Bush Relives 2004 Campaign with Attack on Kerry

President Bush is attacking his former Democratic presidential opponent, John Kerry. Bush is accusing Sen. Kerry of insulting American troops during a recent speech. Kerry says he didn't insult the troops and won't apologize, calling his critics, quote, "assorted right wing nut jobs."

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Suddenly the 2006 election is competing for attention with an echo of 2004. President Bush is attacking his Democratic opponent John Kerry. Senator Kerry provided the opening on Monday. He warned California students that if they don't do well in school they would quote “get stuck in Iraq.” By Tuesday morning, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow had seized on the remark as an insult to the troops.

Mr. TONY SNOW (White House Press Secretary): Senator Kerry not only owes an apology to those who are serving but also to the families of those who have given their lives in this.

MONTAGNE: That afternoon John Kerry held his own press conference in Seattle.

Senator JOHN KERRY (Democrat, Massachusetts): My statement yesterday - and the White House knows this full well - was a botched joke about the president and the president's people, not about the troops.

MONTAGNE: An hour later, President Bush spoke in Georgia.

President GEORGE W. BUSH: The members of the United States military are plenty smart, and they are plenty brave. And the senator from Massachusetts owes them an apology.

(Soundbite of cheering)

MONTAGNE: The senator from Massachusetts says he won't apologize, calling his critics quote “assorted rightwing nut jobs.” With that, John Kerry used the same words as a 2004 parody. The popular video on the website JibJab portrayed the candidates at work.

(Soundbite of JibJab video song parody)

Unidentified Singer #1 (As President George W. Bush): You're a liberal sissy.

Unidentified Singer #2 (As Senator John Kerry): You're a rightwing nut job.

Unidentified Singer #1 (As Bush): You're a pinko commie.

Unidentified Singer #2 (As Kerry): You're a dumb as a doorknob.

Unidentified Singer #1 (As Bush): Hey, you got that Botox.

Unidentified Singer #2 (As Kerry): But I still won three purple hearts.

Unidentified Singer #1 (As Bush) and Unidentified Singer #2 (As Kerry): This was land will surely vote for me.

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