JIM LEHRER: American policy in Iraq has already become an issue in the 2004 presidential election. President Bush and Sen. John Kerry both spoke about it this week, in fact.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: We've encountered -- we've encountered -- I say "we"; it's just not American forces, it's coalition forces, and innocent Iraqi citizens, by the way -- have encountered serious violence in parts of Iraq.
The different factions -- former Saddam loyalists, some foreign fighters, Sadr, who is a radical cleric, and his gangs -- have a common goal. They want to stop the march to democracy in Iraq. The idea of a free society really bothers them. Freedom is something they can't stand. And they want to run us out of Iraq. That's what they want to do.
I, we're not going to be run out of Iraq. We're not going to let a ruthless power grab affect that which is important. See, it's in our national interest that Iraq be free and peaceful. It's in our national interest, the long-term interest of this country, that right in the heart of the Middle East there be a free society, one that will help spread hope and opportunity. I'm proud of those who have served our nation and are serving our nation. Our military is doing incredibly good work.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: We have troops being shot at even as we stand here today. Pick up the papers every day and you read the names of young Americans who are giving their lives in Iraq or Afghanistan or elsewhere. I know what that's like. And I know what the responsibilities of leadership are as to how you ask young Americans to go into harm's way.
This president broke his promises to America and misled this nation. (Cheers and applause) This president said he would build a true global coalition, he said he would exhaust the remedies of the United Nations, and he said he would go to war as a last resort. But I believe he rushed to war without a plan to win the peace, left our allies standing by, and I am convinced, as I think you are, the way you best protect our soldiers, the way you fastest get the target off of them, the way you provide the least cost to Americans, the way you maximize the chance for success is to get the rest of the world involved and on the job and be recognizing they share responsibility for the outcome, too. (Applause)