October 8, 2004 George W. Bush and John Kerry Debate "Housekeeping" (02:25)
Charles Gibson of ABC News welcomes President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry and explains the "town hall" debate format, in which politically undecided audience members will ask questions.
Appearing Indecisive: Kerry (04:03)
Kerry clarifies he's supported the Patriot Act and No Child Left Behind, and wants to cut corporate tax loopholes to keep jobs in America. Bush says that Kerry changed position on Saddam Hussein during the Democratic Primary and voted against a middle class tax cut.
Iraq Invasion: Bush (05:40)
Bush defends his decision to use force against Saddam Hussein, despite the lack of weapons of mass destruction. Kerry says Bush’s invasion strategy has increased Iran and North Korea nuclear threats, and left Osama bin Laden at large. Bush says sanctions weren’t working.
Iraq Withdrawal Plan: Kerry (05:03)
Kerry criticizes Bush's reconstruction efforts and says he would enlist allies and train Iraqis to restore order for elections. Bush says Kerry's negative attitude will hinder leadership; Kerry calls for refocusing on Afghanistan. Bush defends his invasion as keeping weapons of mass destruction from terrorists.
Diplomacy Issues: Bush (05:13)
Bush cites Reagan's unpopularity in Europe during the Cold War, and defends his decision to remove Saddam Hussein as in the interest of national security. Kerry criticizes Bush for going to war without a plan for peace.
Iran Threat: Kerry (03:59)
Kerry says that Bush has ignored Iran and North Korea's nuclear armament and calls for recovering nuclear material in Russia. Bush defends diplomacy efforts in Iran and criticizes Kerry's plan for bilateral talks with North Korea.
Military Recruitment: Bush (05:01)
Bush denies rumors of a draft, and describes using technology to reduce manpower around the world. Kerry says Bush has overextended the military, and advocates building alliances. Bush says he’s aligned with Britain and Poland; Kerry argues the coalition is too small.
Preventing a Terrorist Attack: Kerry (05:23)
Kerry says he has a better intelligence plan for apprehending terrorist plots and criticizes Bush for choosing tax cuts over transport security. Bush says he's tripled the homeland security budget, accuses Kerry of weakening the Patriot Act, and thinks Kerry would lose in Iraq.
Prescription Drugs: Bush (04:57)
Bush says he's waiting for FDA approval to import cheap medication from Canada, and advocates expediting generic drugs and promoting senior discounts. Kerry accuses him of blocking Medicare bulk purchasing. Bush questions Kerry’s commitment to Medicare; Kerry says he balanced the budget in 1997.
Healthcare Costs: Kerry (05:13)
Kerry defends John Edwards' work on TORT reform and outlines a plan to decrease premiums, buy-in to Medicare, and cover all children—if Bush’s wealthy tax cuts are rolled back. Bush says Kerry’s plan will be government sponsored and lower healthcare quality.
Government Spending: Bush (05:36)
Bush blames the deficit on the recession, says cutting taxes bolstered the economy, and defends War on Terror spending. Kerry says Bush had a $5.6 trillion surplus when he came to office and lost 1.6 million jobs. Kerry promises to cut middle class taxes.
Tax Cut: Kerry (05:17)
Kerry promises not to increase the tax burden on families earning less than $200,000, and pledges to cut the deficit by half in four years. Bush argues he’s not fiscally credible, based on his Senate record. Kerry says Bush’s numbers are “fuzzy math.”
Environment: Bush (04:57)
Bush has implemented vehicle pollution reduction, wetlands creation, and brownfield programs and supports clean coal technology. Kerry says pollution is worsening, and that Bush denies global warming. Bush says he didn’t sign the Kyoto Protocol to protect American jobs.
Competitive Manufacturing: Kerry (05:25)
Kerry proposes tax incentives to keep companies in America, lower healthcare costs, fund education, and achieve energy independence. Bush says energy independence is the best way to save jobs, and says Kerry’s plan would tax small businesses. Kerry disputes his numbers.
Patriot Act: Bush (03:43)
Bush argues that constitutional rights aren't compromised and the law is necessary for intelligence agency communication. Kerry cites instances where rights have been abused and argues for reforming the legislation.
Stem Cell Controversy: Kerry (05:06)
Kerry cites celebrities suffering from diseases that may be treated with embryonic stem cells, and believes in ethically guided research. Bush says life must be destroyed to create a stem cell, and explains why he’s limited NIH funding.
Supreme Court Vacancy: Bush (03:50)
Bush would choose a justice to strictly interpret the U.S. Constitution. Kerry says Bush favors conservative judges like Scalia, cites Justice Potter Stewart as exemplary, and argues for upholding civil rights and equal opportunity.
Abortion: Kerry (05:08)
Kerry counsels responsibility, but will uphold women's constitutional rights. Bush says taxpayer dollars won't fund abortion and outlines ways to promote a culture of life in America. Kerry is against partial birth abortions except when the mother’s life is in danger.
Admitting Mistakes: Bush (05:11)
Bush defends his decisions to go into Iraq, and says he's made erroneous appointments that he doesn't want to name on TV. Kerry believes Bush rushed into war without a coalition or a peace plan. Bush says Kerry voted against funding supplemental equipment.
Closing Statement: John Kerry (02:21)
Kerry advocates strong alliances for national security and references his plan to achieve peace in Iraq. He wants to lower healthcare costs, fund No Child Left Behind, protect the environment, and create jobs.
Closing Statement: George W. Bush (02:47)
Bush outlines achievements during his presidency and promises to limit government, empower individuals in healthcare, and work toward energy independence. He says he'll continue hunting Al-Qaeda until America is safe. Gibson thanks candidates and announces the next debate.
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