Debate Breakdown

Presiden Bush vs. Sen. John Kerry University of Miami (Fla.)

Election 2004

Presidential debates

October 01, 2004|By CYRIL T. ZANESKI AND DAVID NITKIN | CYRIL T. ZANESKI AND DAVID NITKIN,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON — WHAT THEY SAID

QUESTION: Do you believe the election of Senator Kerry on November the 2nd would increase the chances of the U.S. being hit by another 9/11-type terrorist attack?

BUSH: M-tNo, I donM-Ft believe itM-Fs going to happen. I believe IM-Fm going to win, because the American people know I know how to lead. IM-Fve shown the American people I know how to lead. I understand everybody in this country doesnM-Ft agree with the decisions IM-Fve made. And I made some tough decisions. But people know where I stand. People out there listening know what I believe. And thatM-Fs how best it is to keep the peace. This nation of ours has got a solemn duty to defeat this ideology of hate.M-v

KERRY REBUTTAL: M-tThis president has made, I regret to say, a colossal error of judgment. And judgment is what we look for in the president of the United States of America. IM-Fm proud that important military figures who are supporting me in this race ... all believe I would make a stronger commander in chief. And they believe it because they know I would not take my eye off of the goal: Osama bin Laden. Unfortunately, he escaped in the mountains of Tora Bora. We had him surrounded. But we didnM-Ft use American forces, the best trained in the world, to go kill him. The president relied on Afghan warlords and he outsourced that job, too. ThatM-Fs wrong.M-v

QUESTION: M-tColossal misjudgments.M-v What colossal misjudgments, in your opinion, has President Bush made in (the war on terror)?

KERRY: M-tIraq is not even the center of the focus of the war on terror. The center is Afghanistan, where, incidentally, there were more Americans killed last year than the year before; where the opium production is 75 percent of the worldM-Fs opium production; where 40 to 60 percent of the economy of Afghanistan is based on opium; where the elections have been postponed three times. The president moved the troops, so heM-Fs got 10 times the number of troops in Iraq than he has in Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden is. Does that mean that Saddam Hussein was 10 times more important than Osama bin Laden M-y than, excuse me, Saddam Hussein more important than Osama bin Laden? I donM-Ft think so.M-v

BUSH: M-tMy opponent looked at the same intelligence I looked at and declared in 2002 that Saddam Hussein was a grave threat. He also said in December of 2003 that anyone who doubts that the world is safer without Saddam Hussein does not have the judgment to be president. I agree with him. The world is better off without Saddam Hussein.M-v

QUESTION: What criteria would you use to determine when to start bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq?

BUSH: M-tThe best indication about when we can bring our troops home M-y which I really want to do, but I donM-Ft want to do so for the sake of bringing them home; I want to do so because weM-Fve achieved an objective M-y is to see the Iraqis perform and to see the Iraqis step up and take responsibility. And so, the answer to your question is: When our general is on the ground and Ambassador Negroponte tells me that Iraq is ready to defend herself from these terrorists, that elections will have been held by then, that thereM-Fs stability and that theyM-Fre on their way to, you know, a nation thatM-Fs free; thatM-Fs when.M-v

KERRY REBUTTAL: M-tThereM-Fs a sense of American occupation. The only building that was guarded when the troops went into Baghdad was the oil ministry. We didnM-Ft guard the nuclear facilities. We didnM-Ft guard the foreign office, where you might have found information about weapons of mass destruction. We didnM-Ft guard the borders. Almost every step of the way, our troops have been left on these extraordinarily difficult missions. I know what itM-Fs like to go out on one of those missions when you donM-Ft know whatM-Fs around the corner. And I believe our troops need other allies helping. IM-Fm going to hold that summit. I will bring fresh credibility, a new start, and we will get the job done right.M-v

QUESTION: Has the war in Iraq been worth the cost of American lives, 1,052 as of today?

BUSH: M-tI think itM-Fs worth it, because I think M-y I know in the long term a free Iraq, a free Afghanistan, will set such a powerful example in a part of the world thatM-Fs desperate for freedom. It will help change the world; that we can look back and say we did our duty.M-v

KERRY REBUTTAL: M-tI understand what the president is talking about, because I know what it means to lose people in combat. And the question, is it worth the cost, reminds me of my own thinking when I came back from fighting in that war. And it reminds me that it is vital for us not to confuse the war, ever, with the warriors. That happened before. And thatM-Fs one of the reasons why I believe I can get this job done, because I am determined for those soldiers and for those families, for those kids who put their lives on the line.M-v

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