SCHOFIELD, Wis. – Vice President Dick Cheney (search) said Thursday that John Kerry (search) had gotten the facts wrong in criticizing the Bush administration for the disappearance of several hundred tons of explosives in Iraq.
Hitting back on what has become a major issue in the last week of the campaign, Cheney embraced an ABC News report suggesting that much of the explosives cache was removed from a storage facility before the U.S.-led invasion.
Around the time Cheney was speaking, a United Nations agency called the news report into question, saying that it cited an inspection report of a single day and that most of the explosives were kept at another site that the U.N. agency considered part of the overall storage area.
ABC reported that confidential documents of the United Nations agency showed that just over three tons of the explosive RDX was stored at the facility, which could mean that well in excess of 100 tons were removed before the invasion.
Cheney is trying to make inroads in a couple of key swing areas including Republican-trending Schofield in north-central Wisconsin, an area that is trending Republican and that President Bush won by 2,000 votes four years ago.
Cheney on Friday will try to peel off voters in traditionally Democratic Eau Claire in northwest Wisconsin. The Bush-Cheney ticket lost Eau Claire by 3,000 votes in 2000.
The presidential campaigns deluged Wisconsin with 14,000 TV ads in the first two weeks of October, underscoring the intensity of the political war in a state that Bush lost by less than 6,000 votes four years ago.
The shower of TV advertising in Wisconsin is evenly divided between the campaigns of Bush and rival John Kerry and the ads are spread fairly evenly across the state's media markets, says University of Wisconsin political science professor Charles Franklin.
The study draws on data from Nielsen Monitor-Plus.