SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday that America is on a solid path to prosperity, with new jobs being created and great strides being made in the war on terror.
But he warned during a campaign stop in Springfield that the country could be derailed from that path if President Bush does not win re-election in November.
“There’s no doubt that great events will turn on this election,” Cheney told several hundred people gathered at the Springfield Exposition Center.
In an effort to help secure Missouri, Republicans set up a phone bank and asked the party faithful to stay after the rally and call registered voters.
Missouri voters have picked every White House winner in the past century, except for Adlai Stevenson in 1956. Bush won Missouri by some 79,000 votes in 2000.
In his speech, Cheney credited Bush’s tax cuts with upswings in the economy, noting that more than 1 million jobs have been created in the past nine months and that manufacturing activity is approaching a two-decade high.
Missouri’s net job growth, seasonally adjusted, from April to May was just 100 jobs, according to figures released Friday by the federal Labor Department. In April, Missouri created more than 18,000 jobs, a fact touted by both Democrats and Republicans.Cheney also questioned whether John Kerry could keep the momentum going, adding that Kerry would repeal Bush’s tax cuts.
But Christine Glunz, Democratic National Committee spokeswoman in Missouri, said the Bush administration has catered to the wealthy at the expense of the state’s middle-class residents.
“I think when Cheney comes to an area like Springfield, saying the economy is strong — if he actually spent time with middle-class families, he would find families who are struggling to pay their children’s college tuition and having to decide how they’re going to pay doctor bills,” she said.
Cheney also defended Bush’s decision to invade Iraq without the support of more allies.
“The president has made it very clear: There is a difference between leading a coalition of many nations and waiting for the objections of a few,” he said. “The United States will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country.”
Glunz said Cheney should have addressed the Congressional probe into Halliburton Corp., Cheney’s former company. It is accused of overcharging the government for contract work that involves restoring oil production and feeding and housing American troops related to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Cheney repeatedly has said he had no involvement in any contracts or other matters involving Halliburton, a Houston-based energy and construction company.