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[] Kerry blasts Bush homeland security record,

Interessante Entwicklung in den US-Wahlkämpfen: Jetzt geht der Streit
nicht mehr über die Bilder, sondern darüber, wer legitimerweise welche
Bilder benutzen darf. 

Kerry blasts Bush homeland security record 
By Marie Horrigan
UPI Deputy Americas Editor
Published 3/15/2004 2:34 PM

WASHINGTON, March 15 (UPI) -- Presumed Democratic presidential nominee
John Kerry told a conference of fire fighters Monday that he would take
steps necessary to protect the United States in the war on terror while
fighting to fulfill the promises President Bush had broken.

This administration has given our homeland security efforts short
and you personally deserve better than that after the promises that have
been made," he told attendees of the International Association of Fire
Fighters' legislative conference.

" ... After September 11th, President Bush went to New York, stood at
Zero, stood with our firefighters. I wish the president would go back
and ask whether he has stood with you since that day."

Kerry's speech kicked off the IAFF's 22nd legislative conference, a
event in which some 800 union members are scheduled to flood the halls
Congress to push their agenda. The event also provides Kerry another
opportunity to take aim at Bush for what he and the IAFF leadership
has been hypocritical behavior toward the first responders who were so
crucial in the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"For two and a half years our members have been faced with new threats
unimaginable only a few short years ago," IAFF General President Harold
Schaitberger told the audience. "They are being asked to do more with
The fact is we've gotten little more than lip service. Lots of rhetoric
little response."

Schaitberger listed what he said were the Bush administration's major
failures -- job loss, lack of insurance, tax cuts for the wealthiest 1
percent, and a proposal to revise the Fair Labor Standards Act's
regulations, which he said would not affect public safety officers due
lobbying efforts by the union. Bush policies have also led to fire
closings, hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts for first responders'
programs, he said, leaving two-thirds of U.S. fire departments

Kerry promised to work for the union -- the first to endorse his
-- to reverse these trends.

"I pledge to you, I will stand with you for all the days to come. ... I
stand with you because our goal -- our goal is not just victory in
it's the day when every single firefighter in this country gets the
equipment that they need, the support that they need and deserve, and
respect and the honor that they've earned," he said. "And we're not
going to
rest for one moment until we get there. That pledge is at the center of

The conference also comes as Time magazine reports Bush asked Homeland
Security Department officials to provide the president with one
homeland-security photo-opportunity a month, which both Schaitberger and
Kerry hammered on in their speeches Monday, and criticism for using
for the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in campaign ads that some
charge unnecessarily politicizes a national tragedy.

"Ladies and gentlemen, America doesn't need leaders who play politics
9/11 or see the war on terror as just another campaign issue," Kerry
"Our nation's safety is too important. And if I am president, we will
toward victory in the war terror knowing that those on the front lines
this battle are heroes, not political props; that the needs of our first
defenders will never be left for last."

Scott Stanzel, a spokesman for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign,
United Press International the issue was a necessary part of the
dialogue. The attacks were "a defining event for the future of our
he said, "and it's an important discussion to have because the
that President Bush demonstrated in the weeks and months following the
11 attack is something that will be evaluated in this election."

Schaitberger told UPI in a telephone interview last week that he agreed
president should be allowed to talk about the issue but disagreed with
method in doing so.

The president has every right to discuss and address his leadership
that horrific and catastrophic day," Schaitberger said, but said he took
offense to the president producing ads that use images of firefighters
carrying one of their own, as one re-election campaign ad does with
purchased stock footage.

"At best it's in poor taste. But beyond that we take strong issue with
president taking images of firefighters to push politics when the fact
is he
and his administration have failed firefighters and first responders in
many ways."

"You can't be hypocritical with us or we're going to become very vocal
very aggressive," he later added.

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