Kerry Stands by Bush Remark; GOP Assails Call for 'Regime Change in United States'

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Byline: Charles Hurt, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Sen. John Kerry is calling for "regime change" in the United States.

During a campaign speech in New Hampshire on Wednesday, the Democratic presidential hopeful called for President Bush's ouster, saying he had not gained support of the United Nations before invading Iraq.

"What we need now is not just a regime change in Saddam Hussein and Iraq, but we need a regime change in the United States," Mr. Kerry said.

The remarks some of the most bellicose from any Democrat eyeing the White House came after the Massachusetts lawmaker and other Democrats said they would tone down their rhetoric while U.S. troops rumble towards Baghdad for what is expected to be the most intense fighting of the war.

Later, Mr. Kerry suggested he may have been too "harsh" in calling for a regime change here. But yesterday, after his remarks had zipped around the country and brought accusations of disloyalty from Republicans, Mr. Kerry stuck to his guns.

"Clearly, Sen. Kerry intended no disrespect or lack of support for our commander in chief during wartime," said Robert Gibbs, Mr. Kerry's campaign press secretary. "But the point of this campaign is, obviously, to change the administration of this government."

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Texas Republican, called on Mr. Kerry to put "America before New Hampshire," a reference to the latter's campaigning in the home of the nation's first presidential primary.

Marc Racicot, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said in a statement that "Sen. Kerry crossed a grave line," and questioned his worthiness as a candidate.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker J. …