Kerry Shifts Focus to Jobs, Economy

Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry (search) criticized President Bush's tax cuts on Thursday, arguing that they failed to create the jobs and spur the economic growth that the Republican predicted.

"Over the last four years, again and again, we were promised that tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals would create millions of new jobs," Kerry said in a speech prepared for delivery at California State University Dominguez Hills. "Instead, we've lost jobs, and these unaffordable tax cuts have led America into deficits as far as the eye can see."

Since Bush took office, 1.1 million jobs have been lost, and last week, the government reported that just 32,000 net jobs were added in July, the smallest gain in hiring since December.

Kerry's coast-to-coast campaign tour comes to a close as he heads through California to Oregon and the nominee begins a two-week drive to promote his economic and tax plans.

Oregon is closely contested territory, and recent polls show it might be leaning slightly toward Kerry. President Bush lost the state in 2000 by less than half of a percentage point.

Kerry has been to Oregon twice this year, and Bush plans his own swing into Oregon this week. The Bush and Kerry campaigns have plotted similar courses across the U.S. map recently as they vie for an edge in battleground states.

Kerry shifts his focus to taxes and jobs as the campaign's trek from the Atlantic to the Pacific winds to an end. Kerry has been hammering Bush's economic record, criticizing slow job growth and large deficits occurring under Bush's watch.

"If you believe what they've been telling us, you'd think we've turned the corner," Kerry said. "When we've had four years of disappearing jobs that have put millions out of work, I don't think we've turned the corner."

"Too many of the Americans I've met over the last few weeks not only don't think we've turned the corner, they feel like they've been backed into a corner by the policies of the last four years," Kerry said.

Bush has said the economy is steadily making a comeback from hits taken from a recession and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Kerry's economic plan includes increased tax breaks for health care and college tuition, as well as an increased child tax credit. Kerry also wants to help companies create jobs with a tax credit that would cover the employer's payroll taxes for a short time.