"The president’s real trouble is less with Kerry than with reality. In the week between the first and second debates, a CIA-appointed investigator concluded that Iraq had dismantled its WMD programs in 1991, Paul Bremer revealed that he had complained to the White House about the shortage of troops in Iraq, the New York Times reported that the administration knowingly covered up the misgivings of our intelligence establishment during the run-up to the war, the job creation figures were underwhelming, and Tom DeLay was reprimanded three times by the bipartisan House Ethics Committee. Kerry took Bush to task on Iraq and job loss, and on the domestic issues that first came into play during this debate: the president’s preferring the drug industry over American patients, the lack of funding for Bush’s own Leave No Child Behind program.
The attack by Bush and Cheney on Kerry’s allegedly 'big government' health care plan is a mark of the nervousness that has come over the president and his consultants. Kerry unveiled his plan, with all its particulars, fully 18 months ago in a speech in Des Moines. During those 18 months, neither health care experts nor the media -- nor all but a handful of Republicans, nor anyone in the president’s campaign, until just recently -- have characterized the plan as big government,” for the simple reason that its not. Its major component is to have the government assume the costs now borne by employers for catastrophic illness that cost more than $50,000. It also extends the coverage of children and the poor under existing programs...
Kerry had several lines of attack on domestic issues he did not embark upon Friday, though he could be saving them for the final debate on Wednesday. The fact that by independent estimates, Kerry’s health care proposal would cover about 27 million currently uninsured Americans, and Bush’s would cover no more than 6 million, has yet to be mentioned. The fact that Bush’s proposed new spending comes to $3 trillion -- nearly a trillion more than Kerry’s -- has yet to be raised..."
-Harold Meyerson, The American Prospect
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