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Kerry: Bush Has 'No Credibility'

GENERIC John Kerry george Bush IRAQ
CBS/AP
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said Tuesday that President Bush failed to present a true picture of Iraq to the United Nations and "does not have the credibility to lead the world."

"The president really has no credibility at this point," Kerry said in his first news conference since Aug. 9. "He has no credibility with foreign leaders who hear him come before them and talk as if everything is going well, and they see that we can't even protect the people on the ground for the election."

Roughly three hours after Mr. Bush defended his Iraq invasion decision to the world community, Kerry told reporters, "The president needs to live in the world of reality."

Mr. Bush had appealed to foreign leaders to join in supporting the new Iraqi interim government. Kerry said, as he did in a speech Monday in New York, that the United States needs to change its policies in Iraq to be successful, starting with bringing in more help from other nations.

"After lecturing them, instead of leading them to understand how we are all together with a stake in the outcome of Iraq, I believe the president missed an opportunity of enormous importance for our nation and for the world," Kerry said.

"He does not have the credibility to lead the world. And he did not and will not offer the leadership in order to do what we need to do to protect our troops, to be successful, and win the war on terror in an effective way."

Earlier Tuesday, Kerry had some lighter moments during an appearance on "Live With Regis and Kelly."

Asked why it took so long for the Bush and Kerry campaigns to agree on a debate schedule, Kerry told Regis Philbin, "The big hang-up was George Bush wanted to get life lines, you know, so he could call somebody.''

Philbin has hosted the quiz show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?'' Contestants on that show can contact a knowledgeable friend for help if they are unsure of an answer.

Kerry has been making the rounds of talks shows, taping a broadcast of "Dr. Phil" last week and appearing on "The Late Show with David Letterman" Monday night. His "Top 10 Bush Tax Proposals" for Letterman included allowing Vice President Dick Cheney to claim Mr. Bush as a dependent.

For the most part on Tuesday, Kerry left the wisecracks to Philbin and co-host Kelly Ripa. Ripa suggested actor Tom Cruise play Kerry running mate John Edwards if a movie were made of the 2004 campaign. Asked who should play him, Kerry said, "I don't have any idea."

Ripa nominated actor Harrison Ford and Kerry liked that casting suggestion.

The Kerry campaign said Tuesday that Kerry will hole up at a resort in Wisconsin for four days next week to prepare for the first of three presidential debates, which will take place next Thursday at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla.

The Kerry and Bush campaigns agreed Monday to three 90-minute debates, including one town-hall format with questions from undecided voters.

The other debates are scheduled for Oct. 8 at Washington University in St. Louis and Oct. 13 at Arizona State University in Tempe.