Archive for Sunday, September 12, 2004

Bush and Kerry: Where they stand

September 12, 2004


Highlights of the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates' positions on a selection of issues:


Support abortion rights?

President Bush: Only in cases of rape or incest or when a woman's life is endangered.

Democrat John Kerry: Yes.


Bush: Record deficits in a time of war, terrorism and tax cuts. Says annual deficits can be cut by half in five years but has not fully explained how.

Kerry: Cut deficit by half, at least, in first term, in part through repeal of Bush tax cuts for wealthier Americans. Has not fully explained how he'd achieve goal in light of major health, education and military spending.

Death penalty

Bush: Supports.

Kerry: Opposes "other than in cases of real international and domestic terrorism."


Bush: Passed $1.7 trillion in tax cuts and stimulus. Favors $3,000 accounts to help unemployed with job-search expenses. Make temporary tax cuts permanent. Ease business regulations.

Kerry: Repeal tax cuts for richest Americans. Spend on highways, school construction, pollution cleanup, energy projects and more to create 3 million jobs in 500 days.


Bush: Tightened standards for teachers, schools and student achievement. Favors vouchers to help some attend private schools.

Kerry: $3.2 billion plan for high school students that would pay for four-year public college tuition. Backed tougher school standards but says emphasis on test scores should be reduced and additional factors considered in measuring progress. Opposes vouchers.


Bush record: Withdrew from Kyoto treaty on global warming. Reversed pledge to regulate industrial emissions of carbon dioxide. Accelerated cleanup of old industrial sites. Proposes first national cap on mercury emissions and reductions in nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide.

Kerry: No drilling in Arctic wildlife refuge. Higher mileage standards. $20 billion from petroleum royalties to be used for cleaner energy. Independent of Middle East oil in 10 years.

Gay rights

Bush: Proposes constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Kerry: Opposes gay marriage, also opposes constitutional amendment against it. Supports gay civil unions.


Bush: Favors granting gun makers immunity from civil lawsuits. Backed congressional maneuvers letting ban on assault-type weapons expire.

Kerry: Supports ban on assault-type weapons and requiring background checks at gun shows. Opposes immunity to gun makers.

Health care

Bush: Number of Americans without health insurance has risen in his presidency to nearly 45 million from nearly 40 million. Won passage of prescription drug benefit for older Americans that subsidizes costs for low-income patients and encourages private insurance companies to offer coverage for older people who opt out of traditional Medicare. New tax-free medical savings accounts in place.

Kerry: Subsidies for children, unemployed, small companies and more to help extend coverage to some 27 million of the uninsured and restrain premiums. Government to help pay for extraordinary medical costs for insurers and employers who keep premiums for workers down.

Iraq war

Bush: Swift military victory followed by violent aftermath, with more than 1,000 U.S. deaths. Won passage of $87 billion for continued military operations, aid in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kerry: Supported going to war but now says he did so based on faulty U.S. intelligence. Opposed $87 billion package. Aim to begin troop withdrawal in six months and complete it in four years, persuading allies to commit more forces.

Retirement-Social Security

Bush: Give younger workers the option of putting part of their payroll tax into personal retirement accounts, in return for smaller Social Security benefits.

Kerry: Opposes partial privatization of Social Security. Would require companies switching to cheaper lump-sum pension plans to offer retiring workers the choice of staying with traditional company pension.

Stem-cell research

Bush: Limited federal research money to embryonic stem-cell lines in existence in August 2001. No controls on private embryonic stem-cell research.

Kerry: Would reverse Bush's restrictions and put money into research using new stem-cell lines.

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