Saturday, October 9, 2004
In their own words
Terrorism, jobs, legislation, the decision to depose Saddam Hussein
Excerpts from Friday's debate:
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK
What did you think of the debate?|
SEN. KERRY: "The president didn't find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, so he's really turned his campaign into a weapon of mass deception. And the result is that you've been bombarded with advertisements suggesting that I've changed a position on this or that or the other. Now, the three things they try to say I've changed position on are the Patriot Act; I haven't. I support it. I just don't like the way John Ashcroft has applied it, and we're going to change a few things. The chairman of the Republican Party thinks we ought to change a few things. (As for the) No Child Left Behind Act, I voted for it. I support it. I support the goals. But the president has underfunded it by $28 billion. Now, the president has presided over an economy where we've lost 1.6 million jobs. The first president in 72 years to lose jobs.
I have a plan to put people back to work. That's not wishy- washy.
I'm going to close the loopholes that actually encourage companies to go overseas."
PRESIDENT BUSH: "I can see why people ... think (Kerry) changes positions a lot, because he does. He said he voted for the $87 billion, and voted against it right before he voted for it. And that sends a confusing signal to people. He said he thought Saddam Hussein was a grave threat, and now he said it was a mistake to remove Saddam Hussein from power. You know, for a while he was a strong supporter of getting rid of Saddam Hussein. He saw the wisdom - until the Democrat primary came along and Howard Dean, the anti-war candidate, began to gain on him, and he changed positions. I don't see how you can lead this country in a time of war, in a time of uncertainty, if you change your mind because of politics."
BUSH: "Obviously we hope that diplomacy works before you ever use force. The hardest decision a president makes is ever to use force. After 9/11, we had to look at the world differently. After 9/11, we had to recognize that when we saw a threat, we must take it seriously before it comes to hurt us. In the old days we'd see a threat, and we could deal with it if we felt like it or not. But 9/11 changed it all. I vowed to our countrymen that I would do everything I could to protect the American people. That's why we're bringing Al Qaida to justice. Seventy five percent of them have been brought to justice."
KERRY: "The world is more dangerous today. The world is more dangerous today because the president didn't make the right judgments.
Now, the president wishes that I had changed my mind. He wants you to believe that because he can't come here and tell you that he's created new jobs for America. He's lost jobs. He can't come here and tell you that he's created health care for Americans because, what, we've got 5 million Americans who have lost their health care, 96,000 of them right here in Missouri. He can't come here and tell you that he's left no child behind because he didn't fund no child left behind. So what does he do? He's trying to attack me.
BUSH: "You remember the last debate? My opponent said that America must pass a global test before we used force to protect ourselves. That's the kind of mindset that says sanctions were working. That's the kind of mindset that said, Let's keep it at the United Nations and hope things go well. Saddam Hussein was a threat because he could have given weapons of mass destruction to terrorist enemies. Sanctions were not working."
KERRY: "The goal of the sanctions was not to remove Saddam Hussein, it was to remove the weapons of mass destruction. And, Mr. President, just yesterday the Duelfer report told you and the whole world they worked. He didn't have weapons of mass destruction, Mr. President. That was the objective. And if we'd used smart diplomacy, we could have saved $200 billion and an invasion of Iraq. And right now, Osama bin Laden might be in jail or dead. That's the war against terror."
KERRY: "I have laid out a different plan, because the president's plan is not working. You see that every night on television. There's chaos in Iraq. King Abdullah of Jordan said just yesterday or the day before you can't hold elections in Iraq with the chaos that's going on today. Senator Richard Lugar, the Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said that the handling of the reconstruction aid in Iraq by this administration has been incompetent. Those are the Republican chairman's words. Senator Hagel of Nebraska said that the handling of Iraq is beyond pitiful, beyond embarrassing; it's in the zone of dangerous. Those are the words of two Republicans, respected, both on the Foreign Relations Committee. Now, I have to tell you, I would do something different. I would reach out to our allies in a way that this president hasn't. He pushed them away time and again, pushed them away at the U.N., pushed them away individually."
BUSH: "Two days ago in the Oval Office, I met with the finance minister from Iraq. He came to see me. And he talked about how optimistic he was and the country was about heading toward elections. Think about it: They're going from tyranny to elections. He talked about the reconstruction efforts that are beginning to take hold. He talked about the fact that Iraqis love to be free. He said he was optimistic when he came here, then he turned on the TV and listened to the political rhetoric and all of a sudden he was pessimistic. ... He talks about a grand idea: Let's have a summit; we're going to solve the problem in Iraq by holding a summit. And what is he going to say to those people that show up at the summit? Join me in the wrong war at the wrong time at the wrong place. Risk your troops in a war you've called a mistake. Nobody is going to follow somebody who doesn't believe we can succeed and with somebody who says that war where we are is a mistake.
KERRY: "Ladies and gentlemen, the right war was Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan. That was the right place. And the right time was Tora Bora, when we had him cornered in the mountains."
BUSH: "First of all, we didn't find out he didn't have weapons until we got there, and my opponent thought he had weapons and told everybody he thought he had weapons. And secondly, it's a fundamental misunderstanding to say that the war on terror is only Osama bin Laden. The war on terror is to make sure that these terrorist organizations do not end up with weapons of mass destruction."
BUSH: "I recognize I've made some decisions that have caused people to not understand the great values of our country. I remember when Ronald Reagan was the president; he stood on principle. Somebody called that stubborn. He stood on principle standing up to the Soviet Union, and we won that conflict. Yet at the same time, he was very - we were very unpopular in Europe because of the decisions he made."
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