John Kerry lacks moral fiber, Cheney contends

JOPLIN, Mo. – Democratic Sen. John Kerry lacks “deeply held convictions about right and wrong” Vice President Dick Cheney said Wednesday, arguing that voters would make a grave mistake if they replaced the current commander in chief.

Campaigning for the Bush-Cheney ticket, the vice president opened the session with some of his harshest criticism of Kerry, saying he wouldn’t trust the four-term lawmaker to make decisions about going to war.

“We don’t want to turn that responsibility over to somebody who doesn’t have deeply held convictions about right and wrong,” Cheney said. “And I must say, I look at the record of our opponents. There is a lot of hesitation and uncertainty.”

Separately, the Bush-Cheney campaign released a statement from the vice president in which he said Kerry “has had some difficulty explaining where he stands on the liberation of Iraq.”

Kerry voted in October 2002 to give President Bush the authority to wage war but has been critical of the president’s handling of the conflict, arguing that the incumbent failed to assemble strong allied support and rushed to war on faulty intelligence.

Questioned Monday about whether he stands by the vote despite the failure to find banned weapons, Kerry said he did, but added that Bush used the authority poorly, with little thought to the outcome.

“John Kerry is caught in a tangled web of all his shifts and changes. We need a commander in chief who is steady and steadfast,” Cheney said.

Responding to the criticism, Kerry spokesman Phil Singer said, “The sad fact is that Dick Cheney spends his time on the campaign trail launching vitriolic attacks because this White House has no record to run on.”

Cheney is on a three-state Midwest campaign swing to states where Kerry is even or holds a small edge. The race is dead even in Missouri, but Kerry and running mate Sen. John Edwards lead Bush-Cheney by a small margin in Ohio, and a new poll in Michigan shows the Democrats up.

Bush won Missouri in 2000 and has been back 20 times since. Kerry has visited six times this year.

Cheney used his appearance to defend the White House policy limiting federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, saying Bush would continue to defend “the culture of life” in a second term.

“I don’t think there should be any doubt in anybody’s mind where he’s headed when it comes to those kind of issues. I think he’s been rock solid on it,” Cheney said during a 45-minute question-and-answer session in which he was accompanied by his wife, Lynne.

The questions, all friendly, came from an invitation-only crowd of about 500 people chosen by local Republican leaders in this conservative swath in southwest Missouri.

The Cheneys noted this was the first time they conducted a question-and-answer session as a pair.

“It’s a test of our marriage,” Lynne Cheney joked.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

1 pedestrian dead after car crash on I-5 south of Marysville

Around 5 p.m., a car crashed into a pedestrian on I-5. Investigators were working to determine exactly what happened.

A man walks by Pfizer headquarters, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in New York. Pfizer will spend about $43 billion to buy Seagen and broaden its reach into cancer treatments, the pharmaceutical giant said. (AP Photo / Mark Lennihan, File)
Pfizer backs out of Everett manufacturing plant after $43B Seagen deal

Pfizer finalized the acquisition of the Bothell-based cancer drug developer in December.

A view of one of the potential locations of the new Aquasox stadium on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024 in Everett, Washington. The site sits between Hewitt Avenue, Broadway, Pacific Avenue and the railroad. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
20 businesses could be demolished for downtown Everett stadium

Some business owners say the city didn’t tell them of plans for a new AquaSox stadium that could displace their businesses.

Kathy Purviance-Snow poses for a photo in her computer lab at Snohomish High School on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Snohomish, WA. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
To ban or embrace ChatGPT? Local teachers fight AI with AI — or don’t

“It has fundamentally changed my teaching in really stressful and exciting ways,” an EvCC teacher said. At all levels of education, ChatGPT poses a tricky question.

In this Feb. 5, 2018, file photo a Boeing 737 MAX 7 is displayed during a debut for employees and media of the new jet in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
FAA gives Boeing 90 days to develop plan to fix quality, safety issues

The agency’s ultimatum comes a day after a meeting with CEO Dave Calhoun and other top Boeing officials in Washington, D.C.

Madi Humphries, 9, Rose Austin, 13, and Eirene Ritting, 8, on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024 in Bothell, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
No grades, no teachers: Inside a Bothell school run by student vote

Each day at The Clearwater School, 60 students choose their own lessons. It’s one vote per person, whether you’re staff or student.

SonShine Preschool inside First Baptist Church Monroe is pictured Friday, March 1, 2024, in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
SonShine preschool in Monroe to close at the end of the year

The preschool, operated by First Baptist Church, served kids for 25 years. School leadership did not explain the reason behind the closure.

Two troopers place a photo of slain Washington State Patrol trooper Chris Gadd outside WSP District 7 Headquarters about twelve hours after Gadd was struck and killed in a collision on southbound I-5 about a mile from the headquarters on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
State trooper killed, 1 arrested in crash on I-5 near Marysville

Authorities said Trooper Chris Gadd had been stopped along the freeway around 3 a.m. near 136th Street NE. A Lynnwood driver, 32, was arrested.

Providence Hospital in Everett at sunset Monday night on December 11, 2017. Officials Providence St. Joseph Health Ascension Health reportedly are discussing a merger that would create a chain of hospitals, including Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, plus clinics and medical care centers in 26 states spanning both coasts. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Following lawsuit, Providence commits to improved care for Deaf patients

Three patients from Snohomish County sued Providence in 2022 for alleged Americans with Disabilities Act violations.

Cars drive through snow along I-5 in Snohomish County, Washington on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024.  (Annie Barker / The Herald)
In March, 7 p.m. sunsets are back for Western Washington

Washingtonians will finally start seeing more sun starting March 10. But a little more winter could be on the way first.

One of the parking lots at Stevens Pass Thursday afternoon on December 30, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Stevens Pass to charge $20 for parking reservations on busy days

Two-thirds of spaces will remain free for early arrivers on weekends. Cars with four or more occupants can also park free.

Days after shootout with Lynnwood police, suspect checks into hospital

Police learned the 18-year-old was in a hospital in Portland, Oregon. His alleged role in the shooting remained unclear.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.