2004 Election Debate
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
  Martin 2

07-10-2003 04:18 PM ET (US)
Yeah Ann
I hope someone can get Bush out of the presidentcy cause he sure is killing America.I'm from Germany. Germany takes care of it's people. With the American economy being so bad thay are going to have to cute alot of programs. There's no money to pay for them. Bush spent to much money on this war with Iraq, he just had to have. Now Bush says he wants to start up a billion dollar weapons program again. This President would invade any other country who tried to do it, but hey it's OK for him to do.  
 
Ann Stewart 1

07-10-2003 03:45 PM ET (US)
Edited by author 07-10-2003 03:47 PM
I think the only man who has a chance right now is Joe Lieberman . I wanted John Edwards to do better, but I heard he may be dropping out of the race. I have no problem with Bush, other than the War with Iraq. I can get over that he has totally devoured our American Economy, and Americans can’t find jobs because of it, but I can’t get over the senseless deaths of the innocent Iraqian people and our own troops in uniform. It was heart braking to me to see what happened to the people of Iraq and what is still happening to them. I’ve always believe President Bush just wanted to prove his daddy right or something, because his father was the first to go to war with Iraq. He wanted his daddy to be right in history or something, so I believe that might have been why he pushed the war with Iraq so hard. He’s always said he’s like his daddy. He has his daddy’s eyes, his daddy’s job, and he has ordered the death of thousands of innocent Iraqians just like his daddy.
I have a brother in the military. We are very patriotic family. People would think my family and I should be all for the war, but even a lot of military people believe this war was a personal vindication of President Bush’s own desires of oil gains for his control. President Bush seems so gong ho about war. Who knows what kind of conflicts, he will put us in if we give him another 4 years.
I’m not a democrat or a republican. I vote for the man I believe will do the best job, and I believe Bush is so popular he will be hard to beat, maybe even impossible, but I’m scared of what will happen if he wins again. I want a President who will rebuild foreign relationships with the middle east, North Korea, and Liberia and put our countries economy back on track, and I don’t think Bush will do that. Instead of just pointing the finger at these countries and calling them evil, which is what Bush has done in the past to Iraq and North Korea, I want a President to say, we want to be your friend and allies, and try to rebuild our foreign relations.
So please go and vote, and vote for the man you believe will do the best job. I hope whoever becomes the Democratic candidate has a message, that will give us hope and inspiration in these desperate times.
 
  Lee Pedigo 3

07-12-2003 07:34 PM ET (US)
The republican party is the devil.  
  Samanth Pedigo 4

07-12-2003 07:46 PM ET (US)
I think Bill Clinton can come back and run for President again. He can change the law and serve again.  
  Joy 5

07-12-2003 07:47 PM ET (US)
Bush + Dick = we're all fucked  
  Martin 6

07-13-2003 01:40 PM ET (US)
Lee and Joy
I'm laughing at those comments you wrote. The republican party is the devil and bush + dick = we're funk. I agree with both of you
Martino  
  Jenny 7

07-13-2003 03:47 PM ET (US)
Bush may be bad, but Bill Clinton is even worse. If Clinton was President the whole world would be messed up. When did he ever do anything to stop terrorism. I'm a democrate, and I voted for Bush in the last election, but this time I hope John Kerry makes it to the Presidancy. I think John Kerry is the man to fix the economy. I would have voted democratic in the last election, but I knew Gore was a fool. I'm think they may get a good man on the democratic side this time. I'm rooting for Kerry.  
  Roger Dale 8

07-13-2003 04:52 PM ET (US)
Bush is the man I'm going with. I believe in what he stands for< like tring to get prayer back in our schools and our life>. Bush is for everything that God is for. George Bush is great President and he will be again for another 4 years and I'm a standing by him.  
  Ann Stewart 9

07-14-2003 03:15 PM ET (US)
Well Roger
Your opinion is definitely welcome here, and thanks for your comments. It is nice to hear from someone defending Bush, but I myself feel Bush has been a good President, except for the economy is wrecked, and a lot of the world perceives Bush as being an unstable nuclear warhead that’s always ready to blow. In my opinion a lot of the world, especially the Middle East, perceives Bush as the worlds big evil and he’s the one accusing other countries like North Korea, and Iraq of being evil. I think Bush has just misstated a lot of his words in the past. He never should have said they are the “axis of evil” by meaning or implying the entire countries. I think we need a president who is smart enough to think before he speaks, and get his facts straight, before he attacks an entire country. Think of the thousands of Iraqi people who died. I bet their people don’t think he is a man of God. I bet they think he is close to being the Devil. I realize we should all have an objective opinion, but it seems to me Roger you think Bush is a wonderful man of God, but Joy and Lee seem to think Bush sucks big nuclear war heads.
 
  sindhu kumar 10

07-14-2003 08:46 PM ET (US)
Edited by author 07-14-2003 08:54 PM
i am a registered republican. but for the upcoming 2004 election, i will vote for a democrat as i dont think the economic recovery will help bush get reelected. there are too many problems that are happening in the world today. and i feel that they are not being given enough attention. there is the nuclear test problems between india and pakistan and as well as problem of north korea, israel and palestine.  
  Ann Stewart 11

07-14-2003 10:48 PM ET (US)
You are so right Sindhu. Tell it girl. That was an excellent and true comment. For that matter I grew up in a republican family and I hate that the democrats have become so liberal, because I don’t believe in abortion, but I remember the good old days when you could be a democrat and be against abortion. It seems like all the democrats are pro-choice these days. Any way if we can get a decent democratic nominee in the race this year, I’m defiantly voting democratic. I’m scared Bush is going to start a nuclear war or something. I think he is ate up with go fight win.
 
  Martin 12

07-16-2003 02:37 PM ET (US)
I hope Bush falls, this election. He is killing America.  
  Jennifer 13

07-16-2003 08:13 PM ET (US)
I think Bush is doing as good as any man could. People always attack Presidents. They have been doing that to every president that ever was. Clinton put us in wars with other countries too. Clinton was no better. At least Bush has the guts to defend our country when other countries are becoming a serious threat to us. Clinton never did much to help the problem. I will addmit the economy is in bad shape. Bush will probably lose the election because of that.  
  Ann Stewart 14

07-16-2003 10:50 PM ET (US)
Dear Jenny
You know if you remember in the past, I thought Bush was doing really well in the beginning, but the thing that changed my mind about him was the War with Iraq. I would over look the economy cause nobody died as far as I heard. I just think it wasn’t our job to liberate the country of Iraq. If they wanted to be liberated they would’ve done it themselves in my opinion, and I personally think that the War with Iraq just gave the Middle Eastern people a reason to hate America, and see us as the Big Evil. I don’t want the world to see us that way. I think a lot of other countries kind of look at Bush like he went to War with Iraq for personal gain or oil. I read a book by Queen Noor that stated President George H.W. Bush, when he was president, said to King Hussein that he would not let Saddam control 1/3 of the world’s oil, and I really think that’s what this war was about. It’s just my opinion. I don’t know the truth. I just know what I hear. So don’t take my opinion, but I will not vote for Bush, because I feel like he could put us in another senseless war.
 
  Ann Stewart 15

07-20-2003 02:13 PM ET (US)
Edited by author 07-20-2003 02:13 PM
Does anybody know about the new Presidential Democratic nominee?
 
  Jenny 16

07-20-2003 07:31 PM ET (US)
I heard about him. I think his name is Dean.  
  Jenny 17

07-20-2003 08:16 PM ET (US)
I was watching the news and they said there are more that one new canidate coming to the democratic side.  
  Ann Stewart 18

07-22-2003 06:30 PM ET (US)
Edited by author 07-22-2003 09:38 PM
I think Kerry is doing really good right now Jenny. He may be the one to face Bush in the next election. What do you think of him?
 
  Ann Stewart 19

07-22-2003 09:29 PM ET (US)
I hooked up with a practicing Emergency Physician in Fort Worth, Texas on the web. He spent several years as a doctor for the USMC Infantry (Grunts). He goes by the name of GruntDoc or Allen.
I am going to give you a link to his news blog. Stop by and leave him some comments. He is excellent at reporting on stories dealing with the military.
His news site is at http://gruntdoc.com
 
  Jennifer 20

07-22-2003 09:48 PM ET (US)
If I had to chose any Democrat it would be Kerry. I would still vote for Bush though. I think he will serve another term. I wasn’t happy with the war on Iraq either, but I believe in his policy against abortion. I can’t get away from that. So how is your Hooked Fish page coming? I saw George Bush is on it. I hope you find something on him I have not heard before. I think I’ve heard a lot on him.  
  Martin 21

07-22-2003 09:52 PM ET (US)
Edited by author 07-22-2003 09:53 PM
bush can't win. there is too many people against him. no president has ever won a second term after putting the country in a major war like the one he just did. bush would be the first president to do so if he could pull off winning again, and by the way ladies those movies are yours. i just got to finish running them off.  
  Ann Stewart 22

07-22-2003 10:25 PM ET (US)
I'm not a big fan of Bush. I have two members in my family who are in the military and I am going to vote for someone I believe will care about keeping them alive. I think Bush is to trigger happy about war. and our economy was totally eat’in by his administration. We had the biggest surplus in history to date when he went into the Presidency, and now America is in dept, and I just hope we can get out of it. But Jenny loves Bush. He can do no wrong in her eyes. That’s what I love about Jenny, she is a loyal woman. Once your on her good side, you could crap in her face and she would still love you.  
  Becky B. 23

07-27-2003 09:36 PM ET (US)
Bush has got my support. My faith and belief is in the acts Bush has proven he will and can do. He's done a fine job. Ann almost every president has had to go to war at sometime or another. I think he handled it better than any man could have, when 9/11 happened, I believed he was some of the glue that held this country together. That had to be the worst time in history for America. I feel like he handled it better than anybody could have. He's a fine man and a great President. I wish him the best of luck in the 2004 race.  
  Ann Stewart 24

07-27-2003 09:47 PM ET (US)
Well I love what Bush does sometimes and than I hate what he does sometimes too. Your right Becky about September 11th. I think Bush did handle the aftermath of that well, and I think Americans were very patriotic at the time and stood by President Bush, but I hate all the soldiers who are getting killed in Iraq and I wish Bush would pull them out of there. I just think we went to war with Iraq without proving just cause to the world. I think a lot of the world, especially the middle east, believes Bush went to war with Iraq for personal gain of oil.  
  Becky B. 25

07-27-2003 09:48 PM ET (US)
Do you think he did it for oil?  
  Ann Stewart 26

07-27-2003 10:09 PM ET (US)
Edited by author 07-27-2003 10:15 PM
Well I don't know. I'm not sure. I can't read the President Bush's mind. I'm just saying alot of the world has accused him of it, but I also know all Presidents get accused of bad things. So maybe I should be a Bush lover like you. You know President Bush was on my Hooked Fish Page and so was Jeb his brother. You should go check it out and leave some comments on him. Jenny asked that he be put on the page. She is just like you. She loves Bush. I guess that's why your sisters. It really shows. You guys are like tag teaming me on the Bush man. Remember I love him and hate him too. So don't kill me in my sleep or something. I'm just kidding. I do that sometimes. Becky thanks for coming in and leaving your comments. I love you for it. Well I love you for alot of reasons. You should make a choice for the Hooked Fish list. It's not completely done yet. http://hookedfish.4t.com go check it out. It's got your Bush God on it. If it makes you feel any better about my politcal likes and dislikes I voted for Governor Perry of Texas. He was once a Bush lov'in man. Personally I think Jeb Bush would make a better president than George. At least nobody would pick on Jeb for having a low IQ. Jeb is always publicized as being intelligent. People pick on George and call him stupid all the time. I don't think he's stupid. I just think he puts our military in too many dangerous places and he's gone to war for unproven reasons.  
  Jenny 27

07-28-2003 04:54 PM ET (US)
Hey Becky
I'm glad to see you found the debate place. It's good for me to have someone to agree with. I don't think Bush is perfect, but he is doing pretty good. If stacked him up against other presidents he's doing really good.  
  Joy 28

07-28-2003 06:09 PM ET (US)
bush + dick = the world is fucked  
  Ann Stewart 29

07-29-2003 12:21 AM ET (US)
Boy that's harsh Joy, but I've spoke with you enough to know you really do feel that way.  
  Samatha P. 30

07-29-2003 12:44 PM ET (US)
Bill Clinton should be able to get in the race again and serve 2 more times. Bush is a sad excuse for a president. He can't seems to think of the right words to say about anything.  
  chris 31

07-29-2003 01:12 PM ET (US)
it doesn't matter who wins the election, because there will be a recount in florida that will cause Bush to win  
  Lee Pedigo 32

07-29-2003 01:14 PM ET (US)
The republican party is the devil. You should not vote for the devil.  
  bluets 33

07-29-2003 10:48 PM ET (US)
Ann, You posted on the Dean blog that you wanted to hear more about Howard Dean. I hope you know what you've asked...

I just applied for citizenship specifically so that I can vote for Howard Dean. The media likes to portray him as "left wing" or "ultra-liberal". In fact, some of his views might infact be considered liberal while others would be considered conservative.

- he believes in fiscal responsibility: in a Dean administration, we would move back to balanced budgets; Gov. Dean will be announcing more details of his economic plan tomorrow in Iowa (watch http://deanforamerica.com for more details)

- he would continue to support the assault weapons ban and the background check requirement on gun purchases, but would leave further gun control in the jurisdiction of the states;

- he is the first candidate for president to make the link between sound environmental policy and national security; our dependence on oil requires us to import from countries with unstable governments - diversifying our energy requirements would enable us to have more direct control over energy fuels; (a sound environmental policy also makes sense for a sound health care policy)

- as a doctor, Gov. Dean understands the healthcare system all too well; he was able to ensure that well over 90% (I don't recall the exact figure offhand) of Vermonters received medical insurance - he would recommend the use of existing federal and state programs, only slightly expanded, to ensure that many more Americans have access to affordable health insurance (and he would pay for this by repealing the tax cuts - cuts from which I personally have not benefited);

I could go on and on... you will find many many Dean resources (including his stance on various issues) at the Dean for America website: http://deanforamerica.com. I think it is telling, however, that 67,000 people have signed up to participate internationally (yes, even ex-patriates are getting involved) in Meetup. Meetup.com aids in organizing local groups to meet all on the same day, with the same agenda. It is even more telling that over 222,000 people have signed up to receive email updates directly from the Dean campaign. Finally, over 9400 people contributed just this weekend alone to raise over $505,000, in response to a challenge from campaign headquarters, to out-do the $2000/head luncheon where V.P. Cheney spoke on Monday.

Gov. Dean's passion emerges in his speeches - you can download them for your personal viewing pleasure from the Dean for America website. His passion and his message are inspiring thousands of people who had become completely disillusioned with American politics. He is garnering support from traditional Democrats, traditional Republicans, and Independents.  
  sindhu kumar 34

07-29-2003 11:34 PM ET (US)
even though i am a registered republican, i love the democratic candidates. i dont think the democrats stand a chance of upsetting bush unless a strong candidate like dean, kerry get the democratic nomination and lead bush in all the leading polls.  
  ACW Capitol Hill 35

07-29-2003 11:43 PM ET (US)
Ann, I got your message and couldn't figure out who you were or how you got my e-mail address. I guess it's not exactly spam since this is a subject I care about.

I have a number of problems with the current administration, namely that the American people are totally closed off from it and from the GOP-led Congress, particularly the house. For a long time I have not felt that so-called representatives listen to anybody other than pollsters and lobbyists. I think that where the media sees Bush as an "optimist" they're seeing an administration hiding its head in the sand. I know way too many talented people who are out of work to think otherwise. (Don't know if y'all saw Lou Dobbs last night. The Editors Roundtable scared me. Does Steve Forbes live on this planet?)

I don't know how different Dr. Dean would be as president, but the campaign so far has been a breath of fresh air. I'm not a joiner, I never have been, but I am really into this.

The thing that impresses me most about the candidate is that he is willing to say "I don't know" instead of dodging a question. I think that deserves an enormous amount of respect. I got on the bandwagon earlier, shortly after the DFA site went up, even before there was a blog.

I'd like to see more effort made to get press coverage in every town with a newspaper and a two-watt radio station on the reawakening of the average American's interest and participation in politics. We the People need a press kit! I guess I'll mention that at next week's Meetup.

Anyway, I think it's a good way to get the mainstream media on the bandwagon. If we can get the media behind the Good Doctor, then we can win this thing.

Interestingly enough, I saw Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) on Larry King last week on a show about the 9-11 report and the war, and he spoke in terms that were by no means certain that Bush would be able to win a second term. I know that a lot of real people are talking that way, but to hear a House Republican say that shocked me.

--ACW
Washington, D.C.  
  Keith Brekhus 36

07-30-2003 12:19 AM ET (US)
Hey if you all want to know how the candidates compare to your positions, here is a short quiz you can take...

http://selectsmart.com/president/  
  Keith Brekhus 37

07-30-2003 12:23 AM ET (US)
In the quiz below I come out 95% a match with Howard Dean. These are some of his positions:

Howard Dean, (Democrat) Former Governor of Vermont Dean is a physician who previously shared a medical practice with his wife, Dr. Judith Steinberg. He's the father of two nearly grown children. Dean was born into a wealthy New York family in 1948. The oldest of four brothers and the son of a wealthy, conservative stockbroker, he grew up in the Hamptons and the Upper-East side where he attended elite private schools. (His grandmother was a bridesmaid to President Bush's grandmother). In 1967, he entered Yale University. While at Yale, Dean discovered that he had an innate sympathy for the civil rights movement and the plight of the poor. He steered clear of radical protests and student demonstrations, later saying that he instinctively distrusted ideologues, but he also came to oppose the escalating Vietnam War.

Taxes & Spending: "I am a true fiscal conservative though," said Dean. "I cut taxes in Vermont, taking the highest municipal income tax (in New England), and making it the lowest." "The biggest problem with our economy right now is that Republicans don’t know how to manage money," started Dean, later saying the opposing party has the habit of borrowing, spending, borrowing, spending." "In a Dean Administration, the Democratic Party would reclaim the mantle of fiscal responsibility."
"Social justice can only be achieved through a balanced budget", Dean said. He thinks he will appeal to fiscal conservatives, because he is the only Democrat in the field who has balanced a budget:
From his campaign site: "To help finance this effort (Universal Health Care) , we must repeal the President's tax cuts -- which have thrown America back into the huge deficits of the 1980s -- and balance the federal budget. We cannot build crucial social programs without a solid financial foundation." "The first round of (Bush) tax cuts (with some exceptions in the estate and retirement areas) should be repealed."

Social Services Funding: Dean "Supports some faith-based initiatives because he believes that charities do very good work. However, he does not support giving tax money to organizations that do not abide by federal anti-discrimination laws. He stated that if elected, he would try and ensure that organizations that discriminate would not receive federal funding."

Welfare: Promotes "welfare reform" "...we resist attempts by President Bush to dictate to the states how we run our ... welfare programs..." He condemned the Bush administration's welfare reform proposal, or more formally the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) reauthorization bill, as "a step backwards for everyone who believes in welfare reform." "We are particularly concerned about the extraordinary rigidity of the 40-hour work week [requirement]," Vermont was the first state in the nation to reform welfare on a statewide basis. Then-Governor Dean's initiative requires work and limits the amount of time a welfare recipient can receive assistance, but supports children and their working parents with health care, child care, and job training.
The bulk of those tax cuts went to those in the top 2 percent of income earners - people like Ken Lay and other corporate plunderers of the American economy. Left behind are middle class and working people, many of whom, in exchange for their tiny tax cuts, have lost their jobs or their health insurance - casualties of an economy limping along under the weight of Bush's economic policies. Our children will pay the bills for all this financial recklessness.


Security & Terrorism: "I would repeal that part and any other part of the PATRIOT Act that violates our Constitution."

Foreign Affairs: Dean said that he's the only candidate with previous experience in government who has opposed the war with Iraq from the start. "I have serious concerns about the increasingly unilateralist approach to foreign policy we have seen from the current Administration, particularly in the President's posture toward Iraq."
The Washington Post reported: Former Vermont governor Howard Dean has taken a consistently hard line against Bush's policy, telling Democratic audiences around the country that, unlike his rivals for the nomination, he would have opposed the congressional resolution authorizing Bush to go to war. But his vociferous opposition comes with a caveat. "If the evidence is there [that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction]," Dean said yesterday, "we would go to the Security Council, and if they refused to act, we would have to do so in 60 days." Dean opined that by enunciating pre-emption as a doctrine, Bush had inadvertently encouraged the Chinese to claim a "clear and present danger" in Taiwan.
In a "The Nation" magazine interview, he stated that he favors the formation of a Palestinian state, but believes that terrorism must end before that happens.

Education: Warned against "harebrained" ideas like school vouchers. Dean criticized the president's education plan, called the "no child left behind" act, by calling it the "no school board left standing" act. "Everybody running for president except for me and the Republicans got together on this wonderful bipartisan bill that is the second largest unfunded mandate in the history of education," he said.
"The federal government must recognize that an enormous number of our teachers are retiring in the coming years and provide incentives to inspire a new generation of great teachers."

Healthcare: From his campaign site: "As a doctor, I understand the fear facing families without health insurance. As a Governor, I am proud that virtually every child under 18 and more than 90 percent of adults in Vermont are eligible for health coverage. But as a country, the United States can do better on this front."
Said his plan of providing universal health insurance through expanding Medicaid and added it could be paid for with half of the president's tax cut. The country needs health insurance, says the doctor, yet Congress is arguing about the wrong thing, the patients' bill of rights, which would not make the slightest difference because "it would not bring health insurance to a single American."

Social Security: Dean criticized the idea of allowing private individuals to invest their Social Security savings in the stock market. "Allowing individuals to invest money in the stock market is foolish," he said. "Social Security is not a retirement program; it is a safety net for people so they don't starve." Dean linked the tax cuts to homeland security, saying, "The enormous tax cuts are not only undercutting Medicaid and Social Security, Mr. President. The enormous tax cuts that you have passed are actually undercutting our ability to defend ourselves."

Illicit Drugs: We need to treat drugs as a public health problem.. That's difficult to do. We actually don't have a lot of drug users in our jails; the ones we have in there are drug users who are also dealers. Jails not a particularly effective way to get people to stop using drugs; treatment is.
In an interview with "The Nation" magazine, Dr. Dean--who believes in a scientific fact based approach--would direct the FDA to evaluate medical marijuana. Whatever the conclusion, he'd accept their findings.
As Governor, Dean adopted the National Governors Association policy, which in part said, "The nation’s Governors urge the President and Congress to fully fund drug and alcohol abuse education, drug courts, treatment, prevention, and law enforcement efforts, including the initiative to combat and clean up methamphetamine production laboratories, at the state and local levels of government."

Ex-felons' Voting Rights: Information regarding his position on this issue has not been found at this time.

Gun Policy: Dean received an "A" grade from the NRA

Abortion Policy: Dean explained that in his opinion, the government should have no say in what a woman should choose. "It’s none of the government’s business."

Environmental Policy: Dean received was not rated by the League of Conservation Voters. He is courting the environmental vote. He was the keynote speaker at the California League of Conservation Voters lunch. "As President, I would bring my commitment to our environment to the White House."
He would not sign the Kyoto global warming treaty as it stands, but negotiate to eliminate the current exemptions for under-developed countries' production of greenhouse gases.
Regarding Bush's environmental policy Dean said, "It's appalling. Essentially what he's done is try to undo most of the environmental policy in the last 50 years. Drilling in the national parks is essentially his solution to the energy dilemma. Gutting the Clean Air Act and daring to call it Clear Skies. Opening wilderness to more logging under the guise of Healthy Forests. He's even threatening our national monuments. The assaults are sweeping."

Minority Issues: In her Profile in Courage Essay Contest Prize Winning Essay, Stephanie Dziczek of Holmes High School, Covington, Kentucky, wrote "Minority champions like Dean, with the courage to hold principle and respect for all people above common opinion, are the reasons that today women can vote, African Americans are legally protected from discrimination, and homosexuals can engage in civil unions." Increased the number minorities in judgeships and other prominent positions.

Civil Liberties: Dean has not been scored by The American Civil Liberties Union. Dean, who is running on his civil rights record as governor, is well-known for signing Vermont's law legalizing gay civil unions.
The Vermont Civil Liberties Union was alarmed by then Gov. Howard Dean's call for a "re-evaluation" of some of America's civil liberties following this week's terrorist attacks. Dean said "I think there are going to be debates about what can be said where, what can be printed where, what kind of freedom of movement people have and whether it's OK for a policeman to ask for your ID just because you're walking down the street." Later Dean backed away when asked about them later. He pointed out that he was not advocating for such restrictions, merely predicting what he believed would be the salient issues in the debate. When asked what, if any, impingement he supported, Dean had no answer. "Right now (Sept 23, 2001) we have to let things cool off. Proposed changes in the Constitution ought to be served cold."  
  Keith Brekhus 38

07-30-2003 12:28 AM ET (US)
For what its worth I predict Bush will be reelected, but if the economy continues too be sluggish and the war in iraq drags on without resolution, the Democrats will be poised to take back the White House. Right now it looks like the Democrats have four candidates who could win the nomination.

1) former Vermont governor Howard Dean
2) Missouri Congressamn Dick Gephardt
3) Connecticut Senator and Gore's running mate in 2000 Joe Lieberman
4) Massachusetts Senator John Kerry

Personally I think Dean's campaign is the most innovative and I believe Dean, contrary to conventional wisdom, is the candidate who has the best shot to beat Bush in 2004.  
  Ann Stewart 39

07-30-2003 12:28 AM ET (US)
Edited by author 07-30-2003 01:07 AM
Thank you so much for the information you have given me. I have a few questions. Does anybody know if Dean is for or against abortion? I have always liked Dean as a candidate, but some of my group that has been in this debate for a few weeks now are very against abortion. What can you say to them on where Dean will stand on this issue and on the issue of stem cell research?

Also I am going to post Dean’s 16 questions. I would say who ever came up with that idea did a great job writing them.
OK Keith has answered the question on abortion.
 
  Ann Stewart 40

07-30-2003 12:32 AM ET (US)
Thank you Keith Brekhus, ACW Capital Hill, Sinhdu and Bluets you are helping many people in this discussion group learn about Dean.
 
  Keith Brekhus 41

07-30-2003 09:49 AM ET (US)
Edited by author 07-30-2003 10:02 AM
Dean is pro-choice. Actually all nine Democratic contenders are. While I certainly wouldn't suggest anyone who is strongly opposed to abortion violate that by selecting a pro-choice candidate, I do think it is worth mentioning that more abortions were performed in this country during "pro-life" Reagan's 8 years in office than in "pro-choice" Clinton's two terms as the link below illustrates.

http://www.prolife-mcfl.org/Prolife/Aborti...ual%20Abortions.htm

There are several reasons for this but one is that when prenatal health services, social services, contraception and sex education are funded abortions decrease and when those services are less available abortions increase.

Since abortion laws are passed at the state level, the President has little impact on the rate they occur (and ironically it is not the President's position on abortion but the strength of the economy and the availability of prenatal care that makes the most difference). In any case, neither Reagan nor either Bush has had the political courage to lead a concerted effort to outlaw abortion because they know it is a politically divisive issue that could lose them votes if they actively campaign to abolish it.

However, the Republican controlled House and Senate did recently pass a bill that would end most third trimester abortions (quite a few Democrats voted for this late-term ban as well).

Like I said, if one is pro-life to the point that they absolutely will not vote for any pro-choice candidate as a matter of conscience, I respect that. On the other hand, since the President generally doesn't set a nation's policy towards abortion but is the central policy maker in military matters, if you oppose Bush's handling of foreign policy you might consider voting for Dean or another Democrat to change the course, even if you are pro-life.  
  Brad 42

07-30-2003 01:25 PM ET (US)
I believe that Howard Dean is not into all the political jargon. When he speaks I can understand what he is saying to me. I think all the other candidates are just trying to act like they are smart. Howard Dean seems more real. I support Dean.  
  Ann Stewart 43

07-30-2003 01:39 PM ET (US)
Brad I will admit information on Dean on the web is much more user friendly. I tried to get information on John Kerry summarized for this site and it reads like a computerized person might have written it. The information on Dean is a lot more warmer, such as sounding like it came from a human with a soul and a heart beat. I also love that Dean’s official site is a blog. It is so nice to for the general public to be able to ask questions and get a response.

Keith Thank you so much. You have been a wonderful source of information for this site. I know when I need information on Dean you are the man to come to. May I have your email address? You can send it to 4stew@prodigdy.net . When the group and I have more questions I will come to you.  
  Eileen Woodward 44

07-30-2003 01:42 PM ET (US)
If you want to know more about Howard Dean, just go to his website "deanforamerica.com" and get all the information you need. Click on the official blog site and keep up with the daily workings of the campaign. He's the one to beat Bush, no question about it  
  Lisa DC 45

07-30-2003 01:44 PM ET (US)
If you are interested in Howard Dean, I suggest you check out the official website: http://www.deanforamerica.com

You can get all his positions, speeches, etc. I agree with you on the war—it is heartbreaking and frustrating. But rest assured Dean is the only one who is standing up and telling the truth about this stuff right now. Check him out!  
  Ann Stewart 46

07-30-2003 01:45 PM ET (US)
I got some Emails from supporters of Dean's so I thought I would post them here for the group.  
  Jennifer (Bush Supporter) 47

07-30-2003 02:20 PM ET (US)
I still support Bush He is the only one against abortion. Pro-choice is just a word or phase that has been made up so people can kill in the name of convince. It’s not a choice. It’s a baby. It’s a life. Abortion is murder.  
  Martin 48

07-30-2003 02:31 PM ET (US)
Anybody but Bush. I would vote for a dead corpse before I would vote Bush. Anybody but Bush.  
  Ann Stewart 49

07-30-2003 02:46 PM ET (US)
Hey Martin and Jenny
I'm glad you found the new web site. I see you have 2 totally differnet views, but it's good that you both care about who represents our country. I care too.
Jenny other than the Abortion Issue can you tell me other reasons you support him?
And Martin have you not chosen a canidate yet? Just anybody but Bush? I don't think a dead corpse is running, but that is kind of funny. You must hate Bush or something huh? Why?  
  Jennifer 50

07-30-2003 03:25 PM ET (US)
Bush has tried to fight for the laws against abortion. He's the only one who has tried. I respect him for that. I think he has done a great job in deffending our country with Homeland Security. he set strong new standards for our country's security, and like Roger said he has tried to bring prayer back in our schools. He has been a great President.  
  Ann Stewart 51

07-30-2003 05:04 PM ET (US)
You know Jenny, Bush really didn't change the law on abortion, except for 3rd term pregnancy abortions, but this was reported by Keith earlier. I hope you got to read it. I will repost it for you.

"Since abortion laws are passed at the state level, the President has little impact on the rate they occur (and ironically it is not the President's position on abortion but the strength of the economy and the availability of prenatal care that makes the most difference). In any case, neither Reagan nor either Bush has had the political courage to lead a concerted effort to outlaw abortion because they know it is a politically divisive issue that could lose them votes if they actively campaign to abolish it.

However, the Republican controlled House and Senate did recently pass a bill that would end most third trimester abortions (quite a few Democrats voted for this late-term ban as well).

Like I said, if one is pro-life to the point that they absolutely will not vote for any pro-choice candidate as a matter of conscience, I respect that. On the other hand, since the President generally doesn't set a nation's policy towards abortion but is the central policy maker in military matters, if you oppose Bush's handling of foreign policy you might consider voting for Dean or another Democrat to change the course, even if you are pro-life."

Also I was reading over Kerry's issues and I haven't found where he takes a strong stand on abortion either. I don't think any of the Democratic nominees take a strong stand on it.
But even if Bush is against abortion, he can't change it, there are to many pro-choice people in the general population, and I don't support Bush anymore because of the war and the economy problems. Bush could be against abortion, which I am too, but he is still quick to put our troops in harms way. Like right now he's sending our military to Liberia. Like we haven’t put our military men and women though enough pain and lost already, and let's just go ahead and spend a few more billion dollars on more military related war problems. When is Bush going to stop this spending and realize America is FLAT DEAD BROKE.  
  Jonathan in GA 52

07-30-2003 07:29 PM ET (US)
I'll start off by saying I'm a big Dean fan.

I'm 21, Male, and a Centrist Dem.

The president has very little power in the realm of abortion except when it comes to appointing supreme court justices.

Although I'm not an enthusiastic supporter of abortion, the alternative is unthinkable.

If Row v. Wade is overturned, you'll have some states outlawing abortion, some states legalizing it. Women driving across borders to get abortions. Poor girls getting illegal abortions performed.

It's a mess.

I trust a Doctor (Dean) to set high standards for health care and to get every American insured.  
  Jonathan in GA 53

07-30-2003 07:30 PM ET (US)
Bush didn't change any late term abortion laws. Late term abortions are already illegal.

The partial birth abortion ban is extremely vague and will probably be overturned just as the Oregon state law was overturned.  
  Allen Peters 54

07-30-2003 07:38 PM ET (US)
I am for Howard Dean because he is a moderate with intelligence, honesty and passion, somebody who stands up for what he believes and I believe can restore common sense and integrity to the leadership of this country. We are floundering under the current administration which wraps inself in misquided wars, the flag and the Marines while we go down the tubes nationally and internationally.  
  three 55

07-30-2003 07:55 PM ET (US)
Abortion is not murder! Until the point of viability an embryo is not a baby, it is at most a potential. At the stage when most abortions are performed the embryo is a tiny mass of cells, and it is so Orwellian to call it murder. You might as well call masturbation murder (I guess Catholics even go that far). Deciding at what point an embryo acquires human rights is a difficult question, I'll grant you, but the point of viability is the only point that makes sense. Until then the potential child is part of the mother and her rights must prevail. The new child should acquire rights equal to the mother's rights only when it is capable of existing apart.

As for Homeland Security we are certainly much less safe now that Bush invaded Iraq, and anyone who thinks otherwise needs to find some new sources of information (turn off Fox, CNN, et al). America is now dispised around the world. Every child left orphaned or maimed by our bombs will grow up vowing revenge. Personally I'm ashamed of this once great nation. I never thought I'd live to see the day when the U.S. of A. sank to the status of imperialist invader. Killing civlilians is, if nothing else, simply a bad way to solve problems. Doesn't work! Never has. Why can't people see that bombing Baghdad is identical to bombing Baltimore; there is no such thing as "us" and "them", there is only us. Bush says we won the war! Oh Boy! What did we win? It's costing two billion dollars a month to be there, and we are stuck there, and our soldiers continue to die.

For the life of me I just can't understand how someone who is so against murder that they would refuse to remove a ball of cells from a mother that doesn't want it and can't love it or afford it, can at the same time condone the vicious killing of whole families including living children that are loved and wanted. Is it just because they're brown, and don't speak english? Anyone who really hates murder could not support such policies.  
  Ann Stewart 56

07-30-2003 07:56 PM ET (US)
Hey Thanks Jonathan in GA and Allen Peters
I am debating on whom to vote for myself and I have heard a lot of good things about Dean. Thanks for letting me know that info Jonathan. It hasn't been stated to me like that before. It's good to educate other people about this election. Sometimes people will listen to other supporters before they will listen to the candidates. Public opinion is a powerful part of general perception and persuasion. That’s what this discussion group was started for. So we could learn about the candidates and President Bush’s differences in simple understandable terms. Here any information or feelings you wish to talk about is welcome in this open to the public discussion. Thanks for the comments when some of the other group checks in they will be updated on your info you presented. I do agree with Brad. I understand candidate Dean’s statements on issues better than others. I don’t enjoy political Jargon.  
  Ann Stewart 57

07-30-2003 07:59 PM ET (US)
Edited by author 07-30-2003 08:00 PM
I agree with your statments on the war three. I have family in the Military and I want a President that is going to care about keeping them alive. I want the troops home.  
  Chris 58

07-30-2003 08:05 PM ET (US)
It doesn't matter who wins the election. There will be another recount in Florida like it was with the last 2 elections, and Bush will win the election again. I think Bush will cheat in Florida just like he did last time. That brother of his will rig the election. Gore won last the election in 2000last time anyway, Bush should not be president.
4 years later we're still Bush Wacked  
  three 59

07-30-2003 08:16 PM ET (US)
Chris is a cynic, but he has a point. I too am worried that they will stop at nothing to ensure their survival.  
  Roger 60

07-30-2003 09:31 PM ET (US)
I believe in Bush. He is a true Christian Man. He is against gays in the military. That was a crazy thing that Clinton wanted to do and I’m glad Bush put a stop to that nonsense. Now his wife Hilary wants to give gay people that live together in the same home the same benefits as married people. I hope Bush has puts a stop to that craziness too. Bush is a fine man, who believes in God and good more Christian morals for our country. He’s trying to bring prayer back in our schools. He’s the only president that would stand up against terrorism. Clinton sit back and did nothing. That’s why 9/11 happened.  
  Little Ann 61

07-30-2003 10:51 PM ET (US)
For what it's worth, on the abortion issue, I think you really can't say how you feel about it until you are faced with an unplanned pregnancy.

I used to think abortion was wrong and I'd never have one. I didn't condemn others who did but I couldn't fathom the idea myself. Well, I ended up with a pregnancy in this totally untenable situation. My partner's children from an earlier marraige could not have handled it. My parents could not have handled it. I would have ended up estranged from everyone I loved and with a child for whom I could not provide and whom I couldn't bear to give up. It was the most difficult decision I have ever made to terminate my pregnancy at 6 weeks, but it was the right one. I now have carried two beautiful children and have a strong happy family that includes my teenage stepchildren.

The vast majority of women do not end their pregnancies lightly. The only thing that every person can agree on from both sides of this issue is that the rate of unwanted pregnancy should be brought to an absolute minimum. All the available information shows that the only effective way to achieve this is through sex education and access to birth control, which allows women to make a concious choice whether to bear a child.

Bush may be a Christian man but his actions blocking funding for international family planning will cause thousands of women to have abortions or to carry children for whom noone can properly care. Many of these women will have no access to prenatal care and some will effectively receive death sentances themselves when they develop fistula from treatable complications during delivery. Please educate yourselves to the reality of this situation, all you who favor Bush on this issue.  
  Ann Stewart 62

07-30-2003 11:07 PM ET (US)
I read in Time Magazine that the Internet was a big boost in Howard Dean's campaign. Does anybody think that’s true? I have experienced a really good blog at Dean’s official site. Using a blog, Who came up with that idea? I think the people who are campaigning for Dean are very creative like it was stated in Time. I can ask specific question and get an answer, and I like that. I also believe Brad by stating Dean seems more real. I have heard that before.
Roger I think the gay community would think differently than that, but you are entitled to your opinion, and all opinions are welcome here, I don’ think because Bush is for gays not being in the military or having the same benefits as married couples, means he’s a man of God. Who says Dean or Kerry isn’t a man of God? How can you say Bush is such a Christian? For all you know Bush could’ve killed his own sister or some poor dude or something and ate them for breakfast. Which I of course don’t think he did, but what I’m trying to say is you don’t really know he’s such a wonderful Christian. Have you ever met him? Do you really know his character? Just because a man claims to be a Christian doesn’t mean he is, or it doesn’t mean he lives by the standards of Christian faith that you believe in.
Also I get tried of hearing war is the Bible. Just because it’s in the Bible, don’t mean we should do it. Peace is in the Bible too. Did Bush read that part?  
  Ann Stewart 63

07-30-2003 11:12 PM ET (US)
Thanks for sharing your story with us little Ann. It shows it from a real woman's point of view who has already been though it.
Thank you so much for sharing.  
  Michael Bohannon 64

07-30-2003 11:39 PM ET (US)
I don't know who can win against Bush to be honest. I voted for Bush, but I've been so frustrated with his myoptic view of the world. I've always voted conservatively, but I have in recent years been moving toward the middle. In actuality, I think I'm in political limbo like the rest of America. I don't think that Americans are necessarily apathetic as is usually charged; I think that they are just jaded by the two-party system. I wish there was a viable third party if not just to keep the Republicans and Democrats somewhat honest. Whatever the results of this upcoming election, I know for my part I am voting against George Bush.
I think what bothers me most about the war is the way the American people just fell in line with the Bush administration's propaganda, and propoganda is the right word to use here. The causes for our pre-emptive attack were so ambiguous and changed so many times that I still don't know what the real motivation was. Yet, the American people changed as the propaganda changed. Whether or not you ultimately supported the war, there should of at least been some questioning. To question the reasons for going to war is not being unAmerican, in fact, that's the essence of being American. We are supposed to hold our elected officials accountable for their decisions. Yet, if you voiced even as much as a concern, not an outright condemnation, you were branded a Hussein supporter. We're talking about war here. Even with the best intentions, war has devastating effects- it always does. My fear is not so much the canidates and our government, but the American people. I fear that as long as the economy is booming and we can enjoy a high standard of living,we the American people don't really care what happens to the rest of the world, and much worse, don't really care what our government does to the rest of the world.  
  Ann Stewart 65

07-31-2003 12:19 AM ET (US)
Michael you made some really good points.
Thanks for your comments.
I was once a supporter of Bush too.
Now I could kick myself.  
  Chris 66

07-31-2003 12:26 AM ET (US)
I never supported Bush. I voted for Gore. Gore should be President now. I have true Republican beliefs though. I'm thinking about voting for Dean. Thanks for this site Ann. This site has helped me learn about the People who are running. I read the issues.  
  Ann Stewart 67

07-31-2003 02:11 AM ET (US)
Your welcome Chris
Thankyou for your comments  
  Alison Brown 68

07-31-2003 02:41 AM ET (US)
The mainstream press and the more conservative Democrats have been saying that Howard Dean is not a viable candidate, but I disagree. I am a huge Dean supporter, and find his approach to politics inspiring. Disillusioned voters finally have someone worth fighting for! He is proud to stand up for what he believes in even when his position is unpopular, like his opposition to the war in Iraq. Many thought that such a stance was equivalent to political suicide just a few months ago, but as public opinion is shifting other Democrats (Kerry, for one) are racing to claim that they never REALLY supported an invasion.

Dean is doing very well in primary polls in New Hampshire and Iowa (some polls have him ahead of Kerry). The latest Zogby poll had him tied for first place with 12% of Democrat voters, even though his name recognition is only 39% as opposed to the 82% of Lieberman. As more people start to hear about him, those numbers are certain to go up.

I think Dean has a very good chance of winning not only the primary, but also the general election against Bush. Some of his issues, like civil unions and repealing the Bush tax cut to pay off the deficit, will probably scare off some voters... But his biggest strength (and the one that will lead him to victory) is that he has the ability to energize people who had given up on the political process altogether.

Check out http://www.deanforamerica.com for detailed information on Dean and the issues, and don't forget http://www.blogforamerica.com, possibly the coolest and most addictive campaign website ever! Reading the thousands of comments from ardent Dean supporters is sure to inspire you!  
  Keith Brekhus 69

07-31-2003 09:27 AM ET (US)
Dean can win the election regardless of what happens in Florida. His path to 270 electoral votes includes taking all the states Gore won plus Nevada and West Virginia.

http://www.uselectionatlas.org/USPRESIDENT/frametextj.html

If that happens then Florida doesn't matter.  
  Keith Brekhus 70

07-31-2003 10:31 AM ET (US)
I agree with Alison. Dean comes across as a straight-shooter. Whether you agree or disagree with him, you have to admit his candor is refreshing. He was against the war when it wasn't fashionable to be against the war. He bravely signed into law a provision in Vermont that allows same-sex civil unions.

He has shown political courage like no other candidate in the race. While Gephardt, Kerry and Lieberman were sheepishly following the president into the Iraq quagmire, Dean was showing leadership by speaking out at a time when speaking out was not popular.

The Democrats lost a bunch of House and Senate seats in 2002 because they were too timid to take a stand against Bush's war or his economic policies. Given the choice between Bush and Bush-Lite, beer drinkers everywhere will choose Bush :-). Given a real choice, not many prefer Bush. Dean offers a real choice.  
  Wendy MA. 71

07-31-2003 10:57 AM ET (US)
I am from Massachusetts. John Kerry has done so much for us. He’s been an impartation to us and has made us proud to work for him and support him. He will make us even more proud when he becomes President. There is no body in the Democratic race that has done as much for improving employment, heath care, and the environment. John is a great Senator, and he will be an even greater President.  
  Alison Brown 72

07-31-2003 03:34 PM ET (US)
Wendy, Kerry seems like a good guy, and he has a good record in Massachusetts, but I have to point out that there is a Democrat with an even better one. Dean balanced every budget while he was governor of Vermont, started a health care program that now covers something like 98% of children in that state, and saved huge amounts of land from development. Kerry can't beat that!  
  Albert 73

07-31-2003 04:00 PM ET (US)
Everybody here seems to be forgetting that Joe Lieberman is still very much a big contender in this election. You and the media could all be jumping the gun on who is going to win the democratic primary.  
  Albert 74

07-31-2003 04:03 PM ET (US)
Joe Lieberman would be the first Jewish President if he makes it to the Presidency.  
  Keith Brekhus 75

07-31-2003 04:28 PM ET (US)
Edited by author 07-31-2003 04:29 PM
Right now I think one can argue that it is still a four way race. While Dean has the most momentum, Kerry, Gephardt and Lieberman are polling well too and many people are still undecided.

Incidentally, if Dean won we would have the first Jewish first lady. Howard Dean's wife is Jewish and like Howard, she is also a medical doctor.  
  Leanne 76

07-31-2003 05:02 PM ET (US)
I really needed the Tax refund that Bush just gave for Families with children.
I needed it to pay bills.
Bush has been the only president that has given us these wonderful tax breaks for families with children..
So do any of U know if any of the Democratic nominees will be willing to give tax cuts too?
Democrats seem 2 tax poor people a lot.
We should ask ourselves if a democrat gets elected, will we be able to pay our taxes?  
  Keith Brekhus 77

07-31-2003 05:26 PM ET (US)
True cost of Bush's policies: $44 trillion debt

Bush tells us that his tax cuts are returning "your" money back to you. If that's the case, who "owns" the $44 trillion in debt his policies will inflict on our nation?

And no, that number is not liberal partisan hyperbole -- it was determined by Bush's Treasury Department:


from the Financial Times...

The Bush administration has shelved a report commissioned by the Treasury that shows the US currently faces a future of chronic federal budget deficits totalling at least $44,200bn in current US dollars.

The study, the most comprehensive assessment of how the US government is at risk of being overwhelmed by the "baby boom" generation's future healthcare and retirement costs, was commissioned by then-Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill.

But the Bush administration chose to keep the findings out of the annual budget report for fiscal year 2004, published in February, as the White House campaigned for a tax-cut package that critics claim will expand future deficits.

The study asserts that sharp tax increases, massive spending cuts or a painful mix of both are unavoidable if the US is to meet benefit promises to future generations. It estimates that closing the gap would require the equivalent of an immediate and permanent 66 per cent across-the-board income tax increase.

Uh oh -- how to explain this away? Wasn't the tax cut supposed to boost the economy, leading to the shrinking of the defict?

When the Treasury Department's own studies show tax raises are needed to rescue the nation from incomprehensible debt, pushing and signing a tax cut is the height of irresponsibility.

And the economy, while showing anemic growth (1.9 percent in Q1), is still bleeding jobs.

About 3 million jobs have been lost since Bush took office. New jobless claims remain at troubling levels -- over the magical 400,000 mark for 13 weeks straight. While the number of people receiving continuing benefits is at 3.76 million -- the highest level in 18 months.

Bush's initial tax cuts did nothing for the economy except sink it further into the red. The states will be burdened to pick up the tab for the feds, services will be cut savagely, or we will be saddled with perpetual debt.  
  Keith Brekhus 78

07-31-2003 05:33 PM ET (US)
The hidden costs of Bush's federal tax cuts (copied from Steve Gillard at Dailykos.com web blog):

while federal taxes are being cut for some, the massive increase in state and local taxes, due in part to an utter lack of federal relief and federal budget cuts for mandated programs, are hiking your taxes.

It doesn't matter if Bush cuts your federal taxes if your property and sales taxes climb, costing you hundreds of dollars more a year. Any federal refund will be more than gobbled up by local and state hikes on everything from parking tickets to hunting licenses.

Because the Bush Administration was completely uninterested in offering aid to states and localities, the states, which cannot print money, can only raise costs to cover the services that people want.

For nearly two decades the GOP has hammered the theme that lower taxes are good. The Dems have never, until recently, explained that there is a cost for this: which is lower services.

In New York, the governor, instead of looking at the state's dire fiscal condition and working with the legislature to raise taxes and cover costs, he wanted to place 4,000 slot machines around the state to raise money. Slot machines. Our governor, while amazingly lazy, is not stupid. Of course, he was angling to work for fellow Yalie George Bush, but he wasn't going to be able to make the cut.

But the point is this: federal tax cuts cost states money. They cost citizens money. While the President is talking about cutting taxes, the governors have to do all the heavy lifting and fund the programs which people demand.

It's time to shift the argument. Lower federal taxes not only mean higher state taxes in bad times, it means a lower standard of living. It means prisoners in your streets, schools operating four days a week, higher sales taxes, higher property taxes, dirtier streets and fewer teachers. States may have management issues and have overspent during good times, but the lack of federal support means that there is no cushion for bad times and states catch it in the neck.

Low taxes may not be bad, but low services are. There is a limit past which no state can go without making life worse for people in a real, concrete and defined way. A few hundred dollars is going to the credit card company, not the economy. All that money, combined in an aid to states and locality grant means keeping libraries open, more cops, more teachers, more children in health care programs. All these things cost money.

At the end of the day, you need to ask: do you want a federal tax refund and convicts released early from jail or aid to the states and localities which could prevent the worst budget cuts? I think most people might pass on the $300 to keep from firing teachers and emptying jails.

Steve Gilliard  
  Ann Stewart 79

07-31-2003 05:40 PM ET (US)
Dear Leanne and Keith
Leanne I heard the same thing you have just said from other families who got the same tax refund, than I also heard what Keith is saying too, about how bad Bush is putting America in debt. I just got off of work and I am now signing on and I am so happy to see how well the discussion is going. I am learning a lot from this discussion and I hope other people are too. I am going to build a comments page for each candidate and place the most interesting and informative comments on the pages.
Thank you all so much for participating.  
  Keith Brekhus 80

07-31-2003 05:52 PM ET (US)
As Governor of Vermont Howard Dean raised the state's minimum wage twice, cut taxes once and balanced the state's budget consistently.

While Dean opposes the current wave of federal tax cuts as fiscally irresponsible, he had a record as a fiscally conservative Governor who raised the living standard of low-income workers in his state but still managed to balance the state's budget so that tax cuts could be made responsibly without incurring debt or cutting essential services.

I do think Gephardt's health care proposal would be so expensive that he would have to raise a lot of taxes to pay for it, but I don't think Lieberman, Dean or Kerry would unduly saddle poor people with excessive new taxes...they would merely return the top marginal tax rate to 39% instead of 33%...this would primarily effect only those who are affluent.  
  Chris 81

07-31-2003 07:41 PM ET (US)
Edited by author 07-31-2003 07:45 PM
I remember when Bill Clinton stated he over taxed America. I think that could happen again too. I think Dean could be a good president, but it might not be a good thing to change Presidents in the middle of a crisis like the one we have right now with Iraq.
Bush is handling this terrible situation. If we put another man in office, it might mess up what Bush has already started and is tiring to achieve. It may not be a good idea to put another man in there right now. Who knows if they will handle the peace process right in Iraq?

PS this is Chris R. not the other Chris posting on this page.
There is too many Chris's in the world  
  Ann Stewart 82

07-31-2003 08:01 PM ET (US)
Dear Chris
I understand your concern, but I believe that a lot of the Middle East’s general population, believes President Bush is the cause of all the turmoil in Iraq. If we put someone else in the Presidency I believe a new President may be seen as neutral on the war and have a better chance of rebuilding foreigner relationships with other countries that are so highly damaged.
I support Bush on a lot of issues, but the issues I don’t agree with him on are to big for me to ignore. The War with Iraq is one of them. The economy is the other.  
  Vanessa 83

07-31-2003 09:27 PM ET (US)
I used to have a position were people ask me question about Europe when I lived in Germany. I am a Republican for right know. The Bush family did a whole lot for us Germans and I never will forget these. The fall of the Berlin Wall was a special moment for me. I will support bush for one more year. Then America gets to vote again and bush has to show his work what he has done if I am satisfied I would vote again for him, but I also have to look what the other candidates have to over. They are not bad either. Maybe you find here more democrats then republicans because dr. Gupta is a democrat.  
  Ann Stewart 84

07-31-2003 09:59 PM ET (US)
Does anybody have comments on Candidate Kerry? I need comments for his page. I also need comments on any other of the Candidates, if you know something about them, it would sure help me out on building this web site.  
  Keith Brekhus 85

07-31-2003 10:18 PM ET (US)
Here is the lowdown on John Kerry


Sentator John Kerry (Democrat, Massachusetts) John Kerry was born on December 11, 1943. A graduate of Yale, entered the Navy, serving in Vietnam. He received a Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, and three awards of the Purple Heart for his service in combat. Later, Kerry co-founded the Vietnam Veterans of America and became a spokesperson for the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. In 1984, afer winning election as Lieutenant Governor in 1982, Kerry ran and was first elected to serve in the United States Senate. John Kerry is married to heiress Teresa Heinz. He has two daughters, Alexandra and Vanessa.

Taxes & Spending: Based on ratings from taxpayer advocacy groups such as National Taxpayers Union and Americans for Tax Reform, this candidate shares very little of their views. According to the Concord Coalition, he is agrees with slightly less than half their positions on balanced budget issue. On his site he calls for "a fair reshaping of estate taxes so no family owned small business is sold just to pay Uncle Sam."
While not calling for a formal national job policy, John Kerry (according to his site "supports efforts that put America back to work. He backed efforts to restore $31 billion in highway cuts made by the Bush Administration last year, which threatened 300,000 jobs. And he supports creating American jobs and renewing our cities through building infrastructure, school construction and modernization, tax credits and cleaning up polluted areas in our country."

Social Services Funding: In a voice vote, as a member of the Senate Finance Committee approved the mark-up of the Charity Aid, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Act. The bill heads to the full Senate.

Welfare: The Children's Defense Fund, an organization concerned how poverty and welfare cuts effect children and families, recently gave him a score of 91%. BIPAC, the Business-Industry Political Action Committee gave Kerry a score of 0%.

Security & Terrorism: Voted "yes" on HR 3162, Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001.
Voted "yes" on the "Visa Entry Reform Act of 2001", a bill to strengthen counter-terrorism efforts by imposing restrictions on student visas and among other things, it creates a centralized 'lookout' database.

Foreign Affairs: Voted "yes" on H.J.RES.114, Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq, a resolution that would authorize the use of force against Iraq. The administration would be required to report to Congress that diplomatic options have been exhausted before, or within 48 hours after military action has started. Every 60 days the president would also be required to submit a progress report to Congress.
"I know from my own trips to Israel that the majority of the Israeli people understand and expect that one day there will be a Palestinian state. Their frustration is that they do not see a committed partner in peace on the Palestinian side. Palestinians must stop the violence - this is the fundamental building block of the peace process. The Palestinian leadership must be reformed, not only for the future of the Palestinian people but also for the sake of peace. I believe Israel would respond to this new partner after all, Israel has already indicated its willingness to freeze settlements and to move toward the establishment of a Palestinian state as part of a comprehensive peace process."
Regarding Bush's new strike first policy: "I believe we always have a preemptive right." Kerry has more recently been critical of the Bush's hawkish stance. Kerry has spoken against a preemptive and unilateral war.

Education: Kerry opposes school vouchers, saying they gloss over a crisis in the schools. He says the gap between suburban and urban schools is ''separate and unequal'' and more insidious than segregation was in its day. He backs increased flexibility for school administrators to dismiss teachers. He supports "efforts to expand public school choice programs and support for charter schools".
Kerry announced a plan that includes a service-for-college program that would offer students four years of public college tuition in exchange for two years of community service. Voted "yes" on an amendment that would increase the tax deduction for college tuition costs from $5,000 to $12,000 and increase the tax credit on student loan interest from $500 to $1,000.

Healthcare: "We need a strong patient's bill of rights and we need it now, and we will not rest until every single American has affordable health coverage that no bureaucrat can take away."
Plans universal health care proposal.
Voted "no" on banning human cloning. (Bill S. 1601 on Feb 11, 1998)

Social Security: Voted "no" on Social Security Lockbox & limiting national debt. This amendment offered by Sen. Abraham (R-MI) that would have created a Social Security "lockbox" and establish limits on the public debt.
According to his senate web site, "Senator Kerry supported a real Social Security lockbox to protect the Social Security program from raids on its resources. Senator Kerry opposed Republican efforts to pass a phony Social Security lockbox that did nothing for Medicare, did not adequately protect Social Security, and established annual public debt limits that risked default. He opposed Republican efforts to include a trap door in lockbox legislation-any legislation that Republicans label "Social Security reform" could use Social Security surpluses for any number of purposes unrelated to paying Social Security benefits, including privatizing Social Security or paying for tax cuts."

Illicit Drugs: Voted "no" on S 625, a bill to increase penalties on certain drug-related crimes.

Ex-felons' Voting Rights: Voted "yes" on this issue.

Gun Policy: He received "F" from the NRA, and 100% from The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Abortion Policy: He received a 100% score from Planned Parenthood and 0% from the National Right to Life Committee.

Environmental Policy: Kerry received 92% from the League of Conservation Voters.

Minority Issues: He received a 100% score from the NAACP.

Civil Liberties: He received a 50% score from The American Civil Liberties Union.  
  Keith Brekhus 86

07-31-2003 10:22 PM ET (US)
The skinny on Joe Lieberman:

Senator Joseph Lieberman (Democrat, Connecticut) Born in Stamford, Connecticut on February 24, 1942 and attended public schools there. He received his bachelor's degree from Yale College in 1964 and his law degree from Yale Law School in 1967. Lieberman was elected to the Connecticut State Senate in 1970 and served there for 10 years, including the last 6 as Majority Leader. From 1982 to 1988, he served as Connecticut's 21st Attorney General. He is the author of four books. In the U.S. Senate, Lieberman became the Ranking Democratic Member of the Governmental Affairs Committee in January 1999. He is a member of the powerful Armed Services Committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee, and the Small Business Committee. Since 1995, he has been Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council. Lieberman lives in New Haven with his wife Hadassah. They are the parents of four children: Matthew, Rebecca, Ethan and Hana.


Taxes & Spending: Based on ratings from taxpayer advocacy groups such as National Taxpayers Union and Americans for Tax Reform, this candidate shares very little of their views. According to the Concord Coalition, he is agrees with almost half their positions on the balanced budget issue.
Address to the Economic Club of Detroit on May 20, 2002 "The Need to Lead: The Case for a New Economic Growth Strategy". Lieberman said, "It’s about creating and protecting jobs for millions of Americans..."

Social Services Funding: He supports the President's faith-based initiatives.

Welfare: The Children's Defense Fund, an organization concerned how poverty and welfare cuts effect children and families, recently gave him a score of 91%. BIPAC, the Business-Industry Political Action Committee gave him a score of 0%.

Security & Terrorism: Voted "yes" on HR 3162, Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001.
He helped win Congressional approval for the creation of a 10-member, non-partisan citizens commission that will have subpoena power to investigate a broad range of issues such as immigration policy, aviation security, intelligence gaps, and the diplomatic record.
"Properly constituted, military tribunals can provide now what they provided in the past: a fair, impartial means of trying and, if appropriate, punishing those who violate the laws of war."
Voted "yes" on the "Visa Entry Reform Act of 2001", a bill to strengthen counter-terrorism efforts by imposing restrictions on student visas and among other things, it creates a centralized 'lookout' database.

Foreign Affairs: Lieberman was the lead Senate sponsor of a bipartisan resolution authorizing the President to use military force to eliminate the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
Said he backs President Bush's "call to action" at the United Nations against the threat represented by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Said a solution to the Mideast conflict must include a "strong and peaceful" Palestinian state.

Education: Condemned the Bush Administration's "failure to provide sufficient funding for the No Child Left Behind Act, the historic K-12 education reform bill signed into law last year."
Voted "yes" on an amendment that would increase the tax deduction for college tuition costs from $5,000 to $12,000 and increase the tax credit on student loan interest from $500 to $1,000.
Announced on April 15, 2002 his intention to develop and introduce a major reform bill that will help make the precious promise of high quality higher education a reality for more Americans. It will focus on three areas: resources--so that we bring college within the reach of all American families, regardless of income; readiness--so that students are prepared for college when they graduate high school; and results--so that students, especially low-income students, graduate within six years and get into high-wage jobs.

Healthcare: According to his senate website, Lieberman "works to expand quality and affordable healthcare to all Americans and safeguard Medicare and Social Security for future generations."
Voted "no" on banning human cloning. (Bill S. 1601 on Feb 11, 1998)

Social Security: "Senator Joseph I. Lieberman who once supported Social Security Personal Retirement Accounts now says that Gov. George W. Bush’s plan to do so would "savage" Social Security by taking $1 trillion out of the nest egg that belongs to every worker in America." Voted "no" on HR 1259: Social Security and Medicare Safe Deposit Box Act of 1999.

Illicit Drugs: Voted "yes" on (S 625 /1999) to increase penalties on certain drug-related crimes. The amendment would specifically target the manufacturing or trafficking of amphetamines and methamphetamines and possession of powder cocaine. It would also set stronger penalties for dealing drugs to minors or near a school.

Ex-felons' Voting Rights: Voted "yes" on this issue.

Gun Policy: He received an "F" from the NRA, and 100% from The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Abortion Policy: He received 100% score from Planned Parenthood and a zero from the National Right to Life Committee.

Environmental Policy: He received a 100% score from the League of Conservation Voters.
"This (Bush) administration is conducting a campaign to eliminate numerous environmental, health and safety protections," Lieberman said. "We have seen - in the face of several environmental rules the administration tried to roll back two years ago - a disregard for the scientific record, the value of public participation in rule-making, and for established regulatory procedure."

Minority Issues: He received a 91% score from the NAACP.

Civil Liberties: He received a 25% score from The American Civil Liberties Union.  
  Keith Brekhus 87

07-31-2003 10:24 PM ET (US)
Dick Gephardt on the issues:

Representative Richard Gephardt, Democrat Missouri Born in 1941 in the same South St. Louis neighborhood he represents today, Missouri’s 3rd district. Graduated from Northwestern University and the University of Michigan Law School. Elected to represent Missouri's Third Congressional District in 1976. In 1984, Gephardt was elected Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, the fourth-ranking leadership position in the House. In 1989, he was elected by his colleagues in the House to serve as their Majority Leader. Resigned as Majority Leader after the 2002 election. He has been married to Jane Byrnes Gephardt for more than three decades. They have three children: Matt, Chrissy and Katie.

Taxes & Spending: Based on ratings from taxpayer advocacy groups such as National Taxpayers Union and Americans for Tax Reform, this candidate shares very few of their views. According to the Concord Coalition, he is agrees with slightly less than a quarter of their positions on balanced budget issue. On his site he calls for "a fair reshaping of estate taxes so no family owned small business is sold just to pay Uncle Sam."

Social Services Funding: Voted "no" on HR 7 Community Solutions Act of 2001. Bill would allow religious organizations to compete equally with other non-governmental groups for federal funds to provide social service, and provide $13.3 billion in tax breaks for charitable giving over 10 years. Gephardt said he felt the bill represented a missed opportunity to help faith-based organizations, because they often tend to the most underprivileged in our society and are vital and irreplaceable to every community. However, he felt that the consequences of allowing groups to pre-empt civil rights protections, would make it easier for these groups to ignore fundamental principles of liberty and equality.

Welfare: The Children's Defense Fund, an organization concerned how poverty and welfare cuts effect children and families, recently gave him a score of 82%. BIPAC, the Business-Industry Political Action Committee gave him a score of 6%.

Security & Terrorism: Voted "yes" on HR 3162, Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001.
Voted "yes" on the "Visa Entry Reform Act of 2001", a bill to strengthen counter-terrorism efforts by imposing restrictions on student visas and among other things, it creates a centralized 'lookout' database.

Foreign Affairs: Voted "yes" on H.J.RES.114, Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq.
Suggested President Bush delay his proposal for creation of a Palestinian state in the midst of "barbaric suicide attacks against Israelis." "It is fine to set out the dream and the goal and to hope that will give people on the Palestinian side some hope," Gephardt said, as Bush worked on the proposal. "But it isn't going to change anything, in my view."

Education: "Vouchers drain funds from failing schools at the very moment when schools need these resources the most ... We must not allow 'reform' to erode the federal responsibility to support national priorities like helping disadvantaged students and putting a quality teacher in every classroom."
"We want to work together to recruit high- quality teachers and invest more in our schools while demanding more from them. We want to say to every student who wants to go to college and every worker who wants to update their skills the first $10,000 of your education should be tax deductible." - Democratic response to the State of the Union speech Jan 29, 2002
"The government needs to do more to help schools. We’ve agreed to fund 100,000 new teachers in grades one through three. The Clinton administration is trying to use federal dollars to help districts pay the costs on school construction bonds. We must fully fund Head Start and make it available to younger children. I believe more teachers, more classrooms, and reaching out to prepare students to learn are an appropriate way for the federal government to help schools cope." - An Even Better Place, by Dick Gephardt, p.157-58 Jul 2, 1999
Voted "yes" on requiring states to test students. No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Bill HR 1 ; vote number 2001-145 on May 23, 2001) Vote to pass a bill that would authorize $22.8 billion in education funding, a 29 percent increase from fiscal 2001. The bill would require states to test students to track progress.
We want to say to every student who wants to go to college and every worker who wants to update their skills the first $10,000 of your education should be tax deductible. - Democratic response to the State of the Union speech Jan 29, 2002

Healthcare: Providence Journal Bulletin reported om Jan 28, 2003 that Gephardt said in an interview that within a month or so he would propose a universal health-insurance plan that would cover the 42 million uninsured Americans.
Voted "no" on HR 2505 Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2001. Bill would prohibit human cloning for either medical research or reproductive purposes.

Social Security: "We need to remember that stock values go down as well as up. In a prolonged bear market, the entire market may fall so far that it takes years to recover. Those who retire before the recovery may simply be out of luck. The stock market, in short, is no foolproof source of retirement security...Individual accounts can be part of the answer. But they should be voluntary and a supplement to Social Security, not a replacement for it."
Voted "yes" on strengthening the Social Security Lockbox. (Bill HR 1259 ; vote number 1999-163 on May 26, 1999) Amending the Social Security Lockbox bill to require that any budget surplus cannot be spent until the solvency of Social Security and Medicare is guaranteed.

Illicit Drugs: Voted "no" on prohibiting needle exchange & medical marijuana in DC. (Bill HR 3064 ; vote number 1999-504 on Oct 14, 1999) Bill would provide $429.1 million in funds for the District of Columbia and approves the District's $6.8 billion budget. Among other provisions, the bill prohibits the use of federal funds for needle exchange programs, prohibits implementing an approved ballot initiative to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana.

Ex-felons' Voting Rights: "As President Bush receives the commission's report, we hope he will finally provide real leadership and support for comprehensive election reform legislation," said Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt. In the report, states were asked to restore voting rights to convicted felons who have served full sentences. Bush backs the provision, aides said, noting that he signed legislation as governor of Texas moving up voting eligibility for felons.

Gun Policy: He received "F" from the NRA, and a 100 score from The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Abortion Policy: He received 100 score from Planned Parenthood and a zero from the National Right to Life Committee.

Environmental Policy: He received a 91 from the League of Conservation Voters.

Minority Issues: He received an 86% score from the NAACP.

Civil Liberties: He received 75% score from The American Civil Liberties Union.  
  Keith Brekhus 88

07-31-2003 10:29 PM ET (US)
George W. Bush's positions compared with Howard Dean's:

President George Walker Bush (Republican) He is the son of the former President Bush. He and wife Laura have twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna. Born July 6, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut, he grew up in Midland, Texas. He graduated from Yale in 1968, then returned to Texas and joined the Texas Air National Guard. Bush entered the oil business. Declining oil prices of the early 1980s took their toll on his company. He later sold his original stock shares and made a considerable profit. In 1978, he lost a race for the U.S. House of Representatives. He organized a group of wealthy investors (including himself) and arranged the purchase of the Texas Rangers. After an initial outlay of only $606,000, Bush walked away with nearly $15 million when the team sold in 1998. He was elected governor of Texas (1994-2000).
Unless otherwise noted, quotes are from White House press releases and may found at www.whitehouse.gov

Taxes & Spending: Based on ratings from taxpayer advocacy groups such as National Taxpayers Union and Americans for Tax Reform, this candidate shares most of their views.
ABC published "While ramping up funding on homeland security to $41 billion and the military to $378 billion in fiscal 2004, Bush is asking the Republican-controlled Congress to cut spending growth for most other programs by more than half, fueling a battle with Democrats over tax and spending priorities in the run-up to the 2004 presidential election. Among those hardest hit will be agencies that regulate agriculture, the environment, housing and urban development, labor, and health and human services."
NPR reported on Feb. 4, 2003 -- President Bush's $2.23-trillion budget, sent to Congress on Monday, proposes increased funding for defense and homeland security while calling for $670 billion in income tax cuts over 10 years to stimulate the economy. It also projects a record $307 billion deficit in fiscal 2004 and continued shortfalls through 2008."
"These are the basic ideas that guide my tax policy: lower income taxes for all, with the greatest help for those most in need. Everyone who pays income taxes benefits while the highest percentage tax cuts go to the lowest income Americans. I believe this is a formula for continuing the prosperity we've enjoyed, but also expanding it in ways we have yet to discover. It is an economics of inclusion. It is the agenda of a government that knows its limits and shows its heart."
Contradiction of that assessment come from critics such as the Citizens for Tax Justice. Their analysis shows that more than sixty percent of Bush's proposed tax cuts would go to the best-off 10 percent of Americans.
Bush also calls for eliminating federal estate taxes.

Social Services Funding: "If a charity is helping the needy, it should not matter if there is a rabbi on the board, or a cross or a crescent on the wall, or a religious commitment in the charter. The days of discriminating against religious groups just because they are religious are coming to an end."

Welfare: "Help more welfare recipients achieve independence through work." "Increase the welfare-to-work resources available for families." "Protect children and strengthen families." "Empower states and local governments with a new Ticket to Independence initiative with new flexibility to more effectively move people from welfare dependency to work."
Children’s Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman today responded to the President’s State of the Union address citing its lack of real solutions for real children left behind in the present economic downturn. The President offered his agenda to move America forward by accelerating his $1.3 trillion tax giveaway to the wealthiest citizens and eliminating the stock dividend tax for millionaires in his $674 billion economic plan.
BIPAC strongly supports President Bush.

Security & Terrorism: Established the department of Homeland Security. The mission of that department of Homeland Security is to: "Prevent terrorist attacks within the United States; Reduce America's vulnerability to terrorism; and Minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do occur." Bush initiatives include "Operation TIPS (Terrorist Information and Prevention System): Allows millions of American transportation workers, postal workers, and public utility employees to identify and report suspicious activities linked to terrorism and crime."

Foreign Affairs: Has asked for a received Congressional backing to attack Iraq.

Education: Bush favors vouchers.
"The No Child Left Behind Act enables America's public schools to receive record levels of funding from the federal government, and creates unprecedented levels of accountability to ensure that those funds are producing real results to help every child in America receive a quality education."
However, critics such as U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said superintendents and school boards are scrambling to meet the requirements demanded of them by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. He said the federal government is turning its back on them in the form of funding cuts. "By failing to provide the funding needed to implement the No Child Left Behind bill, the president is passing on a huge funding burden to the states -- and this comes at a time when almost every state is awash in red ink."

Healthcare: "I ask Congress to join me this year to enact a patients' bill of rights to give uninsured workers credits to help buy health coverage to approve an historic increase in the spending for veterans' health and to give seniors a sound and modern Medicare system that includes coverage for prescription drugs." - State of the Union Jan 2003.
The Bush administration said in a statement that it was ``unequivocally opposed to the cloning of human beings either for reproduction or for research.''

Social Security: As a candidate Bush said, "Retirement security also depends upon keeping the commitments of Social Security, and we will. We must make Social Security financially stable and allow personal retirement accounts for younger workers who choose them."
After his 2003 State of the Union message and budget annouincements, congressional Democrats criticized the president's plan for returning the nation to deep budget deficits and failing to shore up Social Security. "Instead of offering the nation a plan for long-term economic prosperity, the Bush budget burdens us, and our children, with trillions of dollars of new debt." -Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), ranking Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee

Illicit Drugs: "You sponsor drug education programs, and youth summits, and parent training courses. You support drug intervention programs, and foster great counseling services. You're helping to build a culture of responsibility, one that respects the law, one that teaches our children right from wrong, and one that strengthens our commitments to our fellow citizens." "The (Bush) Administration will empower parents, and community and faith-based groups to fight drugs." "Drug courts are an effective and cost efficient way to help non-violent drug offenders commit to a rigorous drug treatment program in lieu of prison. By leveraging the coercive power of the criminal justice system, drug courts can alter the behavior of non-violent, low-level drug offenders through a combination of judicial supervision, case management, mandatory drug testing, and treatment to ensure abstinence from drugs, and escalating sanctions."

Ex-felons' Voting Rights: Bush embraced only the general principles of the 105-page study (an election-reform report) headed by former Presidents Ford and Carter. His press secretary, casting the president as a reformer, voiced support for several but not all of the panel's recommendations. In the report, states were asked to restore voting rights to convicted felons who have served full sentences. Bush backs the provision, aides said, noting that he signed legislation as governor of Texas moving up voting eligibility for felons.

Gun Policy: If the NRA could pick a candidate, it would undoubtedly be George W. Bush. He has been a strong ally of the organization in Texas. - The Economist, Issues 2000 special Sep 30, 2000.
However, Bush supported the extension of the assault weapons ban - a position that has put him in opposition to the NRA and has left many guns owners angry and dumbfounded. "This is a president who has been so good on the Second Amendment that it's just unbelievable to gun owners that he would really sign the ban," said Grover Norquist, a leading conservative and an NRA board member who opposes the nationwide ban on semiautomatic assault weapons.

Abortion Policy: Planned Parenthood site says, "George W. Bush is systematically working to gut reproductive freedom in the U.S. and around the world."

Environmental Policy: Then Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush's positions and actions on environmental issues earned him the label of the 'weakest choice' by the League of Conservation Voters. January 14, 2000 (This while the several others were still viable candidates.)

Minority Issues: NAACP board chairman Julian Bond, denounced Mr. Bush. He has "appeased the wretched appetites of the extreme right wing, and he picked Cabinet officials whose devotion to the Confederacy is nearly canine in its uncritical affection," Bond said. For the nation's top law enforcement officer, Bond said Mr. Bush chose "a man who doesn't believe in many of the civil rights laws he's sworn to enforce affirmative action, racial profiling, hate crimes, voting rights."

Civil Liberties: The American Civil Liberties Union is generally critical of the Bush administration. Comments include: "The White House is again talking out of both sides of its mouth," said LaShawn Warren, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. "The President loves to opine about his ‘commitment to racial justice’ but, at practically every turn, he backs policies that contradict his stated convictions. His position spells disaster for racial equality in America."
This new faith-based bill would both further legitimize the President’s misguided initiative and promote taxpayer-funded religious discrimination, said Christopher Anders, an ACLU Legislative Counsel.

Howard Dean, (Democrat) Former Governor of Vermont Dean is a physician who previously shared a medical practice with his wife, Dr. Judith Steinberg. He's the father of two nearly grown children. Dean was born into a wealthy New York family in 1948. The oldest of four brothers and the son of a wealthy, conservative stockbroker, he grew up in the Hamptons and the Upper-East side where he attended elite private schools. (His grandmother was a bridesmaid to President Bush's grandmother). In 1967, he entered Yale University. While at Yale, Dean discovered that he had an innate sympathy for the civil rights movement and the plight of the poor. He steered clear of radical protests and student demonstrations, later saying that he instinctively distrusted ideologues, but he also came to oppose the escalating Vietnam War.

Taxes & Spending: "I am a true fiscal conservative though," said Dean. "I cut taxes in Vermont, taking the highest municipal income tax (in New England), and making it the lowest." "The biggest problem with our economy right now is that Republicans don’t know how to manage money," started Dean, later saying the opposing party has the habit of borrowing, spending, borrowing, spending." "In a Dean Administration, the Democratic Party would reclaim the mantle of fiscal responsibility."
"Social justice can only be achieved through a balanced budget", Dean said. He thinks he will appeal to fiscal conservatives, because he is the only Democrat in the field who has balanced a budget:
From his campaign site: "To help finance this effort (Universal Health Care) , we must repeal the President's tax cuts -- which have thrown America back into the huge deficits of the 1980s -- and balance the federal budget. We cannot build crucial social programs without a solid financial foundation." "The first round of (Bush) tax cuts (with some exceptions in the estate and retirement areas) should be repealed."

Social Services Funding: Dean "Supports some faith-based initiatives because he believes that charities do very good work. However, he does not support giving tax money to organizations that do not abide by federal anti-discrimination laws. He stated that if elected, he would try and ensure that organizations that discriminate would not receive federal funding."

Welfare: Promotes "welfare reform" "...we resist attempts by President Bush to dictate to the states how we run our ... welfare programs..." He condemned the Bush administration's welfare reform proposal, or more formally the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) reauthorization bill, as "a step backwards for everyone who believes in welfare reform." "We are particularly concerned about the extraordinary rigidity of the 40-hour work week [requirement]," Vermont was the first state in the nation to reform welfare on a statewide basis. Then-Governor Dean's initiative requires work and limits the amount of time a welfare recipient can receive assistance, but supports children and their working parents with health care, child care, and job training.
The bulk of those tax cuts went to those in the top 2 percent of income earners - people like Ken Lay and other corporate plunderers of the American economy. Left behind are middle class and working people, many of whom, in exchange for their tiny tax cuts, have lost their jobs or their health insurance - casualties of an economy limping along under the weight of Bush's economic policies. Our children will pay the bills for all this financial recklessness.


Security & Terrorism: "I would repeal that part and any other part of the PATRIOT Act that violates our Constitution."

Foreign Affairs: Dean said that he's the only candidate with previous experience in government who has opposed the war with Iraq from the start. "I have serious concerns about the increasingly unilateralist approach to foreign policy we have seen from the current Administration, particularly in the President's posture toward Iraq."
The Washington Post reported: Former Vermont governor Howard Dean has taken a consistently hard line against Bush's policy, telling Democratic audiences around the country that, unlike his rivals for the nomination, he would have opposed the congressional resolution authorizing Bush to go to war. But his vociferous opposition comes with a caveat. "If the evidence is there [that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction]," Dean said yesterday, "we would go to the Security Council, and if they refused to act, we would have to do so in 60 days." Dean opined that by enunciating pre-emption as a doctrine, Bush had inadvertently encouraged the Chinese to claim a "clear and present danger" in Taiwan.
In a "The Nation" magazine interview, he stated that he favors the formation of a Palestinian state, but believes that terrorism must end before that happens.

Education: Warned against "harebrained" ideas like school vouchers. Dean criticized the president's education plan, called the "no child left behind" act, by calling it the "no school board left standing" act. "Everybody running for president except for me and the Republicans got together on this wonderful bipartisan bill that is the second largest unfunded mandate in the history of education," he said.
"The federal government must recognize that an enormous number of our teachers are retiring in the coming years and provide incentives to inspire a new generation of great teachers."

Healthcare: From his campaign site: "As a doctor, I understand the fear facing families without health insurance. As a Governor, I am proud that virtually every child under 18 and more than 90 percent of adults in Vermont are eligible for health coverage. But as a country, the United States can do better on this front."
Said his plan of providing universal health insurance through expanding Medicaid and added it could be paid for with half of the president's tax cut. The country needs health insurance, says the doctor, yet Congress is arguing about the wrong thing, the patients' bill of rights, which would not make the slightest difference because "it would not bring health insurance to a single American."

Social Security: Dean criticized the idea of allowing private individuals to invest their Social Security savings in the stock market. "Allowing individuals to invest money in the stock market is foolish," he said. "Social Security is not a retirement program; it is a safety net for people so they don't starve." Dean linked the tax cuts to homeland security, saying, "The enormous tax cuts are not only undercutting Medicaid and Social Security, Mr. President. The enormous tax cuts that you have passed are actually undercutting our ability to defend ourselves."

Illicit Drugs: We need to treat drugs as a public health problem.. That's difficult to do. We actually don't have a lot of drug users in our jails; the ones we have in there are drug users who are also dealers. Jails not a particularly effective way to get people to stop using drugs; treatment is.
In an interview with "The Nation" magazine, Dr. Dean--who believes in a scientific fact based approach--would direct the FDA to evaluate medical marijuana. Whatever the conclusion, he'd accept their findings.
As Governor, Dean adopted the National Governors Association policy, which in part said, "The nation’s Governors urge the President and Congress to fully fund drug and alcohol abuse education, drug courts, treatment, prevention, and law enforcement efforts, including the initiative to combat and clean up methamphetamine production laboratories, at the state and local levels of government."

Ex-felons' Voting Rights: During a Miami Beach NACCP forum in July 2003, this candidate expressed support for restoration of voting rights of felons who served their sentences.

Gun Policy: Dean received an "A" grade from the NRA

Abortion Policy: Dean explained that in his opinion, the government should have no say in what a woman should choose. "It’s none of the government’s business."

Environmental Policy: Dean received was not rated by the League of Conservation Voters. He is courting the environmental vote. He was the keynote speaker at the California League of Conservation Voters lunch. "As President, I would bring my commitment to our environment to the White House."
He would not sign the Kyoto global warming treaty as it stands, but negotiate to eliminate the current exemptions for under-developed countries' production of greenhouse gases.
Regarding Bush's environmental policy Dean said, "It's appalling. Essentially what he's done is try to undo most of the environmental policy in the last 50 years. Drilling in the national parks is essentially his solution to the energy dilemma. Gutting the Clean Air Act and daring to call it Clear Skies. Opening wilderness to more logging under the guise of Healthy Forests. He's even threatening our national monuments. The assaults are sweeping."

Minority Issues: In her Profile in Courage Essay Contest Prize Winning Essay, Stephanie Dziczek of Holmes High School, Covington, Kentucky, wrote "Minority champions like Dean, with the courage to hold principle and respect for all people above common opinion, are the reasons that today women can vote, African Americans are legally protected from discrimination, and homosexuals can engage in civil unions." Increased the number minorities in judgeships and other prominent positions.

Civil Liberties: Dean has not been scored by The American Civil Liberties Union. Dean, who is running on his civil rights record as governor, is well-known for signing Vermont's law legalizing gay civil unions.
The Vermont Civil Liberties Union was alarmed by then Gov. Howard Dean's call for a "re-evaluation" of some of America's civil liberties following this week's terrorist attacks. Dean said "I think there are going to be debates about what can be said where, what can be printed where, what kind of freedom of movement people have and whether it's OK for a policeman to ask for your ID just because you're walking down the street." Later Dean backed away when asked about them later. He pointed out that he was not advocating for such restrictions, merely predicting what he believed would be the salient issues in the debate. When asked what, if any, impingement he supported, Dean had no answer. "Right now (Sept 23, 2001) we have to let things cool off. Proposed changes in the Constitution ought to be served cold."  
The 2004 Online Election Democratic Primaries Debate

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