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Washington governor's race : Dec. 30, 2004

Democrat declared victor; Republican doesn't concede

After three vote tallies and 58 days of waiting, Democrat Christine Gregoire was declared Washington's governor-elect on Thursday. But her Republican rival did not concede and wants a new election.

Secretary of State Sam Reed, a Republican, certified Gregoire, the three-term attorney general, as the winner of the closest governor's race in state history. She won a statewide hand recount by a scant 129 votes out of more than 2.8 million cast. While there were mistakes, Reed told a news conference, "at this time there is nothing that appears fraudulent."

But Republican candidate Dino Rossi, a former state legislative leader and real-estate investor, said the election was hopelessly flawed and that the Legislature should authorize a new election. He won both of the earlier counts.

A revote would have to be approved by the Democrat-controlled state Legislature.

"The uncertainty surrounding this election process isn't just bad for you and me -- it is bad for the entire state," Rossi said, reading from a letter he said he sent to Gregoire. "People need to know for sure that the next governor actually won the election." An unprecedented statewide hand recount had put Gregoire ahead for the first time, by just a tiny fraction of 1 percent.

After the election, more than 700 ballots surfaced in the heavily Democratic county, which includes Seattle. The additional votes allowed Gregoire to stretch her lead from just 10 votes in the hand recount to her triple-digit advantage. A legal challenge would have to be filed by January 22, 10 days after Gregoire's scheduled inauguration.

Gov. Gary Locke said he strongly disagreed with Rossi's call for another election. "The people have voted, and all votes properly cast were counted," said Locke, a Democrat who's retiring after two terms.

Amid the weeks of uncertainty, both Gregoire and Rossi have maintained transition offices, appointing teams to work on a state budget, Cabinet appointments and an agenda for the upcoming Legislature.

Rossi had been using the title "governor-elect," and his family even toured the Governor's Mansion.

Source: CNN.com
Click for more headlines by outgoing governor Gary Locke

Colin Powell resigns : Nov. 15 - Dec. 15, 2004

Follows Ashcroft, Evans, and Abraham

The White House is expected to announce that U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell will resign from the Bush administration, according to a U.S. official. Powell told his aides today that he would be leaving, officials told The Associated Press, on condition of anonymity. Several reports had previously speculated that Powell would not participate in a second-term Cabinet under U.S. President George Bush.

News of Powell's pending resignation comes amid a series of step downs by prominent members of Bush's cabinet. Last week, Attorney General John Ashcroft and Commerce Secretary Don Evans both announced their resignations. Ashcroft was replaced by White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, a Texas confidant and one of the most prominent Hispanics in the administration.

Other resignations announced or expected this week: Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham announced his resignation Monday, and the White House is expected to announce later today the resignation of Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman.

The White House also announced Monday the resignation of Education Secretary Rod Paige. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice is the "likely" choice to succeed Powell, a senior U.S. official told CNN.

As for Powell, it's been widely reported that he found himself sidelined on several occasions by such heavyweights as Vice-President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Secretary of State Colin PowellNational Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice
Attorney General John AshcroftWhite House counsel Alberto Gonzales
Energy Secretary Spencer AbrahamCabot Corp. CEO Sam Bodman
Agriculture Secretary Ann VenemanNebraska Gov. Mike Johanns
Education Secretary Rod PaigeWhite House domestic policy adviser Margaret Spellings
Homeland Security Secretary Tom RidgeNew York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik
Judge Michael Chertoff
Commerce Secretary Don EvansKellogg's CEO Carlos Gutierrez
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy ThompsonEPA Director Mike Leavitt
EPA Director Mike Leavitt 
Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson 

Source: CTV.ca (Canadian TV) and CNN.com
Click for more headlines by Colin Powell or our Cabinet Page

David Cobb on Ohio Recount: Nov 30, 2004

Libertarian and Green Party presidential candidates sue for recount

Something went seriously wrong in Ohio on Election Day. On Nov. 13 and 15, hearings conducted by the Ohio Election Protection Coalition in Columbus featured oral and written testimony from a number of voters, poll workers, precinct judges and legal observers.

The testimony confirmed numerous complaints tracked by election-watchdog organizations and investigative journalists since Nov. 2. Those who testified told stories of the obstruction and disqualification of legitimate voters, malfunctioning computer voting machines, and prohibitively long lines for too few machines.

A pattern emerged: The complaints came disproportionately from blacks, young people, and precincts where Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry had strong support.

As the Green Party presidential candidate, I have a statutory right to demand a recount of the presidential vote in Ohio. On Nov. 11, I announced my intention to invoke that right, joined by Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik. We were compelled to demand a recount by widespread reports of irregularities, to ensure that the final tally is accurate and to restore faith in the electoral process.

...Neither Badnarik nor I has a partisan interest in seeing either Kerry or George W. Bush in the White House. But we do have an interest - and a responsibility, as candidates and American citizens - in ensuring the fairness of elections and integrity of vote counts.

...Badnarik and I are also asking Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell to recuse himself from any involvement in the recount. Blackwell supervised the presidential vote at the same time that he served as co-chairperson of the Bush campaign in Ohio. This is an unfortunate reprise of the 2000 fiasco in Florida, when Secretary of State Katherine Harris was also the chairwoman of the Bush campaign and the person responsible for counting the presidential vote. Votes should be counted by an independent election commission, not by overtly partisan politicians.

Like many Americans, I was, to say the least, disappointed that Kerry conceded the election so quickly on Nov. 3, despite his promise that all votes be counted. My disappointment stemmed not from a desire to see Kerry elected, but a desire to see that everyone who cast a ballot would have their vote counted. For many Democratic Party leaders, on the other hand, the lesson of the 2000 Florida scandal seems to be that controversy must be avoided, even if votes go uncounted or serious allegations don't get investigated.

For those of us in the Green Party, however, the lesson of 2000 is that the fight for voting rights didn't end with the reforms of the civil-rights movement. It goes on today, in Ohio and elsewhere.

Regardless of whether a recount changes the outcome of the election, we must protect the right to vote and the right for all votes to be counted. Either every vote is sacred, or democracy is a sham.

Source: Op-Ed article by David Cobb, publihsed in numerous newspapers
Click for more headlines by David Cobb and Michael Badnarik

Jesse Jackson on Ohio recount: Nov 29, 2004

Rev. Jackson organizes election recount

The Rev. Jesse Jackson says Ohioans should not stand for the way elections were run in Ohio Nov. 2, and he planned to bring his message directly to Cincinnati today, calling for an investigation of the voting process in Ohio. He said the rally this morning and one Sunday night in Columbus were to serve as "a kind of statewide sharing of experiences" that would mobilize citizens and result in "collective state action.

"We are pulling people together from around the state," Jackson, president of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition said in a telephone interview Sunday. "The Ohio race has not yet been (decided) because of so many irregularities 26 days after the election."

Jackson on Sunday called for a recount of votes and said the Ohio Supreme Court should consider setting aside President Bush's victory Nov. 2. Jackson and others are complaining about uncounted punch-card votes, disqualified provisional ballots, discrepancies between exit polling and results, and too many votes counted for President Bush in Ohio. Bush defeated Democrat John Kerry in Ohio by 136,000 votes, according to unofficial results.

Jackson also said that there was a disparity in voting machinery used in suburban and urban neighborhoods. "The suburban communities had ample machines," he said. "In inner cities, we had people (waiting) five or six hours in line. That was no doubt targeted."

Kerry has already conceded the race. Jackson said he thought it was possible a recount could change the outcome of the election, but said it was more important to get votes counted. "This is about the integrity of the vote. This is not about the Kerry campaign," said Jackson, who supported Kerry.

On the morning of Nov. 3, less than 12 hours after Ohio's final votes were cast, Kerry called Bush to congratulate him on his victory. His campaign figured he would not get enough of the 155,000 provisional ballots, or those cast by voters whose registrations could not be confirmed at polling places, to overtake Bush's total.

The counting of provisional ballots and wide gaps in vote totals for Kerry and other Democrats on the ballots in certain counties have raised too many questions to let the vote stand without further examination, Jackson said. "We can live with winning and losing. We cannot live with fraud and stealing," Jackson said.

Attorney Cliff Arnebeck, who has represented political activist groups, said he would ask the Ohio Supreme Court, probably on Wednesday, to take a look at the election results. If the court decides to hear the case, it can declare a new winner or throw the results out.

    Since the election, several complaints have surfaced:
  • The Green and Libertarian parties asked a U.S. District Court judge to order an immediate recount. The judge agreed with the state that a recount cannot begin until Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell certifies the statewide vote, sometime between Dec. 3 and 6. The two parties are raising the $113,600, or $10 per precinct statewide, needed to force a recount.
  • People for the American Way, a national watchdog group, is trying to stop the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in Cleveland from rejecting 8,099 of the 24,472 provisional ballots cast there. The ballots were thrown out because voters did not properly complete them or cast them at polling places that were not their own.
  • An error was detected in an electronic voting system, giving President Bush 3,893 extra votes in suburban Columbus. Elections officials caught the glitch and the votes will not be added to the official tally. Some groups also have complained about thousands of punch-card ballots that were not tallied because officials in the 68 counties that use them could not determine a vote for president. Votes for other offices on the cards were counted.
  • The Ohio Democratic Party believes every effort should be made to get an accurate count, but it is not planning legal action of its own, spokesman Dan Trevas said.
Source: Cincinnati Post, staff and wire reports
Click for more headlines by Rev. Jesse Jackson

Kerry concedes to Bush: Nov. 3, 2004

Senate results: GOP gains 4 seats

Sen. John Kerry called President George W. Bush to concede from his Beacon Hill home Wednesday morning after a long, tense night of vote counting. Sources said that Kerry would deliver a statement by midday.

Earlier Wednesday, supporters who waited for hours to see Kerry deliver a victory speech at a rally in Copley Square were greeted by the senator's running mate -- North Carolina Sen. John Edwards at about 2:30 a.m. "John Kerry and I made a promise to the American people that with this election, every vote would count and every vote would be counted," Edwards said. "Tonight we are keeping our word and we will fight for every vote. You deserve no less."

With 270 Electoral College votes needed to win, Bush won 28 states for 254 votes, and Kerry won 20 states and the District of Columbia for 252 states. All eyes remained on Ohio, which was yet to be declared, but Bush appeared to be leading the popular vote in the Buckeye State. Democrats said that up to 250,000 uncounted votes may be in the form of provisional ballots in Ohio -- votes that are not counted until late in the election process because they have to be evaluated. Provisional ballots are handed to voters who fail to meet certain qualifications at the polling place.
Senate results

Source: WCVB-TV, theBostonChannel.com and numerous sources for Senate results
Click for more headlines by John Kerry or George W. Bush

Oct. 31, 2004: Our presidential election prediction

We predict: Bush will win popular vote; Kerry will win electoral vote

OnTheIssues predicts that Bush will win the popular vote. But Kerry will win the electoral race by a dozen electoral votes. We base our election prediction on the results of the 1998 gubernatorial election in Minnesota, where Jesse Ventura was polling down three points the weekend before the election, yet won the election by three points. A spread of six points is greater than the margin of error in any serious poll, and understanding why Ventura won -- and why the polls were wrong -- is the basis of our presidential prediction.

Pollsters don't actually report the number of people who say they're going to vote for Bush or Kerry. The pollsters adjust the raw numbers by factors that account for historical demographic trends. For example, if only 25% of people aged 18-25 voted in the previous election, then anyone in that demographic group is discounted by 75% in polls in the current election. That's called 'normalization' by the pollsters, and is built into every scientific poll. The question for the presidential race is: 'Which states have factors that would make the pollsters wrong?'

The reason that Jesse Ventura beat the pollster results is because young people came out to vote more than they did in previous elections. That's not surprising, because the turnout among 18-25 year-olds is historically very low, and Ventura was very popular among that group. Ventura had to his advantage 'same-day voter registration' in Minnesota, which enticed many young people to register and vote that day. This year, Kerry has to his advantage several large-scale voter registration efforts focused on young people. Hence we predict that the 18-25 demographic will turn out to vote more than in the 2000 election, and that the pollsters are not picking that up.

The second half of the equation is whether newly-registered young voters will vote for Kerry. That is the historical trend -- that young people vote more Democratic and more against the incumbent. Hence Edwards said today, 'If you see young people lined up to vote, we're gonna win,' and we agree that that's likely to happen. If young people vote disproportionately for Bush, then our prediction will be proven wrong.

The other low-voting group which we predict will turn out in greater-than-historical numbers are black males. That's one of the lowest-voting demographics in the country, but this year we predict a change. Black males were the focus of the 2000 Florida problems, and felt particularly disenfranchised by the results there. As with young people, there have been several large-scale organized efforts to increase registration and turnout among black males. That demographic votes even more Democratic than young people -- often up to 90%-10% Democrat vs. Republican -- which can mean huge numbers in Florida, Ohio, and any place with large black populations.

Republicans have organized numerous large-scale registration and get-out-the-vote efforts as well. Their focus have been in corporate workplaces and in churches, and especially via anti-gay marriage ballot initiatives in 11 states. It is possible that those efforts will overrule the polling results -- especially in the 11 states with the ballot initiatives -- on the same grounds as above. But the Republican-targeted groups vote in much higher numbers than the Democrat-targeted groups, and hence there is less room for improvement. And it's the room-for-improvement that the polling numbers do not pick up. The ballot initiatives may cause Bush to score an upset over the pollsters' Kerry-ahead predictions in Michigan and Oregon -- and give us confidence in predicting a Bush victory in Ohio and Arkansas despite tight races there.

There's one more factor to consider. Many people don't like to tell pollsters who they will vote for, which the pollsters report as 'undecided'. Those people often don't like incumbents, for the same reasons as they won't tell pollsters their preference. What we see as healthy American iconoclasm means any incumbent has to have a strong lead among voters who call themselves undecided, because those voters tend to vote for the challenger. That factor could amount to another percentage point or two, since the 'undecided vote' is running at 3-4 points this weekend. Typical analyses give the undecided vote to Kerry by a factor of two-to-one, which means another net gain for Kerry of a couple of percentage points over what the pollsters show.

Now onto the specific numbers. OnTheIssues uses electoral-vote.com as our source of polling information, which you can see at ontheissues.org/elect_frm.htm. If Bush or Kerry is ahead by more than 3 points -- strong support -- that state is very likely going to go for that candidate. Based on the analysis above, we predict that Kerry will win states in which neither candidate is three points ahead, with some exceptions below. The contentious states (with electoral vote count shown) that we predict will go to Kerry are:

  • WV (5) - Bush up by 3-5 points.
  • CO (9) - Bush up by 3-5 points.
  • VA (13) - Bush up by 3 points.
  • HI (4) - Bush up by 1 point.
  • NM (5) - tied in the polls.
  • NH (4) - tied in the polls.
  • NV (5) - tied in the polls.
  • MI (17) - Kerry up by 1 point.
  • IA (7) - Kerry up by 1 point.
  • FL (27) - Kerry up by 1-2 points.
  • PA (21) - Kerry up by 3 points.
  • MN (10) - Kerry up by 3 points.
  • NJ (15) - Kerry up by 3-5 points.
  • WI (10) - Kerry up by 3-6 points.
All the pundits have been predicting Ohio as the Florida of 2004 (i.e., the most contentious state). Bush is currently up by 4-5 points in Ohio. With that size lead, we predict Bush will win Ohio despite the factors in the above analysis -- the gay-marriage surge for Bush will counter the youth-vote surge for Kerry. The overall count is:
  • 171 electoral votes in strong pro-Kerry states
  • 215 electoral votes in strong pro-Bush states
  • 152 electoral votes in the states listed above, which we predict go to Kerry, 104-48.

The sum of the above is that Kerry wins the electoral vote 275-263. We predict that Virginia, West Virginia, and Colorado will be too close to call before Wednesday morning but will go to Bush. Hawaii would go to Kerry based on our analysis, but Cheney spent the weekend there which we predict will be decisive. The surge based on gay-marriage ballot initiatives will give Bush a win in Michigan, we predict. The next most likely state where Bush would benefit from the gay-marriage surge is Oregon, but Kerry is ahead by 6 points. If you see Oregon going for Bush on Tuesday evening, Bush will certainly win a landslide -- adding Oregon to our numbers above gives Bush a 270-268 victory but winning Oregon would imply other unexpected victories. We don't see any chance for Bush in Wisconsin or N.J., but we include them on the list because some pundits have declared them contested. Missouri and Arizona, also on some swing-state lists, look like safe Bush bets to us.

We also predict that Bush will win the popular vote. Bush is behind in 5 large-population states: CA, NY, IL, PA, and FL. Of course he will still get around 40%-45% of the vote in each of those states, millions of votes which will count for zero electoral votes. We hope for a electoral-vote-popular-vote split again because voters will be so dismayed at the system that we will do away with the electoral college, which we view as a step forward for democracy. In fact, Colorado may split their 9 electoral votes this year, by a ballot initiative on just that topic. We endorse seeing the electoral college done away with -- if several large states adopted Colorado's system (or the existing split-vote systems of Nebraska and Maine) then the electoral college would effectively be gone -- and good riddance!

We are not endorsing Kerry -- we don't endorse candidates but we do endorse political participation and we especially endorse voting based on the issues. We note for the record that in 2000 we similarly predicted a Bush popular vote victory and a Gore electoral vote victory and we were incorrect on both counts (although few pundits predicted a split, and we did). If we're as wrong in 2004 as we were in 2000, we'll be the first to tell our viewers 'ignore the polls and the pundits' because we already encourage that. And viewers should note that this prediction is based on very wonkish concepts -- we wholeheartedly admit to being wonks!

Source: OnTheIssues.org editorial by Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief
Click for the Electoral Map

Gay marriage on ballot in 11 states: Oct 30, 2004

May help Bush win Michigan and Ohio

Voters in 11 states will decide Tuesday whether to impose constitutional bans on same-sex marriage. Rarely in American history have so many voters -- close to one-fifth of the electorate -- had a chance on a single Election Day to express themselves on such a highly contentious social issue. Most, if not all, of the bans are expected to win approval, though national gay-rights groups are spending heavily in Oregon and a few other states in hopes of avoiding a shutout. The 11 ballot items result from a backlash to the court ruling almost a year ago that made Massachusetts the only state with legalized gay marriage. Seeking extra protection against any comparable future rulings, legislators in five states and signature-gathering citizens' groups in six states placed proposed constitutional amendments on Tuesday's ballots that would limit marriage to one man-one woman unions.

The proposed amendments in Mississippi, Montana and Oregon refer only to marriage. Those in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma and Utah would ban civil unions as well, and those extra provisions have generated extra controversy. In Ohio, several top Republicans, including Gov. Bob Taft, oppose the amendment -- even though its presence on the ballot is viewed as a potential benefit to President Bush. In Michigan, another presidential battleground, the state AFL-CIO has condemned the amendment as a threat to domestic partnership benefits offered by public employers.

Already this year, voters in Missouri and Louisiana have weighed in on the issue, with marriage amendments winning more than 70 percent of the vote in both states. Louisiana's amendment was later struck down in state court. Recent polls showed support for the amendments at 76 percent in Oklahoma and Kentucky, 65 percent in Arkansas, 60 percent or more in Michigan, 59 percent in Montana, 57 percent in Ohio.

Source: Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle
Click for more headlines by George W. Bush

CNN checks facts in presidential race: Oct 29, 2004

Click here for more Fact-Check excerpts

    CNN Fact Check on statements by Bush and Kerry:
  • Abortion: Yes, Kerry did vote against Unborn Victims act
  • Budget & Economy: Yes, Kerry’s proposals do add up to $900B
  • Civil Rights: Yes, Kerry would change Patriot Act, as Bush claims
  • Corporations: Yes, Cheney has received $2M from Halliburton
  • Corporations: Yes, Halliburton got $7B in no-bid Iraq contracts
  • Energy & Oil: No, Kerry never voted for a 50-cent gas tax hike
  • Government Reform: Yes, Kerry was absent from Senate 76% in 2003
  • Health Care: Yes, Bush opposed drug reimports, but so did Clinton
  • Homeland Security: No, Kerry voted FOR 16 out of 19 defense packages
  • Jobs: Bush lost 1.6M PRIVATE jobs, gained some in gov’t
  • Principles & Values: No, Kerry is 11th most liberal, not 1st in Senate
  • Social Security: Yes, Kerry did vote to tax benefits, but to fund Medicare
  • Tax Reform: No, Kerry did not vote 350 times to raise taxes
  • War & Peace: Yes, Bush gave 23 different rationales for war
  • War & Peace: Yes, troops had inadequate body armor
Source: CNN Fact-Check
Click for more headlines by John Kerry or George W. Bush

N.H. Senate race: Granny D debates Judd Gregg : Oct. 23, 2004

Click here for excerpts from the debate
or click here for excerpts from other Senate debates in MO, FL, OH, UT, and GA.

During the debate, the 94 year old Haddock said doctors told he she was fit to run. But at the end of the evening, she pretty much acknowledged she didn't expect to beat Judd Gregg in his bid for a third term in the Senate.

Haddock said she thought her campaign served another purpose beyond this election. "My real victory will be this. Future candidates far better than I must step forward, and agree to run for office without taking a dime of special interest money. We must stand up for the idea that our democracy can be much more than what we see in Washington."

If she should get elected, Haddock would turn 100 years old in the final year of her first term. That would make her the second Senator to reach the century mark. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina served until he was 100.

Source: David Darman, New Hampshire Public Radio
Click for more headlines by Granny D or Judd Gregg

Bill Clinton hits the campaign trail: Oct 25, 2004

Clinton: "Choose hope over fear"

Former President Clinton Monday told supporters in Philadelphia they should choose hope over fear by choosing Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., for president. "My fellow Americans, we can do better, and in eight days we're going to do better with President John Kerry," he said at the Philadelphia rally.

It was Clinton's first campaign appearance since undergoing triple-bypass surgery in September, and was expected to be a boost for Kerry's campaign, which remained in a virtual tie with President Bush eight days out from the election.

"You've got a clear choice between two strong men with great convictions and different philosophies, different policies with very different consequences for this city, this state, our nation and the world," Clinton told rally attendees. "I think John Kerry's got a good plan."

He later added, "If one candidate's appealing to your fears and the other one's appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope. That's the best." Clinton and Kerry were scheduled to travel to Florida later in the day.

Source: UPI in Washington Times
Click for more headlines by John Kerry or Bill Clinton

Wisconsin Senate race: Russ Feingold debates Tim Michels : Oct. 21, 2004

Click here for excerpts from the debate
or click here for excerpts from other Senate debates in NY, MD, LA, and AK.

U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Republican challenger Tim Michels clashed Sunday night over privatizing government security services during the fourth of six scheduled debates between the two major-party candidates.

Feingold raised the specter of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. "Mr. Michels, you have to read the 9-11 (Commission) report. We had privatized screening at the airports when those 19 Saudis went through with their box cutters and went into the planes and flew them into the World Trade Center. That's the way that privatizing works, Tim." Responding, Michels said, "Of course, it's a great travesty what happened on 9-11 - but because it didn't work once, he's like, that's it, it's failed, the government has to take it over. . . ." "Based on that logic, I suppose we should privatize our military, as well," Feingold said.

Source: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
Click for more headlines by Russ Feingold or Tim Michels

Arnold Schwarzenegger supports stem cell research : Oct. 20, 2004

Breaks with Republican Party line

Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger broke ranks with President Bush and other Republicans by endorsing Proposition 71, a $3 billion bond measure to fund stem cell research that has been opposed by social conservatives. Republicans like Schwarzenegger want California to be on the cutting edge of developments in biotechnology, for the health of both the state's economy and its residents.

Monday's surprise announcement by Schwarzenegger puts him at odds with the Bush administration -- and in the same camp as Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, who supports embryonic stem cell research. Pro-71 conservatives, such as former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, say they are attracted by the opportunity it offers the state to become an incubator of the hottest research in medicine. If it passes, they believe that the initiative could give a huge boost to the state's finances and biotech businesses.

``I think it is extremely important that we stay at the forefront of biotechnology,'' Schwarzenegger said Tuesday. ``This sends a very clear signal. This is almost like Kennedy talking about one day he will land a man on the moon. ``California should be out there and should really help, you know, save people's lives. Ten years from now, the experts say, there could be a cure.''

Source: Lisa M. Krieger, San Jose Mercury News
Click for more headlines by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Pat Robertson advised Bush on Iraq to prepare for casualties: Oct 20-21, 2004

Bush predicted: "We're not going to have any casualties"

The founder of the U.S. Christian Coalition said Tuesday he told President George W. Bush before the invasion of Iraq that he should prepare Americans for the likelihood of casualties, but the president told him, "We're not going to have any casualties." Pat Robertson, an ardent Bush supporter, said he had that conversation with the president in Nashville, Tennessee, before the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. He described Bush in the meeting as "the most self-assured man I've ever met in my life."

"And I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, 'Mr. President, you had better prepare the American people for casualties.' " Robertson said the president then told him, "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties."

"I mean, the Lord told me it was going to be A, a disaster, and B, messy," Robertson said. "I warned him about casualties." More than 1,100 U.S. troops have died in Iraq and another 8,000 troops have been wounded in the ongoing campaign, with the casualty toll significantly increasing in the last six months as the insurgency there has deepened.

Asked why Bush has refused to admit to mistakes on Iraq, Robertson said, "I don't know this politics game. You know, you can never say you were wrong because the opposition grabs onto it: 'See, he admitted he screwed up.' " Even as Robertson criticized Bush for downplaying the potential dangers of the Iraq war, he heaped praise on Bush, saying he believes the president will win the election and that "the blessing of heaven is on Bush."

A White House spokesman denied that President Bush did not expect casualties from the invasion of Iraq. "The president never made such a comment," the spokesperson said. A campaign adviser said she was "certain" Bush would not have said anything like that to Robertson. "Perhaps he misunderstood, but I've never heard the president say any such thing," she said.

In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, Robertson restated his "100 percent" support for Bush's re-election. But he did not back away from his comments.

Source: Source: Business Week magazine and CNN.com
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Florida Senate race: Mel Martinez debates Betty Castor : Oct. 18, 2004

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or click here for excerpts from other Senate debates in CT, SC, AZ, and PA.

Under the unflinching glare of live television cameras, Republican U.S. Senate contender Mel Martinez refused Monday to pull commercials assailing Democratic rival Betty Castor's response to an accused terrorist.

Asked during a debate if she would yank her ads on the subject, Castor said she would if Martinez did. He would not agree to the same terms.

''I'm not going to make a strategy for my campaign here tonight under these lights,'' Martinez said.

It was a defensive moment for Martinez on an issue where he has gone on the offensive, ripping Castor for not firing a University of South Florida professor suspected of terrorism when she was campus president.

Castor fumbled slightly at times, too, and the fast-paced, one-two-punch debate had no clear winner. Both candidates took their shots, corrected each other and played up their strengths on issues and personality.

Source: Miami Herald
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Al Gore: Bush lied: Oct 18, 2004

"Beyond incompetence -- it is recklessness"

Al Gore on Monday accused President Bush of intentionally deceiving the public about the reasons for invading Iraq and said he is so ideologically driven that he refuses to admit -- or even learn from -- his mistakes.

"It is beyond incompetence -- it is recklessness that risks the safety and security of the American people," the former vice president said during a speech at Georgetown University.

Gore, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2000 and loser of that bitterly contested election, complained that Bush's refusal to budge from "a rigid, right-wing ideology" has led him to forbid any dissent and ignore warnings that may conflict with his assumptions about Iraq, tax cuts and other policy issues.

"He is arrogantly out of touch with reality," Gore said. "He refuses to ever admit mistakes. Which means that so long as he is our president, we are doomed to repeat them."

Gore touched on many topics, but saved his sharpest critique for Bush's Iraq policies. He said evidence from the 9/11 commission and other reports shows the invasion of Iraq was Bush's first choice rather than his last.

Worst of all, Gore said, was that Bush and his Cabinet purposely created the false impression that Saddam Hussein was linked to the al-Qaida terrorist network and that the Iraqi leader was somehow to blame for the September 11, 2001, attacks -- a notion that 70 percent of the public once believed, according to polls.

"This was not an unfortunate misreading of the available evidence, causing a mistaken linkage between Iraq and al-Qaida," Gore said. "This was something else -- a willful choice to make a specific linkage whether evidence existed or not."

Source: CNN.com
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Illinois Senate race: Alan Keyes debates Barack Obama : Oct. 13, 2004

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or click here for excerpts from other Senate debates in CO, OK, NC, and SD.

Getting his first chance to debate front-runner Barack Obama face to face, Republican Senate candidate Alan Keyes suggested his opponent lacks the foreign affairs experience to make wise decisions about fighting terrorism but generally stayed away from direct attacks.

Obama also stuck to the issues, drawing sharp contrasts between their positions on the Iraq war and health care. But he did slip in a jab about Keyes moving from Maryland to run for Senate here despite once criticizing a similar move by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Keyes said the United States should not shy away from using military force in the future, even against countries that have not been absolutely proven to threaten America.

Obama said the Bush administration has bungled the Iraq war, making the region more dangerous and diverting resources away from the effort to track down the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center. But he said America cannot pull out of Iraq anytime soon without further destabilizing the region.

Source: Associated Press in Peoria (IL) Journal-Star
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No Knockouts in the Final Round : Oct 13, 2004

Click here for excerpts from the debate

The final Bush-Kerry clash is unlikely to change many minds. The battle was "this close" going in, and it looks to stay that way to the end

Before the 2004 Presidential debates, George W. Bush appeared to be on a glide path to victory -- and not just a narrow win, but a potentially decisive one. Democrats were disheartened, independents were moving Bush's way, and key Midwestern battleground states were leaning Republican.

That was then. Now, it's a real battle. Kerry has closed the gap, and every nationwide poll shows the race within the margin of error. BusinessWeek's analysis of the Electoral College count shows Kerry with a tiny two-vote lead, but neither candidate has locked up the 270 electoral votes needed to become President.

Well, no decisive winner emerged on Oct. 13 in Tempe, Ariz. The instant reaction of viewers ranged from a clear Kerry edge among undecided voters (39% to 25% in a CBS News survey) to a narrow 42% to 41% advantage for the Massachusetts senator among viewers of the debate, more of whom were Republicans than Democrats), according to an ABC News poll.

Source: Richard S. Dunham, Business Week magazine
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Bush admits no mistakes, except on owning timber : Oct 10, 2004

Click here for excerpts from the debate

In a telling moment at the end of the second debate between the candidates for the presidency, a middle-aged swinging voter called Linda asked George Bush, of all the "thousands of decisions" he took during his presidency, could he name just three that were mistakes, and what did he do to correct them?

Mr Bush was thrown for a second. "I'm human", he said. But he recovered quickly and began into a defence of the Iraq war. "When they ask about mistakes, that's what they're talking about," he told the audience at the University of Washington in St Louis.

"They're trying to say, 'Did you make a mistake going into Iraq?' And the answer is absolutely not. It's the right decision".

Anxious to crush criticism of his Iraq strategy, especially since his own weapons inspector had just reported that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction before the US-led coalition rushed to war, Mr Bush admitted no mistakes.

Source: Source: Marian Wilkinson, Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald
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Iraq Survey Group reports key findings on WMDs : Oct 6, 2004

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The Iraq Survey Group is expected to report today that it has found no evidence of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons in post-war Iraq.

Charles Duelfer, the chief UN arms inspector in Iraq, is due to present the findings in a 1,500-page report to Congress.

He is expected to conclude that Iraq had neither weapons of mass destruction, nor significant WMD production programmes at the time of the invasion. However, he will assert that Saddam Hussein had plans to produce weapons once UN sanctions were lifted, according to US officials.

The verdict of Mr Duelfer, who will present the findings to the Senate Armed Services Committee, has been widely anticipated since the resignation of David Kay, the former head of the Iraq Survey Group, in January. When he stepped down, Mr Kay voiced serious concerns about allegations of weapons stockpiles. "We were probably all wrong about whether Iraq had stockpiles of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons," he said.

Source: Rupert Cornwell, The Independent (UK)
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Edwards & Cheney spar on a range of issues : Oct 6, 2004

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Vice-President Dick Cheney and Democratic Sen. John Edwards battled fiercely over the war in Iraq in a debate that featured repeated personal attacks on the other side’s records and judgment.

The running mates for President George W. Bush and his Democratic rival Sen. John Kerry picked up where their bosses left off last week — arguing on Tuesday over Iraq and US security — with Edwards accusing Cheney of ‘‘not being straight’’ on Iraq and Cheney countering the Democrats were not qualified to lead. ‘‘What we did in Iraq was exactly the right thing to do,’’ Cheney said, arguing Iraq was a crucial front in a broader war on terror. ‘‘If I had it to recommend all over again, I would recommend exactly the same course of action.’’

Edwards, a North Carolina senator, said Cheney and Bush were ignoring the growing chaos in Iraq and diverting attention from international threats like the nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea.

‘‘Mr. Vice President, you are still not being straight with the American people,’’ Edwards told Cheney, adding later: ‘‘I don’t think the country can take four more years of this kind of experience.’’

The vice presidential debate is often a sideshow to the main event in White House races, but Tuesday’s match-up of Cheney and Edwards gained new significance after a series of polls showed the race tightening.

The debate, which branched out to include domestic issues,echoed the arguments of the first presidential encounter but featured more personal attacks. Cheney and Edwards heatedly disputed each other’s facts and figures and traded shots over their records and resumes.

Source: The Indian Express
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Rumsfeld says no link between Saddam and al Qaeda : Oct. 5, 2004

Later clarifies he meant there IS a link between Saddam and al Qaeda

The US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, today attempted to distance himself from his earlier comments that there were no links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida. In a statement issued several hours after he had told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York that "to my knowledge, I have not seen any strong, hard evidence that links the two", Mr Rumsfeld claimed he had been "misunderstood".

"I have acknowledged since September 2002 that there were ties between al-Qaida and Iraq," the statement said. "This assessment was based upon points provided to me by [the] then CIA director George Tenet to describe the CIA's understanding of the al-Qaida Iraq relationship."

Mr Rumsfeld's comments in New York, however, were a reversal of the position adopted by many senior Bush administration figures.

Links between the war in Iraq and the fight against Osama bin Laden's terror network following the September 11 2001 attacks on New York and Washington have become one of the key battlegrounds of the US presidential race.

The Democratic challenger, John Kerry, has accused Mr Bush of allowing himself to be diverted from the "war on terror" by his pre-emptive war in the Middle East.

Dick Cheney, the US vice president, has been the main proponent of the idea of a relationship, last month telling a meeting in the swing state of Ohio that Saddam had "provided safe harbour and sanctuary ... for al-Qaida".

Mr Kerry last week forced Mr Bush to say: "Of course I know Osama bin Laden attacked us" during their televised debate when he accused the president of being vague about which "enemy" had been responsible for September 11.

The alleged link between Saddam and al-Qaida was one of the justifications used by Mr Bush for the US-led invasion of Iraq, but there has been little to substantiate it. The bipartisan 9/11 commission report acknowledged contacts between the two, but found no evidence of a "collaborative" relationship.

Mr Rumsfeld told his audience in New York that he had seen intelligence on the Saddam-al-Qaida question "migrate in amazing ways" during the past year, adding that there were "many differences of opinion in the intelligence community".

Source: Simon Jeffery, The Guardian (UK)
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Rumsfeld on link between Saddam and al Qaeda? : Oct. 5, 2004

Timeline of Rumsfeld's statements

    Rumsfeld on Saddam and al-Qaida
  • August 2002: Mr Rumsfeld claims "there are al-Qaida in Iraq", and accuses Saddam of "harbouring al-Qaida operatives who fled the US military dragnet in Afghanistan".
  • September 2002: "We do have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al-Qaida members, including some that have been in Baghdad," Mr Rumsfeld says. "We have what we consider to be very reliable reporting of senior-level contacts going back a decade, and of possible chemical and biological agent training."
  • October 2002: He tells a Pentagon briefing he had already been informed there is "solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al-Qaida members".
  • March 2003: Mr Rumsfeld says the US-led coalition has solid evidence that senior al-Qaida operatives had visited Baghdad in the past, and that Saddam had an "evolving" relationship with the terror network.
  • September 2004: The defence secretary confuses the jailed Saddam and the fugitive Bin Laden in a speech to the US National Press Club: "Saddam Hussein, if he's alive, is spending a whale of a lot of time trying to not get caught. And we've not seen him on a video since 2001." He corrects himself when asked for clarification.
Source: Simon Jeffery, The Guardian (UK)
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Bush & Kerry spar on homeland security : Sept 30, 2004

Kerry "wins" debate, whatever that means

Click here for excerpts from the debate
Sen. John Kerry fared better than President Bush in Thursday night's presidential debate, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll of 615 registered voters who watched the event. Most of those interviewed said Kerry did a better job than Bush, and nearly half said the debate made them feel more favorably toward Kerry. By narrow margins Bush came out better on believability, likability and toughness.

Because the poll questioned only people who watched the debate, its results do not statistically represent the views of all Americans, and in all cases the margin of error was plus or minus 5 percentage points. Further, debate audiences can be more partisan than the general public.

Overall, 53 percent of Thursday's debate watchers interviewed said Kerry did the better job, compared with 37 percent who favored Bush. Kerry's chief strength: 60 percent said he expressed himself more clearly than Bush did. But 54 percent said Bush would be tougher as president, compared with 37 percent listed Kerry as tougher. And by a 48 percent to 41 percent margin, debate watchers said Bush was more likable. Of those polled, 50 percent said Bush was more believable and 45 percent said they were more likely to believe Kerry.

More than six in 10 said that both candidates' criticisms of their opponents were fair. On Iraq, 54 percent of debate watchers polled before Thursday's night's matchup said Bush would handle Iraq better than Kerry.

Did the debate change many minds? Not according to the poll.

Source: CNN.com
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FactCheck: Recent ads pretty misleading : Sept 30, 2004

Four recent ads, on TV now, distort the facts

Source: FactCheck.org
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Kerry speaks out against Iraq war : Sept 24, 2004

Kerry: Iraq a 'diversion' in terror war

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry faulted President Bush on Friday for pursuing Saddam Hussein instead of September 11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, a choice Kerry contended had made defeating terrorism more difficult.

"The invasion of Iraq was a profound diversion from the battle against our greatest enemy, al Qaeda," Kerry said in a speech at Temple University. "There's just no question about it. The president's misjudgment, miscalculation and mismanagement of the war in Iraq all make the war on terror harder to win."

Kerry said Iraq has become a haven for terrorists since the war, and he offered a detailed strategy to contain terrorism while drawing a sharp distinction between his and the president's views on national security.

"George Bush made Saddam Hussein the priority. I would have made Osama bin Laden the priority," Kerry said. "I will finish the job in Iraq and I will refocus our energies on the real war on terror."

Source: CNN.com
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Presidential debates scheduled : Sept 21, 2004

3 debates between Bush & Kerry; one between Edwards & Cheney; no Nader

The first debate is September 30 at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. It will be moderated by PBS's Jim Lehrer. ABC's Charles Gibson will moderate the second [on Oct. 8 at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri], and CBS's Bob Schieffer will moderate the third [on October 13 at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona.

Under the agreement, the first debate will focus on foreign policy and homeland security, while the final one will deal with economic and domestic policy. The second debate is to be held as a town hall meeting, with questions posed by an equal number of "soft" supporters of each candidate chosen by the Gallup Organization. That debate "shall not be limited by topic and shall include an equal number of questions related to foreign policy and homeland security on the one hand and economic and domestic policy on the other," the agreement says.

The two candidates will be seated in stools for that debate, but for the other two debates they will be standing behind podiums. Each debate will begin at 9 p.m. ET and will run for 90 minutes, with at least 16 questions.

In each debate, according to the agreement, "the candidates may not ask each other direct questions, but may ask rhetorical questions." According to sources familiar with the negotiations, the Bush team initially wanted just two debates, skipping the town hall forum in Missouri.

There will also be a debate between the candidates for vice president. [on Oct. 5 at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio]

Source: CNN.com
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Three GOP Senators admit Iraq is a mess : Sept 20, 2004

McCain (R, AZ), Graham (R, SC), and Hagel (R, NE) speak out on war

Republican senators lobbed criticisms of President Bush's Iraq war policies during yesterday's news talk shows, arguing that the U.S. military needs more troops on the ground and should move without haste to turn the tide against a deadly and persistent insurgency.

Following a recent spate of attacks that have killed scores of American soldiers and Iraqi citizens, some senators said yesterday that U.S. policy has been misdirected and needs to be refocused. As the presidential election nears, the Republicans blasted what they called a sometimes stubborn administration and called on military leaders to launch attacks on insurgent strongholds sooner rather than later.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said on "Fox News Sunday" that he never would have allowed sanctuaries for anti-coalition fighters in cities such as Fallujah, where officials believe the insurgency has been strengthening.

"Allowing those sanctuaries has contributed significantly to the difficulties that we're facing, which are very, very significant," McCain said. "We made serious mistakes right after the initial successes by not having enough troops there on the ground, by allowing the looting, by not securing the borders. There was a number of things that we did. Most of it can be traced back to not having sufficient numbers of troops there."

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), said he believes the situation in Iraq is going to get worse before it gets better, adding that he believes the administration has done a "poor job of implementing and adjusting at times." Speaking on CNN's "Late Edition," he called for more troops in Iraq.

"The administration has been stubborn about troops," Graham said, referring to repeated administration contentions that the U.S. military does not need to be expanded to handle the global war on terror. "We do not need to paint a rosy scenario for the American people. We need to let the American people know this is just like World War II; we're in it for the duration."

On CBS's "Face the Nation," Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) announced that he is going to make nearly two dozen policy suggestions to the State Department and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice to improve the situation in Iraq. In particular, he suggested starting training camps for security forces in the region surrounding Iraq and offering economic development initiatives throughout the region.

"The fact is, we're in trouble. We're in deep trouble in Iraq," Hagel said. "And I think we're going to have to look at some recalibration of policy."

Source: Josh White, Washington Post
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Denny Hastert: Al Qaeda wants Kerry elected : Sept 19, 2004

Echoes Cheney's comment that voteing for Kerry would lead to more terrorist attacks

Top Democrats slapped back Sunday at a remark by House Speaker Dennis Hastert that al Qaeda leaders want Sen. John Kerry to beat President Bush in November.

At a campaign rally Saturday in his Illinois district with Vice President Dick Cheney, Hastert said al Qaeda "would like to influence this election" with an attack similar to the train bombings in Madrid days before the Spanish national election in March.

When a reporter asked Hastert if he thought al Qaeda would operate with more comfort if Kerry were elected, the speaker said, "That's my opinion, yes."

Hastert, who as speaker heads the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, showed no sign of backing off his comments.

His spokesman, John Feehery, said Sunday that the speaker's comments "were consistent with the speaker's belief that John Kerry would be weak on the war."

"If John Kerry is perceived as being weak on the war, then of course, his election would be perceived as a good thing by the terrorists," Feehery said in a written response to questions about Hastert's remarks.

"The fact that John Kerry can't make up his mind about the war only strengthens that perception."

The comments followed a remark by Cheney earlier this month that Americans might be subjected to another terrorist attack if they were to make "the wrong choice" in November.

Cheney later said that any president must expect more attacks and that his point had been that he felt Bush was better prepared to deal with the threat.

Source: CNN.com
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Powell: Iraq is free, but still dangerous : Sept 17, 2004

$3.4 billion more for security this week

After 30 years of dictatorship and fear, Iraq is free. Saddam Hussein, a terrible dictator, is gone. There will be no more mass graves, no more programs pursuing weapons of mass destruction and no more invasions of Iraq's neighbors. We are making significant progress on President Bush's five-step plan to bring democracy and prosperity to Iraq.

Challenges clearly remain. Insurgents are trying to prevent democracy by murdering their fellow citizens and destroying the nation's infrastructure. But they will not succeed. Just this week, we put forward a proposal to Congress that redirects more than $3.4 billion to improve security, while devoting additional resources to improving the economic and political environment, including accelerating employment opportunities for Iraqis. In consultation with Congress, we will implement these changes as quickly as possible to support Iraq's transition.

Is success guaranteed? No. Is it going to be dangerous? Yes. But now is not the time to be faint of heart. Our task is important, and America will stay the course to see a free, peaceful and democratic Iraq.

When this fighting has been brought under control, the people of the world will see Iraqis in charge of their own destiny — moving forward toward an election that will provide for a representative form of government that offers hope and determination for the future.

Source: Editorial by Powell in USA Today
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Senate candidate accused of sterilizing patient : Sept 17, 2004

Medical lawsuit becomes issue in Oklahoma Senate race

Angela Plummer admitted Thursday that Republican senate candidate Dr. Tom Coburn saved her life in 1990, but she stands by her allegations that he sterilized her without her consent. Plummer, whose 13-year-old medical negligence lawsuit against Coburn has become an issue in the campaign, said she is glad her experience with him is getting a public airing. "He told me when I went in for my checkup," she said. "He took me in a room by myself and said, 'By the way, I tied your tubes but don't tell anybody because I'll get in trouble.' I was just kind of in shock. It changed my life forever."

Coburn said reports about the old lawsuit are nothing more than a political attack launched by his Democratic opponent U.S. Rep. Brad Carson, D-Claremore. "This is about the politics of personal destruction," Coburn said. "Angela told me at the time that she was happy it was done. This is coming from Carson's campaign, along with the whisper campaign that I'm an abortionist." The lawsuit by Plummer, then 20, alleged that Coburn, an obstetrician, sterilized her without her consent. It was dismissed in trial court, reinstated on appeal and then dismissed again when she failed to pursue it.

"Yes, he did save my life," she said. "I will give him credit for that, and I am very grateful for that, but cutting and burning my healthy fallopian tube did not save my life. I am not up here to try and smear him. I am up here because I wanted to have more children, and he took that away from me."

Coburn has said he received oral consent for the sterilization just before the procedure. His campaign released a statement Thursday from Sherri Yaussey, a registered nurse who was present when Plummer, then Angela Rosson, received medical care in October 1990. "It was determined that she had a ruptured pregnancy and needed surgery to stop the hemorrhaging," Yaussey said. "I specifically remember the patient wanted her tubes tied. She begged Dr. Coburn to tie her tubes.

Coburn said that his actions were appropriate. "If the same thing happened today under the same circumstances, I'd do it exactly the same way," he said.

Source: Carmel Perez Snyder, The Oklahoman and Associated Press
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UN President: War in Iraq is illegal : Sept 16, 2004

Powell: What we did was totally consistent with international law"

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell yesterday expressed strong disapproval of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's description of the U.S.-led war in Iraq as illegal, saying the comment was "not a very useful statement to make at this point."

"What does it gain anyone? We should all be gathering around the idea of helping the Iraqis, not getting into these kinds of side issues," Mr. Powell said in an interview with editors and reporters at The Washington Times. "I'm sure I will have the opportunity to talk to Kofi about this," Mr. Powell added.

Mr. Annan's comments, made in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. over the weekend, startled and angered governments in the U.S.-led coalition that toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein last year. The U.N. chief had made no secret of his belief the United States and its allies should have sought an explicit Security Council resolution authorizing the war. But he went much further in the BBC interview, saying, "From our point of view, from the [U.N. Charter] point of view, it was illegal."

Mr. Powell said the Constitution gives the United States the right to act in its own self-defense without U.N. approval, but argued that the Iraq war itself was justified by Saddam's "material breach" of a string of earlier U.N. resolutions on his weapons programs. "What we did was totally consistent with international law," he insisted. Officials in Britain, Australia, Bulgaria and Poland yesterday joined Mr. Powell in rejecting Mr. Annan's argument. Many allies would face severe political difficulties at home if the war was seen as lacking U.N. sanction.

Source: David R. Sands, Washington Times
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Bush reaffirms commitment to Palestine side-by-side with Israel : Sept 16, 2004

Kerry's stance is very similar

Presidential contenders have always been supportive of Israel. Lately the debate has focused on how to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians, to their mutual benefit. In a recent meeting with the Malaysian prime minister, President Bush spoke about an eventual Palestinian state: "I told him that I am fully committed to the development of a Palestinian state that can live side by side with Israel in peace." To the president, the key is a Palestinian leader that Israel can trust and work with - meaning one without Yasser Arafat.

When John Kerry spoke about the region in May, he did not dispute the premise - only the way the Bush administration is executing it. "We will never expect Israel to negotiate peace without a credible partner," Mr. Kerry said. "And it is up to the United States in my judgment to do a better job of helping the Arab world to help that partner to evolve and to develop that effort."

Many analysts say there's little difference between Democrats and Republicans on this issue. At one time it appeared the candidates differed over the controversial security barrier that Israel is building, some of it in the West Bank. "Kerry said at one stage that he opposed the wall, that it was an obstacle to peace," one analyst said. "But since then Kerry has pulled back and his policies, his statements about the disengagement plan, the wall, are very similar to those of President Bush.

Source: Brent Hurd, Voice of America News
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Nader on ballot in Florida? : Sept. 16, 2004

Democrats sue; Republicans assist Nader

Florida Supreme Court justices stepped in and ordered election officials to stop any presidential ballots from being mailed until they rule on Ralph Nader's Reform Party candidacy. After days of legal wrangling -- which caused Nader's name to pingpong on and off Florida's presidential ballot -- justices called a halt to further action until a Friday hearing. By law, about 25,000 ballots must be sent by Saturday to overseas voters and military personnel who have requested them.

Leon County Circuit Judge Kevin Davey, a registered Democrat, last week sided with Florida Democrats and a group of four voters demanding that Nader be taken off the ballot, contending that the Reform Party is not a legitimate national party and that its nominating convention was held solely to get the candidate on the Florida ballot. The secretary of the Reform Party's Florida chapter testified that the party nominated Nader at a national convention last month in Dallas to comply with Florida law. She conceded that the convention was not as elaborate as those held by Democrats or Republicans -- the Reform Party's national convention had just 63 delegates. But, she added, "We had balloons this time." Democrats say the Reform Party's nominating convention was hastily put together and engineered to get Nader on the Florida ballot without the 93,000 petition signatures he otherwise needed. They also charge that the Reform Party is not a viable political party, having only $18 in the bank. Its national headquarters is in [a member's] house.

Democrats fear Nader could prove a "spoiler" in Florida's presidential contest. Bush won the White House in 2000 after carrying Florida by 537 votes after 36 days of legal wrangling. Nader that year snagged 97,421 votes, most of which officials from both major parties say would have gone to Democrat Al Gore if Nader had not been in the race. Fearing a repeat, Democrats have sought to have Nader knocked off the ballot in most of the roughly 20 battleground states where the contest between Bush and Kerry is tightest. In almost every one of those states, Republicans have pushed back by offering legal assistance and petition-gathering help to Nader.

The Nader campaign said it is on the ballot in 33 states, either as an independent or Reform Party candidate, but faces legal challenges in at least 12 states. In Florida, five other minor-party candidates are on the presidential ballot, having been put there by similar nominating conventions. Nader also is being defended by attorney Ken Sukhia, a former U.S. attorney appointed by former President George H.W. Bush and who helped represent the current president during the Florida recount.

Source: John Kennedy, Chicago Tribune
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Kerry: "I support the Second Amendment." : Sep 15, 2004

But also supports the assault-weapons ban

John Kerry is a hunter — ergo he's a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. At least that's what he wants voters to believe. And especially with the controversial 10-year-old "assault weapons ban" expiring this week, the Democratic presidential nominee has taken nearly every chance to tell voters that he is the "first Democratic candidate to support Second Amendment gun rights and to be an avid hunter." Judging from Mr. Kerry's record, it isn't surprising that he supported the assault- weapons ban that expired Tuesday. But Mr. Kerry still felt the need to find a middle ground — a nuanced position. "Let me be clear," he said. "I support the Second Amendment. I am a gun owner. I am a hunter." [Kerry justified the ban because no hunter uses assault weapons]. At the same time, Kerry added, "George Bush chose to make the job of terrorists easier, and the job of police officers harder."
Source: Washington Times editorial
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Kerry: Iraq cost $200 billion and counting : Sept 13, 2004

Fact Check: No, it's only $120 billion

KERRY AD ANNOUNCER: George Bush. $200 billion for Iraq. In America, lost jobs and rising health care costs. George Bush's wrong choices have weakened us here at home. The Kerry plan. Stop tax incentives for companies that shift jobs overseas. Lower health care premiums by up to $1000 per family. Reduce the deficit to protect Medicare and Social Security.

DNC AD ANNOUNCER: They've pursued a go-it-alone war in Iraq. No weapons of mass destruction. Costing $200 billion and counting. No plan to win the peace. Mission Not Accomplished.

FACT CHECK: Kerry is using an exaggerated figure for the cost of the Iraq war in his latest line of attack against Bush, claiming the war in Iraq has cost $200 billion. But that's too high. There's little question that the Iraq war and its bloody aftermath WILL cost $200 billion, eventually. But so far, the bill for the war is still under $120 billion, according to the Office of Management and Budget. Kerry runs the figure up to $200 billion by counting money scheduled to be spent next fiscal year, plus additional funds for the future that haven't even been requested yet. He also is counting money projected to be spent for operations in Afghanistan and to protect US cities, not for Iraq.

Source: Ad-Watch analysis by FactCheck.org
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Kerry is clear favorite — in 30 other countries : Sep 9, 2004

In survey of 35 countries, Kerry wins 30, Bush wins 3

Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry is winning by a landslide over Republican incumbent George W. Bush — abroad. Earlier this year, Kerry stoked controversy when he said some foreign leaders, who he refused to name, privately told him they hoped he would beat Bush. There remains some doubt about that claim, but polling released yesterday shows the Democratic senator from Massachusetts enoys support in several countries.

Surveys in 35 countries, including important allies such as Canada, Germany and Mexico, show the Massachusetts senator favored in 30 and President Bush preferred in 3: Nigeria, the Philippines and Poland. In India and Thailand views on the race were evenly divided. But on average, Kerry leads 46 percent to 20 percent, according to the findings by the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes and GlobeScan Inc.

"Kerry would win handily if the people of the world were to elect the U.S. president," said the director of the program.

Bush is better known than Kerry, but only one in five residents of the surveyed nations supports Bush. On average, 53 percent said Bush’s foreign policy made them feel worse about America, while 19 percent said Iraq and other foreign-policy ventures made them feel better. A separate survey found that Americans think having world opinion stacked against the United States would be a problem. But most Americans surveyed weren’t aware that might be the case — and being given that information didn’t seem to change many votes.

Source: Jonathan Riskind, The Columbus (OH) Dispatch
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Cheney: Elect Kerry and terrorists may strike : Sep 7, 2004

Edwards: Cheney stepped over the line

A November win by Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry would put the United States at risk of another "devastating" terrorist attack, Vice President Dick Cheney told supporters Tuesday. Kerry's running mate, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, responded by calling Cheney's comments "un-American."

Cheney told supporters they needed to make "the right choice" in the November 2 election. "If we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again -- that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States," Cheney said. "And then we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mindset, if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts and that we're not really at war. I think that would be a terrible mistake for us."

Edwards told reporters that "Dick Cheney's scare tactics crossed the line." "What he said to the American people was that if you go to the polls in November and elect anyone other than us, and another terrorist attack occurs, then it's your fault," Edwards said. "This is un-American. The truth is that it proves once again that they will do anything and say anything to keep their jobs." Edwards said a Kerry administration "will keep the American people safe, and we will not divide the country to do it."

Source: CNN.com
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Bush gets bounce in polls post-Convention : Sept 7, 2004

Click here for excerpts from the Convention Speeches

Swing state of Iraq?

There is only one swing state that will determine the outcome in this upcoming election -- and it's not located in the Midwest. That state is Iraq: a newly liberated and sovereign state. The conventional wisdom is that the success or failure of that country's fledgling government may well determine the election here. Pundits say that if the violence settles down, Bush wins, and if the insurgency continues unabated, with the loss of more American lives, Kerry wins.

There is another alternative: Bush wins if he can clearly explain to U.S. citizens the relevance of the liberation and occupation of Iraq and why it's worth the American lives lost. The president made his case convincingly and was aided by equally powerful speeches from Senators John McCain and Zell Miller and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Last week's Republican convention delivered the mojo it needed to cut through the spin and the media static and tell the American people directly -- at last -- why we're in Iraq. The polls are showing a large bounce for Bush.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, op-ed by Adam Sparks
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Wrong war, wrong place, wrong time : Sep 6, 2004

Kerry: The "coalition" is phony

John Kerry called the invasion of Iraq "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time" and said his goal was to withdraw U.S. troops in a first White House term. Kerry assailed Bush's record, repeatedly telling a Labor Day rally the "W" in Bush's name stood for "wrong -- wrong choices, wrong judgment, wrong priorities, wrong direction for our country" on everything from jobs to Iraq.

The Massachusetts senator, who has said he would have voted to give Bush the authority to use force if necessary against Saddam Hussein even if he had known at the time that the Iraqi leader had no weapons of mass destruction, has struggled to draw clear contrasts with the president. "I would not have done just one thing differently than the president on Iraq, I would have done everything differently than the president on Iraq," Kerry said.

He denied that he was "Monday morning quarterbacking." The Bush campaign said Kerry had "demonstrated nothing but indecision and vacillation" on Iraq."

"I said this from the beginning of the debate to the walk up to the war," Kerry told supporters. "I said, Mr. President don't rush to war, take the time to build a legitimate coalition and have a plan to win the peace." He said Bush had failed on all three counts. He called the president's talk about a coalition fighting alongside about 125,000 U.S. troops "the phoniest thing I've ever heard." Kerry continued, "You've about 500 troops here, 500 troops there and it's American troops that are 90 percent of the combat casualties and it's American taxpayers that are paying 90 percent of the cost of the war," he said. "It's the wrong war, in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Source:Patricia Wilson, Reuters
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Republican Party Platform released : Sept. 1, 2004

Click here for excerpts from the GOP Platform

Hews to social conservative values

Republicans approved a platform Monday that puts the party firmly on the record against legalized abortion, gay marriage and other forms of legal recognition for same-sex couples, reflecting the political clout of social conservatives and setting up a stark contrast with the Democrats for the fall campaign.

The platform also hails President Bush's fight against terrorism, advocates making his tax cuts permanent and calls for the creation of personal investment accounts in Social Security as part of a new ``ownership society'' that Republicans assert would give Americans more responsibility and control over their financial lives.

The 93-page document, produced under the tight control of the Bush forces, attempts several political tasks: promoting and defending Bush's record, particularly on national security; sketching a domestic vision for a second term; and energizing the conservative base.

Source: Robin Toner and David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times
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Arnold Schwarzenegger addresses Republican Convention : Aug. 31, 2004

"Don't be economic girlie men!"

My fellow immigrants, my fellow Americans, how do you know if you are a Republican? I'll tell you how.

If you believe that government should be accountable to the people, not the people to the government...then you are a Republican! If you believe a person should be treated as an individual, not as a member of an interest group... then you are a Republican! If you believe your family knows how to spend your money better than the government does... then you are a Republican! If you believe our educational system should be held accountable for the progress of our children ... then you are a Republican! If you believe this country, not the United Nations, is the best hope of democracy in the world ... then you are a Republican! And, ladies and gentlemen ...if you believe we must be fierce and relentless and terminate terrorism ... then you are a Republican!

There is another way you can tell you're a Republican. You have faith in free enterprise, faith in the resourcefulness of the American people ... and faith in the U.S. economy. To those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say: "Don't be economic girlie men!"

The U.S. economy remains the envy of the world. We have the highest economic growth of any of the world's major industrialized nations. Don't you remember the pessimism of 20 years ago when the critics said Japan and Germany were overtaking the U.S.? Ridiculous!

Now they say India and China are overtaking us. Don't you believe it! We may hit a few bumps — but America always moves ahead! That's what Americans do!

Source: Convention speech transcript
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Cheney supports states deciding gay marriage : Aug 24, 2004

"Freedom means freedom for everyone," including gays

Vice President Dick Cheney, whose daughter Mary is a lesbian, distanced himself from President Bush's call for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage "Lynne and I have a gay daughter, so it's an issue our family is very familiar with," Cheney told an audience that included his daughter. "With the respect to the question of relationships, my general view is freedom means freedom for everyone. People ought to be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to. "The question that comes up with the issue of marriage is what kind of official sanction or approval is going to be granted by government? Historically, that's been a relationship that has been handled by the states. The states have made that fundamental decision of what constitutes a marriage," he said.

Bush backs a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage. Cheney commented: "My own preference is as I've stated, but the president makes policy for the administration."

Source: Todd Dvorak, Associated Press Writer in SF Chronicle
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Hillary Clinton (D, NY) and Bill Frist (R, TN) on healthcare : Aug 25, 2004

Bipartisan statement on "how to heal health care"

At a time when much of our public discussion is riddled with disagreement, there is an emerging bipartisan consensus in one vitally important area: that the challenges facing U.S. health care require major, transformative change. Some steps are already underway. While there is no consensus yet on all the changes needed, we both agree that in a new system, innovations stimulated by information technology will improve care, lower costs, improve quality and empower consumers.

Today our care is often afflicted by systemic error and dramatic inefficiencies. Care is too often oriented toward acute, episodic illnesses of the past -- not the chronic diseases that plague us now. Competition occurs among plans, networks and payers. It often does not sort out the best preventive, diagnostic and treatment strategies.

The success of U.S. health care depends on patients' taking charge of their care and becoming active participants in it. Information and access to it will be paramount. Consumers and patients do not have enough information to make good choices. At the same time, we must ensure the privacy of the systems, or they will undermine the trust they are designed to create. Consumers need information about the price of care. They must be able to compare health care pricing -- with information that is readily, publicly available.

We must also cultivate competition: Consumers need to know which doctors or care settings heal patients faster and better. Consumers need relevant information about providers' experiences and outcomes.

Source: Article by Sens. Clinton and Frist, Washington Post, p. A17
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Abu Ghraib seargent pleads guilty : Aug 24, 2004

But Rumsfeld approved techniques, he says

The highest-ranking U.S. soldier accused of abusing Iraqi prisoners has reached a deal to plead guilty to some charges at his court martial in Baghdad in October, one of his lawyers said on Tuesday. "He has, unlike many, accepted responsibility for corrupt behavior generated by the circumstances that existed in Abu Ghraib," Gary Myers told reporters beside Staff Sergeant Ivan Frederick after a pre-trial hearing in Germany.

"These specific acts were within a sea of multiple acts," Myers said, adding that the number of soldiers deemed "rogue" was steadily rising. One of Davis's lawyers, Paul Bergrin, referred to memos which showed Rumsfeld had approved hooding and stripping of prisoners, who could also be put in stress positions and subjected to "physical conduct."

"As insurgencies increased, the need for actionable intelligence increased. These techniques were approved by Donald Rumsfeld," Bergrin said. Bergrin was among defense lawyers who last week questioned four generals, including Major General Geoffrey Miller, former commander of Guantanamo Bay detention center, and Major-General Barbara Fast, head of U.S. military intelligence in Iraq.

Bergrin, a forceful figure in court, said senior officers wanted useful intelligence and were prepared to humiliate and intimidate Iraqi detainees to that end.

Source: AArticle by Sens. Clinton and Frist, Washington Post, p. A17
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Swift Boat Vets: Kerry accused Vietnam vets of war crimes : Aug 23, 2004

Kerry: I accused the country's leaders, not the vets

JOHN KERRY (from Senate Testimony in 1971): They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads...

JOE PONDER: The accusations that John Kerry made against the veterans who served in Vietnam was just devastating.

KERRY: ...cut off limbs, blown up bodies...

KEN CORDIER: That was part of the torture, to sign a statement that you had committed war crimes.

KERRY: ...crimes committed on a day to day basis...

PAUL GALANTI: John Kerry gave the enemy for free, what I and many of my comrades, in the North Vietnamese prison camps, took torture to avoid saying. It demoralized us.

ANALYSIS: "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" announced their second anti-Kerry ad on Aug. 20 using Kerry's own words against him. The Kerry campaign called it a smear and said his words were "edited" out of context. The ad does indeed fail to mention that Kerry was quoting stories he had heard from others at an anti-war event in Detroit, and not claiming first-hand knowledge. But Kerry passed them on as true stories. The Kerry campaign denies that Kerry made any accusations against veterans, saying Kerry was placing blame on the country's leaders, not the veterans. Kerry's critics point to a 1978 history of Vietnam that challenged some of the witnesses Kerry quoted. But other published accounts provide ample evidence that atrocities such as those Kerry described actually were committed.

Source: Ad-Watch analysis by FactCheck.org
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MediaFund Ad: Bush encourages outsourcing of jobs : Aug. 14, 2004

Fact Check: Bush counsels competitiveness against outsourcing

MAN: We were told immediately that we were gone, so there wasn't any warning.

WOMAN: It saves them money. They can have people in other countries doing our jobs.

MAN: When President Bush says he's going to help companies outsource jobs, it's infuriating.

WOMAN: You can be stationed in India and take a phone call. No one has to know you're in India.

MAN: You can't give companies tax breaks to take American jobs away.

ANALYSIS: An ad released by the Media Fund Aug. 11 is targeted to Ohio, featuring Ohio residents criticizing the President for loss of jobs overseas. Maybe it would be infuriating if Bush really had said the line about out-sourcing, but he didn't. What Bush has actually said is this: "The best way to deal with job creation and outsourcing is to make sure our businesses are competitive here at home." This ad is just the latest in a steady drum-beat of Democratic attacks blaming Bush for job losses overseas.

Source: Ad-Watch analysis by FactCheck.org
Click for more headlines by George W. Bush or Ad-Watch analysis

Kerry and Edwards on two-week economy tour : Aug 16, 2004

"Hope for the Heartland"

Click here for the Kerry-Edwards book

Continuing the campaign's two-week focus on strengthening the economy and creating jobs, John Edwards Monday visited with Willard, MO's Crighton family and their neighbors at the Crightons' farm where he detailed how a Kerry-Edwards administration will put rural America on the path to prosperity. Saying America can do better when it comes to expanding economic opportunity throughout the country, Edwards unveiled the Kerry-Edwards "Hope for the Heartland" plan to improve the economies of small towns and rural communities, including the new "Greater Rural Opportunity and Work" (GROW) Initiative and a new initiative to combat methamphetamine abuse in rural communities.

"Americans have a special responsibility to protect the rural way of life," said Edwards. "John Kerry and I know that, and that's why we intend to bring hope to rural America -- in the form of a comprehensive five-point plan to revitalize and strengthen rural America." Throughout the next two weeks, Kerry, Edwards and supporters across the nation will focus on the Kerry-Edwards plan to build a stronger economy by lifting up middle-class families in every corner of the country.

Source: Press release on U.S. Newswire
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George W. Bush on Troop Redeployment : Aug. 16, 2004

70,000 US troops out of Western Europe

President Bush on Monday announced plans to shift 60,000 to 70,000 U.S. troops who are now stationed in Europe and Asia in one of the largest troop realignments since the end of the Cold War. Some of the troops would be shifted to posts in Eastern Europe, White House officials said, and it remained unclear if the overall number of U.S. troops stationed overseas would drop. The action, which has been years in the making, follows years of debate over how to position U.S. troops to respond to modern-day threats such as terrorism and the volatile Middle East.

It could gain Bush election-year applause from military families, but won't ease the strain on 150,000 U.S. soldiers deployed to war zones, who are still battling violent factions in Iraq and Afghanistan. "The world has changed a great deal and our posture must change with it -- for the sake of our military families, for the sake of our taxpayers and so we can be more effective at projecting our strength and spreading freedom and peace," Bush said. The president said the repositioning of forces would help save money on maintaining bases overseas. "Our service members will have more time on the home front, and more predictability and fewer moves over a career," Bush said.

A significant portion of the troops would be sent to bases in the United States, although others could be shifted to posts in Eastern Europe, White House officials said. A U.S. military official in Berlin offered a note of caution as the president spoke, saying Monday that any shift of major U.S. military units out of western Europe and Asia would take years and require further negotiation. Even with Bush's endorsement, the plan will probably be put into practice only somewhere between 2006 and 2011, said the official, who is familiar with the process and spoke on the condition of anonymity. U.S. armed forces stationed abroad in places other than Iraq and Afghanistan number about 200,000. About half are in Europe. The Pentagon advised German officials earlier this year that it was thinking about removing two Army divisions from Germany and replacing them with smaller, more mobile units.

Source: Associated Press in the NY Times
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George W. Bush on Environmental Safety : Aug. 16, 2004

EPA rules must meet high scientific standards

Last October, concerns about the herbicide atrazine led the European Union to ban atrazine, starting in 2005. Yet that same month, after 10 years of contentious scientific review, the EPA decided to permit ongoing use in the United States with no new restrictions. Herbicide approvals are complicated, and there is no one reason that atrazine passed regulatory muster in this country. But close observers give significant credit to a single sentence that was added to the EPA's final scientific assessment last year. Hormone disruption, it read, cannot be considered a "legitimate regulatory endpoint at this time" -- that is, it is not an acceptable reason to restrict a chemical's use -- because the government had not settled on an officially accepted test for measuring such disruption.

A petition was filed under the Data Quality Act, a little-known piece of legislation that, under President Bush's Office of Management and Budget, has become a potent tool for companies seeking to beat back regulation. The Data Quality Act -- written by an industry lobbyist and slipped into a giant appropriations bill in 2000 without congressional discussion or debate -- is just two sentences directing the OMB to ensure that all information disseminated by the federal government is reliable. But the Bush administration's interpretation of those two sentences could tip the balance in regulatory disputes that weigh the interests of consumers and businesses.

Environmental and consumer groups say the Data Quality Act fits into a larger Bush administration agenda. In the past six months, more than 4,000 scientists, including dozens of Nobel laureates and 11 winners of the National Medal of Science, have signed statements accusing the administration of politicizing science. From their perspective, the act is shifting the authority over the nation's science into the politicized environment of the OMB -- a change, they say, that will favor big business.

Source: Rick Weiss, Washington Post, p. A1
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George W. Bush on Job Safety : Aug. 15, 2004

OSHA rules become voluntary as "smart regulation"

Tuberculosis rules, first envisioned in 1993, were nearly complete by 2001. But the new administration did nothing on the issue for the next three years. Then, on the last day of 2003, in an action so obscure it was not mentioned in any major newspaper in the country, the administration canceled the rules. Voluntary measures, federal officials said, were effective enough to make regulation unnecessary.

The changes within OSHA since George W. Bush took office illustrate the way that this administration has used the regulatory process to redirect the course of government. All presidents have written or eliminated regulations to further their agendas. What is distinctive about Bush is that he quickly imposed a culture intended to put his anti-regulatory stamp on government.

The demise of the decade-old plan of defense against tuberculosis reflects the way OSHA has altered its regulatory mission to embrace a more business-friendly posture. In the past 3 1/2 years, OSHA, the branch of the Labor Department in charge of workers' well-being, has eliminated nearly five times as many pending standards as it has completed. It has not started any major new health or safety rules, setting Bush apart from the previous three presidents.

A White House spokesperson said OSHA has set into motion an ethic of "smart regulation" that the White House has tried to instill across the government: creating new rules only after rigorous scientific and economic analysis proves they are warranted. Under the new OSHA administrator, the spokesperson said, OSHA has shown "an intensely practical, down-to-earth approach to worker health and safety, not inclined toward grandiose, unrealistic ventures."

Source: Amy Goldstein and Sarah Cohen, Washington Post, p. A1
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Governor of New Jersey resigns : Aug 13, 2004

McGreevey admits to gay affair

Governor Jim McGreevey (D, NJ) said he was resigning because his disclosure that he had had an affair with a man would compromise his ability to govern. But aides to Mr. McGreevey, who identified the man as Golan Cipel, also said the governor had put him on the state payroll as a special adviser earning $110,000 a year, and that Mr. Cipel, who has since resigned, has threatened to file a lawsuit accusing Mr. McGreevey of sexual harassment.

Bret D. Schundler, the Republican opponent whom Mr. McGreevey trounced in 2001, and who has already announced his plans to run again, went on the radio yesterday and offered a conspiracy theory - suggesting that New Jersey Democrats were behind the pressure that forced Mr. McGreevey to resign. "The Democratic bosses saw McGreevey as a sure loser and saw a way to get him out," Mr. Schundler said in an interview on the Sean Hannity radio program on WABC.

If potential Republican challengers have the most to lose by Mr. McGreevey's departure, then the State Senate president, Richard J. Codey, 57, a lawmaker for 30 years, has the most to gain. A career politician who was never widely discussed as a strong candidate to be the state's chief executive, Mr. Codey by law will take over as acting governor when Mr. McGreevey steps down. Mr. McGreevey, though, is doing more than just handing off his office to Mr. Codey in November. He has crafted an exit strategy that will allow his successor to serve as governor for a year before he has to run, should he choose to seek a full term. Had Mr. McGreevey stepped down immediately, Mr. Codey would have served only until a special election could be held this November.

Source: Michael Slackman, New York Times
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Kerry promises no Yucca Mountain dump : Aug 10, 2004

No nuclear waste site in Nevada

The senator from Massachusetts seized on Yucca Mountain as a significant issue in Nevada “My votes show you this is not an election campaign promise. When I’m president of the United States, I’ll tell you about Yucca Mountain: Not on my watch,” Kerry shouted to a roaring crowd at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “Look at my record. I don’t come to people during a race and say one thing and do another afterwards. You can take this to the bank.”

Nevada recently won a key court decision in its fight against Yucca Mountain. A federal court ruled the government’s safety standards fell short of those set by the National Academy of Sciences. Kerry vowed to veto any legislation that would allow the project to continue without conforming to the NAS’s guidelines for radiation protection. “And I’ll tell you what else, if they try to change the standards on radiation at the EPA and they send it to my desk, veto pen, done, out,” Kerry said.

Republicans have called Kerry a “flip-flopper” on Yucca Mountain, pointing to his 1987 vote for the “Screw Nevada Bill,” which allowed the government to focus solely on Nevada for the waste site. “John Kerry continues to mislead voters about his record on Yucca Mountain,” said Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev. “His voting record until 1997 is one of supporting the repository and he voted to make Nevada the sole repository site for waste. It is clear that John Kerry is someone who will say anything to anyone if he thinks it will win him votes, and his selection of John Edwards is further evidence of this.” Democrats point to Kerry’s strong record of voting against the project, including his 2002 vote to sustain Gov. Kenny Guinn’s veto of the Yucca Mountain site.

Source: Anjeanette Damon, Reno (NV) Gazette-Journal
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Bush nominates new CIA director : Aug 10, 2004

Rep. Porter Goss, chair of House Intelligence Committee

President Bush on Tuesday nominated U.S. Rep. Porter Goss to lead the CIA, an intelligence agency that has been under fire and under the microscope since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

"He knows the CIA inside and out," Bush said of Goss, an eight-term Republican congressman from Florida, a former CIA officer, and until Tuesday, the House intelligence chief . "He is the right man to lead this important agency at this critical moment in our nation's history."

Goss's nomination was praised by Republicans, but key Democrats objected to Bush's choice, questioning whether any lawmaker could bring non-partisan objectivity to the post. And some questioned whether Goss was too close to the CIA to shake things up at the agency, which was the focus of some critical comments in a recent report by the independent 9/11 commission. The agency has also been faulted for its pre-war intelligence on Iraq. Goss' nomination is subject to Senate confirmation.

Source: CNN.com
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Kerry: I'd vote to authorize war, but with allies : Aug 10, 2004

Bush: Kerry flip-flopping again on war

On the Iraq war, the Bush campaign has been pressuring Kerry to say whether he would have still voted for the war given the fact that no weapons of mass destruction were found. Bush maintains the world is still better off without Saddam Hussein in power. Kerry on Monday said he would have voted to give the president authorization to use force against Iraq "but I would have used that authority effectively."

Bush and his aides said that was evidence of Kerry flip-flopping from an anti-war stance he held during the Democratic primary last winter. "Now, almost two years after he voted for the war in Iraq, and almost 220 days after switching positions to declare himself the anti-war candidate, my opponent has found a new nuance," Bush told about 10,000 supporters in Pensacola. "He now agrees it was the right decision to go into Iraq."

Kerry's campaign national security adviser responded, "The issue has never been whether we were right to hold Saddam accountable, the issue is that we went to war without our allies, without properly equipping our troops and without a plan to win the peace," Beers said.

Source: Steve Holland, Reuters
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Alan Keyes takes on Barack Obama : Aug. 9, 2004

Illinois Senate race had no Republican

Click here for excerpts from Keyes' book, Our Character, Our Future

Maryland conservative Alan Keyes formally accepted Illinois' Republican U.S. Senate nomination Sunday, saying he believed he was duty-bound to protect the moral principles upon which the nation was founded and inviting voters to join him because "the victory is for God."

Ending more than six traumatic weeks for Republicans looking to replace embattled Jack Ryan in the Senate race against Democratic nominee Barack Obama, Keyes promised a fight--but not a victory--in a contest that he admitted would be "a great challenge" and "an uphill battle."

"If you are willing to join me in that fight, to join me with your money, to join me with your work, to join me especially with your prayers, I will promise you a battle like this nation has never seen," Keyes told several hundred supporters gathered in an Arlington Heights banquet hall.

Keyes' entry into the contest marks the first time in history that two African-Americans have challenged each other as major party nominees for election to the U.S. Senate. The winner will become only the third black elected to the chamber since Reconstruction and, with Carol Moseley Braun in 1992, the second African-American senator elected to represent Illinois in 12 years.

Keyes acknowledged that he had reservations about entering the race and that he had known little about Obama, a seven-year state senator from Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, except that he was a "standard liberal" who "looked like a pretty likable guy" in delivering the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention last month.

But in a half-hour nomination acceptance speech, Keyes said his decision to enter the contest was based on Obama's voting record in the state legislature--primarily a vote against what he termed "live-birth abortion" legislation. He branded Obama's posture on a variety of social issues as "abandoning the principles" that helped create the country and the principle that God endowed its citizens with fundamental rights.

A spokesman said Obama voted against the abortion legislation because it included provisions that "would have taken away from doctors their professional judgment when a fetus is viable." The legislation, which was defeated, would have made it illegal for doctors to let a fetus die if it happened to be delivered alive during an abortion.

Source: Liam Ford and John Chase, Chicago Tribune
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Swift Boat Vets: Kerry's C.O. denounces Kerry's Vietnam record : Aug 6, 2004

Kerry's C.O.: Kerry deserved his medals and I made a mistake saying he didn't

A group of veterans has launched a television ad campaign and a book that questions the basis for some of Kerry's combat medals. But yesterday, a key figure in the anti-Kerry campaign, Kerry's former commanding officer, backed off one of the key contentions. Lieutenant Commander George Elliott said in an interview that he had made a "terrible mistake" in signing an affidavit that suggests Kerry did not deserve the Silver Star, one of the main allegations in the book.

Yesterday, reached at his home, Elliott said he regretted signing the affidavit and said he still thinks Kerry deserved the Silver Star. Elliot’s affidavit contradicted earlier statements by Elliott, who came to Boston during Kerry's 1996 Senate campaign to defend Kerry on similar charges, saying that Kerry acted properly and deserved the Silver Star. The book, "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry," is to be published next week.

Kerry won the Silver Star for his action on Feb. 28, 1969, in which he shot a Viet Cong soldier who had been carrying a rocket launcher and running toward a hut. All of Kerry's crewmates who participated and are still living said in interviews last year that the action was necessary and appropriate, and it was Elliott who recommended Kerry for the Silver Star.

Source: Michael Kranish, Boston Globe, p. A1
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John McCain on Kerry's Vietnam record : Aug 5, 2004

Denounces “Swift Boat Vets” ads as dishonest

John McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, called an ad criticizing John Kerry's military service "dishonest and dishonorable" and urged the White House on today to condemn it as well. "It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me," McCain said, referring to his bitter primary fight with Bush.

The 60-second ad by a group called “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” accuses Kerry of lying about his decorated Vietnam War record and betraying his fellow veterans by later opposing the conflict. McCain said he's speaking out against the anti-Kerry ad because he believes it's bad for the political system. "It reopens all the old wounds of the Vietnam War, which I spent the last 35 years trying to heal," he said. "None of these individuals served on the boat Kerry commanded. Many of his crew have testified to his courage under fire. I think John Kerry served honorably in Vietnam.

A Bush spokesperson said, "The Bush campaign never has and will never question John Kerry's service in Vietnam."

The Kerry campaign has denounced the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, saying none of the men in the ad served on the boat that Kerry commanded. The leader of the group, retired Adm. Roy Hoffmann, said none of the 13 veterans in the commercial served on Kerry's boat but rather were in other swiftboats within 50 yards of Kerry's.

Jim Rassmann, an Army veteran who was saved by Kerry, said there were only six crewmates who served with Kerry on his boat. Five support his candidacy and one is deceased.

Source: Ron Fournier, Associated Press in Denver Post
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GOP plans to eliminate IRS : Aug. 2, 2004

Speaker Denny Hastert's new book details plan

House Speaker Dennis Hastert proposes to eliminate the income tax and abolish the Internal Revenue Service in a second Bush administration. In his upcoming book, "Speaker: Lessons from Forty Years in Coaching and Politics," Hastert says the bold move – sure to be immensely popular with voters – will be the centerpiece of President Bush's domestic agenda in a second term. Hastert says he will push for replacing the nation's current tax system with a national sales tax or a value added tax.

"By adopting a VAT, sales tax, or some other alternative, we could begin to change productivity," Hastert continued. "If you can do that, you can change gross national product and start growing the economy. You could double the economy over the next fifteen years. All of a sudden, the problem of what future generations owe in Social Security and Medicare won't be so daunting anymore. The answer is to grow the economy, and the key to doing that is making sure we have a tax system that attracts capital and builds incentives to keep it here instead of forcing it out to other nations."

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, offered a preview of the House GOP leadership's post-election tax agenda in a March speech in which he said the Republicans are determined to repeal the federal income tax. Long an advocate of a national sales tax, a confident DeLay told a conference of tax lobbyists that House Republicans will have hearings and push the issue in 2005 and 2006.

Source: WorldNetDaily.com, "Read GOP lips: No more IRS"
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John Kerry accepts Democratic nomination : July 30, 2004

"I'm Reporting for Duty"

Click for excerpts from speeches from the Convention
Vowing to change the direction of the country and "write the next great chapter of America's history," Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts accepted the Democratic presidential nomination before cheering delegates at Boston's FleetCenter.

"I'm John Kerry, and I'm reporting for duty," the Massachusetts senator said Thursday night while saluting the cheering crowd of Democratic delegates that packed Boston's FleetCenter.

Kerry's speech, in which he accepted his party's presidential nomination, focused mainly on the economy and the war in Iraq. Kerry called the coming presidential contest "the most important election of our lifetime." "America can do better, and help is on the way," he said repeatedly.

Source: CNN.com
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Barack Obama to give keynote speech at Convention : July 27, 2004

Candidate for US Senate from Illinois

Obama has not been elected to the United States Senate. He is merely a candidate -- a dynamic, stirring and potentially historic candidate who would be the only African American in the U.S. Senate and just the third since Reconstruction. But still a candidate nonetheless. "I'm not someone who takes hype so seriously," he says, which doesn't stop hypesters from taking Obama seriously. Or people from asking him -- with some regularity and straight faces -- when he will run for president. It didn't stop the Kerry campaign from asking him to give tonight's keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention. And it isn't stopping delegates, senators, members of Congress, governors and mayors from mobbing him this week. This is the inevitable result of what Obama calls "being the flavor of the month, or the flavor of the week, or whatever."

Indeed, Obama is experienced in the narrative of the celebrated racial trailblazer. He was the first African American editor of the Harvard Law Review, a position that exposed him to the procession of interviews, the imposition of great symbolic value and the overall burden of an outsize fuss. "After about two weeks, all the stories were written and everybody left me alone, and then I went back to editing law review articles," Obama says. "And I hope the same thing happens here. Which is, after an initial burst of attention . . . hopefully I can start focusing on getting some work done."

Source: Mark Leibovich, Washington Post, p. C1
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Recent quotes from earlier in 2003

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