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Attacks continue in final days of US election -

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Attacks continue in final days of US election campaign

Reporter: Norman Hermant

TONY JONES: In the US election, both parties are grasping at any issue they can to try to pull
ahead in the campaign's final days.

For the Democrats, that means more attacks on George W Bush over revelations of missing
high-powered explosives in Iraq.

Republicans have answered with more charges that the latest criticism from John Kerry only proves
his policies are poll-driven and dangerous.

Norman Hermant reports.

NORMAN HERMANT: In a race this tight, in its final days, the rhetoric changes gears fast.

Just two days ago reports emerged that more than 300 tons of high-powered explosives were missing
from an arms depot in Iraq - the latest ammunition for John Kerry in his attacks on the Bush
Administration.

JOHN KERRY, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They guarded the Ministry of Oil.

But they didn't guard the ammo dumps that threatened our troops.

They didn't have enough troops to guard the borders and now those borders are leaking like a sieve
and terrorists are coming from everywhere and we're in a bigger mess by the day.

NORMAN HERMANT: In the rapid-response campaign television war, shots have already been fired.

JOHN KERRY (ADVERTISEMENT): In Iraq, George Bush has overextended our troops.

And now failed to secure 380 tons of deadly explosives.

NORMAN HERMANT: And there are more potential problems for the White House on Iraq, with the
country's interim prime minister blaming US-led multinational forces for the weekend massacre of
newly trained Iraqi soldiers.

Iyad Allawi says an investigation is under way.

He attributed the killings to major negligence by the multinational forces.

But George W Bush isn't being thrown off his game in the home stretch.

He let others respond to the latest charges while again warning that on Iraq a Kerry victory would
be disastrous.

GEORGE W BUSH, US PRESIDENT: My opponent has no plan, no vision, just a long list of complaints.

But a Monday morning quarterback has never led any team to victory.

NORMAN HERMANT: And never far away - the constant refrain that John Kerry is a flip-flopper.

ADVERTISEMENT: But if you never commit to what you believe in, who will ever commit to you?

John Kerry has changed his mind on all these important issues.

Now there's nothing wrong with a little indecision, as long as your job doesn't involve any
responsibility.

NORMAN HERMANT: Both parties are flooding the airwaves, with more than $50 million being spent on
advertising in the last week of the campaign.

But that's a drop in the bucket compared to overall spending.

For all the races - for the White House and for the Congress - when all is said and done, the bill
is expected to top $5 billion.

Norman Hermant, Lateline.

(c) 2006 ABC