GOP defends remark



Democrats pounced on the president's comment.
NEW YORK (AP) -- President Bush believes the United States will win the war on terrorism, despite his comments the day before suggesting it could not be won, his spokesman said today as Republicans at the party's convention were turning to conditions at home after saluting Bush as a wartime president.
Bush "will make it crystal clear ... that we will win the war on terrorism by continuing to take the fight to the enemy," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said ahead of the president's speech in Nashville, Tenn., to the American Legion.
As the Republican National Convention headed into its second day at Madison Square Garden under extremely heavy security, Bush supporters scrambled to explain the president's day-old comments that the war against terror could not be won.
Protesters
Meanwhile, protesters bathed themselves in stacks of fake $100 bills and grunted through plastic pig snouts in a demonstration outside the hotel where Texas Republicans were saying for the GOP convention.
The demonstrators called themselves employees of "Hallibacon" and accused Republicans and Halliburton -- the Texas-based oil services company that Vice President Dick Cheney once headed -- of profiting from the war in Iraq.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger gets star billing today at the convention as the GOP extends its outreach to moderate Democrats and independents.
First lady Laura Bush, also scheduled to speak tonight, defended her husband, saying on ABC's "Good Morning America" that "this isn't a war with a country where you're going to have a surrender at some point, but the fact is, as we look around the world, we are already winning the war on terror."
Still, Democrats pounced on the president's remark in hopes of stealing some convention-week spotlight from Republicans. Asked by reporters whether the war on terror could be won, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry replied, "Absolutely."
Memory of attacks
In Monday's opening session, Republicans invoked the memory of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks -- the World Trade Center stood about four miles south of the Garden -- as a test of Bush's mettle as a strong and decisive leader.
"Since Sept. 11, President Bush has remained rock solid," former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said, likening the president to Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan. "We need George Bush more than ever."
That prompted Democratic Party chief Terry McAuliffe to recall "a certain Churchill quote that, after the last four years, certainly applies to George Bush: 'He's a humble man with much to be humble about.'"
Democrats and some Sept. 11 victims say Republicans are politicizing a national tragedy. Giuliani denied that, saying Democrats made frequent mention of Sept. 11 at their convention last month in Boston. He said if Republicans did not cite Bush's response to the tragedy it would be like President Abraham Lincoln not mentioning the Civil War when he ran for re-election in 1864.
"How do we as Republicans defend the president that we think has done a good job with Sept. 11 without mentioning it?" Giuliani asked during an appearance today on ABC. "It wouldn't even be a fight with one hand tied behind your back, this would be a fight with two hands tied behind your back.
Popular support
At the convention, Schwarzenegger was sharing billing today with Mrs. Bush and Education Secretary Rod Paige. The actor-turned-politician was the latest in a march to the convention podium of moderates and other politicians with broad popular support.
After addressing the American Legion, Bush planned to head to Iowa to campaign. Kerry was spending most of the day at his beachfront home in Massachusetts, then flying to Nashville to spend the night. He talks to the American Legion on Wednesday.

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