The Democratic presidential nominee, speaking to voters gathered for a discussion about his health insurance plan to cut premiums for families, said Bush was wavering in his position on the importation of cheaper drugs -- just as the GOP was making "flip-flop" allegations against Kerry.
"He can't even make up his mind about importing drugs from Canada. Not only has he not made up his mind, but President Bush opposed our efforts," Kerry told more than 100 people gathered at the Tautfest family's yellow colonial home.
"Now just the other day the president began to waver on this. Do you think he's reading the polls?"
Bush said Wednesday that pressure is building in Congress to allow cheaper medicines to be imported from Canada and other countries. Bush said he still has strong concerns about safety, and an administration task force is studying the issue.
Bush-Cheney campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt called Kerry's depiction "another misleading statement" from the Democrats' campaign."
"President Bush is focused on the safety of the drug supply," Schmidt said.
Kerry said Bush hasn't done enough to contain the rising cost of health care, telling the International Association of Fire Fighters (search) convention in Boston earlier Thursday that people are being hired for part-time and temporary jobs that often don't include health insurance.
"We're losing good jobs and replacing them with ones that just don't pay the bills," he told the firefighters. "When I'm president, America will stop being the only advanced country that doesn't understand that health care is not a privilege for the elected or the connected or the wealthy but a right for all Americans."
Kerry said his health plan includes tax credits to make insurance more affordable, and to allow all Americans to buy into the health plan that members of Congress enjoy.
New Hampshire has one of the nation's lowest unemployment rates, but also one of the highest rates of health insurance coverage.
Though New Hampshire provides only four of the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the presidential race, they could make a difference this fall -- as they might have for Democrat Al Gore in 2000 when Bush won the state by just a 1 percent margin.
Bush has visited New Hampshire seven times as president. Kerry traveled there extensively while campaigning for its Democratic presidential primary last January.
Kerry also says he would lower health care costs by having the federal government pick up three-fourths of an employer's costs for catastrophic care (search), which he says would result in about a 10 percent drop in premiums.
He would give tax credits for health care to small businesses, people aged 55 to 64 and low- to middle-income workers, and allow the federal government to negotiate better drug prices through Medicare and import drugs. He also says he would use technology to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in the medical system.
Bush also favors allowing small businesses to pool their resources so they can offer low premiums.
Kerry plans to talk about jobs and the economy in Charlotte, N.C., on Friday before heading south to Florida to survey storm damage caused by Hurricane Charley (search).