"I would not have made the wrong choices that are forcing us to pay nearly the entire cost of this war — more than $200 billion that we're not investing in education, health care, and job creation here at home."
"$200 billion for going-it-alone in Iraq. That's the wrong choice; that's the wrong direction; and that's the wrong leadership for America. Time to make it right."
Meantime, Kerry goes on TV in battleground states and on national cable with a new ad, "Wrong Choices," which hits the president on the same themes as his speech.
It is, in our insta-judgment, one of the most effective spots of the campaign to date. See the full script below.
There's also an odd confluence of developments that are going to put the focus on the president's service in the National Guard as well — a cagily written Boston Globe story questioning the president's service record; a cleverly placed New York Times column; a new campaign commercial from a lefty shadowy 527; some newly released, previously "missing" documents; a must-see-TV episode of "60 Minutes II"; a Terry McAuliffe conference call; a strange transfer of FOIA authority to the White House; and a tough-as-nails Ed Gillespie pre-emptive pushback memo.
Texans for Truth holds a press conference and conference call today at 10:30 am ET to unveil its new television ad questioning President Bush's National Guard service during the Vietnam War, featuring former Alabama Air National Guard First Lieutenant Bob Mintz.
DNC Chair Terry McAullife will host an 11:30 am ET conference call on Bush's military records.
Then there's the face-to-face outreach within the party. Kerry campaign advisers, led by Tad Devine, hit the Hill today to meet with House and Senate Democrats, Roll Call 's spicy Chris Cillizza reports, to soothe jittery nerves about the campaign's message, media and polls, and to attempt to keep everyone on the reservation and "ensure a unified message over the final 55 days of the contest."
We bet the president's National Guard record comes up on the Hill, as a salve to soothe Swifty wounds.
President Bush begins his day with a 9:05 am ET meeting with both Republican and Democratic members of the House and Senate in the Cabinet Room of the White House. He has already signed an emergency measure to help the good people of the Sunshine State.
The president flies to Florida in the afternoon for a 1:15 pm ET visit with relief workers in Port St. Lucie who are assisting Florida communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Frances, and to survey storm damage. President Bush then travels to Miami for a 3:35 pm ET tour of the National Hurricane Center as they prepare for the approaching Hurricane Ivan.
As Noted, Senator John Kerry kicks his day off in Cincinnati, OH, to deliver what his campaign is calling a "major speech" at the Union Terminal at the Cincinnati Museum. Nearly two years ago, President Bush also spoke at the Cincinnati Museum where he made the case for war in Iraq.
Following his speech in Cincinnati, Senator Kerry flies to Rochester, MN, where he holds a 4:10 pm ET front porch event.
Vice President Cheney takes a day off the campaign trail and is down in Washington today.
Senator John Edwards campaigns first in West Virginia today, at a 12:00 pm ET town hall meeting at Fairmont State University in Clarksburg. He then travels to Orono, ME to attend a 5:00 pm ET rally.
ABC News Vote 2004: Vice President Cheney on national security: