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Bush, Kerry cross paths in Iowa

US President George W Bush and his Democratic rival John Kerry have spent the day hunting votes within blocks of each other in the state of Iowa.

Mr Bush met supporters at a rally in the town of Davenport, while Mr Kerry held an economic roundtable discussion with business leaders nearby.

The White House says the close proximity of the two was coincidental.

Iowa is one of the swing states the two presidential candidates are targeting ahead of the election on 2 November.

In the 2000 election, Iowa went to Democratic candidate Al Gore by a margin of less than 5,000 votes.

Economic issues

Mr Kerry, talking to business leaders, noted Bush was holding a riverfront rally nearby and disputed the president's recent campaign trail declarations that America's economy had "turned the corner".

"President Bush... could come here for a great discussion about America's future if he were really willing to just turn the corner," he told the invited crowd of several hundred.

Mr Kerry also unveiled a list of 200 prominent business leaders who, he said, had endorsed his campaign.


Mr Bush criticised Mr Kerry for charging that the White House's policies were encouraging the recruitment of terrorists around the world.

"Those who claim that America's war on terror is to blame for the terror threat against the United States have a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the enemy," Mr Bush said, Reuters news agency reported.

Political pundits were not the only ones taking advantage of the day's events.

Three local banks were robbed as the campaigns hit Davenport.

The first robbery occurred just as Mr Bush stepped off his plane, local police say.

The second and third robberies - at different banks - took place while the two candidates were addressing their respective Iowa crowds.
  2004-08-17
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