Cheney Defends Bush, Paints Kerry as Waffler

Vice President Dick Cheney (search) criticized John Kerry (search) on Friday as a waffler who changes his positions according to the political winds and questioned whether Kerry was fit to serve as president.

Cheney, speaking at a Republican fund-raiser in Milwaukee, defended President Bush's record on Iraq and the war on terror, saying he had taken the necessary path to protect Americans from terrorism.

Cheney spent much of the speech questioning several of Kerry's votes in the Senate and positions the Democratic presidential candidate has taken in his campaign, including a vote against an $87 billion package to fund the war.

"Whatever the explanation, I don't believe it's an impressive record for someone who aspires to be commander in chief," Cheney said.

Linda Honold, chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, criticized the Republican administration's record, saying Wisconsin has lost more than 80,000 manufacturing jobs and 17 Wisconsin soldiers have been killed in Iraq since Bush took office.

"This is the record of failure that Dick Cheney brings to Wisconsin today," Honold said.

The Republican National Committee event was expected to raise $600,000 to support get-out-the-vote efforts this fall. Cheney was scheduled to stump in Wrightstown later Friday with a visit to Coating Excellence, a specialty printing firm.

His visit highlights Wisconsin's role as a battleground state in the presidential elections. Bush lost Wisconsin to Democrat Al Gore by less than 6,000 votes four years ago and has been running a heavy dose of TV ads in the state.

Bush has been to Wisconsin nine times during his presidency; Friday was Cheney's first visit there since the election.