Saturday, October 16, 2004


Kerry's Advisors Trying to Deal with Kerry Pushing the Bush Win = Draft Rumor

Kerry caught even some of his advisers off guard late Thursday night by questioning Bush's word that he would maintain an ''all-volunteer army" in a meeting with the Des Moines Register's editorial board, arguing that Bush will soon run short of US forces to patrol Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

''With George Bush, the plan for Iraq is more of the same and the great potential of the draft," Kerry said to the Iowa journalists, who are preparing to make their coveted presidential endorsement next Sunday. ''Because if we go it alone, I don't know how you do it with the current overextension" of the military.

After a week of concerted focus on his domestic goals, the Democratic camp found itself grappling with the fallout from remarks by a nominee who does not hew to the campaign script as closely as the incumbent does.

Hours after the Register reported the remark in yesterday's paper, Bush repeated his commitment to an all-volunteer military during a rally in Cedar Rapids yesterday. His advisers amped up the response, accusing Kerry of ''fear-mongering" to win votes -- an accusation Kerry regularly hurls at Bush over the war on terrorism.

Michael McCurry, a senior adviser to Kerry, found himself trying to tamp down the original comment, saying the Democrats had no evidence -- nor did Kerry mean to imply -- that Bush had a ''secret plan" for a draft.

''We're not putting this issue in play -- he was just pressed pretty hard about what his positions were on Iraq," McCurry said in an interview. Earlier, aboard Kerry's campaign plane, McCurry insisted that Kerry was not guilty of the scare tactics that he ascribes to Bush: ''If you go and talk to any college kid on any campus, or report out what people are nervous about, you run into this -- I mean, we get this all the time."


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