GOP Accuses Dems of Reneging on Positive Convention Promise

By Robert B. Bluey | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

Boston ( - It took only one day for the Democrats to break their promise to put on a positive and upbeat convention, according to the Republican National Committee, which analyzed last night's speeches for anti-Bush rhetoric.

Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, along with former Vice President Al Gore, all made pointed jabs at President Bush during the opening night of the Democratic National Convention.

Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie said the Bush-bashing came as a surprise since Democrats promised to keep the convention focused on their nominee, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.

"Last night we saw that despite Sen. Kerry's promise and the Democrat's promise to have a positive convention, we've seen a number of attacks," Gillespie said. "There was a better than a 2-to-1 ratio in time allocation of attacks on the president vs. laudatory comments about Sen. Kerry's agenda."

Carter, for example, subtly accused President Bush of squandering an opportunity to unite the country after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Although Carter didn't mention Bush by name, his comments appeared directed at him.

"After 9/11, America stood proud, wounded but determined and united," Carter told delegates. "But in just 34 months, we have watched with deep concern as all this goodwill has been squandered by a virtually unbroken series of mistakes and miscalculations."

Carter added, "Unilateral acts and demands have isolated the United States from the very nations we need to join us in combating terrorism."

Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, a first-term Republican, said Carter seemed to lack the "understanding or reflection" that the world changed after the Sept. 11 attacks on the homeland.

"We saw that at the end of the Carter administration how the Ayatollah [Khomeini] responded to peace and cooperation," Coleman said. "America, at the end of the Carter administration, was not respected in the world because of such a lack of strength."

The other prime-time speakers, including Clinton and Gore, questioned whether America was better off today than before Bush won the presidency four years ago.

Gillespie dismissed the criticism of Bush on issues like Social Security, tax cuts and the deficit. He said Kerry's record shows that he voted for higher taxes on Social Security benefits eight times in addition to voting against the child tax credit and supporting the marriage penalty.

Former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin said the Democrats are using their convention to deliberately distort the facts about Bush's records. She cited the massive increases in federal spending on education, including money that has gone unused by states. Democrats, however, have attacked Bush for not allocating enough money for the No Child Left Behind Act.

"When we hear our friends on the left suggesting there is not enough money, they should check the facts," said Marin, who said Bush has increased education spending by 65 percent since taking office, the most since the Lyndon B. Johnson administration.

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