ALAMOGORDO, N.M. - President Bush worked to rally his forces in southern New Mexico on Sunday, using what had once been a rest day to try to slow the momentum of Sen. John F. Kerry in this battleground state.
Kerry pounced on a statement by Bush to the Fox News Channel that it was "up in the air" whether America could ever be "fully safe."
"Ladies and gentleman, you make me president of the United States, we're going to win the war on terror," Kerry said. "It's not going to be up in the air whether or not we make America safe."
Bush's late afternoon appearance in Alamogordo came one day after Kerry visited the state and accused the president of trying to scare voters by raising the specter of new terrorist attacks in the United States. Bush similarly accused Kerry of using scare tactics, especially on Social Security.
A survey of Sunday's editorial endorsements in the presidential race by U.S. newspapers.
GEORGE W. BUSH
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette , Little Rock, Ark.:
"This president acts. Even when it is unpopular. Even when it is risky. Even when he must later change course ... The alternative is a candidate whose 20-year record in the United States Senate is bare of any signal or even memorable achievement, and certainly of any great vision."
Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch:
"A victory for Bush will signal to the world and terrorists that the United States is committed to victory in Iraq and Afghanistan. A Kerry victory will send an ambiguous signal that may raise doubts about American staying power."
Houston Chronicle :
"Like many people, Bush finds it difficult to admit a mistake, particularly when under attack on all sides. However, history is replete with instances in which imperfect but confident national leaders proved preferable to cautious, indecisive ones."
Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa:
"Bush would guide the nation with tax policies and leadership plans that are far surer to set America on a path toward economic progress. While Kerry should be admired for his public service and his passion ... his liberal voting record and murky promises leave us too uncertain about American's future with a Kerry White House."
Blade, Toledo, Ohio:
"Our country is a sadder place than it was on Inauguration Day, 2001, and we attribute it directly to the incompetence of the president. John Kerry is a bright man, a serious and skilled practitioner of the art of government."
Washington Post :
"We do not view a vote for Mr. Kerry as a vote without risks. But the risks on the other side are well-known, and the strengths Mr. Kerry brings are considerable. He pledges both to fight in Iraq and to reach out to allies, to hunt down terrorists and to engage without arrogance the Islamic world. These are the right goals, and we think Mr. Kerry is the better bet to achieve them."
Des Moines (Iowa) Register:
"It can be assumed that the next president, be it Bush or Kerry, will do everything in his power to make America safe from terrorism. ... But on the broad range of other issues, Kerry has more to offer. He is in touch with the middle class. He is better informed on health care and has sound ideas for creating jobs."
Chicago Sun-Times :
"We want leaders to stay the course only when the course is a good one. ... The question that Americans need to ask themselves, going into the voting booth a week from Tuesday, is this: Do you like the direction our nation is heading? If the answer is no, then your vote should be for Sen. John Kerry."