"I think he gave the country a sense of who he is as a person," said Jimmy Toyama, Oahu Democratic Party chairman. Toyama said Kerry "was eloquent in his own way."
Amy Young said she thought Kerry's speech was "excellent."
"The speech had to be good because his personality is ..." she said before stopping herself.
"He's not stiff," said Peter Einhorn, Young's fiance. "He speaks like a classic, old-school politician."
Einhorn, 29, grew up in Massachusetts and said he has been a Kerry supporter since he was in third grade.
The Hawaii Democrats cheered in concert with the delegates in Boston as Kerry offered his stand on issues he hopes will decide the presidential campaign in his favor. However, they were silent when Kerry said he would add 40,000 troops to the country's military and double the size of its special forces to fight terrorism.
"That was a very difficult concept to understand," Toyama said.
Kerry's position on the Iraq war is one of the reasons eight Hawaii delegates to the Democratic Convention cast their votes for Dennis Kucinich even though the Ohio congressman endorsed Kerry last week.
"We have had serious differences with Kerry on the war," said Bart Dame, coordinator for Kucinich delegates.
Virginia Democrat Ron Telsch said the war in Iraq is a sensitive issue, but he said he supports Kerry's position.
"If it takes more manpower, we gotta safely get our troops out," he said.
Telsch is in Hawaii accompanying his wife, who is attending the American Psychological Association's annual convention. He showed up at Murphy's when he heard Democrats were gathering there to watch Kerry's speech.
BOSTON -- Challenging President Bush by declaring that "strength is more than tough words," Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry plunged into the general election campaign aimed at convincing millions of undecided voters that his time in Vietnam makes him the right commander in a time of war.
For his part, the president, trailing slightly in polls, told battleground state voters that when it comes to choosing a president, "results matter."
Leaving the warm embrace of his most fervent supporters -- the thousands who flocked to the Democratic Party's nominating convention -- Kerry is in stronger shape than any presidential challenger in a quarter-century.
After accepting his party's nomination in a boisterous Thursday night convention finale, Kerry and his running mate John Edwards were embarking Friday on a 3,500-mile, coast-to-coast campaign swing through 21 states.
"Today, we set out on a journey across this great country to share with Americans on Main Streets and family porches and in cities and towns our plan to make America stronger at home and respected in the world," Kerry said in remarks prepared for a kickoff rally.
With slightly more than three months until the election, Kerry is virtually tied with Bush and likely to enjoy a bounce in the polls from this week's convention.
Kerry hit hard at the president's handling of the Iraq war and the war on terror in his acceptance speech Thursday night.
"Saying there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq doesn't make it so. Saying we can fight a war on the cheap doesn't make it so," Kerry told an overflowing FleetCenter crowd and a television audience of millions.
"And proclaiming mission accomplished certainly doesn't make it so," he said to roars.
Republicans hope to counter any upswing for Kerry by casting Bush as a can-do leader and convincing voters that Kerry has not earned the right to be commander in chief.
Beginning a two-day swing through four presidential battlegrounds after a week's vacation at his Texas ranch, Bush planned to say in a new stump speech that, "When it comes to choosing a president, results matter," according to excerpts of the speech obtained by The Associated Press.
Aides said that was meant to be a subtle suggestion that Kerry has not produced much in his two decades in the Senate.
The Democrats' convention, a four-day show of unity behind Kerry, was designed to tell millions of undecided voters in key states about his Vietnam War service and persuade them that he is prepared to lead and defend the country in an age of terrorism.
Thirteen men who served with Kerry on swiftboats three decades ago in the Mekong Delta shared his spotlight, and a 9 1/2-minute biographical film featured Kerry's own war footage.
Polls show Bush losing public support on Iraq, dropping to 42 percent earlier this month from 59 percent six months ago, according to a Pew Research Center survey.
Kerry, referring to critics' claims that the president's decision to invade Iraq was based on faulty evidence, promised immediate reforms of the U.S. intelligence system so "policy is guided by facts, and facts are never distorted by politics."
He expanded his criticism far beyond Iraq as he sought to draw a contrast with the president on the national security issues he has placed at the core of his challenge for the White House.
Kerry vowed to reverse policies that send U.S. jobs overseas and promised to expand health care, improve education and "fight a smarter, more effective war" against terror.
"In these dangerous days there is a right way and a wrong way to be strong," he said. "Strength is more than tough words."
When he cited U.S. job losses, rising health care costs, pollution and homelessness under Bush, Kerry repeated the phrase: "America can do better. And help is on the way."
Republicans said he has taken inconsistent positions on the war against terror, and that he should explain himself.
Kerry voted in 2002 for the congressional resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq, but then voted against providing $87 billion for U.S. troops and reconstruction.
"John Kerry missed an opportunity to help the American people understand his vote for the war in Iraq based on the same intelligence that the president viewed," Bush campaign chairman Marc Racicot said. "He's right, America can do better."
As the Democratic nominee, Kerry gets $75 million in public money for the general campaign, the only money he can spend through Nov. 2. Bush, who had $64 million on hand at the beginning of July, gets his $75 million in taxpayer dollars in early September.
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