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Quelle: Washington Post.

Full Transcript: Second Presidential Debate Washington University,
St. Louis, Mo.  October 8, 2004

Following is a transcript of the second presidential debate between
between President Bush (R) and Sen. John F. Kerry (D). The moderator
of the nationally televised debate is Charles Gibson of ABC News. The
questions came from an audience of "soft" voters selected by the Gallup
polling organization.

GIBSON: Good evening from the Field House at Washington University in
St. Louis. I'm Charles Gibson of ABC News and "Good Morning America."

I welcome you to the second of the 2004 presidential debates between
President George W. Bush, the Republican nominee, and Senator John Kerry,
the Democratic nominee.

The debates are sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Tonight's format is going to be a bit different. We have assembled a
town-hall meeting. We're in the Show-Me State, as everyone knows Missouri
to be, so Missouri residents will ask the questions.

These 140 citizens were identified by the Gallup Organization as not
yet committed in this election.

Now, earlier today, each audience member gave me two questions on cards
like this, one they'd like to ask the president, the other they'd like
to ask the senator.

I have selected the questions to be asked and the order. No one has seen
the final list of questions but me, certainly not the candidates.

GIBSON: No audience member knows if he or she will be called upon.
Audience microphones will be turned off after a question is asked.

Audience members will address their question to a specific candidate.
He'll have two minutes to answer. The other candidate will have a minute
and a half for rebuttal. And I have the option of extending discussion
for one minute, to be divided equally between the two men.

All subjects are open for discussion.

And you probably know the light system by now. Green light at 30 seconds,
yellow at 15, red at five, and flashing red means you're done.

Those are the candidates' rules. I will hold the candidates to the time
limits forcefully but politely, I hope.

And now, please join me in welcoming with great respect, President Bush
and Senator Kerry.


GIBSON: Gentlemen, to the business at hand.

The first question is for Senator Kerry, and it will come from Cheryl
Otis, who is right behind me.

OTIS: Senator Kerry, after talking with several co-workers and family
and friends, I asked the ones who said they were not voting for you,
"Why?" They said that you were too wishy-washy.

Do you have a reply for them?

KERRY: Yes, I certainly do.


KERRY: But let me just first, Cheryl, if you will, I want to thank Charlie
for moderating. I want to thank Washington University for hosting us
here this evening.

Mr. President, it's good to be with you again this evening, sir.

Cheryl, 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.

KERRY: 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.

Right here in St. Louis, you've laid off 350 teachers. You're 150 --
excuse me, I think it's a little more, about $100 million shy of what
you ought to be under the No Child Left Behind Act to help your education
system here.

So I complain about that. I've argued that we should fully funded it.
The president says I've changed my mind. I haven't changed my mind:
I'm going to fully fund it.

So these are the differences.

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. The president wants to keep them open. I think I'm right. I
think he's wrong.

KERRY: I'm going to give you a tax cut. The president gave the top
1 percent of income-earners in America, got $89 billion last year,
more than the 80 percent of people who earn $100,000 or less all put
together. I think that's wrong. That's not wishy-washy, and that's what
I'm fighting for, you.

GIBSON: Mr. President, a minute and a half.

BUSH: Charlie, thank you, and thank our panelists.

And, Senator, thank you.

I can -- and thanks, Washington U. as well.

I can see why people at your workplace think he 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.

BUSH: No, I can see why people think that he changes position quite often,
because he does.

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.

He just brought up the tax cut. You remember we increased that child
credit by $1,000, reduced the marriage penalty, created a 10 percent tax
bracket for the lower-income Americans. That's right at the middle class.

BUSH: He voted against it. And yet he tells you he's for a middle-class
tax cut. It's -- you've got to be consistent when you're the president.
There's a lot of pressures. And you've got to be firm and consistent.

GIBSON: Mr. President, I would follow up, but we have a series of
questions on Iraq, and so I will turn to the next questioner.

The question is for President Bush, and the questioner is Robin Dahle.

DAHLE: Mr. President, yesterday in a statement you admitted that Iraq
did not have weapons of mass destruction, but justified the invasion by
stating, I quote, "He retained the knowledge, the materials, the means
and the intent to produce weapons of mass destruction and could have
passed this knowledge to our terrorist enemies."

Do you sincerely believe this to be a reasonable justification for
invasion when this statement applies to so many other countries, including
North Korea?

BUSH: Each situation is different, Robin.

And 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.

That's why I said to Afghanistan: If you harbor a terrorist, you're
just as guilty as the terrorist. And the Taliban is no longer in power,
and Al Qaida no longer has a place to plan.

BUSH: And I saw a unique threat in Saddam Hussein, as did my opponent,
because we thought he had weapons of mass destruction.

And the unique threat was that he could give weapons of mass destruction
to an organization like Al Qaida, and the harm they inflicted on us with
airplanes would be multiplied greatly by weapons of mass destruction.
And that was the serious, serious threat.

So I tried diplomacy, went to the United Nations. But as we learned in
the same report I quoted, Saddam Hussein was gaming the oil-for-food
program to get rid of sanctions. He was trying to get rid of sanctions
for a reason: He wanted to restart his weapons programs.

We all thought there was weapons there, Robin. My opponent thought there
was weapons there. That's why he called him a grave threat.

I wasn't happy when we found out there wasn't weapons, and we've got an
intelligence group together to figure out why.

But Saddam Hussein was a unique threat. And the world is better off
without him in power.

And my opponent's plans lead me to conclude that Saddam Hussein would
still be in power, and the world would be more dangerous.

BUSH: Thank you, sir.

GIBSON: Senator Kerry, a minute and a half.

KERRY: Robin, I'm going to answer your question.

I'm also going to talk -- respond to what you asked, Cheryl, at the
same time.

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. He wants you to believe
that I can't be president. And he's trying to make you believe it because
he wants you to think I change my mind.

KERRY: Well, let me tell you straight up: I've never changed my mind
about Iraq. I do believe Saddam Hussein was a threat. I always believed
he was a threat. Believed it in 1998 when Clinton was president. I wanted
to give Clinton the power to use force if necessary.

But I would have used that force wisely, I would have used that authority
wisely, not rushed to war without a plan to win the peace.

I would have brought our allies to our side. I would have fought to make
certain our troops had everybody possible to help them win the mission.

This president rushed to war, pushed our allies aside. And Iran now is
more dangerous, and so is North Korea, with nuclear weapons. He took
his eye off the ball, off of Osama bin Laden.

GIBSON: Mr. President, I do want to follow up on this one, because there
were several questions from the audience along this line.


GIBSON: Go ahead. Go ahead.


GIBSON: Well, I was going to have you do the rebuttal on it, but you
go ahead.


You're up.

BUSH: You remember the last debate?

BUSH: 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. The United
Nations was not effective at removing Saddam Hussein.

GIBSON: Senator?

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.

GIBSON: We're going to have another question now on the subject of Iraq.

GIBSON: And I'm going to turn to Anthony Baldi with a question for
Senator Kerry.

Mr. Baldi?

BALDI: Senator Kerry, the U.S. is preparing a new Iraq government and
will proceed to withdraw U.S. troops.

Would you proceed with the same plans as President Bush?

KERRY: Anthony, I would not. 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.

KERRY: 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

Two weeks ago, there was a meeting of the North Atlantic Council, which
is the political arm of NATO. They discussed the possibility of a small
training unit or having a total takeover of the training in Iraq.

Did our administration push for the total training of Iraq? No. Were
they silent? Yes.

Was there an effort to bring all the allies together around that? No,
because they've always wanted this to be an American effort.

You know, they even had the Defense Department issue a memorandum
saying, "Don't bother applying for assistance or for being part of the
reconstruction if you weren't part of our original coalition."

KERRY: Now, that's not a good way to build support and reduce the risk
for our troops and make America safer.

I'm going to get the training done for our troops. I'm going to get the
training of Iraqis done faster. And I'm going to get our allies back to
the table.

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.

Now, this is guy a who, along with others, has taken great risk for
great freedom. And we need to stand with him.

My opponent says he has a plan; it sounds familiar, because it's called
the Bush plan. We're going to train troops, and we are. We'll have
125,000 trained by the end of December. We're spending about $7 billion.

BUSH: 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.

I know how these people think. I meet with them all the time. I talk to
Tony Blair all the time. I talk to Silvio Berlusconi. They're not going
to follow an American president who says follow me into a mistake. Our
plan is working. We're going to make elections. And Iraq is going to be
free, and America will be better off for it.

GIBSON: Do you want to follow up, Senator?

KERRY: Yes, sir, please.

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.

Now, everyone in the world knows that there were no weapons of mass
destruction. That was the reason Congress gave him the authority to use
force, not after excuse to get rid of the regime.

Now we have to succeed. I've always said that. I have been consistent.
Yes, we have to succeed, and I have a better plan to help us do it.

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. That's what the war on terror is about.

Of course, we're going to find Osama bin Laden. We've already 75 percent
of his people. And we're on the hunt for him.

But this is a global conflict that requires firm resolve.

GIBSON: The next question is for President Bush, and it comes from
Nikki Washington.

WASHINGTON: Thank you.

Mr. President, my mother and sister traveled abroad this summer, and
when they got back they talked to us about how shocked they were at the
intensity of aggravation that other countries had with how we handled
the Iraq situation.

Diplomacy is obviously something that we really have to really work on.

What is your plan to repair relations with other countries given the
current situation?

BUSH: No, I appreciate that. I -- listen, I -- we've got a great
country. I love our values. And 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.

BUSH: I recognize that taking Saddam Hussein out was unpopular. But I
made the decision because I thought it was in the right interests of
our security.

You know, I've made some decisions on Israel that's unpopular. I wouldn't
deal with Arafat, because I felt like he had let the former president
down, and I don't think he's the kind of person that can lead toward a
Palestinian state.

And people in Europe didn't like that decision. And that was unpopular,
but it was the right thing to do.

I believe Palestinians ought to have a state, but I know they need
leadership that's committed to a democracy and freedom, leadership that
would be willing to reject terrorism.

I made a decision not to join the International Criminal Court in The
Hague, which is where our troops could be brought to -- brought in front
of a judge, an unaccounted judge.

BUSH: I don't think we ought to join that. That was unpopular.

And so, what I'm telling you is, is that sometimes in this world you
make unpopular decisions because you think they're right.

We'll continue to reach out.

Listen, there is 30 nations involved in Iraq, some 40 nations involved
in Afghanistan.

People love America. Sometimes they don't like the decisions made by
America, but I don't think you want a president who tries to become
popular and does the wrong thing.

You don't want to join the International Criminal Court just because
it's popular in certain capitals in Europe.

GIBSON: Senator Kerry, a minute and a half.

KERRY: Nikki, that's a question that's been raised by a lot of people
around the country.

Let me address it but also talk about the weapons the president just
talked about, because every part of the president's answer just now
promises you more of the same over the next four years.

The president stood right here in this hall four years ago, and he was
asked a question by somebody just like you, "Under what circumstances
would you send people to war?"

KERRY: And his answer was, "With a viable exit strategy and only with
enough forces to get the job done."

He didn't do that. He broke that promise. We didn't have enough forces.

General Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, told him he was going to need
several hundred thousand. And guess what? They retired General Shinseki
for telling him that.

This president hasn't listened.

I went to meet with the members of the Security Council in the week
before we voted. I went to New York. I talked to all of them to find
out how serious they were about really holding Saddam Hussein accountable.

I came away convinced that, if we worked at it, if we were ready to
work and letting Hans Blix do his job and thoroughly go through the
inspections, that if push came to shove, they'd be there with us.

But the president just arbitrarily brought the hammer down and said,
"Nope. Sorry, time for diplomacy is over. We're going."

He rushed to war without a plan to win the peace.

Ladies and gentleman, he gave you a speech and told you he'd plan
carefully, take every precaution, take our allies with us. He didn't. He
broke his word.

GIBSON: Mr. President?

BUSH: I remember sitting in the White House looking at those generals,
saying, "Do you have what you need in this war? Do you have what it

I remember going down to the basement of the White House the day we
committed our troops as last resort, looking at Tommy Franks and the
generals on the ground, asking them, "Do we have the right plan with
the right troop level?"

And they looked me in the eye and said, "Yes, sir, Mr. President." Of
course, I listen to our generals. That's what a president does. A
president sets the strategy and relies upon good military people to
execute that strategy.

GIBSON: Senator?

KERRY: You rely on good military people to execute the military component
of the strategy, but winning the peace is larger than just the military

General Shinseki had the wisdom to say, "You're going to need several
hundred thousand troops to win the peace." The military's job is to win
the war.

KERRY: A president's job is to win the peace.

The president did not do what was necessary. Didn't bring in enough
nation. Didn't deliver the help. Didn't close off the borders. Didn't
even guard the ammo dumps. And now our kids are being killed with ammos
right out of that dump.

GIBSON: The next question is for Senator Kerry, and it comes from over
here, from Randee Jacobs.

You'll need a microphone.

KERRY: Is it Randee?

JACOBS: Yes, Randee.

Iran sponsors terrorism and has missiles capable of hitting Israel
and southern Europe. Iran will have nuclear weapons in two to three
years time.

In the event that U.N. sanctions don't stop this threat, what will you
do as president?

KERRY: I don't think you can just rely on U.N. sanctions, Randee. But
you're absolutely correct, it is a threat, it's a huge threat.

And what's interesting is, it's a threat that has grown while the
president has been preoccupied with Iraq, where there wasn't a threat.

KERRY: If he'd let the inspectors do their job and go on, we wouldn't
have 10 times the numbers of forces in Iraq that we have in Afghanistan
chasing Osama bin Laden.

Meanwhile, while Iran is moving toward nuclear weapons, some 37 tons
of what they called yellow cake, the stuff they use to make enriched
uranium, while they're doing that, North Korea has moved from one bomb
maybe, maybe, to four to seven bombs.

For two years, the president didn't even engage with North Korea,
did nothing at all, while it was growing more dangerous, despite the
warnings of former Secretary of Defense William Perry, who negotiated
getting television cameras and inspectors into that reactor.

We were safer before President Bush came to office. Now they have the
bombs and we're less safe.

So what do we do? We've got to join with the British and the French,
with the Germans, who've been involved, in their initiative. We've got
to lead the world now to crack down on proliferation as a whole.

KERRY: But the president's been slow to do that, even in Russia.

At his pace, it's going to take 13 years to reduce and get ahold of all
the loose nuclear material in the former Soviet Union. I've proposed a
plan that can capture it and contain it and clean it within four years.

And the president is moving to the creation of our own bunker- busting
nuclear weapon. It's very hard to get other countries to give up their
weapons when you're busy developing a new one.

I'm going to lead the world in the greatest counterproliferation effort.
And if we have to get tough with Iran, believe me, we will get tough.

GIBSON: Mr. President, a minute and a half.

BUSH: That answer almost made me want to scowl.

He keeps talking about, "Let the inspectors do their job." It's naive
and dangerous to say that. That's what the Duelfer report showed. He
was deceiving the inspectors.

Secondly, of course we've been involved with Iran.

BUSH: I fully understand the threat. And that's why we're doing what he
suggested we do: Get the Brits, the Germans and the French to go make
it very clear to the Iranians that if they expect to be a party to the
world to give up their nuclear ambitions. We've been doing that.

Let me talk about North Korea.

It is naive and dangerous to take a policy that he suggested the other
day, which is to have bilateral relations with North Korea. Remember,
he's the person who's accusing me of not acting multilaterally. He
now wants to take the six-party talks we have -- China, North Korea,
South Korea, Russia, Japan and the United States -- and undermine them
by having bilateral talks.

That's what President Clinton did. He had bilateral talks with the North
Koreans. And guess what happened?

BUSH: He didn't honor the agreement. He was enriching uranium. That is
a bad policy.

Of course, we're paying attention to these. It's a great question about
Iran. That's why in my speech to the Congress I said: There's an "Axis
of Evil," Iraq, Iran and North Korea, and we're paying attention to it.
And we're making progress.

GIBSON: We're going to move on, Mr. President, with a question for you.
And it comes from Daniel Farley.

Mr. Farley?

FARLEY: Mr. President, since we continue to police the world, how do you
intend to maintain our military presence without reinstituting a draft?

BUSH: Yes, that's a great question. Thanks.

I hear there's rumors on the Internets (sic) that we're going to have
a draft. We're not going to have a draft, period. The all- volunteer
army works. It works particularly when we pay our troops well. It works
when we make sure they've got housing, like we have done in the last
military budgets.

An all-volunteer army is best suited to fight the new wars of the 21st
century, which is to be specialized and to find these people as they
hide around the world.

BUSH: We don't need mass armies anymore. One of the things we've done
is we've taken the -- we're beginning to transform our military.

And by that I mean we're moving troops out of Korea and replacing them
with more effective weapons. We don't need as much manpower on the Korean
Peninsula to keep a deterrent.

In Europe, we have massed troops as if the Soviet Union existed and
was going to invade into Europe, but those days are over with. And so
we're moving troops out of Europe and replacing it with more effective

So to answer your question is, we're withdrawing, not from the world,
we're withdrawing manpower so they can be stationed here in America, so
there's less rotation, so life is easier on their families and therefore
more likely to be -- we'll be more likely to be able to keep people in
the all-volunteer army.

One of the more important things we're doing in this administration is
transformation. There are some really interesting technologies.

BUSH: For instance, we're flying unmanned vehicles that can send real-time
messages back to stations in the United States. That saves manpower,
and it saves equipment.

It also means that we can target things easier and move more quickly,
which means we need to be lighter and quicker and more facile and
highly trained.

Now, forget all this talk about a draft. We're not going to have a draft
so long as I am the president.

GIBSON: Senator Kerry, a minute and a half.

KERRY: Daniel, I don't support a draft.

But let me tell you where the president's policies have put us.

The president -- and this is one of the reasons why I am very proud in
this race to have the support of General John Shalikashvili, former
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Admiral William Crowe, former
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; General Tony McPeak, who ran the
air war for the president's father and did a brilliant job, supporting
me; General Wes Clark, who won the war in Kosovo, supporting me; because
they all -- and General Baca, who was the head of the National Guard,
supporting me.

KERRY: Why? Because they understand that our military is overextended
under the president.

Our Guard and reserves have been turned into almost active duty. You've
got people doing two and three rotations. You've got stop-loss policies,
so people can't get out when they were supposed to. You've got a back-door
draft right now.

And a lot of our military are underpaid. These are families that get
hurt. It hurts the middle class. It hurts communities, because these
are our first responders. And they're called up. And they're over there,
not over here.

Now, I'm going to add 40,000 active duty forces to the military, and I'm
going to make people feel good about being safe in our military, and not
overextended, because I'm going to run a foreign policy that actually
does what President Reagan did, President Eisenhower did, and others.

We're going to build alliances. We're not going to go unilaterally.
We're not going to go alone like this president did.

GIBSON: Mr. President, let's extend for a minute...

BUSH: Let me just -- I've got to answer this.

GIBSON: Exactly. And with Reservists being held on duty...


BUSH: Let me answer what he just said, about around the world.

GIBSON: Well, I want to get into the issue of the back-door draft...

BUSH: You tell Tony Blair we're going alone. Tell Tony Blair we're
going alone. Tell Silvio Berlusconi we're going alone. Tell Aleksander
Kwasniewski of Poland we're going alone.

There are 30 countries there. It denigrates an alliance to say we're
going alone, to discount their sacrifices. You cannot lead an alliance
if you say, you know, you're going alone. And people listen. They're
sacrificing with us.

GIBSON: Senator?

KERRY: Mr. President, countries are leaving the coalition, not joining.
Eight countries have left it.

If Missouri, just given the number of people from Missouri who are in the
military over there today, were a country, it would be the third largest
country in the coalition, behind Great Britain and the United States.

KERRY: That's not a grand coalition.

Ninety percent of the casualties are American. Ninety percent of the
costs are coming out of your pockets.

I could do a better job. My plan does a better job. And that's why I'll
be a better commander in chief.

GIBSON: The next question, Senator Kerry, is for you, and it comes from
Ann Bronsing, who I believe is over in this area.

BRONSING: Senator Kerry, we have been fortunate that there have been no
further terrorist attacks on American soil since 9/11. Why do you think
this is?

And if elected, what will you do to assure our safety?

KERRY: Thank you very much, Ann.

I've asked in my security briefings why that is, and I can't go into
all the answers, et cetera, but let me say this to you.

This president and his administration have told you and all of us it's
not a question of when, it's a question of -- excuse me -- not a question
of if, it's a question of when. We've been told that.

KERRY: The when I can't tell you. Between the World Trade Center bombing
in, what was it, 1993 or so, and the next time was five years, seven
years. These people wait. They'll plan. They plot.

I agree with the president that we have to go after them and get them
wherever they are. I just think I can do that far more effectively,
because the most important weapon in doing that is intelligence. You've
got to have the best intelligence in the world.

And in order to have the best intelligence in the world to know who the
terrorists are and where they are and what they're plotting, you've got
to have the best cooperation you've ever had in the world.

Now, to go back to your question, Nikki, we're not getting the best
cooperation in the world today. We've got a whole bunch of countries
that pay a price for dealing with the United States of America now. I'm
going to change that.

And I'm going to put in place a better homeland security effort.

Look, 95 percent of our containers coming into this country are not
inspected today. When you get on an airplane, your bag is X- rayed,
but the cargo hold isn't X-rayed. Do you feel safer?

KERRY: This president in the last debate said, "Well, that would be a
big tax gap if we did that."

Ladies and gentlemen, it's his tax plan. He chose a tax cut for the
wealthiest Americans over getting that equipment out into the homeland
as fast as possible.

We have bridges and tunnels that aren't being secured, chemical plants,
nuclear plants that aren't secured, hospitals that are overcrowded with
their emergency rooms.

If we had a disaster today, could they handle it?

This president chose a tax cut over homeland security. Wrong choice.

GIBSON: Mr. President?

BUSH: That's an odd thing to say, since we've tripled the homeland
security budget from $10 billion to $30 billion.

Listen, we'll do everything we can to protect the homeland.

My opponent's right, we need good intelligence. It's also a curious thing
for him to say since right after 1993 he voted to cut the intelligence
budget by $7.5 billion.

The best way to defend America in this world we live in is to stay on
the offense. We got to be right 100 percent of the time here at home,
and they got to be right once. And that's the reality.

And there's a lot of good people working hard. We're doing the best
we possibly can to share information. That's why the Patriot Act was

BUSH: The Patriot Act is vital, by the way. It's a tool that law
enforcement now uses to be able to talk between each other. My opponent
says he hadn't changed his position on it. No, but he's for weakening it.

I don't think my opponent has got the right view about the world to make
us safe; I really don't.

First of all, I don't think he can succeed in Iraq. And if Iraq were to
fail, it'd be a haven for terrorists, and there would be money and the
world would be much more dangerous.

I don't see how you can win in Iraq if you don't believe we should be
there in the first place. I don't see how you can lead troops if you
say it's the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time.

I don't see how the Iraqis are going to have confidence in the American
president if all they hear is that it was a mistake to be there in the
first place.

This war is a long, long war, and it requires steadfast determination
and it requires a complete understanding that we not only chase down Al
Qaida but we disrupt terrorist safe havens as well as people who could
provide the terrorists with support.

GIBSON: I want to extend for a minute, Senator. And I'm curious about
something you said. You said, "It's not when, but if." You think it's
inevitable because the sense of security is a very basic thing with
everybody in this country worried about their kids.

KERRY: Well, the president and his experts have told America that it's
not a question of if; it's a question of when. And I accept what the
president has said. These terrorists are serious, they're deadly, and
they know nothing except trying to kill.

I understand that. That's why I will never stop at anything to hunt down
and kill the terrorists.

But you heard the president just say to you that we've added money.

Folks, the test is not if you've added money; the test is that you've
done everything possible to make America secure. He chose a tax cut for
wealthy Americans over the things that I listed to you.

GIBSON: Mr. President?

BUSH: Well, we'll talk about the tax cut for middle class here in
a minute. But yes, I'm worried. I'm worried. I'm worried about our
country. And all I can tell you is every day I know that there's people
working overtime, doing the very best they can. And the reason I'm
worried is because there's a vicious enemy that has an ideology of hate.

And the way to defeat them long-term, by the way, is to spread freedom.

BUSH: Liberty can change habits. And that's what's happening in
Afghanistan and Iraq.

GIBSON: Mr. President, we're going to turn to questions now on domestic
policy. And we're going to start with health issues.

And the first question is for President Bush and it's from John Horstman.

HORSTMAN: Mr. President, why did you block the reimportation of safer
and inexpensive drugs from Canada which would have cut 40 to 60 percent
off of the cost?

BUSH: I haven't yet. Just want to make sure they're safe. When a drug
comes in from Canada, I want to make sure it cures you and doesn't
kill you.

And that's why the FDA and that's why the surgeon general are looking
very carefully to make sure it can be done in a safe way. I've got
an obligation to make sure our government does everything we can to
protect you.

And what my worry is is that, you know, it looks like it's from Canada,
and it might be from a third world.

BUSH: And we've just got to make sure, before somebody thinks they're
buying a product, that it works. And that's why we're doing what we're

Now, it may very well be here in December you'll hear me say, I think
there's a safe way to do it.

There are other ways to make sure drugs are cheaper. One is to speed up
generic drugs to the marketplace, quicker. Pharmaceuticals were using
loopholes to keep brand -- brand drugs in place, and generics are much
less expensive than brand drugs. And we're doing just that.

Another is to pass -- to get our seniors to sign up to these drug discount
cards, and they're working.

Wanda Blackmore I met here from Missouri, the first time she bought
drugs with her drug discount card, she paid $1.14, I think it was,
for about $10 worth of drugs.

These cards make sense.

BUSH: And, you know, in 2006 seniors are going to get prescription drug
coverage for the first time in Medicare. Because I went to Washington
to fix problems.

Medicare -- the issue of Medicare used to be called "Mediscare." People
didn't want to touch it for fear of getting hurt politically.

I wanted to get something done. I think our seniors deserve a modern
medical system. And in 2006, our seniors will get prescription drug

Thank you for asking.

GIBSON: Senator, a minute and a half.

KERRY: John, you heard the president just say that he thought he might
try to be for it.

Four years ago, right here in this forum, he was asked the same question:
Can't people be able to import drugs from Canada? You know what he
said? "I think that makes sense. I think that's a good idea" -- four
years ago.

Now, the president said, "I'm not blocking that." Ladies and gentlemen,
the president just didn't level with you right now again.

KERRY: He did block it, because we passed it in the United States
Senate. We sent it over to the House, that you could import drugs. We
took care of the safety issues.

We're not talking about third-world drugs. We're talking about drugs
made right here in the United States of America that have American brand
names on them and American bottles. And we're asking to be able to allow
you to get them.

The president blocked it. The president also took Medicare, which belongs
to you. And he could have lowered the cost of Medicare and lowered your
taxes and lowered the costs to seniors.

You know what he did? He made it illegal, illegal for Medicare to do
what the V.A. does, which is bulk purchase drugs so that you can lower
the price and get them out to you lower.

He put $139 billion of windfall profit into the pockets of the drug
companies right out of your pockets. That's the difference between us.
The president sides with the power companies, the oil companies, the
drug companies. And I'm fighting to let you get those drugs from Canada,
and I'm fighting to let Medicare survive.

I'm fighting for the middle class. That is the difference.

BUSH: If they're safe, they're coming. I want to remind you that it
wasn't just my administration that made the decision on safety.  President
Clinton did the same thing, because we have an obligation to protect you.

Now, he talks about Medicare. He's been in the United States Senate 20
years. Show me one accomplishment toward Medicare that he accomplished.

I've been in Washington, D.C., three and a half years and led the
Congress to reform Medicare so our seniors have got a modern health care
system. That's what leadership is all about.

KERRY: Actually, Mr. President, in 1997 we fixed Medicare, and I was
one of the people involved in it.

We not only fixed Medicare and took it way out into the future, we did
something that you don't know how to do: We balanced the budget. And we
paid down the debt of our nation for two years in a row, and we created
23 million new jobs at the same time.

And it's the president's fiscal policies that have driven up the biggest
deficits in American history. He's added more debt to the debt of the
United States in four years than all the way from George Washington to
Ronald Reagan put together. Go figure.

GIBSON: The next question is for Senator Kerry. And this comes from
Norma-Jean Laurent.

LAURENT: Senator Kerry, you've stated your concern for the rising cost
of health care, yet you chose a vice presidential candidate who has
made millions of dollars successfully suing medical professionals. How
do you reconcile this with the voters?

KERRY: Very easily. John Edwards is the author of the Patients' Bill
of Rights. He wanted to give people rights. John Edwards and I support
tort reform. We both believe that, as lawyers -- I'm a lawyer, too. And
I believe that we will be able to get a fix that has alluded everybody
else because we know how to do it.

KERRY: It's in my health-care proposal. Go to johnkerry.com. You can
pull it off of the Internet. And you'll find a tort reform plan.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, important to understand, the president and
his friends try to make a big deal out of it. Is it a problem? Yes,
it's a problem. Do we need to fix it, particularly for OGBYNs (sic)
and for brain surgeons and others? Yes.

But it's less than 1 percent of the total cost of health care.

Your premiums are going up. You've gone up, in Missouri, about $3,500.
You've gone up 64 percent. You've seen co-pays go up, deductibles go up.
Everything's gone up.

Five million people have lost their health insurance under this
president. He's done nothing about it.

I have a plan. I have a plan to lower the cost of health care for you. I
have a plan to cover all children. I have a plan to let you buy into
the same health care senators and congressmen give themselves.

I have a plan that's going to allow people 55 to 64 to buy into Medicare

KERRY: And I have a plan that will take the catastrophic cases out of
the system, off your backs, pay for it out of a federal fund, which
lowers the premiums for everybody in America, makes American business
more competitive and makes health care more affordable.

Now, all of that can happen, but I have to ask you to do one thing:
Join me in rolling back the president's unaffordable tax cut for people
earning more than $200,000 a year. That's all.

Ninety-eight percent of America, I'm giving you a tax cut and I'm giving
you health care.

GIBSON: Mr. President, a minute and a half.

BUSH: Let me see where to start here.

First, the National Journal named Senator Kennedy the most liberal
senator of all. And that's saying something in that bunch. You might
say that took a lot of hard work.

The reason I bring that up is because he's proposed $2.2 trillion in
new spending, and he says he going to tax the rich to close the tax gap.

He can't. He's going to tax everybody here to fund his programs. That's
just reality.

BUSH: And what are his health programs? First, he says he's for medical
liability reform, particularly for OB/GYNs. There's a bill on the floor
of the United States Senate that he could have showed up and voted for
if he's so much for it.

Secondly, he says that medical liability costs only cause a 1 percent
increase. That shows a lack of understanding. Doctors practice defensive
medicine because of all the frivolous lawsuits that cost our government
$28 billion a year.

And finally, he said he's going to have a novel health care plan. You
know what it is? The federal government is going to run it.

It's the largest increase in federal government health care ever. And
it fits with his philosophy. That's why I told you about the award he
won from the National Journal.

That's what liberals do. They create government-sponsored health care.
Maybe you think that makes sense. I don't.

Government-sponsored health care would lead to rationing. It would ruin
the quality of health care in America.

GIBSON: Senator Kerry, we got several questions along this line, and
I'm just curious if you'd go further on what you talked about with tort
reform. Would you be favoring capping awards on pain and suffering?
Would you limit attorney's fees?

KERRY: A follow-up...

GIBSON: Yes. A follow-up on this for...

KERRY: Yes, I think we should look at the punitive and we should have
some limitations.

But look, what's really important, Charlie, is the president is just
trying to scare everybody here with throwing labels around. I mean,
"compassionate conservative," what does that mean? Cutting 500,000
kids from after-school programs, cutting 365,000 kids from health care,
running up the biggest deficits in American history.

Mr. President, you're batting 0 for 2.

I mean, seriously -- labels don't mean anything. What means something
is: Do you have a plan? And I want to talk about my plan some more --
I hope we can.

GIBSON: We'll get to that in just a minute.

Thirty seconds, President Bush.

BUSH: You're right, what does matter is a plan. He said he's for --
you're now for capping punitive damages?

BUSH: That's odd. You should have shown up on the floor in the Senate
and voted for it then.

Medical liability issues are a problem, a significant problem. He's been
in the United States Senate for 20 years and he hasn't addressed it.

We passed it out of the House of Representatives. Guess where it's
stuck? It's stuck in the Senate, because the trial lawyers won't act on
it. And he put a trial lawyer on the ticket.

GIBSON: The next question is for President Bush, and it comes from
Matthew O'Brien.

O'BRIEN: Mr. President, you have enjoyed a Republican majority in the
House and Senate for most of your presidency. In that time, you've not
vetoed a single spending bill. Excluding $120 billion spent in Iran and
-- I'm sorry, Iraq and Afghanistan, there has been $700 billion spent
and not paid for by taxes.

Please explain how the spending you have approved and not paid for
is better for the American people than the spending proposed by your

BUSH: Right, thank you for that.

We have a deficit. We have a deficit because this country went into
a recession. You might remember the stock market started to decline
dramatically six months before I came to office, and then the bubble of
the 1990s popped. And that cost us revenue. That cost us revenue.

Secondly, we're at war. And I'm going to spend what it takes to win the
war, more than just $120 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan. We've got to
pay our troops more. We have. We've increased money for ammunition and
weapons and pay and homeland security.

I just told this lady over here we spent -- went from $10 billion to
$30 billion to protect the homeland. I think we have an obligation to
spend that kind of money.

And plus, we cut taxes for everybody. Everybody got tax relief, so that
they get out of the recession.

I think if you raise taxes during a recession, you head to depression. I
come from the school of thought that says when people have more money in
their pocket during economic times, it increases demand or investment.
Small businesses begin to grow, and jobs are added.

BUSH: We found out today that over the past 13 months, we've added 1.9
million new jobs in the last 13 months.

I proposed a plan, detailed budget, that shows us cutting the deficit
in half by five years.

And you're right, I haven't vetoed any spending bills, because we work

Non-homeland, non-defense discretionary spending was raising at 15
percent a year when I got into office. And today it's less than 1 percent,
because we're working together to try to bring this deficit under control.

Like you, I'm concerned about the deficit. But I am not going to
shortchange our troops in harm's way. And I'm not going to run up taxes,
which will cost this economy jobs.

Thank you for your question.

GIBSON: Senator Kerry, a minute and a half.

KERRY: Let me begin by saying that my health-care plan is not what the
president described. It is not a government takeover.

You have choice. Choose your doctor, choose your plan. The government
has nothing to do with it.

KERRY: In fact, it doesn't ask you to do anything -- if you don't want
to take it, you don't have to. If you like your high premiums, you keep
them. That's the way we leave it.

Now with respect to the deficit, the president was handed a $5.6 trillion
surplus, ladies and gentlemen. That's where he was when he came into

We now have a $2.6 trillion deficit. This is the biggest turnaround in the
history of the country. He's the first president in 72 years to lose jobs.

He talked about war. This is the first time the United States of America
has ever had a tax cut when we're at war.

Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, others, knew how to lead. They knew
how to ask the American people for the right things.

One percent of America, the highest one percent of income earners in
America, got $89 billion of tax cut last year. One percent of America
got more than the 80 percent of America that earned from $100,000 down.

KERRY: The president thinks it's more important to fight for that top
1 percent than to fight for fiscal responsibility and to fight for you.

I want to put money in your pocket. I am -- I have a proposal for a
tax cut for all people earning less than the $200,000. The only people
affected by my plan are the top income earners of America.

GIBSON: I both -- I heard you both say -- I have heard you both say
during the campaign, I just heard you say it, that you're going to cut
the deficit by a half in four years. But I didn't hear one thing in the
last three and a half minutes that would indicate how either one of you
do that.

BUSH: Well, look at the budget. One is make sure Congress doesn't

But let me talk back about where we've been. The stock market was
declining six months prior to my arrival.

BUSH: It was the largest stock market correction -- one of the largest
in history, which foretold a recession.

Because we cut taxes on everybody -- remember, we ran up the child
credit by $1,000, we reduced the marriage penalty, we created a 10
percent bracket, everybody who pays taxes got relief -- the recession
was one of the shortest in our nation's history.

GIBSON: Senator Kerry, 30 seconds.

KERRY: After 9/11, after the recession had ended, the president asked
for another tax cut and promised 5.6 million jobs would be created. He
lost 1.6 million, ladies and gentlemen. And most of that tax cut went
to the wealthiest people in the country.

He came and asked for a tax cut -- we wanted a tax cut to kick the economy
into gear. Do you know what he presented us with? A $25 billion giveaway
to the biggest corporations in America, including a $254 million refund
check to Enron.

Wrong priorities. You are my priority.

GIBSON: Senator Kerry, the next question will be for you, and it comes
from James Varner, who I believe is in this section.

Mr. Varner? You need a microphone.

VARNER: Thank you.

Senator Kerry, would you be willing to look directly into the camera
and, using simple and unequivocal language, give the American people
your solemn pledge not to sign any legislation that will increase the
tax burden on families earning less than $200,000 a year during your
first term?

KERRY: Absolutely. Yes. Right into the camera. Yes. I am not going to
raise taxes.

I have a tax cut. And here's my tax cut.

I raise the child-care credit by $1,000 for families to help them be
able to take care of their kids.

I have a $4,000 tuition tax credit that goes to parents -- and kids,
if they're earning for themselves -- to be able to pay for college.

And I lower the cost of health care in the way that I described to you.

Every part of my program I've shown how I'm going to pay for it.

And I've gotten good people, like former Secretary of the Treasury Bob
Rubin, for instance, who showed how to balance budgets and give you a
good economy, to help me crunch these numbers and make them work.

KERRY: I've even scaled back some of my favorite programs already, like
the child-care program I wanted to fund and the national service program,
because the president's deficit keeps growing and I've said as a pledge,
"I'm going to cut the deficit in half in four years."

Now, I'm going to restore what we did in the 1990s, ladies and gentlemen:
pay as you go. We're going to do it like you do it. The president broke
the pay-as-you-go rule.

Somebody here asked the question about, "Why haven't you vetoed
something?" It's a good question. If you care about it, why don't you
veto it?

I think John McCain called the energy bill the "No Lobbyist Left Behind"

I mean, you've got to stand up and fight somewhere, folks.

I'm pledging I will not raise taxes; I'm giving a tax cut to the people
earning less than $200,000 a year.

Now, for the people earning more than $200,000 a year, you're going to
see a rollback to the level we were at with Bill Clinton, when people
made a lot of money.

KERRY: And looking around here, at this group here, I suspect there are
only three people here who are going to be affected: the president, me,
and, Charlie, I'm sorry, you too.


GIBSON: Mr. President, 90 seconds.

BUSH: He's just not credible when he talks about being fiscally
conservative. He's just not credible. If you look at his record in the
Senate, he voted to break the caps -- the spending caps -- over 200 times.

And here he says he's going to be a fiscal conservative, all of a
sudden. It's just not credible. You cannot believe it.

And of course he's going to raise your taxes. You see, he's proposed
$2.2 trillion of new spending. And you say: Well, how are you going to
pay for it? He says, well, he's going to raise the taxes on the rich --
that's what he said -- the top two brackets. That raises, he says $800
billion; we say $600 billion.

BUSH: We've got battling green eye shades.

Somewhere in between those numbers -- and so there's a difference,
what he's promised and what he can raise.

Now, either he's going to break all these wonderful promises he's told
you about or he's going to raise taxes. And I suspect, given his record,
he's going to raise taxes.

Is my time up yet?

GIBSON: No, you can keep going.


BUSH: Good. You looked at me like my clock was up.

I think that the way to grow this economy is to keep taxes low, is have
an energy plan, is to have litigation reform. As I told you, we've just
got a report that said over the past 13 months, we've created 1.9 million
new jobs.

And so the fundamental question of this campaign is: Who's going to keep
the economy growing so people can work? That's the fundamental question.

GIBSON: I'm going to come back one more time to how these numbers add
up and how you can cut that deficit in half in four years, given what
you've both said.

KERRY: Well, first of all, the president's figures of $2.2 trillion just
aren't accurate. Those are the fuzzy math figures put together by some
group that works for the campaign. That's not the number.

Number two, John McCain and I have a proposal, jointly, for a commission
that closes corporate giveaway loopholes. We've got $40 billion going
to Bermuda. We've got all kinds of giveaways. We ought to be shutting
those down.

And third, credible: Ladies and gentlemen, in 1985, I was one of the
first Democrats to move to balance the budget. I voted for the balanced
budget in '93 and '97. We did it. We did it. And I was there.

GIBSON: Thirty seconds. I'm sorry, thirty seconds, Mr. President.

BUSH: Yes, I mean, he's got a record. It's been there for 20 years. You
can run, but you can't hide. He voted 98 times to raise taxes. I mean,
these aren't make-up figures.

And so people are going to have to look at the record. Look at the record
of the man running for the president.

BUSH: They don't name him the most liberal in the United States Senate
because he hasn't shown up to many meetings. They named him because of
his votes. And it's reality.

It's just not credible to say he's going to keep taxes down and balance

GIBSON: Mr. President, the next question is for you, and it comes from
James Hubb over here.

HUBB: Mr. President, how would you rate yourself as an environmentalist?
What specifically has your administration done to improve the condition
of our nation's air and water supply?

BUSH: Off-road diesel engines -- we have reached an agreement to reduce
pollution from off-road diesel engines by 90 percent.

I've got a plan to increase the wetlands by 3 million. We've got an
aggressive brown field program to refurbish inner-city sore spots to
useful pieces of property.

I proposed to the United States Congress a Clear Skies Initiative to
reduce sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury by 70 percent.

I have -- was fought for a very strong title in the farm bill for the
conservation reserve program to set aside millions of acres of land to
help improve wildlife and the habitat.

We proposed and passed a healthy forest bill which was essential to
working with -- particularly in Western states -- to make sure that our
forests were protected.

BUSH: What happens in those forests, because of lousy federal policy,
is they grow to be -- they are not -- they're not harvested. They're
not taken care of. And as a result, they're like tinderboxes.

And over the last summers I've flown over there. And so, this is a
reasonable policy to protect old stands of trees and at the same time
make sure our forests aren't vulnerable to the forest fires that have
destroyed acres after acres in the West.

We've got a good, common-sense policy.

Now, I'm going to tell you what I really think is going to happen over
time is technology is going to change the way we live for the good for
the environment.

That's why I proposed a hydrogen automobile -- hydrogen-generated
automobile. We're spending $1 billion to come up with the technologies
to do that.

That's why I'm a big proponent of clean coal technology, to make sure
we can use coal but in a clean way.

I guess you'd say I'm a good steward of the land.

BUSH: The quality of the air's cleaner since I've been the president.
Fewer water complaints since I've been the president. More land being
restored since I've been the president.

Thank you for your question.

GIBSON: Senator Kerry, minute and a half.

KERRY: Boy, to listen to that -- the president, I don't think, is living
in a world of reality with respect to the environment.

Now, if you're a Red Sox fan, that's OK. But if you're a president,
it's not.

Let me just say to you, number one, don't throw the labels around.
Labels don't mean anything.

I supported welfare reform. I led the fight to put 100,000 cops on
the streets of America. I've been for faith-based initiatives helping
to intervene in the lives of young children for years. I was -- broke
with my party in 1985, one of the first three Democrats to fight for a
balanced budget when it was heresy.

Labels don't fit, ladies and gentlemen.

Now, when it comes to the issue of the environment, this is one of the
worst administrations in modern history.

KERRY: The Clear Skies bill that he just talked about, it's one of those
Orwellian names you pull out of the sky, slap it onto something, like
"No Child Left Behind" but you leave millions of children behind. Here
they're leaving the skies and the environment behind.

If they just left the Clean Air Act all alone the way it is today, no
change, the air would be cleaner that it is if you pass the Clear Skies
act. We're going backwards.

In fact, his environmental enforcement chief air-quality person at the
EPA resigned in protest over what they're doing to what are calling the
new source performance standards for air quality.

They're going backwards on the definition for wetlands. They're going
backwards on the water quality.

They pulled out of the global warming, declared it dead, didn't even
accept the science.

I'm going to be a president who believes in science.

GIBSON: Mr. President?

BUSH: Well, had we joined the Kyoto treaty, which I guess he's referring
to, it would have cost America a lot of jobs.

It's one of these deals where, in order to be popular in the halls of
Europe, you sign a treaty. But I thought it would cost a lot -- I think
there's a better way to do it.

BUSH: And I just told you the facts, sir. The quality of the air is
cleaner since I've been the president of the United States. And we'll
continue to spend money on research and development, because I truly
believe that's the way to get from how we live today to being able to
live a standard of living that we're accustomed to and being able to
protect our environment better, the use of technologies.

GIBSON: Senator Kerry, 30 seconds.

KERRY: The fact is that the Kyoto treaty was flawed. I was in Kyoto,
and I was part of that. I know what happened. But this president didn't
try to fix it. He just declared it dead, ladies and gentlemen, and we
walked away from the work of 160 nations over 10 years.

You wonder, Nikki, why it is that people don't like us in some parts of
the world. You just say: Hey, we don't agree with you. Goodbye.

The president's done nothing to try to fix it. I will.

GIBSON: Senator Kerry, the next question is for you. It involves jobs,
which is a topic of the news today.

GIBSON: And for the question, we're going to turn to Jane Barrow.

BARROW: Senator Kerry, how can the U.S. be competitive in manufacturing
given -- in manufacturing, excuse me -- given the wage necessary and
comfortably accepted for American workers to maintain the standard of
living that they expect?

KERRY: Jane, there are a lot of ways to be competitive. And unfortunately
again I regret this administration has not seized them and embraced
them. Let me give you an example.

There is a tax loophole right now. If you're a company in St. Louis
working, trying to make jobs here, there is actually an incentive for
you to go away. You get more money, you keep more of your taxes by
going abroad.

I'm going to shut that loophole, and I'm going to give the tax benefit
to the companies that stay here in America to help make them more

Secondly, we're going to create a manufacturing jobs credit and a new
jobs credit for people to be able to help hire and be more competitive
here in America.

Third, what's really hurting American business more than anything else
is the cost of health care.

Now, you didn't hear any plan from the president, because he doesn't
have a plan to lower the cost of health care.

KERRY: Five million Americans have lost their health care; 620,000
Missourians have no health care at all; 96,000 Missourians have lost
their health care under President Bush.

I have a plan to cover those folks. And it's a plan that lowers cost
for everybody, covers all children. And the way I pay for it -- I'm not
fiscally irresponsible -- is I roll back the tax cut this president so
fiercely wants to defend, the one for him and me and Charlie.

I think you ought to get the break. I want to lower your cost to health
care. I want to fully fund education, No Child Left Behind, special-needs
education. And that's how we're going to be more competitive, by making
sure our kids are graduating from school and college.

China and India are graduating more graduates in technology and science
than we are.

KERRY: We've got to create the products of the future. That's why I have
a plan for energy independence within 10 years.

And we're going to put our laboratories and our colleges and our
universities to work. And we're going to get the great entrepreneurial
spirit of this country, and we're going to free ourselves from this
dependency on Mideast oil.

That's how you create jobs and become competitive.

GIBSON: Mr. President, minute and a half.

BUSH: Let me start with how to control the cost of health care: medical
liability reform, for starters, which he's opposed.

Secondly, allow small businesses to pool together so they can share risk
and buy insurance at the same discounts big businesses get to do.

Thirdly, spread what's called health savings accounts. It's good for
small businesses, good for owners. You own your own account. You can
save tax-free. You get a catastrophic plan to help you on it.

This is different from saying, "OK, let me incent you to go on the

He's talking about his plan to keep jobs here. You know he calls it an
outsourcing to keep -- stop outsourcing. Robert Rubin looked at his plan
and said it won't work.

BUSH: The best way to keep jobs here in America is, one, have an
energy plan. I proposed one to the Congress two years ago, encourages
conservation, encourages technology to explore for environmentally
friendly ways for coal -- to use coal and gas. It encourages the use of
renewables like ethanol and biodiesel.

It's stuck in the Senate. He and his running-mate didn't show up to vote
when they could have got it going in the Senate.

Less regulations if we want jobs here; legal reform if we want jobs here;
and we've got to keep taxes low.

Now, he says he's only going to tax the rich. Do you realize, 900,000
small businesses will be taxed under his plan because most small
businesses are Subchapter S corps or limited partnerships, and they pay
tax at the individual income tax level.

And so when you're running up the taxes like that, you're taxing job
creators, and that's not how you keep jobs here.

GIBSON: Senator, I want to extend for a minute, you talk about tax cuts
to stop outsourcing. But when you have IBM documents that I saw recently
where you can hire a programmer for $12 in China, $56 an hour here,
tax credits won't cut it.

KERRY: You can't stop all outsourcing, Charlie. I've never promised
that. I'm not going to, because that would be pandering. You can't.

But what you can do is create a fair playing field, and that's what I'm
talking about.

But let me just address what the president just said.

Ladies and gentlemen, that's just not true what he said. The Wall Street
Journal said 96 percent of small businesses are not affected at all by
my plan.

And you know why he gets that count? The president got $84 from a timber
company that owns, and he's counted as a small business. Dick Cheney's
counted as a small business. That's how they do things. That's just
not right.

BUSH: I own a timber company?


That's news to me.


Need some wood?


Most small businesses are Subchapter S corps. They just are.

BUSH: I met Grant Milliron, Mansfield, Ohio. He's creating jobs. Most
small businesses -- 70 percent of the new jobs in America are created
by small businesses.

Taxes are going up when you run up the top two brackets. It's a fact.

GIBSON: President Bush, the next question is for you, and it comes from
Rob Fowler, who I believe is over in this area.

FOWLER: President Bush, 45 days after 9/11, Congress passed the Patriot
Act, which takes away checks on law enforcement and weakens American
citizens' rights and freedoms, especially Fourth Amendment rights.

With expansions to the Patriot Act and Patriot Act II, my question to
you is, why are my rights being watered down and my citizens' around me?
And what are the specific justifications for these reforms?

BUSH: I appreciate that.

I really don't think your rights are being watered down. As a matter of
fact, I wouldn't support it if I thought that.

Every action being taken against terrorists requires court order,
requires scrutiny.

BUSH: As a matter of fact, the tools now given to the terrorist fighters
are the same tools that we've been using against drug dealers and
white-collar criminals.

So I really don't think so. I hope you don't think that. I mean, I --
because I think whoever is the president must guard your liberties,
must not erode your rights in America.

The Patriot Act is necessary, for example, because parts of the
FBI couldn't talk to each other. The intelligence-gathering and the
law-enforcement arms of the FBI just couldn't share intelligence under
the old law. And that didn't make any sense.

Our law enforcement must have every tool necessary to find and disrupt
terrorists at home and abroad before they hurt us again. That's the task
of the 21st century.

And so, I don't think the Patriot Act abridges your rights at all.

BUSH: And I know it's necessary. I can remember being in upstate New
York talking to FBI agents that helped bust a Lackawanna cell up there.
And they told me they could not have performed their duty, the duty we
all expect of them, if they did not have the ability to communicate with
each other under the Patriot Act.

GIBSON: Senator Kerry, a minute and a half.

KERRY: Former Governor Racicot, as chairman of the Republican Party,
said he thought that the Patriot Act has to be changed and fixed.

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, he is the chairman of the House Judiciary
Committee, said over his dead body before it gets renewed without being
thoroughly rechecked.

A whole bunch of folks in America are concerned about the way the Patriot
Act has been applied. In fact, the inspector general of the Justice
Department found that John Ashcroft had twice applied it in ways that
were inappropriate.

KERRY: People's rights have been abused.

I met a man who spent eight months in prison, wasn't even allowed to
call his lawyer, wasn't allowed to get -- finally, Senator Dick Durbin
of Illinois intervened and was able to get him out.

This is in our country, folks, the United States of America.

They've got sneak-and-peek searches that are allowed. They've got
people allowed to go into churches now and political meetings without
any showing of potential criminal activity or otherwise.

Now, I voted for the Patriot Act. Ninety-nine United States senators voted
for it. And the president's been very busy running around the country
using what I just described to you as a reason to say I'm wishy-washy,
that I'm a flip-flopper.

Now that's not a flip-flop. I believe in the Patriot Act. We need the
things in it that coordinate the FBI and the CIA. We need to be stronger
on terrorism.

But you know what we also need to do as Americans is never let the
terrorists change the Constitution of the United States in a way that
disadvantages our rights.

GIBSON: Senator Kerry, the next question is for you, and it comes from
Elizabeth Long.

LONG: Senator Kerry, thousands of people have already been cured or
treated by the use of adult stem cells or umbilical cord stem cells.
However, no one has been cured by using embryonic stem cells.

Wouldn't it be wide to use stem cells obtained without the destruction
of an embryo?

KERRY: You know, Elizabeth, I really respect your -- the feeling that's
in your question. I understand it. I know the morality that's prompting
that question, and I respect it enormously.

But like Nancy Reagan, and so many other people -- you know, I was at a
forum with Michael J. Fox the other day in New Hampshire, who's suffering
from Parkinson's, and he wants us to do stem cell, embryonic stem cell.

And this fellow stood up, and he was quivering. His whole body was
shaking from the nerve disease, the muscular disease that he had.

KERRY: And he said to me and to the whole hall, he said, "You know,
don't take away my hope, because my hope is what keeps me going."

Chris Reeve is a friend of mine. Chris Reeve exercises every single day to
keep those muscles alive for the day when he believes he can walk again,
and I want him to walk again.

I think we can save lives.

Now, I think we can do ethically guided embryonic stem-cell research.

We have 100,000 to 200,000 embryos that are frozen in nitrogen today
from fertility clinics. These weren't taken from abortion or something
like that. They're from a fertility clinic. And they're either going to
be destroyed or left frozen.

And I believe if we have the option, which scientists tell us we do, of
curing Parkinson's, curing diabetes, curing, you know, some kind of a,
you know, paraplegic or quadriplegic or, you know, a spinal cord injury,
anything, that's the nature of the human spirit.

KERRY: I think it is respecting life to reach for that cure. I think it
is respecting life to do it in an ethical way.

And the president has chosen a policy that makes it impossible for our
scientists to do that. I want the future, and I think we have to grab it.

GIBSON: Mr. President, a minute and a half.

BUSH: Embryonic stem-cell research requires the destruction of life to
create a stem cell. I'm the first president ever to allow funding --
federal funding -- for embryonic stem-cell research. I did to because
I too hope that we'll discover cures from the stem cells and from the
research derived.

But I think we've got to be very careful in balancing the ethics and
the science.

BUSH: And so I made the decision we wouldn't spend any more money beyond
the 70 lines, 22 of which are now in action, because science is important,
but so is ethics, so is balancing life. To destroy life to save life is --
it's one of the real ethical dilemmas that we face.

There is going to be hundreds of experiments off the 22 lines that
now exist that are active, and hopefully we find a cure. But as well,
we need to continue to pursue adult stem-cell research.

I helped double the NIH budget to $28 billion a year to find cures. And
the approach I took is one that I think is a balanced and necessary
approach, to balance science and the concerns for life.

GIBSON: Senator, 30 seconds, less extent.

KERRY: Well, you talk about walking a waffle line -- he says he's allowed
it, which means he's going to allow the destruction of life up to a
certain amount and then he isn't going to allow it.

KERRY: I don't know how you draw that line.

But let me tell you, point blank, the lines of stem cells that he's made
available, every scientist in the country will tell you, "Not adequate,"
because they're contaminated by mouse cells, and because there aren't 60
or 70 -- they're are only about 11 to 20 now -- and there aren't enough
to be able to do the research because they're contaminated.

We've got to open up the possibilities of this research. And when I am
president, I'm going to do it because we have to.

GIBSON: Mr. President?

BUSH: Let me make sure you understand my decision. Those stem- cells
lines already existed. The embryo had already been destroyed prior to
my decision.

I had to make the decision to destroy more life, so we continue to
destroy life -- I made the decision to balance science and ethics.

GIBSON: Mr. President, the next question is for you, and it comes from
Jonathan Michaelson, over here.

MICHAELSON: Mr. President, if there were a vacancy in the Supreme Court
and you had the opportunity to fill that position today, who would you
choose and why?

BUSH: I'm not telling.


I really don't have -- haven't picked anybody yet. Plus, I want them
all voting for me.


I would pick somebody who would not allow their personal opinion to get
in the way of the law. I would pick somebody who would strictly interpret
the Constitution of the United States.

Let me give you a couple of examples, I guess, of the kind of person I
wouldn't pick.

I wouldn't pick a judge who said that the Pledge of Allegiance couldn't
be said in a school because it had the words "under God" in it. I think
that's an example of a judge allowing personal opinion to enter into
the decision-making process as opposed to a strict interpretation of
the Constitution.

BUSH: Another example would be the Dred Scott case, which is where judges,
years ago, said that the Constitution allowed slavery because of personal
property rights.

That's a personal opinion. That's not what the Constitution says. The
Constitution of the United States says we're all -- you know, it doesn't
say that. It doesn't speak to the equality of America.

And so, I would pick people that would be strict constructionists. We've
got plenty of lawmakers in Washington, D.C. Legislators make law; judges
interpret the Constitution.

And I suspect one of us will have a pick at the end of next year -- the
next four years. And that's the kind of judge I'm going to put on there.
No litmus test except for how they interpret the Constitution.

Thank you.

GIBSON: Senator Kerry, a minute and a half.

KERRY: Thank you, Charlie.

A few years ago when he came to office, the president said -- these
are his words -- "What we need are some good conservative judges on
the courts."

And he said also that his two favorite justices are Justice Scalia and
Justice Thomas.

So you get a pretty good sense of where he's heading if he were to
appoint somebody.

Now, here's what I believe. I don't believe we need a good conservative
judge, and I don't believe we need a good liberal judge. I don't believe
we need a good judge of that kind of definition on either side.

I subscribe to the Justice Potter Stewart standard. He was a justice on
the Supreme Court of the United States. And he said the mark of a good
judge, good justice, is that when you're reading their decision, their
opinion, you can't tell if it's written by a man or woman, a liberal
or a conservative, a Muslim, a Jew or a Christian. You just know you're
reading a good judicial decision.

KERRY: What I want to find, if I am privileged to have the opportunity
to do it -- and the Supreme Court of the United States is at stake in
this race, ladies and gentlemen.

The future of things that matter to you -- in terms of civil rights,
what kind of Justice Department you'll have, whether we'll enforce the
law. Will we have equal opportunity? Will women's rights be protected?
Will we have equal pay for women, which is going backwards? Will a
woman's right to choose be protected?

These are constitutional rights, and I want to make sure we have judges
who interpret the Constitution of the United States according to the law.

GIBSON: Going to go to the final two questions now, and the first one
will be for Senator Kerry. And this comes from Sarah Degenhart.

DEGENHART: Senator Kerry, suppose you are speaking with a voter who
believed abortion is murder and the voter asked for reassurance that his
or her tax dollars would not go to support abortion, what would you say
to that person?

KERRY: I would say to that person exactly what I will say to you
right now.

First of all, I cannot tell you how deeply I respect the belief about
life and when it begins. I'm a Catholic, raised a Catholic. I was an
altar boy. Religion has been a huge part of my life. It helped lead me
through a war, leads me today.

But I can't take what is an article of faith for me and legislate it for
someone who doesn't share that article of faith, whether they be agnostic,
atheist, Jew, Protestant, whatever. I can't do that.

But I can counsel people. I can talk reasonably about life and about
responsibility. I can talk to people, as my wife Teresa does, about
making other choices, and about abstinence, and about all these other
things that we ought to do as a responsible society.

KERRY: But as a president, I have to represent all the people in the
nation. And I have to make that judgment.

Now, I believe that you can take that position and not be pro- abortion,
but you have to afford people their constitutional rights. And that
means being smart about allowing people to be fully educated, to know
what their options are in life, and making certain that you don't deny
a poor person the right to be able to have whatever the constitution
affords them if they can't afford it otherwise.

That's why I think it's important. That's why I think it's important
for the United States, for instance, not to have this rigid ideological
restriction on helping families around the world to be able to make a
smart decision about family planning.

You'll help prevent AIDS.

KERRY: You'll help prevent unwanted children, unwanted pregnancies.

You'll actually do a better job, I think, of passing on the moral
responsibility that is expressed in your question. And I truly respect it.

GIBSON: Mr. President, minute and a half.

BUSH: I'm trying to decipher that.

My answer is, we're not going to spend taxpayers' money on abortion.

This is an issue that divides America, but certainly reasonable people
can agree on how to reduce abortions in America.

I signed the partial-birth -- the ban on partial-birth abortion. It's
a brutal practice. It's one way to help reduce abortions. My opponent
voted against the ban.

I think there ought to be parental notification laws. He's against them.

I signed a bill called the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.

BUSH: In other words, if you're a mom and you're pregnant and you get
killed, the murderer gets tried for two cases, not just one. My opponent
was against that.

These are reasonable ways to help promote a culture of life in America.
I think it is a worthy goal in America to have every child protected by
law and welcomed in life.

I also think we ought to continue to have good adoption law as an
alternative to abortion.

And we need to promote maternity group homes, which my administration
has done.

Culture of life is really important for a country to have if it's going
to be a hospitable society.

Thank you.

GIBSON: Senator, do you want to follow up? Thirty seconds.

KERRY: Well, again, the president just said, categorically, my opponent
is against this, my opponent is against that. You know, it's just not
that simple. No, I'm not.

I'm against the partial-birth abortion, but you've got to have an
exception for the life of the mother and the health of the mother under
the strictest test of bodily injury to the mother.

KERRY: Secondly, with respect to parental notification, I'm not going to
require a 16-or 17-year-old kid who's been raped by her father and who's
pregnant to have to notify her father. So you got to have a judicial
intervention. And because they didn't have a judicial intervention
where she could go somewhere and get help, I voted against it. It's
never quite as simple as the president wants you to believe.

GIBSON: And 30 seconds, Mr. President.

KERRY: Well, it's pretty simple when they say: Are you for a ban on
partial birth abortion? Yes or no?

And he was given a chance to vote, and he voted no. And that's just the
way it is. That's a vote. It came right up. It's clear for everybody to
see. And as I said: You can run but you can't hide the reality.

GIBSON: And the final question of the evening will be addressed to
President Bush and it will come from Linda Grabel. Linda Grabel's
over here.

GIBSON: Linda Grabel's over here.

BUSH: Put a head fake on us.


GIBSON: I got faked out myself.

BUSH: Hi, Linda.

GRABEL: President Bush, during the last four years, you have made
thousands of decisions that have affected millions of lives. Please
give three instances in which you came to realize you had made a wrong
decision, and what you did to correct it. Thank you.

BUSH: I have made a lot of decisions, and some of them little, like
appointments to boards you never heard of, and some of them big.

And in a war, there's a lot of -- there's a lot of tactical decisions
that historians will look back and say: He shouldn't have done that. He
shouldn't have made that decision. And I'll take responsibility for
them. I'm human.

But on the big questions, about whether or not we should have gone
into Afghanistan, the big question about whether we should have removed
somebody in Iraq, I'll stand by those decisions, because I think they're

BUSH: That's really what you're -- when they ask about the mistakes,
that's what they're talking about. They're trying to say, "Did you make
a mistake going into Iraq?" And the answer is, "Absolutely not." It was
the right decision.

The Duelfer report confirmed that decision today, because what Saddam
Hussein was doing was trying to get rid of sanctions so he could
reconstitute a weapons program. And the biggest threat facing America
is terrorists with weapons of mass destruction.

We knew he hated us. We knew he'd been -- invaded other countries. We
knew he tortured his own people.

On the tax cut, it's a big decision. I did the right decision. Our
recession was one of the shallowest in modern history.

Now, you asked what mistakes. I made some mistakes in appointing people,
but I'm not going to name them. I don't want to hurt their feelings on
national TV.


BUSH: But history will look back, and I'm fully prepared to accept any
mistakes that history judges to my administration, because the president
makes the decisions, the president has to take the responsibility.

GIBSON: Senator Kerry, a minute and a half.

KERRY: I believe the president made a huge mistake, a catastrophic
mistake, not to live up to his own standard, which was: build a true
global coalition, give the inspectors time to finish their job and go
through the U.N. process to its end and go to war as a last resort.

I ask each of you just to look into your hearts, look into your guts.
Gut-check time. Was this really going to war as a last resort?

The president rushed our nation to war without a plan to win the peace.
And simple things weren't done.

KERRY: That's why Senator Lugar says: incompetent in the delivery of
services. That's why Senator Hagel, Republican, says, you know: beyond
pitiful, beyond embarrassing, in the zone of dangerous.

We didn't guard 850,000 tons of ammo. That ammo is now being used against
our kids. Ten thousand out of 12,000 Humvees aren't armored. I visited
some of those kids with no limbs today, because they didn't have the
armor on those vehicles. They didn't have the right body armor.

I've met parents who've on the Internet gotten the armor to send their

There is no bigger judgment for a president of the United states than
how you take a nation to war. And you can't say, because Saddam might
have done it 10 years from now, that's a reason; that's an excuse.

GIBSON: Mr. President?

BUSH: He complains about the fact our troops don't have adequate
equipment, yet he voted against the $87 billion supplemental I sent
to the Congress and then issued one of the most amazing quotes in
political history: "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I
voted against it."

BUSH: Saddam Hussein was a risk to our country, ma'am. And he was a risk
that -- and this is where we just have a difference of opinion.

The truth of that matter is, if you listen carefully, Saddam would
still be in power if he were the president of the United States, "And
the world would be a lot better off."

GIBSON: And, Senator Kerry, 30 seconds.

KERRY: Not necessarily be in power, but here's what I'll say about the
$87 billion.

I made a mistake in the way I talk about it. He made a mistake in invading
Iraq. Which is a worse decision?

Now, I voted the way I voted because I saw that he had the policy
wrong and I wanted accountability. I didn't want to give a slush fund to
Halliburton. I also thought the wealthiest people in America ought to pay
for it, ladies and gentlemen. He wants your kids to pay for it. I wanted
us to pay for it, since we're at war. I don't think that's a bad decision.

GIBSON: That's going to conclude the questioning. We're going to go now
to closing statements, two minutes from each candidate.

And the first closing statement goes to Senator Kerry. I believe that
was the agreement.

KERRY: Do you want to go first?

BUSH: Either way.

KERRY: Thank you.

Charlie, thank you.

And thank you all.

KERRY: Thank you, all of you, for taking part.

Thanks for your questions tonight, very, very much.

Obviously the president and I both have very strong convictions. I
respect him for that. But we have a very different view about how to
make America stronger and safer.

I will never cede the authority of our country or our security to any
other nation. I'll never give a veto over American security to any other
entity -- not a nation, not a country, not an institution.

But I know, as I think you do, that our country is strongest when we lead
the world, when we lead strong alliances. And that's the way Eisenhower
and Reagan and Kennedy and others did it.

We are not doing that today. We need to.

I have a plan that will help us go out and kill and find the terrorists.

KERRY: And I will not stop in our efforts to hunt down and kill the

But I'll also have a better plan of how we're going to deal with Iraq:
training the Iraqi forces more rapidly, getting our allies back to the
table with a fresh start, with new credibility, with a president whose
judgment the rest of the world trusts.

In addition to that, I believe we have a crisis here at home, a crisis
of the middle class that is increasingly squeezed, health-care costs
going up.

I have a plan to provide health care to all Americans.

I have a plan to provide for our schools so we keep the standards but
we help our teachers teach and elevate our schools by funding No Child
Left Behind.

I have a plan to protect the environment so that we leave this place
in better shape to our children than we were handed it by our parents.
That's the test.

I believe America's best days are ahead of us. I'm an optimist, but we
have to make the right choices, to be fiscally responsible and to create
the new jobs of the future. We can do this.

And I ask you for the privilege of leading our nation to be stronger at
home and respected again in the world.

KERRY: Thank you.

GIBSON: Senator.

And a closing statement from President Bush.

BUSH: Charlie, thanks.

Thank you all very much. It's been enjoyable.

The great contest for the presidency is about the future, who can lead,
who can get things done.

We've been through a lot together as a country -- been through a
recession, corporate scandals, war.

And yet think about where we are: Added 1.9 million new jobs over the
past 13 months. The farm income in America is high. Small businesses
are flourishing. Homeownership rate is at an all-time high in America.

We're on the move.

BUSH: Tonight I had a chance to discuss with you what to do to keep this
economy going: keep the taxes low, don't increase the scope of the federal
government, keep regulations down, legal reform, a health-care policy
that does not empower the federal government but empowers individuals,
and an energy plan that will help us become less dependent on foreign
sources of energy.

And abroad, we're at war. And it requires a president who is steadfast
and strong and determined. I vowed to the American people after that
fateful day of September the 11th that we would not rest nor tire until
we're safe.

The 9/11 Commission put out a report that said America is safer but not
yet safe. There is more work to be done.

We'll stay on the hunt on Al Qaida. We'll deny sanctuary to these
terrorists. We'll make sure they do not end up with weapons of mass
destruction. It's the great nexus. The great threat to our country is
that these haters end up with weapons of mass destruction.

But our long-term security depends on our deep faith in liberty. And
we'll continue to promote freedom around the world.

Freedom is on the march. Tomorrow, Afghanistan will be voting for a
president. In Iraq, we'll be having free elections, and a free society
will make this world more peaceful.

God bless.

GIBSON: Mr. President, Senator Kerry, that concludes tonight's debate.

I want to give you a reminder that the third and final debate on issues
of domestic policy will be held next Wednesday, October 13th, at Arizona
State University in Tempe, Arizona, hosted by Bob Schieffer of CBS News.

I want to thank President Bush and Senator Kerry for tonight. I want
to thank these citizens of the St. Louis area who asked the questions,
who gave so willingly of their time, and who took their responsibility
very seriously.

Thank you also to everyone at Washington...


I want to thank everyone at Washington University in St. Louis for being
so such gracious hosts.

I'm Charles Gibson from ABC News. From St. Louis, good night.

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