Elise Amendola  /  AP
Kerry carves a turn at Sun Valley in Ketchum, Idaho.
updated 3/21/2004 3:31:38 PM ET 2004-03-21T20:31:38

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said Sunday he has asked for copies of a new book in which a former White House counterterrorism coordinator accuses the Bush administration of manipulating America into war with Iraq with dangerous consequences.

Kerry, a critic of Bush’s handling of the war, said he wants to study the charges by Richard A. Clarke.

“Several chapters are being FedExed out to me here,” Kerry said before returning to the ski slopes of nearby Sun Valley. “I would like to read them before I make any comment at all. I have asked for them and they should be out here tomorrow.”

In the book, Clarke writes that Bush and his Cabinet failed to recognize the al-Qaida threat before Sept. 11, 2001 because they were preoccupied with some of the same Cold War issues that had faced his father’s administration

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While Kerry was reserved in his comments, campaign aides have been raising the issue with journalists traveling with the presumptive Democratic nominee, leaving little doubt that Kerry eventually will speak on the issue.

Break from campaign trail
Kerry is vacationing at his Ketchum, Idaho, home through Wednesday. He plans to return to the campaign trail Thursday with a Democratic fund-raiser in Washington.

The Massachusetts senator attended church Sunday before returning to the slopes for another day in the pristine mountain region, although occasional tensions flared between his campaign staff and the traveling press corps.

Kerry is an ardent outdoor sports enthusiast who is fond of snowboarding, mountain climbing and skiing — the more challenging the terrain, the better. But since most of the venues he uses are open to the public, reporters routinely join him on the slopes and are there to witness and film his inevitable tumbles on the slopes.

Campaign officials have complained that Kerry is being forced to ski on camera when all he really wants is some rest and relaxation, and to have some fun. On Sunday, they asked news photographers to let Kerry have the mountain slopes to ski in peace.

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