PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION Kerry spoofs Bush plan on Letterman's show



His stint on the show wasn't all jokes.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Democrat John Kerry joked Monday on "The Late Show with David Letterman" about changes under President Bush's tax plan, including that Vice President Dick Cheney can claim the president as a dependent.
Besides reading his "Top 10" list, Kerry also poked fun at the tedious debate negotiations between the rival campaigns that ended in agreement Monday.
Kerry said he wanted running mate John Edwards to stand in the vice presidential debate, but Cheney wanted to sit. "We compromised, and now George Bush is going to sit on Dick Cheney's lap," he said.
Both Bush and Democratic rival Al Gore appeared on "The Late Show" in 2000. Bush has not appeared on any late-night comedy shows in this campaign.
Kerry also has appeared on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on NBC.
Kerry's interview with Letterman wasn't all jokes. The Massachusetts senator spent much of his appearance discussing serious topics ranging from global warming to the beheading of an American hostage in Iraq.
He talked about where he thinks the president has gone wrong in Iraq and what changes he would make as commander in chief.
Kerry appeared on the CBS show on the same day the network apologized for broadcasting a story questioning Bush's National Guard service.
He joked about CBS' credibility when Letterman asked if poll numbers can be believed. "Depending on which network it is, we can," Kerry said with a chuckle.
Top 10
Kerry's "Top 10 Bush Tax Proposals" are:
10. No estate tax for families with at least two U.S. presidents.
9. W-2 Form is now Dubya-2 Form.
8. Under the simplified tax code, your refund check goes directly to Halliburton.
7. The reduced earned income tax credit is so unfair, it just makes me want to tear out my lustrous, finely groomed hair.
6. Attorney General (John) Ashcroft gets to write off the entire U.S. Constitution.
5. Texas Rangers can take a business loss for trading Sammy Sosa.
4. Eliminate all income taxes; just ask Teresa (Heinz Kerry) to cover the whole damn thing.
3. Cheney can claim Bush as a dependent.
2. Hundred-dollar penalty if you pronounce it "nuclear" instead of "nucular."
1. George W. Bush gets a deduction for mortgaging our entire future.
During Kerry's trip to New York, he also delivered a speech laying out his vision for Iraq and raised $4 million at reception and dinner benefiting the Democratic National Committee.
He planned another television appearance this morning -- on "Live with Regis and Kelly."
Spending
Kerry cut his campaign spending sharply last month in an effort to stretch $75 million in government funding, but still started September with several million less than President Bush.
Not only does Kerry have to make his $75 million in full government financing for the general-election phase of the campaign last a month longer than Bush does, but the Democratic National Committee is burning through its money to promote its nominee faster than the Republican National Committee is.
Kerry spent $10 million last month, starting September with $62 million just as Bush was about to get his $75 million from the Federal Election Commission.
Kerry's August spending compares with $36 million spent in July, when Kerry could still use private contributions to cover campaign costs.
CBS matter
In regard to the CBS matter, a top adviser to Kerry said he talked to a central figure in the controversy over President Bush's National Guard service at the suggestion of a CBS News producer shortly before disputed documents were released by the network.
But Joe Lockhart denied any connection between the Kerry campaign and the papers supplied to the network by the Bill Burkett, the former Texas Army National Guard official he telephoned at CBS' suggestion.
"He had some advice on how to deal with the Vietnam issue and the Swift boat" allegations, Lockhart said late Monday, referring to GOP-fueled accusations that Kerry exaggerated his Vietnam War record.
The White House called the exchange evidence of coordination between the Kerry campaign and Burkett.
South Korean
In other campaign-related news, a South Korean man who met with Kerry's fund-raisers to discuss creating a new political group for Korean-Americans was an intelligence agent for his country, raising concerns among some U.S. officials that either he or his government may have tried to influence this fall's election.
South Korean officials and U.S. officials told The Associated Press that Chung Byung-Man, a consular officer in Los Angeles, actually worked for South Korea's National Intelligence Service.
A spokesman for the South Korean consulate office said Chung was sent home in May amid "speculation" he became involved with the Kerry campaign and Democratic Party through contacts with fund-raiser Rick Yi and that his identity couldn't be discussed further.
Kerry campaign spokesman Chad Clanton said the campaign did not know Chung was an intelligence agent or that Yi, one of the campaign's key fund-raisers in the Asian-American community, was meeting with him until it was brought to light by the AP.
The FBI has not begun a formal counterintelligence investigation because Chung left the United States in May, the officials said.
The NIS, South Korea's CIA equivalent, dismissed any suggestion the South Korean government tried to influence American politics as a "totally groundless rumor and all fiction."

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