Bush v Kerry: tensions heat up

Arguing over who can best lead the nation in war, Sen. John Kerry charges that Americans have been left with "this incredible mess in Iraq" while &to=http://english.pravda.ru/mailbox/22/101/399/14318_bush.html' target=_blank>President Bush says U.S. troops look at the Democratic challenger and wonder, "How can I follow this guy?"

Both candidates were rushing back to the campaign trail Friday trying to convince voters they each won their opening debate.

From the first question Thursday night, Kerry went on the offensive, accusing Bush of leaving U.S. alliances around the world "in shatters" and ordering a war in Iraq that was a "colossal error in judgment."

Bush noted that &to=http://english.pravda.ru/mailbox/22/101/397/14145_Kerry.html' target=_blank>Kerry voted to authorize the same war he now criticizes. "That's not how a commander in chief acts," Bush charged, repots ABC News.

According to IndyStar, &to=http://english.pravda.ru/main/2002/08/17/34751.html' target=_blank>Republicans and Democrats set up elaborate spin operations before the debate to influence coverage afterward. The &to=http://english.pravda.ru/mailbox/ 22/98/395/14078_Democrats.html' target=_blank>Democratic Party urged supporters to write letters to the editor, call talk-radio shows and vote in online polls.

Both campaigns also put surrogates on the air. Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani plugged Bush's performance, while Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware and the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, touted Kerry.

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