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Kerry: High Oil Prices Threaten Economy

August 13, 2004

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) _ Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is using the last of a two-week tour through the nation’s most politically divided states to emphasize the impact of high oil prices on economic growth.

``When we have gas prices going through the roof, the Americans I’ve met don’t think we’ve turned the corner,″ Kerry said in remarks prepared for delivery at a Friday visit to a family in Springfield, Ore. ``This is bad news for their wallets and even worse news for our economy.″

Surging oil prices have been one factor driving down stock prices in recent days.

Kerry’s campaign said increasing oil prices saps consumers’ spending powers, eats into companies’ profits and weakens consumer confidence. The campaign has criticized President Bush for promising to bring down the cost of gasoline by pressuring Middle Eastern oil-producing nations.

Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said the president has a plan to lower oil prices, decrease the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and encourage development of renewable energy, but it’s been blocked by Kerry and other Democratic senators.

``They’d rather play politics with high gas prices than do the hard work and help the president bring them down for the American people,″ he said.

Kerry has been touting a plan to reduce the nation’s use of foreign oil by replacing a portion of it with renewable fuels like gas produced from corn and soybeans. ``We’re going to declare America energy independent,″ Kerry said to a crowd in Central Point, Ore.

The stops in Oregon mark the end of Kerry’s two-week trek by bus, train and ferry across the country to visit battleground states. Bush also plans to campaign in Oregon on Friday.


On the Net:

Kerry campaign: http://www.johnkerry.com

Bush campaign: http://www.georgewbush.com

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