Bush Hits Democrats on Military Readiness

Article excerpt

DENVER -- George W. Bush accused the Clinton-Gore administration yesterday of letting the U.S. military decay and said low morale and troop readiness disqualify the vice president from promotion to commander in chief.

"The Clinton-Gore record cries out for a new sign on the Pentagon. It says, 'Under new management,' " the Republican presidential contender said during a stop at the 100-year-old VFW Post No. 1, the nation's oldest Veterans of Foreign Wars club.

The accusations came at the beginning of a week in which Bush will spend more time raising $1.85 million for Republican campaigns -- including his -- than he does talking with voters.

"I want to make sure that the campaign and the local victory committees are prepared to conduct one of the most extensive grass-roots campaigns in the history of American politics," he said.

In a role reversal, Bush's military assertions went unchallenged by the vice president, who has decided to instead use surrogates, including President Clinton and Cabinet members, to criticize Bush. The Gore campaign is concerned his own personal attacks may be turning off voters, especially women.

In this case, former Veterans Affairs Secretary Jesse Brown conducted a conference call with reporters for the Gore campaign. …