Checking Claims on Economy, Bin Laden Hunt

"Now my opponent is throwing out the wild claim that he knows where bin Laden was in the fall of 2001," Bush said Monday in Waterloo, Iowa, "and that our military had a chance to get him in Tora Bora."

Is the idea that bin Laden was in Tora Bora a "wild claim"?

No, it is not. "It's possible that he was or was not there," said Nash, "but the issue at hand, I believe, is whether or not the attack was pushed with sufficient aggressiveness and with the right amount of force in order to force to find out whether or not he was there."

That is Kerry's other point about Tora Bora -- one that stands up better to scrutiny -- that "the president should have sent U.S. forces, not Afghan warlords, to surround the caves."

Many military analysts see Tora Bora at the very least as a missed opportunity to attack al Qaeda. "The conventional wisdom today is there were insufficient American forces in the country at the time we needed them most," Nash said.

Regardless of the misrepresentations made in their arguments, all of these issues touch on significant -- and actual -- differences between the two candidates.

Kerry is more apt to cut the tax breaks that may encourage outsourcing than is Bush, while the president is clearly more of a hardliner against taxes than his Democratic opponent.

Regardless of what actually happened at Tora Bora, Kerry says the war in Iraq was a distraction from the war on terror. Kerry foreign policy adviser Jamie Rubin says the Democratic candidate intends to send more U.S. troops and try to enlist NATO troops in more military operations along the Pakistani-Afghan border, where he says there are reports of al Qaeda activities.

Bush says that while the U.S. military and its allies are pursuing terrorists around the globe, Iraq is the central front of the war on terror.

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