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Last Updated: Friday, 22 October, 2004, 04:10 GMT 05:10 UK
Kerry goes hunting for Ohio votes
Kerry's goose hunt
Kerry says he killed a goose but returned empty-handed
US presidential challenger John Kerry has appeared in the swing state of Ohio to woo undecided voters less than two weeks before polling day.

The candidate took part in a goose hunt before swapping his camouflage gear for a business suit to attend a rally where he again advocated stem cell research.

George W Bush went to neighbouring Pennsylvania where he mocked his rival's carefully staged hunting trip.

The sitting president hopes to reverse his defeat in the state in 2000.

The Democrats' last presidential candidate, Al Gore, has reportedly been asked to campaign for Mr Kerry this weekend in Florida, where a controversial recount in 2000 declared Mr Bush the winner.

Mr Gore is seen by many Democrats as the personification of an election they feel was stolen, and as such could be useful in bringing out the vote.

'Regular guy'

Ohio - a narrow win for Mr Bush at the last poll - is one of the small number of states which could still go to either candidate.

Mr Kerry bought a hunting licence when he was in the state at the weekend, allowing him to go after waterfowl on Thursday.

George W Bush in Hershey, Pennsylvania
He can run - he can even run in camo [camouflage] - but he cannot hide
George W Bush
He returned, shotgun breached, without a bird in hand, insisting he had killed a goose but was "too lazy" to carry it.

Mr Kerry reiterated that he would not challenge the Second Amendment guaranteeing Americans the right to own guns.

Observers say the hunt was an opportunity to portray Mr Kerry as an "all-American" guy in contrast to his depiction as an aloof north-eastern liberal by Mr Bush.

"We want people to have a better sense of John Kerry the guy," senior adviser Mike McCurry said.

The Democrat would also be aware of the influence of the National Rifle Association, the 4m-strong gun lobby which has swung behind Mr Bush.

Mr Kerry re-emerged at a rally in Columbus alongside Dana Reeve, widow of Christopher Reeve, the crippled star of the Superman films.

After an emotional speech by Mrs Reeve, in which she urged Mr Kerry to lift curbs on medical research involving human embryos, the Democratic challenger accused Mr Bush of "taking hope from people".

"You get the feeling that if George Bush had been president during other periods in American history, he would have sided with the candle lobby against electricity, the buggy-makers against cars and typewriter companies against computers," he joked.

Bush takes aim

Mr Bush also jested at his rival's expense on Thursday, referring to John Kerry the hunter.

"He can run - he can even run in camo [camouflage] - but he cannot hide," he told a crowd in Hershey, Pennsylvania, to laughter and cheers.

The president's visit was his 40th trip to Pennsylvania, where he must turn out his base of supporters, crucial in a "swing" state.

On a stop in Downingtown, he told another rally that Mr Kerry "would move America down the road to federal control of health care which would lead to lower quality and health care rationing".

He, by contrast, would "lower costs and give more control and choices to the American people", the Republican candidate said.



FROM OTHER NEWS SITES:
Denver Post Cheney gooses Kerry about hunt - 28 hrs ago
newsobserver.com Seeking votes in Ohio, Kerry bags a goose - 29 hrs ago
New York Times Kerry on Hunting Photo-Op to Help Image - 33 hrs ago
Washington PostKerry Hunting Trip Sets Sights on Swing Voters - 44 hrs ago
USA Today Campaigns aim at Pa., Ohio - 47 hrs ago
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