BLITZER: ... The theme that's coming from the [Bush administration]: ... Your criticism is, A, undermining the troops ... , and, B, emboldening and encouraging the insurgency.
KERRY: That is exactly the kind of disgraceful fear tactic, scare tactic, exploitation that this administration continually delved into in pursuit of this war. They did it all through the election last year. They tried to scare America and did, in many cases. And they're still doing it.
And I'm not going to listen to this vice president of the United States tell me that, when they send troops without armor, when they send troops in inadequate numbers, when they send troops without the support structure that they need to be able to conduct a mission, ... when they make the misjudgment that those troops are going to be welcomed as liberators with flowers strewn at their feet in parade, when they make the misjudgment not even to block and secure ammo dumps -- the ammo which is now being used against our troops -- when they make the misjudgment about disbanding the military and the civilian structure of Iraq.
And they turn around and say to us -- who all the time were saying, "Don't do those things" -- that we're somehow putting the troops in jeopardy, I'm going to stand up and fight.
Those troops deserve leadership that's equal to their sacrifice, and I think this administration has lost lives of good troops at greater risk than they needed to be because they didn't do the things necessary to support the troops. I'm fighting for the troops. I'm fighting for the people that are on those front lines.