Kerry-Edwards 2004, Inc. Press Release

For Immediate Release                       

October 29, 2004

Contact: Chad Clanton or Phil Singer


Republicans, Independents Backing John Kerry for President
Former GOP Senator Bob Smith Joins  Thousands of Republicans, Eisenhower, Iacocca, Train, Andersen, Milliken, McPeak, King, Ventura

Washington, DC – With five days until the election, Republicans and Independents throughout the country have sent a strong message by supporting Democrats John Kerry and John Edwards.  Republicans and independents from all backgrounds have joined a national effort to support the Kerry-Edwards plan to keep America safe and fight for the middle class.
Convinced that America needs a fresh start to bring people together, Republicans and Independents nationwide have joined together to support John Kerry for president.  On issues ranging from the economy and the outsourcing of jobs, to the refusal of the president to support stem cell research, to the soaring cost of prescription drugs, George Bush has not supported policies that strengthen middle-class families. 
Under the Bush administration, the mainstream values Republicans once cherished have been undermined.  Yesterday's Republicans would not recognize a party that abandons fiscal responsibility.  By contrast, John Kerry broke with his party in 1985 to cosponsor and vote for the landmark Gramm-Rudman-Hollings balanced budget and deficit reduction bill to end runaway deficits. Teddy Roosevelt Republicans would not support a party that loots the environment and Eisenhower Republicans would not want to belong to a party that shreds our alliances and sends soldiers to war without a plan to win the peace.
Bob Smith, the former New Hampshire senator and fellow Vietnam veteran, is the most recent prominent Republican to pledge his support for John Kerry.  In a letter to Kerry on Wednesday, Smith praised the Democrat as one “who crossed the aisle to forge a bipartisan coalition in the Senate to balance the federal budget.”
Among the other renowned Kerry backers from outside the Democratic Party are John Eisenhower, son of Republican President Eisenhower; Lee Iacocca, former Chrysler CEO; Russell E. Train, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency for two Republican Presidents; Elmer L. Andersen, former Republican governor of Minnesota; William Milliken, former Republican governor of Michigan; and retired Gen. Merrill "Tony" McPeak, former chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force.  Well-known independents backing the Kerry-Edwards ticket include Angus King, former governor of Maine; and Jesse Ventura, former governor of Minnesota.
In many cases, the new Kerry supporters were previous backers of George W. Bush and heavily involved in the Republican Party.  Iacocca campaigned actively for George W. Bush in 2000 and for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984.  He even appeared in Bush campaign ads four years ago. 
McPeak served as Oregon chairman of Bob Dole's 1996 presidential campaign and in 2000 was co-chairman of Oregon Veterans for Bush-Cheney.  He is now one of 12 Generals and Admirals supporting Kerry in an unprecedented display of support from the military establishment.
Rejecting the Bush administration’s fiscal irresponsibility and go-it-alone foreign policy, Eisenhower views Kerry as a leader fully capable of “ending secrecy and bringing truth and honesty back to the White House.”  Eisenhower, a lifelong Republican and previously an ambassador to Belgium, was one of 180 former U.S. ambassadors from Republican and Democratic administrations to endorse Kerry to bolster America’s national security.
Former governors and generals are not alone in rejecting the divisive leadership of George W. Bush in favor of the unifying, positive vision of John Kerry.  Forty-three newspapers, including Bush’s hometown Crawford paper, the Lone Star Iconoclast, endorsed Kerry after having backed Bush in 2000.  John Kerry is the first Democrat to be endorsed by the Bangor Daily News since the 19th century.  The Orlando Sentinel had not done such a thing in 40 years.   
Meanwhile, the conservative Detroit News, in refusing to support a second term for Bush, withheld its endorsement from a Republican for only the third time in two centuries.  The other two times were during Franklin Roosevelt’s re-election bids.  The Tampa Tribune, which has not endorsed a Democrat for President since 1952, also declined to endorse Bush.
The prominent Republican and independent endorsements have added momentum to the national Republicans for Kerry operation as it mobilizes non-Democrats nationwide to get out the vote for Kerry-Edwards.  There are more than 50 members of the Republicans for Kerry leadership committee in 17 states.  Republicans for Kerry are also mobilizing support at the grassroots level.  More than 2,700 Republicans have joined Republicans for Kerry, either by signing up on the website,, or pledging their support on paper. 
Republicans and independents at both the national and grassroots levels are united in their efforts to put country before party.  They are sending a powerful message that the upcoming election is not about Democrats and Republicans—it’s about strengthening the middle class and making America stronger and more secure.  George Bush has failed on both accounts during his four years in office.  John Kerry and John Edwards have a plan for success that puts the American people first.
“The security of our country is not a partisan issue,” McPeak said. “The real deal for me is not whether a strategy or a plan or an idea is Republican or Democrat, but whether it makes us safer. And it means an awful lot to me that John Kerry fought for his country as a young man.”