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RPCV Governor Bob Taft backing Patriot Act
RPCV Governor Bob Taft backing Patriot Act
Governors backing Patriot Act
By Courtney Kinney
Post staff reporter
Republican governors from Ohio, Kentucky and a handful of other states will be the first of a series of public officials who will endorse President Bush's position on the Patriot Act.
The press conference to be held in Cincinnati Wednesday follows the airing of a new TV ad from the Bush campaign today. The ad highlights Bush's support of the Patriot Act, which the campaign calls a tool for fighting terrorism, with what the campaign says is Democratic opponent U.S. Sen. John Kerry's attempt to weaken the act.
The ad shows "the presidents' commitment to the war on terror and Kerry's desire to play politics with national security," said Susan Whitson, deputy communications director for the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign.
Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher, a former Republican congressman, and Ohio Gov. Bob Taft will participate in the press conference at the downtown Westin hotel. Whitson said the governors, along with a handful of others who will be in town for a Republican Governors Association forum, will speak in support of Bush. In the coming week, other officials will speak out on the Patriot Act, including Vice President Dick Cheney and local law enforcement officials and prosecutors.
Bush wants to extend the Patriot Act, a set of laws passed after the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, that some Democrats say are too restrictive.
An Ohio spokesman for the Democratic National Committee said the Bush campaign's claim that Kerry is playing politics with national security is hypocritical.
"This is coming from the president who used images of fallen firefighters in his very first campaign ad," said spokesman Brendon Cull.
Cull said Kerry supports extending the Patriot Act with a few revisions. He countered that the Bush Administration has botched the efforts to end terrorism.
"This administration has turned the bipartisan goodwill of the entire world completely around after 9/11. They have mismanaged the war on terror and the war on Iraq," Cull said. "And Bush has again and again broken his campaign promise of being a uniter, not a divider."
Whitson said the campaign chose to kick off the series of press conferences in Cincinnati because there was a regional gathering of governors whose states face security concerns with bridges, dams and other structures. Also, she said, the governors who will be attending the forum in Cincinnati are Bush supporters.
"These are people that are supportive of the president. It's a unified voice for us," Whitson said.
The governors will also be addressing issues facing the states during their visit. The Republican Governors Association is sponsoring the forum, one of five that the Washington, D.C.-based group has held throughout the country this year. Two private roundtable discussions will focus on the benefits of broadband technology in the states and reliable energy sources.
Taft and Fletcher will participate in a separate event Wednesday morning in which they will talk about regional cooperation with the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky chambers of commerce. That event, sponsored by the chambers, will take place at the 10 a.m. at Paul Brown Stadium's West Club Lounge.
Spokesmen for both governors said the states' shared border requires the governments and business communities to work together to improve lives of all the states' residents.
"The goal of the meeting is to talk about what we can do together to make sure that the entire region can succeed," said Orest Holubec, press secretary to Taft.
"We want to find areas where we can work together, like the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport," said Doug Hogan, spokesman for Fletcher. "Those are the types of areas where if one wins, we both win."
The two states have competed recently on a number of existing and new economic development projects, including a Hyundai plant that eventually went to Alabama, an expansion of Cincinnati company Convergys, and a current tug-of-war for the five-star restaurant the Maisonette.
It wasn't known if specifics of the recent competitions between the states would be discussed.