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Monday, November 01, 2004

The Choice Is Yours

Photo courtesy of Reuters

John Kerry made the following remarks Friday:

"In Iraq, every day, every headline, has brought fresh evidence that our Commander-in-Chief doesn’t see what’s happening -- isn’t leveling with the American people about why we went to war in Iraq…how the war is going – and has no idea how to put our policy back on track.  His mistakes and misjudgments have hurt our troops, driven away allies, diverted our focus from Osama bin Laden and the real war on terror. 

At home, George Bush looks at lost jobs, falling wages, and rising costs and tells struggling middle-class families that everything’s just fine.  That’s because for the powerful and well-connected friends he’s spent the last four years fighting for, it really is the best economy of their lifetime.  And now he’s asking us to give him another four years so that he can keep giving them more of the same. 

This is George Bush’s record.  But it doesn’t have to be our future...

When I’m President, I will bring other nations to our side and train Iraqis so that we can succeed and bring our troops home. As president, I will fight a tougher, smarter, more effective war on terror.  We will hunt down, capture, and kill the terrorists wherever they are. I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as president.

But I believe we need a president who can do more than one thing at a time. 

America has always been driven by a powerful idea:  that with hard work and good values, we can give our children a better life.  Our economy, our society is built on that basic bargain:  Everyone who works hard and does right should have the chance to get ahead.

Not long ago, that middle-class dream was within reach of all those willing to work for it.  But this President walked away from our basic bargain – and today, America’s great middle class is in danger because this President doesn’t share your values.

With almost every choice he’s made, George Bush has given more to those who have the most at the expense of middle-class families who are working hard to get ahead. 

Jobs get shipped overseas, but the companies who send them there get tax breaks.

Today, America is replacing high-paying, middle-class jobs with temporary and part-time jobs that don’t pay enough to make ends meet.  But big corporations keep getting higher profits and larger tax breaks. 

The middle-class is paying a larger share of the tax burden, but the wealthiest individuals making an average of $1.2 million are getting $89 billion in tax cuts.

American families are earning less but paying more.

Health care’s up 64 percent.  College tuition’s up 46 percent.  Medicare premiums are up 56 percent.  5 million more Americans don’t health care.  220,000 students couldn’t afford college last year.  But George Bush thought it was a good idea to give Enron a $254 million tax break, the big drug companies $139 billion in windfall profits, and Halliburton a $7 billion no-bid contract.  You know, as Ronald Reagan used say, facts are stubborn things.

This is George Bush’s record, but it doesn’t have to be our future.  On Tuesday, we have the opportunity to make sure the American Dream touches every American heart.  We can bring back good-paying jobs for middle-class families so that they don’t just get by – they get ahead.  We can bring down the cost of health care and child care and tuition so that you can pay the bills and give your children the same chance at life that your parents gave you. 

This can be our future.

But first we must choose.

It’s a choice between four more years of George Bush’s policy to ship jobs overseas and give tax breaks to the companies that do it -- or a President who will reward the companies that create and keep good jobs here in the United States of America. 

You can choose a fresh start.  And when I’m President, that’s what you’ll get.

On Tuesday, you’ll face a choice between four more years of George Bush’s giveaways to the big drug companies and the big HMOs -- or a President who will finally make health care a right, and not a privilege, for every American.

You can choose a fresh start...

On Tuesday, America faces a choice between four more years of an energy policy for big oil, of big oil, and by big oil -- or a President who finally makes America independent of Mideast oil in ten years.  A choice between George Bush’s policy that just yesterday showed record profits for oil companies and record gas prices for American consumers.  I believe that America should rely on our own ingenuity and innovation, not the Saudi Royal family. 

You can choose a fresh start.  And when I’m President, that’s what you’ll get.

I believe that the only way to do this is by coming together as One America.  It is time for America to put the politics of polarization behind us.  It is time to appeal to the best instincts of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike. It is time again for America to honor the truth that what unites us is stronger than what divides us.  It is time for America to renew the faith that there is something for everyone single one of us to do – and challenges each of us to try. 

My fellow Americans, running for president has been a privilege and a gift.   Over two years and more, I have traveled into the communities, the homes, and the town squares of America.  I have seen heartache, but I have also seen hope.  I have been told stories of struggle, but in those voices there is also a sense of optimism.  The people I have met understand how hard the last four years have been, but they know in their hearts that if we believe in ourselves, America’s best days are ahead of us.  

Our choice could not be clearer.  And the stakes could not be higher."


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