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2004-09-21

Kerry and Bush Square Off on Iraq

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With six weeks remaining until Election Day, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry launched what is being called his most definitive statement yet on President Bush’s war in Iraq. Shortly after Kerry’s speech, Bush responded to his opponent’s comments. [includes rush transcript]

With six weeks remaining until Election Day, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry yesterday issued what is being called his most definitive statement yet on the war in Iraq.

Kerry’s stance on the war has come under criticism for being too vague or too similar to President Bush’s. But in a speech at New York University yesterday, the Democratic candidate issued what is described as his sharpest assault to date on Iraq.

  • Sen. John Kerry, New York University, September 20, 2004.

Sen. John Kerry speaking in New York yesterday. His speech was timed one day ahead of President Bush’s scheduled address to the U.N. General Assembly in New York today in which he is expected to defend his policy on Iraq. On Thursday the President will meet with the unelected Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi at the White House.

Two hours after Kerry’s speech, President Bush hit back at his opponent at a campaign stop in Derry, New Hampshire.

  • President George W. Bush, Derry, New Hampshire September 20, 2004.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Kerry’s stance on the war has come under criticism for being too vague or too similar to President Bush’s. But in a speech yesterday at New York University, the Democratic candidate issued what’s being called his clearest annunciation to date on Iraq.

JOHN KERRY: Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator, who deserves his own special place in hell. But that was not — that was not in and of itself a reason to go to war. The satisfaction — the satisfaction that we take in his downfall does not hide this fact — we have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure. Now, the President has said that he miscalculated in Iraq, and that it was a catastrophic success. In fact, in fact, the President has made a series of catastrophic decisions. From the beginning in Iraq, at every fork in the road, he has taken the wrong turn, and he has led us in the wrong direction.

AMY GOODMAN: John Kerry speaking in New York yesterday. His speech timed one day ahead of President Bush’s scheduled address to the U.N. General Assembly today in which he’s expected to defend his policy in Iraq. On Thursday, the President will meet with the unelected Iraqi Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, at the White House. Two hours after Kerry’s speech, President Bush hit back at his opponent at a campaign stop in Derry, New Hampshire.

GEORGE W. BUSH: Today my opponent continued his pattern of twisting in the wind with new contradictions of his old positions on Iraq. He apparently woke up this morning and has now decided, no, we should not have invaded Iraq. After just last month saying that he still would have voted for force, even knowing everything we know today. Incredibly, he now believes our national security would be stronger with Saddam Hussein in power, not in prison. Today he said, and I quote, "we have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure." He is saying that he prefers the stability of a dictatorship to the hope and security of Democracy. I couldn’t disagree more, and not so long ago, so did my opponent.

AMY GOODMAN: President Bush at a campaign stop in Derry, New Hampshire, yesterday. With Iraq in the midst of one of the bloodiest periods since the beginning of the U.S. invasion, there’s another story that in many media circles is dominating the news, that’s the controversy over documented used by CBS anchor, Dan Rather, in a story on President Bush’s National Guard service during the Vietnam War.

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