"Can you imagine trusting them when you have your 10th Mountain Division, the United States Marine Corps, when you had all the power and ability of the best-trained military in the world?" Kerry told a rally at the University of Nevada-Reno. "I would have used our military and we would have gone after and captured or killed Usama bin Laden. That's tough."
Kerry said Bush is trying to make the election about national security and the War on Terror, and he welcomes the debate.
"You want to talk about the War on Terror, Mr. President? Let's talk about it," Kerry yelled while his supporters cheered him on. "Let's talk about what happened when you let Usama bin Laden escape in Afghanistan.
"Let's talk about what happened when we had the world's number one terrorist, number one criminal, cornered in the mountains of Tora Bora. What did the president do? Do you know what he did? He outsourced the job of capturing him, just like he outsourced a lot of American jobs. He gave it to Afghan warlords who only one week earlier were fighting against us."
There has been no definitive conclusion bin Laden was in the caves of Tora Bora in December 2001 when U.S. and Afghan troops surrounded the complex and U.S. warplanes blanketed the area with bombs. But U.S. military and intelligence officials believe he probably was, and U.S. forces did largely rely on Afghan forces on the ground to go after him.
Bush spokesman Steve Schmidt said the Democrat's claim was "another exaggeration of John Kerry, saying anything no matter how untrue it is."
"During the time of when the United States was engaged in offensive operations in Tora Bora, John Kerry praised that strategy and tactics," Schmidt said.