With the U.S. presidential election just a week away, President Bush and Democratic challenger John Kerry continue trading charges on national security and Iraq.
During campaign appearances in Iowa and Colorado on Tuesday, the Republican president said Mr. Kerry's strategy for Iraq was one of "pessimism and retreat." He also criticized the senator's claims that the U.S. military missed a chance to catch Osama bin Laden in the mountains of Afghanistan in 2001.
During a rally in Pennsylvania, Mr. Kerry said the disappearance of 350 tons of explosives from an unguarded facility in Iraq was "one of the great blunders of this administration" and evidence that President Bush has failed as commander-in-chief.
Mr. Kerry was introduced at the rally by former President Bill Clinton. It was Mr. Clinton's first major public appearance since undergoing major heart surgery last month.