Democrat anti-crime leaders take aim at Bush

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The state's top law-enforcement official and a former president of the Massachusetts Sheriff's Association said in Storm Lake Monday that President Bush has hurt the war against crime.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Carmen Massimiano, former president of the Massachusetts Sheriff's Association, stopped in Storm Lake on a campaign swing through Iowa for the John Kerry Presidential campaign.

Massimiano said he had served as sheriff of Berkshire County in western Massachusetts, the home state of Senator John Kerry, for the past 26 years. "I have known John Kerry almost that long," Massimiano said. He heralded Kerry's record with a crime-fighting council.

Massimiano decried criticisms by the Bush campaign of Kerry's war record in Vietnam. "When I think of the word John Kerry I think of courage," Massimiano said. "John Kerry has the courage of his convictions. He's no weak-kneed liberal... A guy goes to war. He goes to combat. He's wounded. And then he's criticized by a guy who hid out in Alabama and one who took five student deferments in the state of Wyoming," Massimiano said of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

The Massachusetts lawman attacked President Bush's track record on crime - cuts in funding for the COPS program and what Massimiano characterized as a failure of the Bush administration to play a leadership role in trying to renew the assault weapons ban.

"The abandonment of the automatic weapons ban is absolutely unconscionable," Massimiano said.

"No one argues that it violates the Second Amendment" to try to stop the proliferation of assault weapons, Massimiano said. "I honestly believe we'll be safer with John Kerry as President of the United States."

Massimiano said Kerry and Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware along with former President Bill Clinton had pushed through the COPS program that put an additional 100,000 law enforcement officers on the street. He said that under the Bush administration the COPS program had been cut from $750 million to $100 million a year.

Iowa Attorney Democrat General Tom Miller noted Kerry's "steely qualities" and said "he's a guy you can really count on."

By contrast, Miller said President Bush is "not thoughtful or reflective".

"We will all be safer in American with John Kerry as President rather than the current President," Miller said.

Miller said objections by hunters that Kerry was anti-hunting were not true. "John Kerry has been a long-time supporter of the right to own guns," he said.

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