Criticizing the economic policies of President George Bush, former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (search) tried to rally area black leaders to support Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (search).

"George Bush predicted (when he took office) that his job creation packet would create nearly 6 million jobs," Braun told about 40 people, including local officials and clergy, Monday. "Since that time, the American economy has lost nearly 1 million jobs. We have more Americans working part time under lower wages and without health insurance. It is time for the president to take responsibility for his failure."

Braun said Kerry is calling for tax cuts that would benefit the working and middle classes.

"Those tax cuts should not just go to people who have tax shelters or to people who move jobs abroad," Braun said.

The meeting was briefly interrupted by a reported bomb scare, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Police declined to elaborate, but neither the bomb and arson unit nor the canine squad was called to the scene.

David James, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, challenged Braun's comments, saying that Bush administration's policies created more than 1.4 million new jobs since last September.

James also said Kerry had voted against easing of the marriage penalty, child tax credits, and middle class tax cuts while serving as a Massachusetts senator.

Braun sought the Democratic presidential nomination earlier this year, but dropped out after disappointing results in the primaries.