WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Sen. John Kerry Monday hit out hard at President George W. Bush for taking time out to start the Daytona 500 NASCAR race in Florida Sunday.
"We don't need a president who who just says, 'Gentlemen, start your engines," the Massachusetts senator said. "We need a president who says, 'America, let's start our economy and put people back to work."
Kerry's hard-hitting attack served notice to the president that he can not expect to get away with photogenic media appearances for public events without seeing them used as pretexts for hard-hitting political counterblasts.
Kerry in recent days has focused his rhetorical fire on Bush as his lead has increased in the Democratic presidential race. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark pulled out last week and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean appears a dead duck after being forced to fire his own long time national chairman when he had urged ceding the race to Kerry.