Sen. John F. Kerry and President Bush Continue Their Campaigns
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GWEN IFILL: Now, we catch up with the presidential campaigns, both of them very active over this long Labor Day weekend. First, President Bush: He spoke at a rally yesterday in Parkersburg, West Virginia.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Our economy is growing, and it is getting stronger. Just this past week, we received the jobs report for August. America added 144,000 new jobs last month, plus 60,000 jobs upward revision for the previous two months. We’ve added over 1.7 million new jobs since August of ’03.
The national unemployment rate is 5.4 percent. (Applause) And the unemployment rate in the great state of West Virginia is 5.2 percent. (Applause) Our economic plan is working. (Applause) To keep jobs here in America, we must open up markets overseas for our entrepreneurs and manufacturers and farmers and ranchers. We open up our markets, and that’s good for you. What I tell other countries like China is, you treat us the way we treat you. We can compete with anybody, anytime, anywhere, if the rules are fair.
(Applause) In order to make sure we keep jobs here, we’ve got to be wise about how we spend your money, and we’ve got to keep your taxes low. (Applause) We have a difference of opinion on taxes in this campaign. My opponent has promised to raise some taxes. That’s a promise politicians tend to keep.
This Labor Day weekend, it is important for America’s workers to know that my opponent wants to tax your jobs. His plan to raise taxes on those at the top end of the income tax scale will raise taxes for the 900,000 small businesses and entrepreneurs who pay at the individual rate and who are creating most of the new jobs in our changing economy. Raising taxes will stifle job creation.
The way to get more Americans working is to support the small businesses who are creating 70 percent of the new jobs in America. We will expand access to our community colleges so workers will have the skills necessary to fill the jobs of the 21st century. You know that most new jobs in America are filled by people with at least two years of college, yet only one in four students gets there. In our high schools, we’ll fund early intervention programs to help students at risk. We’ll place a new focus on math and science.
Over time, we’ll require a rigorous exam before graduation. By raising performance in our high schools and expanding Pell Grants for low- and middle- income families, we will help more Americans start their career with a college diploma.
GWEN IFILL: Now, John Kerry: He attended a rally today in Racine, West Virginia.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: This is a special day — Labor Day – it’s a day specifically set aside to honor work in America. I want to say a word about the one area where also here at home George Bush is most wrong and we are most us know that we can do better and that’s jobs. In the last three years, West Virginia lost 11,000 manufacturing jobs.
But just today, a report came out that shows that the jobs that they’re creating to replace the jobs that you’ve lost overseas are paying an average of $9,000 less than the job that we lost that went overseas. And a lot of the jobs that are now taking their place are part- time jobs, or they don’t pay benefits. They don’t have health care. So what’s happened is America’s workplace, for the American worker, is going backwards, while George Bush is busy protecting the wealthiest people in the country.
That’s “w,” that’s wrong, wrong choices, wrong direction, and we need a new direction for this country. Four years ago George Bush told us that he wanted to create an economy where there was high paying, high quality work. Now he says prosperity has returned and that we’ve turned the corner.
Well, most of the Americans I talk to feel like they’ve been put in a corner, not that we’ve turned a corner. Prosperity hasn’t returned, folks, when you’ve lost 1.6 million jobs. This is the first president of the United States since the great Depression since Herbert Hoover who has presided over the loss of jobs. I think it’s time to set a new direction for America, a new economic plan, when you put in a good day’s work, you ought to get a good day’s pay.
At the end of a week and a month you ought to be able to pay your bills, put some money away and do better in America. And I’ll tell you, we’re going to restore the American dream, John Edwards and I, are going to bring back that America where we work for you, where we stand up and fight for jobs here in this country. And we’re going to make sure that the American worker has a fair playing field to fight on.
Today you got a problem with these other countries that aren’t living up to the trade agreements and the president won’t even stand up for steel or for others, and put in place those parts of the law that we’re allowed to put in place.
We deserve a president who fights as hard for your jobs as he fights for his own jobs, and I will do that.
If you want to make that America our America, the America where our best days are ahead of us, where hope is there for our nation, where we stand up and say we’re not dividing this country into red states and blue states, this is one America, red, white and blue for all of us, that’s our America, that’s what we’re going to create together! Let’s go out and get the job done! Thank you and God bless.
GWEN IFILL: Sen. Kerry traveled on to Cleveland to attend an early evening Labor Day picnic. George Bush planned a rally in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.