ROSEMOUNT, Minn. – Vice President Dick Cheney (search) stuck to national security while promoting the re-election of President Bush on Friday, calling Sen. John Kerry (search) weak on keeping America safe and intent on pursuing a strategy of retreat.
"The differences between the president and his opponent are sharp as they could be, and the consequences for the country are enormous," Cheney told nearly 1,300 people who attended a rally at a community center.
"On vital matters of national security, Sen. Kerry offers a record of weakness and a strategy of retreat. President Bush offers a record of steady purpose and resolute action and a strategy for victory," Cheney said.
The vice president sprinkled his stump speech with references to domestic issues key to conservative Democratic voters in Minnesota, among them hunting rights. He mocked Kerry's hunting trip Thursday in Ohio as a photo opportunity by a candidate who had to buy a new jacket.
"My personal opinion is this new camouflage jacket is an October disguise," Cheney said. "It's part of an effort he's making to hide the fact that he votes against gun-owner rights at every turn."
Kerry calls himself a lifelong hunter who supports the Second Amendment. He supported the national assault-weapons ban and other limits on gun ownership and sales.
A poll by the St. Paul Pioneer Press shows Minnesota still a tossup, with 47 percent of likely voters saying they would vote for Bush while 45 percent favored Kerry. The poll had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.