Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
The Journal Editorial Report
Features
Front Page
Lead Story
Briefing & Opinion
Tony & Tacky
TV Schedule
For Teachers
About the Series
Archive



Briefing and Opinion
October 1, 2004


As president, what would you do, specifically, in addition to or differently to increase the homeland security of the United States than what President Bush is doing?

John Kerry KERRY: "First of all, what kind of mixed message does it send when you have $500 million going over to Iraq to put police officers in the streets of Iraq, and the president is cutting the COPS program in America? What kind of message does it send to be sending money to open firehouses in Iraq, but we're shutting firehouses who are the first- responders here in America. The president -- 95 percent of the containers that come into the ports, right here in Florida, are not inspected. Civilians get onto aircraft, and their luggage is X-rayed, but the cargo hold is not X-rayed.

"Does that make you feel safer in America?"

Bush: "The Patriot Act is vital -- is vital that the Congress renew the Patriot Act which enables our law enforcement to disrupt terror cells. But again, I repeat to my fellow citizens, the best way to protection is to stay on the offense.

"My administration worked with the Congress to create the Department of Homeland Security so we could better coordinate our borders and ports. We've got 1,000 extra border patrol on the southern border; want 1,000 on the northern border. We're modernizing our borders."
George W. Bush



Has the war in Iraq been worth the cost of American lives, 1052 as of today?

George Bush Bush: "Every life is precious. That's what distinguishes us from the enemy. Everybody matters. But I think it's worth it.

"I think it's worth it, because I think -- I know in the long term a free Iraq, a free Afghanistan, will set such a powerful in a part of the world that's desperate for freedom. It will help change the world; that we can look back and say we did our duty."

Kerry: "I understand what the president is talking about, because I know what it means to lose people in combat. And the question, is it worth the cost, reminds me of my own thinking when I came back from fighting in that war.

"And it reminds me that it is vital for us not to confuse the war, ever, with the warriors."
John Kerry




What criteria would you use to determine when to start bringing troops home from Iraq?

George W. Bush BUSH: "When our general is on the ground and Ambassador Negroponte tells me that Iraq is ready to defend herself from these terrorists, that elections will have been held by then, that their stability and that they're on their way to, you know, a nation that's free; that's when.

"A free Iraq will help secure Israel. A free Iraq will enforce the hopes and aspirations of the reformers in places like Iran. A free Iraq is essential for the security of this country."

KERRY: "Now I believe there's a better way to do this. You know, the president's father did not go into Iraq, into Baghdad, beyond Basra. And the reason he didn't is, he said -- he wrote in his book -- because there was no viable exit strategy. And he said our troops would be occupiers in a bitterly hostile land.

"That's exactly where we find ourselves today."
John Kerry




Does the Iraq experience make it more likely or less likely that you would take the U.S. into another pre-emptive war?

Geroge W. Bush BUSH: "But the enemy attacked us, Jim, and I have a solemn duty to protect the American people, to do everything I can to protect us.

"I think that by speaking clearly and doing what we say and not sending mixed messages, it is less likely we'll ever have to use troops.

"But a president must always be willing to use troops. It must -- as a last resort."

KERRY: "Saddam Hussein didn't attack us. Osama bin Laden attacked us. Al Qaeda attacked us. And when we had Osama bin Laden cornered in the mountains of Tora Bora, 1,000 of his cohorts with him in those mountains. With the American military forces nearby and in the field, we didn't use the best trained troops in the world to go kill the world's number one criminal and terrorist." John Kerry




Do you believe sanctions can solve the nuclear problems with North Korea and Iran? Take them in any order you would like.

George W. Bush BUSH: "And so we began a new dialogue with North Korea, one that included not only the United States, but now China. And China's a got a lot of influence over North Korea, some ways more than we do.

"As well, we included South Korea, Japan and Russia. So now there are five voices speaking to Kim Jong Il, not just one.

"And so if Kim Jong Il decides again to not honor an agreement, he's not only doing injustice to America, he'd be doing injustice to China, as well. "

KERRY: "Colin Powell, our secretary of state, announced one day that we were going to continue the dialog of working with the North Koreans. The president reversed it publicly while the president of South Korea was here.

"And the president of South Korea went back to South Korea bewildered and embarrassed because it went against his policy. And for two years, this administration didn't talk at all to North Korea.

"While they didn't talk at all, the fuel rods came out, the inspectors were kicked out, the television cameras were kicked out. And today, there are four to seven nuclear weapons in the hands of North Korea. "
John Kerry




Are there underlying character issues that you believe are serious enough to deny Senator Kerry the job of commander-in-chief?


George W. Bush BUSH: "You cannot lead if you send mixed messages. Mixed messages send the wrong signals to our troops. Mixed messages send the wrong signals to our allies. Mixed messages send the wrong signals to the Iraqi citizens."

KERRY: "It's one thing to be certain, but you can be certain and be wrong. " John Kerry