Published September 21, 2004
CLEVELAND – Sen. John Edwards (search) called the Bush administration a "do-nothing presidency" on Tuesday while Vice President Dick Cheney (search), campaigning in the same battleground state, described the top of the Democratic ticket as a politician who cannot make up his mind on key issues.
Edwards told the City Club of Cleveland that President Bush has done nothing about health care and other problems during his term, accusing Bush of rewarding the wealthy and failing to value the nation's working families at the cost of 237,000 jobs in Iraq at least nine times.
"He seems to adopt a new position every day," Cheney told about 1,600 people inside a dusty barn at the Fulton County Fairgrounds. He broke into a laugh when the crowd started chanting "flip-flop, flip-flop."
Cheney said the beheading in Iraq of a U.S. engineer was "another reminder of the evil we face."
"This is an enemy we must destroy," the vice president said.
The rivals also sparred on Monday in Ohio, a state with 20 electoral votes that both campaigns view as critical to victory in November.
During a visit to a Cincinnati recreation center, Edwards pounded on the Democratic themes of health care, jobs, the economy and what he called "the mess in Iraq."
"We're all proud of our troops in Iraq," Edwards told several hundred people. "But the truth is Iraq is a mess. And it's a mess because of George Bush and Dick Cheney."
Cheney told supporters at Grove City High School in suburban Columbus that voters need to re-elect Bush to fight aggressively the terrorist threat to the United States.
"Today we face an enemy every bit as intent on destroying us as the Axis powers of World War II," the vice president said. "This is, put it simply, an enemy we must destroy. And with President George W. Bush as our commander in chief, that's exactly what we will do."