vietnam, I have not seen an arrogance in our foreign policy like this."  -April 7, 2004
  • MARC RACICOT, BUSH CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: "What I would suggest to you is that Senator Kerry ought to debate himself and come to a resolute conclusion about so many different issues before he challenges anyone else.” -April 1, 2004, on CNN's 'Inside Politics'
  • JOHN KERRY: "They found Dick Cheney in an undisclosed location and brought him out to attack me. That seems to be his designated role, not to create jobs but to attack John Kerry. Whats really interesting is that with each attack, this administration is building up the truth deficit to go along with the jobs deficit, and the fiscal deficit, and their international intelligence-gathering credibility deficit." -March 29, 2004
  • KERRY CAMPAIGN OFFENDED AT BUSH JOKE: "Speaking at the Correspondents Dinner in Washington last night, President George W. Bush showed a stunningly cavalier attitude toward the failed search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the Administration's rush to war. 'Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere,' Bush mimicked, as a slide of the President looking under furniture in the Oval Office appeared on the screen. That's supposed to be funny? If George Bush thinks his deceptive rationale for going to war is a laughing matter, then he's even more out of touch than we thought. Unfortunately for the President, this is not a joke." -March 25, 2004
  • STATEMENT FROM DNC CHAIR TERRY MCAULIFFE: "Yesterday, Bush unleashed his attack dogs on a former White House advisor. The entire Bush team - from the White House to the campaign to the RNC - launched an unprecedented smear operation against a 30-year public servant, one who is a veteran of both Republican and Democratic administrations and a renowned counter-terrorism expert. Unable to refute a single one of Clarke's charges, the Bush operation instead focused their efforts on attacking the messenger. And while the Bush team has a history of responding in such a way, never before have we seen a response on this scale." -March 23, 2004
  • GOB WEBSITE: The GOP on Monday put on its Web site a "Kerry Spendometer" that rings up what it claims are Kerry campaign promises costing $1.7 trillion over 10 years and creating a $1 trillion "tax gap." -March 22, 2004
  • GOP WEB VIDEO: A new GOP Web video pokes fun at John Kerry, dubbing him “the international man of mystery” for declining to identify foreign leaders he has claimed support him over President Bush. According to the Associated Press, the Republican National Committee plans to e-mail its 60-second video to 400,000 GOP supporters Friday. -March 19, 2004
  • ANTI-KERRY: John Kerry's words are being used against him in President Bush's new television ad, which accuses the presumptive Democratic nominee of waffling on military issues. "I actually did vote for his $87 billion, before I voted against it," Kerry said Tuesday. Bush's campaign tacked that quote to the end of the West Virginia ad, which was edited slightly to make room for Kerry's response. The new ad includes the announcer saying, "What does Kerry say now?" and then fades to Kerry's quote. It ends, like the West Virginia ad, with the announcer accusing Kerry of being "Wrong on defense." -March 18, 2004
  • ANTI-BUSH AD:“During the past three years, it’s true George W. Bush has created more jobs. Unfortunately, they were created in places like China,” -from Media Fund, March 17, 2004
  • KERRY: "Today we know that the mission is not finished, hostilities have not ended, and our men and women in uniform fight on almost alone with the target squarely on their backs,” Kerry said.  "The lesson here is fundamental: At times, conflict comes, and the decision must be made. For a president, the decision may be lonely, but that does not mean that America should go it alone.” -March 17, 2004
  • KERRY: "Americans should be able to trust that what the president tells them is true when it comes to our country's economy, when it comes to our people's health, and especially when it comes to the life-and-death decisions of war and peace... On issue after issue, this president's misleading misstatements have produced a credibility gap as big as the New River Gorge," Kerry said. -March 16, 2004
  • SEC. OF STATE COLIN POWELL jumped to Bush's defense as well, criticizing Kerry for politicizing US foreign policy and challenging him to name the foreign leaders he says want him to win the November 2 election. "I don't know what foreign leaders Senator Kerry is talking about," Powell told Fox News. "It's an easy charge, an easy assertion to make. But if he feels it is that important an assertion to make, he ought to list some names. If he can't list names, then perhaps he should find something else to talk about." -March 14, 2004
  • KERRY:  "Ladies and gentlemen, this is my idea of spring break.  I remember spring break.  You can come down here, kick back, lay around, do nothing.  The only place you can do that now is on the Bush economic team." 
  • CONSERVATIVE GROUP: Parody of a Mastercard ‘Priceless’ ad to attack Sen. Kerry’s wealth : "Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Hairstyle by Christophe’s $75. Designer shirts: $250. Forty-two foot luxury yacht: $1 million. Four lavish mansions and beachfront estate: Over $30 million. Another rich, liberal elitist from Massachusetts who claims he’s a man of the people. Priceless." -March 8, 2004

Heard any good campaign attacks lately?E-mail us and let us know so we can include them in 'Hardball Hard Shots.


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