DES MOINES, Iowa – Vice President Dick Cheney (search) criticized John Kerry (search) on Monday, arguing that the presumptive Democratic nominee prefers an "inadequate strategy" of law enforcement to deal with terrorist attacks on the United States.
Raising money for a U.S. House candidate, the vice president faulted Kerry for past comments on terrorism, mentioning President Bush's rival by name. Cheney also told the Republican contributors that the economy was moving in the right direction.
"One side argues that we should treat the attacks on our nation by terrorists primary as matters for law enforcement. That's what the Democratic nominee for president has said, among many other things. John Kerry embraced the strategy of the 1990s which holds that when we are attacked we ... put them on trial," Cheney said.
"President Bush moved us beyond the inadequate strategy of the '90s. To keep America safe he determined that we would go after the terrorists with all the means at our disposal," he said.
Cheney said the United States will look toward the world community for support defending itself against nations such as Iraq but won't wait for its approval.
"The United States will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country," he said, saying that defense will become "one of the clearest distinctions drawn with presidential opponents."
Cheney said the economy has grown under the president's policies, most notably the Bush tax cuts, with lower interest rates, a rise in manufacturing and a boom in home construction.
But a Labor Department (search) report issued Friday was tough news for the Bush team, with the economy adding just 21,000 positions in February. The report also downgraded job gains for January from 112,000 to 97,000. Democrats consistently note that more than 2.2 million payroll jobs have been lost during the Bush administration, the worst job-creation record of any president since Herbert Hoover.
"We will not be happy until every American who wants a job can find one. But the economy is moving in the right direction, don't let anyone tell you otherwise," Cheney said.
The vice president was raising money for Stan Thompson, a Des Moines lawyer challenging four-term Democratic Rep. Leonard Boswell.