WASHINGTON — Hitting President Bush on the issues of jobs and the war in Iraq, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is moving aggressively in the face of polls showing his candidacy lagging.
Campaigning in North Carolina, a state hurt by job losses, Kerry says he would end tax breaks for companies that outsource overseas.
“Because of George Bush’s wrong choices, this country is continuing to ship good jobs overseas — jobs with good wages and good benefits,” Kerry said in remarks prepared for use Tuesday.
The attack on the economic front comes a day after Kerry leveled harsh criticism over the war in Iraq, declaring that the president had sent U.S. troops to the “wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Bush dismissed Kerry’s remarks on the war as yet another switch in position by a senator who originally voted to give the president the authority to act in Iraq. Video:
“No matter how many times Senator Kerry changes his mind, it was right for America then and it’s right for America now if Saddam Hussein is no longer in power,” the president told supporters in Poplar Bluff, Mo.
Kerry’s plan to deal with the problem of outsourcing jobs would eliminate rules allowing companies to defer paying taxes on income earned by their foreign subsidiaries until they bring the profits back to the United States.
Kerry says the elimination would ensure that American companies will be taxed on their foreign subsidiaries’ profits just like they are taxed on their domestic profits.
“He’s actually encouraging the export of American jobs,” Kerry said of Bush’s support for the current rules.
Bush says jobs situation improving
The president’s plan for dealing with job losses is through job training, increased funding for community colleges and creation of “opportunity zones” of reduced taxes.
Bush, taking his message to Missouri, says the jobs picture is improving, largely due to his tax cuts which he said have helped push down the unemployment rate to 5.4 percent.
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The economy “is strong and is getting stronger,” he told a Labor Day crowd in Poplar Bluff, Mo.
Political analysts point to one potential problem for Kerry in Missouri — lingering bitterness in the Democratic Party’s ranks over a primary election that ousted incumbent Democratic Gov. Bob Holden. Kerry needs a huge turnout of loyal Democrats to win the state in November.
“There are problems in the party; you would not have that loss by Holden with a unified party,” said University of Missouri political science professor Rick Hardy.
Missouri Democrats see their ticket as generating a lot of enthusiasm among voters, with women running for governor, U.S. Senate and secretary of state.
And the Kerry campaign sees Bush’s frequent trips to Missouri as an indication the campaign sees trouble ahead.
“If George Bush had Missouri sewn up, he wouldn’t be on a bus tour through rural Missouri,” said Kerry campaign spokesman Phil Singer.
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