On a secure video link from the campaign trail, President
Bush discussed the bin Laden tape with his attorney general,
the heads of the CIA and FBI, and his director of Homeland
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice is traveling with
the president, and was also involved in the discussions. White
House Spokesman Scott McClellan says the president told his
aides to make sure the government is taking all action that
might be necessary in light of the tape, which includes threats
of more terrorist attacks.
Mr. McClellan says there are no current plans to raise the
national terror threat level, but that is something that is
always under review.
The release of the bin Laden tape just days before the U.S.
presidential election has both candidates talking tough about
Bush campaign Communications Director Dan Bartlett says Senator
Kerry is trying to score some political advantage from the
tape by continuing a line of attack that Mr. Bartlett says
is just plain wrong.
Senator Kerry regularly criticizes the president's handling
of the hunt for the terrorist leader following the fall of
the Taleban in Afghanistan, saying U.S. troops allowed Afghan
militiamen to search for bin Laden in the mountains of Tora
Bora, instead of going after him themselves.
President Bush says U.S. troops were actively involved in
the search at Tora Bora, and that American commanders had intelligence
that Osama bin Laden may not have been in those mountains anyway.
The president told Republican supporters Saturday that his
Democratic challenger has a fundamental misunderstanding of
what is needed to fight terrorism.
"It's the worst kind of Monday morning quarterbacking
[second-guessing]. It is especially shameful in the light of
a new tape from America's enemy," the president said. "Our
commander in Afghanistan, Tommy Franks, recently said the Senator's
understanding of events does not square with reality."
In the videotape, Osama bin Laden tells Americans their security
does not depend on President Bush or Mr. Kerry, or al-Qaida,
but will depend on government policies.
President Bush says voters have a clear choice in this election,
and choosing him, he says, will keep Americans safer from terrorist
"Americans will go to the polls in a time of war and
ongoing threats unlike any we have faced before," he said. "The
terrorists who killed thousands of innocent people are still
dangerous and determined to strike. The outcome of this election
will set the direction of the war against terror. The most
solemn duty of the American president is to protect the American
With three days to go before Election Day, President Bush
is campaigning Saturday in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and
Florida. Senator Kerry is campaigning in Wisconsin, Iowa and