CAMDEN, N.J. – Documentarian and liberal rabble-rouser Michael Moore (search) kicked off a 62-speech, pre-election tour Monday with a relatively subtle dig at President Bush.
He read "My Pet Goat" (search) to an audience of more than 6,000. That was the children's book Bush read to an elementary school class after he heard about the 9/11 attacks.
In an appearance that was part stump speech and part standup routine, Moore didn't stay subtle for long, criticizing his preferred presidential candidate as well as the incumbent.
"It's debilitating to have a candidate who does not seem quite clear on where he stands on these issues. Maybe we need to have a slogan that says 'Bush and Kerry both suck. ... That's why I'm voting for John Kerry (search),'" Moore said.
Moore offered parodies of Kerry campaign slogans and Bush campaign television commercials, and also read letters of support from two soldiers in Iraq. He said that in the past year and a half, he has received some 3,000 similar letters and e-mails.
And he talked up his next book, a collection of such letters, entitled "Will They Ever Trust Us Again? Letters from the War Zone," which will be out in early October. He encouraged his audience to "Xerox and steal" the tome.
Moore didn't devote all his ranting at the Tweeter Center, a concert hall, to blaming Bush for the war in Iraq. He also blamed journalists for not asking more questions before it began.
"Where is the mainstream media? Where were they?" he asked. "In my opinion, blood is on their hands, too."
Moore's documentaries "Bowling for Columbine" and "Fahrenheit 9/11" (search) have made him one of the nation's best-known leftist activists and, as such, a prime target of right-wing activists.
A book released earlier this year was called "Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid White Man." He's also the subject of a new documentary, "Michael Moore Hates America."
His tour, which he calls the Slacker Uprising Tour (search), will go to college campuses and arenas and will concentrate on 20 swing states with the hopes of increasing the number of voters who cast ballots in the Nov. 2 election.