Main issues 2004 election

Main issues 2004 election

IRAQ

Bush: He argued during the election campaign that the war in Iraq made the world a safer place  
          and may act as a lead to other nations in the Middle East to strive for a democratic 
          government. He also argued that Iraq had the potential to make WMD and could have 
          informed terrorist organisations on how to do likewise.

Kerry: Kerry argued that the invasion of Iraq was a "colossal failure of judgment". He argued
          the money and manpower would have been better spent on attacking known terrorist
          organisations. Kerry stated that he would bring back home American troops within four 
          years and replace them with a US-led NATO force.

Nader: He called for a complete US withdrawal from Iraq referring to the conflict as a "quagmire".
           Nader also claimed that forces within the USA wanted to control the economic might of 
           Iraq. He wanted Arab/Muslim peacekeepers to take over the American role in Iraq.


WAR ON TERROR

Bush: Bush created the Department of Homeland Security after 9/11 with Tom Ridge at its head.
           He has also tripled the nation's spending on security and he supports more powers for the 
           government to monitor citizens' lives and to detain terrorist suspects.  

Kerry: Kerry claimed that he would put the National Guard at the head of domestic security. He
          wanted a diluted version of the Patriot Act which would give more rights to detainees. 
          Kerry wanted America to re-focus on Afghanistan in an effort to attack terrorism head on. 

Nader: Nader claimed that the war on terror was eating too much into the freedom of citizens and
            the due process of law. Nader wanted to repeal the Patriot Act and to end military 
            tribunals for civilians.

 

DEFENCE

Bush: Since 9/11, defence spending has increased to more than at any time since the Korean
          War. Bush pledged to spend even more. He has stated that he wants the first stage of
          a missile defence system ready by the end of 2004.

Kerry: Kerry wants more soldiers recruited and to attract them he would improve the salaries on 
          offer. Kerry would also invest in better equipment but was not specific about any
          sizeable increase in the military budget. He was opposed to the missile defence
          programme. 

Nader: Nader was critical of the money being currently spent on defence claiming it was
           redundant and wasteful. He wanted to use the money saved for spending on society.

GAY MARRIAGE

Bush: Bush wanted Congress to amend the Constitution so that marriage is defined as a union
          between a man and a woman thus outlawing same-sex marriages. However, Bush was
          supportive of states that passed legislation allowing for same-sex civil unions - but not
          same-sex marriage.

Kerry: Kerry was opposed to any change in the Constitution that outlawed same sex marriages, 
          but is opposed to same-sex marriage as an entity. However, he does believe that state
          governments should have the power to decide whether same sex marriages should exist
          in their state or not.

Nader: Nader believes that gays should have equal rights under the law as anybody else.
           Therefore he supports same-sex marriages. He is opposed to any change in the
           Constitution that would outlaw same-sex marriages.

ABORTION

Bush: Bush opposed abortion except in cases of rape, incest or where a woman's life is in 
          danger should a pregnancy proceed. Bush has already signed into law a ban on 
          partial-birth abortion.

Kerry: Kerry supports a woman's right to decide, though he was not supportive of late-term
          abortions except in cases where a woman's health was endangered if the pregnancy
          continued. 

Nader: He supports a woman's right to have access to a safe and legal abortion. He is opposed
           to the use of the law or the Constitution to introduce restrictions on a woman's right to 
           have an abortion.

EDUCATION

Bush: Bush favoured testing schools to measure how successful they were. His already 
          introduced act, the No Child Left Behind Act, tied federal school funding to a school's
          test results. Bush is in favour of using federal money in the form of vouchers to help those   
          parents who want to, to send their child to a private school but can't afford to do so.

Kerry: Kerry believes that the No Child Left Behind Act is not properly funded. He claimed he 
          would provide $27 billion to correct this. He would recruit more teachers and pay the
          best ones higher salaries. He is opposed to a voucher system that would allow parents
          to use the private school system.

Nader: He believes that there is too much testing in schools and that test results are the sole 
           driving force in a school to the detriment of a whole-learning environment. Nader would
           introduce pre-school education for all children.

 

ENVIRONMENT

Bush: Bush did not sign the Kyoto agreement but wants America to put more emphasis on
          hydrogen fuel technology. He remains a supporter of 'environmentally friendly' oil
          exploration in Alaska.

Kerry: He would not sign the Kyoto agreement but would fund more research into
          hydrogen-based energy technology and other clean and renewable power sources.

Nader: Nader warned that society itself was in danger of massive and irreversible 
           environmental damage unless something was done by one of the world's major
           polluters. He wants more research into renewable technology and to make energy
           use more efficient.
 

HEALTH

Bush: Bush wants to introduce tax credits for low earners who take out health insurance. Bush
          also supports the purchase of cheaper drugs from Canada and has already introduced a
          prescription drugs benefit for the elderly.

Kerry: Wants to make available to all people in America, the health care programme that exists
           for federal government employees. He would also give federal money to states to ensure
           that there was a reduction in the number of uninsured children.

Nader: Nader wants a universal government-financed healthcare programme. This would be
           delivered by non-profit making companies. he would abolish the health insurance industry
           and ban any company that seeks to make a profit from the health care sector.

BUDGET / TAXES

Bush: Bush announced that he would halve the nation's budget deficit by 2010. However, he
          also wants to make permanent his tax cuts from 2001 to 2003 that primarily benefited the 
          higher earners.

Kerry: Kerry announced that he would repeal the tax cuts of Bush for high earners and cut federal
          spending increases to the rate of inflation. The only areas that would not come under this
          would be defence, education and homeland security.

Nader: Would introduce higher taxes for the rich and businesses. Those businesses that were 
           deemed to be 'anti-social' (gambling, tobacco and alcohol industries) would be taxed
           more. 

  JOBS / TRADE

Bush: Bush promised to enforce trade agreements so that American industry competed on a 
          level playing field with other nations. Bush wants to spend more on colleges and schools
          that teach vocational skills.

Kerry: He promised to create 10 million jobs by 2009. In his first 120 days in office, he would 
          review all trade agreements so that any nation trading with America would have 
          acceptable labour and environmental standards.       

Nader: He wanted an expansion of the public infrastructure to create jobs. Nader wanted to
           promote better standards of trade that promoted better working conditions and 
           environmental standards abroad.

GUN CONTROL

Bush: Wants to introduce legislation protecting gun manufacturers from lawsuits brought on by
          victims of gun crime. He is against extending a ban on assault weapons that ended in 
          September 2004. Bush still sees people as the problem , not guns.

Kerry: Wants the compulsory introduction of child safety locks. Also wants legislation introduced
           to bring in checks on those people who buy guns at shows.

Nader: Wants trigger locks introduced and more general gun control legislation - especially
           to stop guns falling into the hands of criminals. Wants weapons such as assault weapons 
           banned.





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