Friday, September 03, 2004

Still Undecided?

Read this:
...And on education, Bush voiced an inherent contradiction, dating back to his 2000 campaign, in stating his stout support for local control of education, yet promising to toughen federal standards that override local decision-making.

"We are insisting on accountability, empowering parents and teachers, and making sure that local people are in charge of their schools," he said, on one hand. Yet, "we will require a rigorous exam before graduation."

On Iraq, Bush derided Kerry for devaluing the alliance that drove out Saddam Hussein and is trying to rebuild the country. "Our allies also know the historic importance of our work," Bush said. "About 40 nations stand beside us in Afghanistan, and some 30 in Iraq."

But the United States has more than five times the number of troops in Iraq than all the other countries put together. And, with 976 killed, Americans have suffered nearly eight times more deaths than the other allies combined.

Bush aggressively defended progress in Afghanistan, too. "Today, the government of a free Afghanistan is fighting terror, Pakistan is capturing terrorist leaders ... and more than three-quarters of al-Qaida's key members and associates have been detained or killed. We have led, many have joined, and America and the world are safer."

Nowhere did Bush mention bin Laden, nor did he account for the replacement of killed and captured al al-Qaida leaders by others.

He attacked Kerry for voting against an $87 billion package for Iraq and Afghanistan operations that included money for extra sets of body armor and other supplies, mocking his opponent for saying the issue was complicated. "There's nothing complicated about supporting our troops in combat," Bush said.

But the bill in question was not solely about supporting troops and Kerry's campaign said he ultimately voted against it because, among other reasons, it included no-bid contracts for companies.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, who tracks the accuracy of campaign rhetoric at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication, said Bush overstepped on a few claims about Kerry.

"The speech distorts Kerry's positions by suggesting that he opposed Medicare reform when he instead favored an alternative, and opposed tax cuts for all when he in fact supported the middle class cuts and opposed cuts for those making more than $200,000," she said.

And on Bush's second-term domestic initiatives, she was not surprised to find missing dollar signs.

"One expects acceptance speeches to make grand promises without specifying the ways that the money will be raised to pay for them," she said. "This speech is no exception."

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