Kerry Sticks to Claim of World Support 13 minutes ago By MIKE GLOVER, Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (news - web sites) is not backing down from his claim that some foreign leaders privately support him against President Bush (news - web sites), dismissing suggestions by the White House that he is lying if he is not willing to identify the leaders. I'm not making anything up at all," Kerry told The Associated Press in an interview Monday. He accused Republicans of "trying to change the subject" from jobs, health care and other issues. In a telephone interview, the Massachusetts senator and presumptive Democratic nominee said "it's no secret" that some countries are "deeply divided about our foreign policy. We have lost respect and influence in the world." He continued: "I stand by my statement. The point is not the leaders. What's important is that this administration's foreign policy is not making us as safe as we can be in the world." Kerry was heading to West Virginia on Tuesday to meet with fellow veterans and await the results of the presidential primary in Illinois, but the subject of his talks with world leaders was likely to follow him to the Mountain State. He already has won more than enough Democratic convention delegates to win the presidential nomination. Kerry said at a Florida fund-raiser last week that he's heard from some world leaders who quietly back his candidacy and hope he is elected in November. Kerry has declined to identify them, saying to do so would betray confidences. Three times Monday, White House spokesman Scott McClellan charged that Kerry was "making it up." His reaction came one day after Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) called on Kerry to name names but made no accusations. "Either he is straightforward and states who they are, or the only conclusion one can draw is that he is making it up to attack the president," McClellan said. He also took issue with Kerry's suggestions that the administration held up for political purposes the announcement of an agreement with Libya to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction; and that the administration had rebuffed offers from Russia and France to avert the Iraq (news - web sites) war. "This is not the first time he has refused to back up his assertions," McClellan said. In response, Kerry's campaign issued a list of statements by Bush administration officials it portrayed as falsehoods, including the assertions that Iraq had stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction and the prediction that tax cuts would create jobs. The campaign also wondered why the White House press secretary was doing the work of the re-election campaign. "The White House would be better off spending its time repairing our alliances around the world so we can collectively fight the war on terrorism and better protect the United States, rather than using the White House press room as a place to carry out political attacks," Kerry's campaign said. At the time Kerry made the remarks in Florida, press reports based on a transcription of a tape recording quoted him as referring to "foreign leaders." On Monday, however, the Boston Globe reporter who transcribed Kerry's comments said he had confused the word "foreign" with "more." However, the context that Kerry contended his campaign had international support has not been challenged by Kerry or his aides. Kerry's visit Tuesday to Huntington and Charleston reflects West Virginia's newfound importance on the electoral map. Once considered reliable territory for Democrats, the state voted for Bush over Al Gore (news - web sites) in 2000. In the AP interview, Kerry said Bush forgot his pledge to preserve West Virginia steel jobs when he rolled back tariffs he previously had applied on foreign steel. He also said Bush has reneged on his vow to invigorate the state's coal economy by helping the industry adopt cleaner technology. "I don't think West Virginians appreciate broken promises," Kerry said. "West Virginia deserves the attention of a presidential candidate who cares." He blamed Gore's loss in West Virginia on his failure to respond to Republican criticisms of his stance on gun control in the state, where hunting and legal firearm ownership are part of the social fabric. Kerry said that won't happen to him. "I'm a gun owner. I've been a hunter since I was about 12 years old," he said. "My position is very clear. I support the Second Amendment." On Monday, Democrat Al Sharpton (news - web sites) formally endorsed Kerry for president, though without ending his own campaign. Sharpton said he hoped to continue winning delegates to help shape the party's platform. ___ Associated Press Writer Lawrence Messina in Charleston, W. Va., contributed to this report. ____________________________________________________ whats next for the pancake man???? using what happened in Spain as an example? it would not surprise me at all. and look at what happened in the Election in Spain....AQ has got to be laughing there asses off...since when does it matter what the other nations think of us? I dont feel that it should have a bearing on the election...US citizens are who elects the leader..not foreign ones. I do hope that this back-fires right in his winkled-up face!