Debate Breakdown

President Bush vs. Sen. John Kerry

Arizona State University in Tempe

Election 2004

The debates

October 14, 2004|By CYRIL T. ZANESKI AND DAVID NITKIN | CYRIL T. ZANESKI AND DAVID NITKIN,SUN STAFF

WHAT THEY SAID

QUESTION: "Will our children and grandchildren ever live in a world as safe and secure as the world in which we grew up?"

KERRY: "The measurement is not: Are we safer? The measurement is: Are we as safe as we ought to be? And there are a host of options that this president had available to him, like making sure that at all our ports in America containers are inspected. Only 95 percent of them - 95 percent come in today uninspected. That's not good enough."

BUSH: "Yes, we can be safe and secure, if we stay on the offense against the terrorists and if we spread freedom and liberty around the world. I have got a comprehensive strategy to not only chase down the al-Qaida, wherever it exists - and we're making progress; three-quarters of al-Qaida leaders have been brought to justice - but to make sure that countries that harbor terrorists are held to account. As a result of securing ourselves and ridding the Taliban out of Afghanistan, the Afghan people had elections this weekend."

QUESTION: "Who bears responsibility for (soaring health insurance costs)? Is it the government? Is it the insurance companies? Is it the lawyers? Is it the doctors? Is it the administration?"

BUSH: "Look, there's a systemic problem. Health care costs are on the rise because the consumers are not involved in the decision-making process. Most health care costs are covered by third parties. And therefore, the actual user of health care is not the purchaser of health care. And there's no market forces involved with health care. It's one of the reasons I'm a strong believer in what they call health savings accounts. These are accounts that allow somebody to buy a low-premium, high-deductible catastrophic plan and couple it with tax-free savings."

KERRY: "The reason health care costs are getting higher, one of the principal reasons, is that this administration has stood in the way of common-sense efforts that would have reduced the costs. Let me give you a prime example: In the Senate we passed the right of Americans to import drugs from Canada. But the president and his friends took it out in the House, and now you don't have that right."

QUESTION: "The gap between rich and poor is growing wider. More people are dropping into poverty. Yet the minimum wage has been stuck at, what, $5.15 an hour now for about seven years. Is it time to raise it?"

KERRY: "It's long overdue time to raise the minimum wage. And, America, this is one of those issues that separates the president and myself. We have fought to try to raise the minimum wage in the last years. But the Republican leadership of the House and Senate won't even let us have a vote on it. We're not allowed to vote on it. They don't want to raise the minimum wage. The minimum wage is the lowest minimum wage value it has been in our nation in 50 years. If we raise the minimum wage, which I will do over several years to $7 an hour, 9.2 million women who are trying to raise their families would earn another $3,800 a year. The president has denied 9.2 million women $3,800 a year, but he doesn't hesitate to fight for $136,000 to a millionaire."

BUSH: "Actually, Mitch McConnell (a Republican senator from Kentucky) had a minimum-wage plan that I supported that would have increased the minimum wage. But let me talk about what's really important for the worker you're referring to. And that's to make sure the education system works. It's to make sure we raise standards. Listen, the No Child Left Behind Act is really a jobs act when you think about it. The No Child Left Behind Act says, "We'll raise standards. We'll increase federal spending. But in return for extra spending, we now want people to measure - states and local jurisdictions to measure to show us whether or not a child can read or write or add and subtract."

QUESTION: "You have proposed to fix (Social Security) by letting people put some of the money collected to pay benefits into private savings accounts. But the critics are saying that's going to mean finding $1 trillion over the next 10 years to continue paying benefits as those accounts are being set up. So where do you get the money?"

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