DALLAS – President Bush's longtime adviser Karen Hughes (search) on Wednesday took a pointed jab at Sen. John Kerry (search), saying the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee lacks the "message clarity" of her former boss.
In a speech focusing on her experiences with Bush, Hughes conceded the president's directness makes some people uncomfortable.
"You've all heard him. Good versus evil. With us or against us," Hughes said. "It's one of the things that I think makes Europe a little uncomfortable with him. It makes the Democrats a little uncomfortable, too. The Democrats' candidate for president has been having a little message clarity problem."
Hughes said Kerry "has railed against the Patriot Act (search), against the No Child Left Behind education reform, against free trade and NAFTA. Yet, he voted for all three of them."
Tossing another punch, Hughes thanked voters in the Democratic primary process for choosing Kerry.
"It took Howard Dean to make John Kerry look electable," she said to laughter and applause of about 600 people attending the speech sponsored by the National Center for Policy Analysis.
Bill Burton, a Kerry spokesman, said he agreed with Hughes about one thing.
"Bush does have a clear message -- the worst job loss since Herbert Hoover. You can't really be more clear than that," Burton said. "John Kerry's message has been crystal clear -- that he's going to create jobs and rebuild the economy that George Bush broke."