The president who has campaigned for months as the candidate who can win the war on terror said in an interview broadcast Monday that he doesn't think such a war ever could be won.
"I don't think you can win it," Bush said in the interview on NBC's Today show. "But I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world."
The remarks reverberated on the campaign trail. Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry countered that he thought a struggle against terror was "absolutely" winnable.
Bush aides spent Monday downplaying the remarks and explaining that the president's comment reflected his view about a war against a nontraditional enemy with no nation or geographical borders. "This is an unconventional war with an unconventional enemy," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. "I don't think there'll be a formal surrender or a treaty signed."Smaller protests hit streets
NEW YORK - A day after massive street demonstrations, smaller groups of protesters turned Monday to health care, civil rights and economics.
A group called the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign massed a crowd of several thousand outside United Nations headquarters and negotiated with police to march to the convention site despite lacking a permit. Police proposed a route to a permitted protest area, and demonstration leaders eventually accepted.
A few arrests were made when protesters tried to break through barricades within two blocks of Madison Square Garden.
Earlier Monday, several thousand people from groups advocating better housing, AIDS funding, homeless services and a medley of other causes gathered at Manhattan's Union Square at midday and quickly filled up two blocks before beginning their march.Condiment makes political point
"There is a strange bottle on your table," Florida Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings warned convention delegates arriving for breakfast Monday.
Small bottles of Heinz ketchup were scattered around all of the tables.
"We believe in the free market system," Jennings said, "and we think it's important those Heinz Kerry people go back to making ketchup and let our president go on running the country and keeping it safe."
Teresa Heinz Kerry was married to John Heinz, an heir to the ketchup fortune, for 25 years. A Republican senator, he was killed in a plane crash in 1991.From Iraq to convention floor
Two Florida delegates to the convention recently completed tours of duty in Iraq.
Jack Capra, a lawyer from Jacksonville, got back from Iraq two weeks ago after he was called to active duty in the Navy to help handle smuggling in an area near Baghdad.
Rep. Carey Baker, R-Eustis, returned from a year in Iraq in February and was just elected to the state Senate without opposition. He is an officer in the Florida National Guard.
The two Iraq veterans met for the first time on the floor of the convention Monday and began swapping war stories.Barbara Bush talks at rally
Former first lady Barbara Bush says the Bush men are accustomed to strong women, and George W. Bush is especially accustomed to taking advice from all of them.
"He really has no other choice," Mrs. Bush told a standing-room only crowd at a "W stands for women" rally Monday.
Mrs. Bush said she has quit watching the national news because it tends to elevate her blood pressure. "Father spends every night cursing at the television and throwing things. I calmly sit by needlepointing and listening to books on tape."
Times staff writer Lucy Morgan contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires.[Last modified August 31, 2004, 00:41:28]