Thursday, October 14, 2004

FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE

The following are excerpts from last night’s presidential debate at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz.:

Sen. John Kerry: The fact is that he’s cut job-training money. A billion dollars was cut. They only added a little bit back this year ‘cause it’s an election year. They’ve cut the Pell Grants and the Perkins Loans to help kids be able to go to college. They’ve cut the training money. They’ve wound up not even extending unemployment benefits and not even extending health care to those people who are unemployed. …

President Bush: Whew! Let me start with the Pell grants. In his last litany of — of misstatements, he said we cut Pell Grants. We’ve increased Pell Grants by a million students. That’s a fact.

You know, he talks to the workers. Let me talk to the workers: You’ve got more money in your pocket as a result of the tax relief we passed and he opposed. If you have a child, you got a $1,000 child credit. That’s money in your pocket. If you’re married, we reduced the marriage penalty. … We created a 10 percent bracket to help lower-income Americans. A family of four making $40,000 received about $1,700 in tax relief.



It’s your money. The way my opponent talks, he said we’re going to spend the government’s money. No, we’re spending your money. And when you have more money in your pocket, you’re able to better afford things you want. …

My opponent talks about fiscal sanity. His record in the United States Senate does not match his rhetoric. He voted to increase taxes 98 times and to bust the budget 277 times. …

Mr. Kerry: Bob, anybody can play with these votes. Everybody knows that. I have supported or voted for tax cuts over 600 times. I broke with my party in order to balance the budget, and Ronald Reagan signed into law the tax cut that we voted for. I voted for IRA tax cuts. I voted for small-business tax cuts.

But you know why the Pell Grants have gone up in their numbers? Because more people qualify for them because they don’t have money. But they’re not getting the $5,100 the president promised them. They’re getting less money. There are more people who qualify. That’s not what we want.

Mr. Bush: Senator, no one is playing with your votes. You voted to increase taxes 98 times. When … they proposed reducing taxes, you voted against it 126 times. He voted to violate the budget caps 277 times.

You know, there’s a mainstream in American politics and you sit right on the far left bank. As a matter of fact, your record is such that Ted Kennedy, your colleague, is the conservative senator from Massachusetts. …

Bob Schieffer, CBS News, moderator: Both of you are opposed to gay marriage. But to understand how you have come to that conclusion, I want to ask you a more basic question. Do you believe homosexuality is a choice?

Mr. Bush: You know, Bob, I don’t know. I just don’t know. I do know that we have a choice to make in America, and that is to treat people with tolerance and respect and dignity. …

But as we respect someone’s rights and we, you know, profess tolerance, we shouldn’t change — or have to change our basic views on the sanctity of marriage. I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I think it’s very important that we protect marriage as an institution between a man and a woman. …

Mr. Kerry: We’re all God’s children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney’s daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she’s being who she was, she’s being who she was born as.

I think if you talked to anybody, it’s not choice. I’ve met people who struggled with this for years, people who were in a marriage, because they were living a sort of convention, and they struggled with it. And I’ve met wives who are supportive of their husbands, or vice versa, when they finally sort of broke out and — and allowed themselves to live who they were, who they felt God had made them. I think we have to respect that.

The president and I share the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. I believe that. … But I also believe that because we are the United States of America, we’re a country with a great, unbelievable Constitution with rights that we afford people, that you can’t discriminate in the workplace, you can’t discriminate in the rights that you afford people. You can’t disallow someone the right to visit their partner in a hospital. You have to allow people to transfer property, which is why I’m for partnership rights and so forth. …

Mr. Schieffer: Senator Kerry, a new question for you. The New York Times reports that some Catholic archbishops are telling their church members that it would be a sin to vote for a candidate like you because you support a woman’s right to choose an abortion and unlimited stem-cell research. What is your reaction to that?

Mr. Kerry: I respect their views. I completely respect their views. I am a Catholic and I grew up learning how to respect those views, but I disagree with them, as do many. I believe that I can’t legislate or transfer to another American citizen my article of faith. What is an article of faith for me is not something that I can legislate on somebody who doesn’t share that article of faith. I believe that choice is a woman’s choice. It’s between a woman, God and her doctor, and that’s why I support that.

Now, I will not allow somebody to come in and change Roe v. Wade. The president has never said whether or not he would do that, but we know from the people he’s tried to appoint to the court he wants to.

I will not. I will defend the right of Roe v. Wade. …

Mr. Bush: I think it’s important to promote a culture of life. I think a hospitable society is a society where every being counts and every person matters. I believe the ideal world is one in which every child is protected in law and welcomed to life. I understand there’s great differences on this issue of abortion, but I believe reasonable people can come together and put good law in place that will help reduce the number of abortions.

Take, for example, the ban on partial-birth abortion. It’s a brutal practice. People from both political parties came together in the halls of Congress and voted overwhelmingly to ban that practice. It made a lot of sense. My opponent, in that he’s out of the mainstream, voted against that law.

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