BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) _ Vice President Dick Cheney touted the Bush administration's war policies and criticized his Democratic rivals Monday during the first stop of a daylong swing through Pennsylvania.

Cheney spoke for about 20 minutes at a $500-per-plate breakfast fund-raiser for state Sen. Charles W. Dent at a Bethlehem hotel. Dent, a Republican, is running for Congress.

The vice president praised the U.S. invasion of Iraq, saying it had ``rid the world of a gathering threat to our peace and security.''

He also accused presumed Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry and his running mate, John Edwards, of hypocrisy in their criticism of the administration, saying they had both seen the same prewar intelligence on Iraq that was given to President Bush, and both supported the decision to go to war.

``Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards are criticizing the president for looking at the same information that they did and coming to the same conclusion that they did. If the president was right, and he was, then they are simply trying to rewrite history for their own political purposes,'' Cheney said.

The vice president began speaking 20 minutes ahead of schedule and received a warm response from a gathering of about 300 attendees. The event raised about $200,000 for Dent's campaign.

Cheney was scheduled to appear Monday afternoon in Harrisburg at a luncheon for congressional candidate Scott Paterno, the son of Penn State football coach Joe Paterno; visit the 911th Airlift Wing Air Force Reserve Command in Coraopolis; then attend a reception in the early evening in Pittsburgh.