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Bush's Hometown Spurns Editorial

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DALLAS About a dozen advertisers in President Bush's hometown of Crawford, Texas, have cancelled ads in The Lone Star Iconoclast after the tiny local newspaper endorsed Sen. John Kerry, according to its publisher.

With a circulation of roughly 500, the Iconoclast last week produced the editorial read 'round the world, said publisher W. Leon Smith, who counted more than 100 phone calls from news organizations such as The New York Times, Reuters and CNBC.

While the endorsement was getting play on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and the Late Show With David Letterman, local residents who support Bush were cancelling ads, Smith told the Waco Tribune-Herald. Several people in the town said the newspaper does not reflect local viewpoints, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald.

Crawford, situated near Waco in central Texas, is the site of Bush's ranch, which has become a hub of media attention and occasional war protests. While circulation of the Iconoclast is limited in the town of 750, the online edition of the newspaper can be viewed worldwide.

Smith, 50, who also serves as publisher of The Clifton Record and mayor of Clifton, Texas (which is 18 miles from Crawford), said he endorsed Bush in 2000 and defended his decision to invade Iraq. Smith's editorial, however, said Bush's actions in office are not in line with his promises in the 2000 race.

"Four items trouble us the most about the Bush administration," the editorial said. "His initiatives to disable the Social Security system, the deteriorating state of the American economy, a dangerous shift away from the basic freedoms established by our founding fathers, and his continuous mistakes regarding terrorism and Iraq."

The Bush campaign, urging voters to "stay the course," shrugged off the criticism.

"I feel pretty confident about the people of Crawford and the state of Texas in this election," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told The Philadelphia Inquirer.