Democratic Response to Bush Speech at Republican Convention

provided by Kerry-Edwards 2004

For Immediate Release

Senator John Kerry released the following statement tonight in response to President Bush’s convention speech:

“The election comes down to this. If you believe this country is heading in the right direction, you should support George Bush. But if you believe America needs to move in a new direction, join with us. John and I offer a better plan that will make us stronger at home and more respected in the world. And we need your help to do that.

“I believe it's time to move America in a new direction; I believe it's time to set a new course for America. And we have a specific plan to do just that. So tomorrow morning, John and Elizabeth and Teresa and I are hitting the road across America’s heartland. From here, we’ll go out and talk with Americans in towns across Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan. And because a stronger America begins at home, we’ll talk about our plan to create jobs, cut taxes for the middle class, lower health care costs, and make America safer and more secure.”

George W. Bush’s Failed Presidency in One Speech: 4 Years of Failure; No New Ideas; Negative, False Attacks

After Four Years:

  • Bush Has a Record of Failure on Key Issues:  Jobs, Economy, Health Care, Homeland Security and National Security.
  • Bush Has Failed to Come Up With a Single New Idea To Change His Course of Failure.
  • Bush Continued His Negative Campaign of Misleading about John Kerry’s Record.
  • Bush Has Failed America

Bush Failed To Protect Our Homeland from Attack
First, Bush opposed the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.  Since 9/11, he’s failed to adequately fund our nation’s first responders, cutting first responder training grants by nearly half in his 2005 budget. Bush has failed to secure the nation’s ports and borders, properly screen air and sea cargo, or create a unified terror watch list. Today, only 5 percent of the cargo coming into the nation’s ports is properly screened, most air cargo goes unscreened, and only one border agent is available for patrol per every 5 miles of the U.S. Canadian border.  Bush has cut funding for first responder training by nearly half, cut port security grants by 75 percent, and has plans to cut DHS funding by $1 billion if he is re-elected. [; Desert Morning News, 7/20/03; The Hill, 4/30/03; Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 8/01/04; Washington Post, 5/27/04]

Bush Failed America’s Kids by Breaking His Word on Education

In total, Bush’s budget requests have underfunded No Child Left Behind by $27 billion.  Twenty-two state legislatures have considered over the past two years calling for changes in No Child Left Behind or opting out of the legislation altogether. Additionally, Bush has continually broken his 2000 campaign promise to increase Pell Grant awards to $5,100, leaving needy college students without the resources they need to pay for skyrocketing tuition costs. [;; The Wallace Foundation,; GAO, May 2003; Center for Education Policy, May 2004 Education Week, 1/7/04]

Bush Failed On Health Care: America Is Sicker Under Bush
The number of uninsured has swelled under Bush by 5.2 million to a total of 45.0 million, 15.6 percent of the total population. Since 2000, the percentage of Americans with health coverage through their job has dropped 3.2 percent to just 60.4 percent. [Census Bureau, Current Population Reports]

Families are paying $792 (49 percent) more in health expenses and individuals are paying $168 (50 percent) more than just four years ago. [Kaiser/HRET Survey of Employer Health Benefits 2003]

Although Bush signed his Medicare bill in December 2003, seniors will not see cheaper prescription prices when it is implemented in 2006, because it does nothing to control the rising cost of drugs. According to Consumers Union, “most beneficiaries will face higher out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs after full implementation, despite the benefit.” [Consumers Union, 11/17/03]

Bush Failed Our Troops With His Failure To Build A Real Coalition
At least 976 American troops have been killed in Iraq, accounting for nearly 90% of the casualties.  The 138,000 American troops in Iraq comprise nearly 90% of the troops in the coalition. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) said about the Iraq war: “We weren’t prepared for an occupation. We made a tremendous amount of mistakes. We did essentially go after this in a unilateral way.”  [Brookings Institution, “Iraq Index,” 9/1/04; CNN, “Inside Politics,” 7/1/04]

Bush’s Failure to Have a Single New Idea

Bush Leaves 99% of Country Behind On Jobs
In a desperate, last minute attempt to say something about the 2.7 million manufacturing jobs that have been lost, George Bush is renaming existing government programs as Opportunity Zones.  Now, George Bush will pick 20 lucky communities to get tax credits for small businesses and job creation.  He has nothing to offer the other 3,121 counties – 99 percent of America is left out of George Bush’s plan.

Bush Recycles Tired Social Security Privatization Scheme

In the 2000 campaign George Bush released his Social Security plans – it was four principles plus a Social Security Commission.  This time around, George Bush is releasing the same exact plan.  But he’s not telling you that his Commission already met, came up with a plan, and that it would cut benefits by up to 45 percent, borrow $2 trillion over the next decade to pay for the transition, and tax away 80 percent of the individual account that the worker supposedly owns.  [Social Security Administration, Office of the Actuary, “Estimates of Financial Effects for Three Models Developed by the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security,” January 31, 2002 and CBO, “Long-term Analysis of Plan 2 of the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security,” 7/21/2004]

Bush’s Recycled Health Plan Actually Drives Costs Up

With health care premiums for families up 50 percent since George W. Bush took office, he failed to offer any new plans to help middle class families.  The same old plans he offered will do nothing but increase costs and threaten coverage for millions of families.  [Kaiser Family Foundation; CBO]

Bush Has Learned Nothing on Education In Four Years
Bush says he wants to reform America’s high schools, but he has had four years and has failed to do it.  Bush can talk all he wants about new education proposals, but America’s families know that he hasn’t gotten the job done. Bush has fallen $27 billion short of funding No Child Left Behind and has allowed one-third of American students to drop out of high school. He has weakened accountability in high schools and pushed out low-achieving students.  Yet again, President Bush is trying to cover up his record of failure over the last four years.

Bush Wants to Raise Taxes on Middle Class By Billions
Brookings Economist William Gale writes, “To replace all federal taxes on a revenue-neutral basis over the next 10 years would require a sales tax rate of about 60 percent.”  To cover just income taxes, the national sales tax would have to be at least 26 percent.  [William Gale, “A Note on the Required Tax Rate in a National Retail Sales Tax,” 8/12/04]

Bush Continues to Mislead about John Kerry’s Record

Bush Is Misleading About John Kerry and Prescription Drugs

John Kerry opposed Bush’s Windfall for the Drug Companies. He Worked in the Senate to Make Prescription Drugs Affordable.  Kerry favors broad-based Medicare prescription drug coverage such as the one he voted for in 2002. [AP, 6/27/03] 

Bush Is Misleading about John Kerry’s Plan to Cut Taxes

John Kerry and John Edwards Will Cut Taxes for 98 Percent of American Families and 99 Percent of Businesses.  John Kerry strongly supports the sensible tax cuts for the middle class such as repealing the marriage penalty, keeping the child tax credit and tax relief for small. John Kerry will repeal the tax giveaways to the rich and close the offshore loopholes which allow American companies not to pay their fair share. “Kerry called for deeper tax cuts for the middle class than proposed by Bush” [AP, 3/10/04]

Bush Is Misleading About John Kerry and Reagan

Kerry Spoke Out against Ethical and Legal Lapses Of Reagan Administration.
Kerry, a freshman senator from Massachusetts, the home state of Michael Dukakis, promised that in a Dukakis administration, "the government that makes the laws will not break the law.  "And in the America of Jesse Jackson," he said, "the government that says no to drugs will not say yes to General Noriega."  "It is time that we once again had a government of laws and not of law-breakers. It's time we had an attorney general of the United States who is an agent of justice and not the target of criminal investigation," Kerry declared.  The liberal Democrat raised the ethics issue two days after a special prosecutor released a long-awaited report on Attorney General Edwin Meese III saying the nation's top law enforcement official "probably" violated federal law in his personal finances but committed no crimes in the Wedtech scandal.  [AP, 7/21/1988]

Bush Is Misleading about John Kerry’s Votes on Iraq

Kerry Objected To Bush’s Failure to Develop a Real Plan in Iraq.  Kerry opposed spending $87 billion -- at the expense of health care, education and domestic priorities here at home -- without a strategy that protects the troops and makes America safer. Rather than asking for shared sacrifice from Americans, Bush refused to repeal any of his tax cut for the wealthiest to pay for rebuilding Iraq.  John Kerry, along with Joe Biden, proposed an amendment to spread the sacrifice.

provided by Kerry-Edwards 2004