Candidate Kerry slated to speak in Independence

Friday, May 28, 2004

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is coming to Missouri to lay out his plans for revamping the military to confront terrorists. Kerry's campaign said he will deliver the policy address June 3 at the Truman Presidential Museum and Library in Independence. The public likely will need tickets to attend the 11 a.m. speech, as well as a rally planned the evening before at Kansas City's downtown airport.

Kerry began an 11-day campaign focus on national security with a speech Thursday in Seattle, where he suggested that Americans face greater dangers because of President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq.

The Independence speech will follow one Tuesday in West Palm Beach, Fla., that is to focus on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

Both Kerry and Bush plan frequent campaign stops in Missouri, which is viewed by many political observers as one of the key states in the presidential election.

The Kerry campaign enlisted Rep. Ike Skelton, the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, to announce Kerry's Missouri visit in a conference call with reporters.

Skelton acknowledged that Kerry was his third choice in the Democratic primary, having first backed Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt and then North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.

"But I'm strong for Kerry now," said Skelton, later endorsing Kerry's military leadership credentials by adding: "John Kerry, because he is a combat veteran, understands what the young men and young women go through and can relate to that very well." Kerry is a veteran of the Vietnam War.

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