3rd Presidential DEBATE NOTES: third half hour
Schieffer asked if the President wants to undo Roe v. Wade. The President said he would not have a litmus test for judges.
Kerry responded that he would not appoint judges who would overturn a Constitutional right, like the First Amendment or the right to choose an abortion. That is a vapid statement!
Bush: "Only a liberal Senator from Massachusetts would call a 49% increase in education funding a cut." Kerry said you don't talk about percentages, "you talk about whether or not you're getting the job done."
What would Kerry do about using the National Guard and reserve or extending their terms of duty. Kerry complains that this is an example of the President mismanaging. He's going to somehow add people to the armed forces. Kerry said we need "real alliances."
Kerry said the best way to reduce the strain on American troops is to train the Iraqis.
The President is talking about the "global test." He will work with other countries, but he will never turn over our security to other nations. Kerry says he never suggested that we turn security decisions, but "most Americans know in their gut" that we should have other countries support us. The President said that there was an international coalition in 1990 to remove Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. The international willl, and Kerry voted against it.
Kerry thinks it was a failure of Presidential leadership "not to reauthorize the assault weapons ban." But it was not for him to do. That was up to Congress. Kerry's talking about going hunting with sheriffs in Iowa. "If Tom DeLay had said to me, 'sorry, we don't have a vote,' I'd have told him that we have a fight!" He'd have taken the Hammer out to the countryside to talk to law enforcement officers.
Kerry says we need Affirmative Action because we have to meet those goals. "We have a long way to go." He opposes quotas, feels "there are places where it was overreaching." "Mend it, don't end it." Affirmative Action is because we still have a problem with racism, he says. So he wants to legislate and end to racism. He said the President has never met with the Congressional Black Caucus.
The President says it is not true that he hasn't met with the "Black Congressional Caucus." He met with them at the White House.
In answer to Schieffer, the President says he prays a lot. He said also that we are equally American whether we "choose to worship and Almighty, or not." Prayer gives him peace. He makes decisions based on principle, and his principles are who he is. He believes freedom in Afghanistan is a "gift from the Almighty."
Kerry respects the President's faith. "Everything," Kerry said, "is a gift from the Almighty." We have to do a lot of "loving our neighbor." We have separate school systems in America: one for the haves, one for the have nots. Is he talking about Catholic/parochial schools for the haves, public for the have nots?
Kerry said the President did a terrific job in the days after 9-11. The President mouthed, "Thank you." He then accused the President of presiding over the most divided country in our history, and he is "committed to changing that." His Senate career, reaching between the aisle and finding common ground, he says, proves that he is a uniter. He's going to work with his friend John McCain to pass campaign finance reform and eliminate the unlimited money (which benefited him disproportionally).
The President says he was most disappointed that Washington was such a partisan town. He worked with Ted Kennedy on No Child Left Behind. He's glad Kerry mentioned John McCain, as McCain supports him because he has a plan to win in Iraq.
Schieffer said all three of them are married two strong women and have two daughters whom they love. What have you learned most from these women?
President Bush answered, "To listen to them. (laughter) To stand up straight and not to scowl (laughter)." The audience broke the rules, but so did Schieffer.
Kerry's laugh line was the three of them married up. "Some would say maybe me more than others." Financially, yes.
Kerry's invoking JFK, speaking of dreams, and defensively saying that he would never allow another country to have a veto over our security decisions. Defensively, he mentioned his faith in God. Join him on the journey..
The President spoke of the painting in the Oval Office by Tom Lee, a painting that shoes the daylight coming, not the sun setting. He talks of all we've been through together – something which scored big last debate – and we're going to continue to work together to achieve goals. "I'm confident that we'll win the war on terror," but we have to be resolute.