Cheney Sees Carter 'Malaise' in Kerry Plan; Accuses Senator of Backing Higher Taxes
Byline: Bill Sammon, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
HENDERSON, Nev. - Vice President Dick Cheney yesterday opened up a new line of attack against John Kerry, saying the pro-tax economic plan of the senator from Massachusetts would return America to the "malaise" of the Carter era.
Mr. Cheney mocked Mr. Kerry's "misery index" as a tortured throwback to the inflation and soaring interest rates of President Carter's term.
"By Senator Kerry's definition, things actually got better during the Carter years and then got worse during the Reagan-Bush years," Mr. Cheney told 500 supporters in this Las Vegas suburb.
"That makes a total of two people who remember the late '70s as a golden age of the American economy," he added. "Jimmy Carter and John Kerry. By now, even Jimmy Carter is probably beginning to have his doubts."
Even as he sought to tie Mr. Kerry to the failed economic policies of Mr. Carter, Mr. Cheney repeatedly compared President Bush to the late Ronald Reagan. Again and again, Mr. Cheney described his boss as an optimist and Mr. Kerry as a pessimist.
"Every day, Senator Kerry does his best to talk down America's economy," Mr. Cheney said. "His economic plan comes down to one big goal: raising taxes on the American people."
Mr. Cheney's speech in Nevada, which is considered a battleground state in this fall's election, was part of a concerted effort by the administration to portray the economy in more bullish terms. Until recently, the White House had tempered its economic optimism with an abundance of caution.
The administration has concluded that the economic expansion is gathering strength just in time for the president's re-election campaign.
"I've had the chance to meet with small-business owners and workers all over the country," Mr. Cheney said. "They've seen tough times in recent years, but now things have turned around."
In Nevada, for example, the unemployment rate has dropped from 6.6 percent in January 2002 to 4. …