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Published: 10/23/2004

Zell Miller sets aside the anger for appearance in Maumee

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

U.S. Sen. Zell Miller (D., Ga.) was low-key during a talk yesterday to supporters of President Bush at the Republican Party Victory Center in Maumee's Arrowhead Park, the final stop of a GOP tour through Ohio.

His tone was a stark contrast to his fiery keynote address to the Republican National Convention, which was marked as much by his harsh words for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry as for his praise of President Bush.

"All of the pundits said I looked mad and sounded angry. How very perceptive of them. Because I am angry about the direction my Democratic Party is going in," said Senator Miller, who also made stops in Youngstown and Cleveland.

Senator Miller said he was governor of Georgia when he first formed a favorable impression of President Bush, then governor of Texas. That impression was reinforced by the President's performance after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"I think 9/11 changed everything that's going on" - including the election, he said, adding that the President showed spine in the way he would not wobble or change his mind.

"I saw some of Winston Churchill in the man," Senator Miller said.

His criticisms of the Democratic presidential candidate were similar to those at the convention, touching on Mr. Kerry's Senate record and votes against weapons systems.

"I have never seen any politician who was so out of touch with the average American," he said.

Senator Miller's remarks differed from his introduction of Senator Kerry in March, 2001, at a Georgia Democratic Party dinner, when he said Mr. Kerry was "one of the nation's authentic heroes."

He said, too, that "John has worked to strengthen our military" and praised Mr. Kerry's service in Vietnam.

Senator Miller, after the talk in Maumee, said the statement was made before Sept. 11.

"I haven't changed my mind. I think anyone who serves in any war is a hero," he said. "But I'm disappointed and can't go along with his voting record in the United States Senate."

Brendon Cull, Democratic Party spokesman in Ohio, said he does not give Senator Miller much credence.

"His baseless attacks on Senator Kerry's record will be mostly ignored by the people of Ohio, who are concerned about why George Bush hasn't done anything to create jobs in Ohio."



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