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Bush, Kerry, and Nader Respond to Youth Voter Questions

Roblimo posted more than 9 years ago | from the I-am-qualified-to-be-president-and-the-others-aren't dept.


Slashdot readers both contributed and helped moderate questions for the New Voters Project Presidential Youth Debate. You can read the answers below, but if you'd like to see an expanded introduction, thumbnails of the candidates, and different formatting, go to the Youth Debate page. And that's not all: We're supposed to get candidates' rebuttals on or about October 17, so don't touch that dial!

Opening Statements:

President George Bush:

America's youth is at the heart of our great country, providing the energy and vision that will soon lead this Nation. Young people across America are engaging in activities to better their communities and ensure that their opinions are heard. Yet despite the energy and activism of many youth, less than half of eligible voters, ages 18-24, voted in recent national elections. The youth voice needs to be heard - so I encourage you to make sure that it is!

I am excited to be participating in this online debate, because it engages young people and challenges them to think about the issues and the leadership that will affect the future of our country. I would like to thank The New Voters Project Presidential Youth Debate, for providing this forum to connect with millions of young Americans. And I would like to thank you for your interest. As this election nears, it is increasingly important that the youth of America cast their ballots to determine the next President of the United States. I hope that on November 2nd, you will give me your vote - and vote for a leader who will continue to promote a prosperous, safe, and secure America.

Senator John Kerry:

We are a can-do country, I am filled with optimism and hope by our nation's young people. The young people I have met throughout this campaign inspire me with their ingenuity and their dedication to creating a better future for America. I would like to thank The New Voters Project Presidential Youth Debate and Anthony Tedesco for allowing me the opportunity to address the concerns of the youth of today because they are the leaders of tomorrow.

Mr. Ralph Nader:

Thank you for inviting the Nader-Camejo campaign to participate in "The New Voters Project Presidential Youth Debate." We appreciate the work of the founder, Anthony Tedesco, who has produced these debates for America's youth since 1996. It is an honor to be the first non-major party candidate invited to participate. [Please note: All candidates who met the criteria detailed in The Appleseed Citizens' Task Force on Fair Debates were invited to participate.]

Young voters and future voters are especially important to the Nader-Camejo campaign as one of our goals is to find and help develop future leaders of America. I have always seen the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.

Today we are at a critical point in history and you have an opportunity to lead a mobilization that shapes your future. Both corporate-controlled political parties are taking our country over a cliff, the Democrats are just doing it a little slower. Political pundits will tell you to accept the lesser of two evils, to support an overall pro-war, pro-corporate globalization party, and put your idealism on the shelf. I, like many of you, have reached a breaking point with the two-party system. It either must be driven toward the people or driven out in the coming years. You have a choice - drop out or drop-in.

This campaign is a call to action for the young people of America.

We need a world where politics is activated by vision, not fear, where media is created by people, not corporations, where energy is produced more from the sun and less from oil, where business is driven by human need, not greed, and where foreign policy is dedicated to justice -- not war. No Justice, No Peace.

We need your energy, your passion, and your commitment to help build a more just, equitable world - a world of happiness and the fulfillment of human possibilities. We are developing a 12-year plan to help young Americans to take control of their future and change our political system.

We encourage you to read our website for deeper discussions on the issues presented here - We invite you to join with us in this effort to engage more voices in the political spectrum and urge you to pass this message on to all your family, friends, classmates, and instant messaging buddies. Together, we can declare our own independence from corporate rule.

Questions and the Candidate Responses


The United States is one of the only nations in the world that executes juvenile offenders, putting us in the company of Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. Why is the United States on this list? Do you believe executing minors is a good policy, and if not, what will you do to change the law?
- from lead moderator Farai Chideya, 35, of NY

Senator John Kerry Responds:

I believe that the death penalty should only be used for terrorists. I do not think that executing minors is good policy. I will, however, enforce the laws of the land.

President George Bush Responds:

The justice system of the United States has long been a beacon and example for the world, and is grounded in the principles of equality and impartiality. Unlike the legal systems of many other nations, the law assumes innocence unless guilt is proven before a jury of peers. The imposition of capital punishment is reserved by the government as the severest sentence for the gravest of crimes - like the terrible bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

I support the death penalty for heinous crimes, but only where the process is fair and guilt is certain. And I believe strongly that if it is administered justly, fairly, and swiftly, capital punishment serves as a deterrent to crime. With respect to the age at which individuals should be eligible for the death penalty, Federal law prohibits execution of those under 18 when the offense was committed, and I see no reason to change that statue. The Supreme Court will soon consider whether the Constitution requires states to follow a similar rule.

To increase the level of certainty regarding the guilt or innocence of the convicted, I have substantially increased funding for DNA testing. I proposed $236 million in Federal funding in FY 2005 for my Advancing Justice Through DNA Technology initiative, part of a total five-year funding commitment of over $1 billion. This program will improve the use of DNA in the criminal justice system and ensure that DNA technology reaches its full potential.

Many young people turn to crime at a young age, because they lack necessary guidance or education. The best way to prevent youth crime is to attack its causes, and my Administration has put several programs into place to do precisely that.

My Administration supports mentoring programs that help at-risk youth stay on the right path by providing them with adult guidance and educational opportunities. These programs have particularly targeted children of prisoners, who are statistically more likely to commit crimes.

Project Sentry combines education and law enforcement initiatives, to prevent future crime by connecting young people with respected members of the community.

Under Project Safe Neighborhoods, my initiative for enforcing existing gun laws, Federal gun crime prosecutions have increased by 68 percent during the last three years. The violent crime victimization rate is at its lowest level in 30 years.

Mr. Ralph Nader Responds:

The Nader/Camejo campaign opposes the death penalty in any form, particularly the odious practice of executing minors. The government enforces the death penalty unfairly along lines of class and race. Furthermore, capital punishment does not deter crime. It results in innocent people being executed, and corrupts the exemplary status of the state. To reverse this, we need to call for an immediate moratorium on executions, especially of juveniles. We must invest in humane treatment, personal involvement of youngsters, and job creation. We need to restore sentencing discretion to judges by repealing mandatory sentences and arbitrary "three-strikes" laws. We also need to restore due process, judicial discretion and constitutional restraints on law enforcement that violate equal protection and due process of law.


In regards to social security, as a professional 25-year-old worker I'm concerned that I'm paying into a system, which is severely over-taxed and will be non-existent when I reach retirement. I would like to know what steps will be taken to either ensure I will get the benefits I've paid for, or to allow me to no longer contribute to Social Security and use that extra income to invest myself for my retirement, most likely in a Roth IRA.
- from Nathan, 25, of MN

President George Bush Responds:

The Social Security system was established for good reason - to enhance retirement security for working Americans. But your future fiscal security should not have to rely on a system that was established for your grandparents - when life expectancy was shorter and few women worked outside of the home. In 1950, there were 16 workers paying into Social Security for each person receiving benefits. That number has dropped to only 3.3 workers paying into Social Security for each person receiving benefits today. As your parents and members of the Baby Boom generation begin to retire, the number of workers supporting retirees will continue to shrink, and when you and your generation retire, there will be only two workers to support each person on Social Security.

Our Social Security system must adapt to these new realities if it is to remain strong in the 21st century. I favor the establishment of voluntary personal accounts for younger workers. These accounts would provide ownership, choice, control, and the opportunity to build a nest egg that workers could use for their retirement and pass on to their families. To ensure that those who are retired or near retirement have financial security today, I oppose any changes in current benefits. And we will not raise the payroll tax on working Americans.

Senator John Kerry Responds:

We faced a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create real, bipartisan Social Security reform with our record budget surpluses. This opportunity was squandered and the life of Social Security was not extended. My Social Security plan is based on three pillars; growing the economy, restoring fiscal discipline and working in a bipartisan manner. We must end the practice of robbing the Social Security Trust Fund to balance the budget and protect savings for the future.

Mr. Ralph Nader Responds:

Social Security places government in one of its noblest roles: as an institution that offers a bedrock financial guarantee to all members of society that they need not fear the financial consequences of growing old or disabled. That's quite the opposite of the U.S. government's all too familiar role as a provider of corporate welfare, a patsy to narrow business interests that hijack government programs and agencies and convert taxpayers assets into private profits, with inadequate reciprocal benefits to the public.

Our Social Security system is under attack. Relying on a trumped-up "crisis" in our social security program, a band of so-called privatizers want to convert our social security commonwealth into individual, private accounts.

The privatizers mislead the public. They distort returns we are likely to experience from a privatized system. They fail to mention the enormous administrative fees that stockbrokers and insurance agents might conceivably skim from private accounts, and they remain silent about the likelihood of millions of people losing their retirement income in the stock market. They ignore warnings that stock fraud hucksters will inevitably take advantage of people who are encouraged to put their social security money in the stock market.

If the system is privatized, this tranquility will be replaced by anxiety, as we worry about whether we will be winners or losers in the system's roller-coaster ride on Wall Street.

We would defend Social Security from risky privatization plans, ensuring its long-term fiscal solvency. Social Security needs no "saving," only improvement through gradual changes to the benefits and revenue structure. Adjusting the benefit formula for widows and widowers would reduce the poverty rate of 20% for older women living alone. If a small amount of additional revenue is needed, raise the income cap on Social Security taxes or tax executive bonuses and stock options.


The U.S. has been accused of cultural and economic imperialism in the past, and now with the situations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, we are being accused by people around the world of imposing our will on others with force. How do you respond to that, and what would you do to restore our nation's reputation around the world, including any actions you would take that you haven't previously mentioned?
- from Jodi, 26, of IN

President George Bush Responds:

In little over a generation, we have witnessed the swiftest advance of freedom in the 2,500-year story of democracy. It is no accident that the rise of so many democracies took place in a time when the world's most influential nation was itself a democracy.

The United States has adopted a new policy, a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East, which requires the same persistence, energy, and idealism we have shown before. The advance of freedom is the calling of our time, and we believe the freedom we prize is not for us alone - it is the right and the capacity of all mankind.

The progress of liberty is a powerful trend. And, today, as we have for decades, Americans are amply displaying our willingness to sacrifice for liberty.

Observers have questioned whether the Middle East, or its people, are "ready" for democracy - as if freedom were a prize you win for meeting our own Western standards of progress. In fact, the daily work of democracy itself is the path of progress. It teaches cooperation, the free exchange of ideas, and the peaceful resolution of differences. As we are witnessing, it is the practice of democracy that makes a nation ready for democracy, and every nation can start on this path.

As we watch and encourage reforms in the region, we are mindful that modernization is not the same as Westernization. Representative governments in the Middle East will reflect their own cultures. They will not, and should not, look like us. Democratic nations may be constitutional monarchies, federal republics, or parliamentary systems. And working democracies always need time to develop - as did our own.

In Iraq, the Interim Iraqi Government is working to build a democracy, as they move toward free elections by January 2005.

This is a massive and difficult undertaking, but one worth our effort and sacrifice, because we know the stakes. The failure of Iraqi democracy would embolden terrorists around the world, increase dangers to the American people, and extinguish the hopes of millions in the region. The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution.

The first measure of our success and commitment to transform the Middle East and our relations with Muslim communities occurred this weekend in Afghanistan. After decades of brutal dictatorship and violence, millions of people turned out to vote for their next President. They defied the pessimists who said it could not be done and gave voice to all those in the Middle East who want to participate in the democratic process.

Mr. Ralph Nader Responds:

There's an impressive catalog of actions taken by our government in our name and shrouded in secrecy: repeating falsehoods to start an unlawful invasion of Iraq, illegal spending, government overthrows, corporate tax havens, sovereignty-shredding trade agreements, circumventing our courts and agencies, taking nuclear waste from other countries, and allowing advanced weaponry and data to be sold by companies to oppressive regimes. It is no wonder the world considers the United States a belligerent bully that protects corporate interests, not the interests of the people.

America's foreign policy might not consist of a succession of follies if it were conducted and monitored more democratically. American foreign policy must redefine the elements of global security, peace, arms control; call for an end to nuclear weapons; and expand the many assets of our country to launch, with other nations, major initiatives against global infections diseases (such as AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and virulent flu epidemics) which have and are coming to our country in increasingly drug resistant strains.

Other low cost-high yield (compared to massive costs of redundant weapons) that extend the best of our country abroad include public health measures for drinking water safety abroad, tobacco control, stemming soil erosion, deforestation and misuse of chemicals, international labor standards, stimulating democratic institutions, agrarian cooperatives and demonstrating appropriate technologies dealing with agriculture, transportation, housing and efficient, renewable energy. The UN Development Program and many NGO's working abroad provide essential experience and directions in this regard including ending the specter of hunger, malnutrition and resultant diseases with known and proven remedies and practices. With this foreign policy orientation overhauls we will discover and facilitate the indigenous genius of the Third World, recalling Brazilian Paulo Freire (literacy), Egyptian Hasan Fathi (agrarian housing) and Bangladeshi Mohammed Yunis (microcredit).

Senator John Kerry Responds:

More than a century ago, Teddy Roosevelt defined American leadership in foreign policy. He said America should walk softly and carry a big stick. Time and again, the Bush Administration has violated the fundamental tenet of Roosevelt's approach, as he described it: "If a man continually blusters, if he lacks civility, a big stick will not save him from trouble."

But that is precisely what the Bush Administration has done. They looked to force before exhausting diplomacy. They bullied when they should have persuaded. They have gone it alone when they should have assembled a team. They have hoped for the best when they should have prepared for the worst. In short, they have undermined the legacy of generations of American leadership. And that is what we must restore.

Today, there is still a powerful yearning around the world for an America that listens and leads again. An America that is respected, and not just feared. I believe that respect is an indispensable mark of our nation's character - and an indispensable source of our nation's strength. It is the indispensable bond of America's mighty alliances.

The most urgent national security challenge we face is the war against those who attacked our country on September 11th, the war against Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. As president, I will fight a tougher, smarter, more effective war on terror. My priority will be to find and capture or kill the terrorists before they get us.

It's time for a new national security policy guided by four new imperatives: First, I will launch and lead a new era of alliances for the post 9-11 world. Second, I will modernize the world's most powerful military to meet the new threats. Third, in addition to our military might, I will deploy all that is in America's arsenal -- our military, our diplomacy, our intelligence system, our economic power, and the appeal of our values and ideas. Fourth and finally, to secure our full independence and freedom, I have a plan to free America from its dangerous dependence on Mideast oil.


Democratic Congressmen Charles Rangel and Ernest Hollings have been pushing to reinstate and change the draft, Senate 89 and House 163. The two bills call for the drafting of women, and don't allow exemptions for college or only children. The Congressmen are pushing the bill under the claim that too many minorities are fighting for our country (, February, 2003). What are the chances of you supporting such a drastic change in our drafting process, and under what circumstances would you institute a draft, or any other national service, to fight a war?
- A combination of 3 questions from Laurel, 21, of FL, Edward, 23, of MA, and Kevin, 18, of IA

Senator John Kerry Responds:

I oppose reinstating the draft, and I am committed to an all volunteer military. Our military is overstretched and overextended. George Bush has effectively used a back door draft of our National Guard and reserves, and used a "stop-loss" policy to extend tours of duty, delayed retirements, and prevented enlisted personnel from leaving the service. This has happened on the backs of the men and women who've already fulfilled their obligation to the armed forces and to our country. Military families are under incredible strain as it becomes harder and harder to balance the demands of family life and military duty.

I will fight to relieve the burden on our troops, while modernizing our military to meet new threats. I have a plan to expand the all-volunteer active duty Army by 40,000 soldiers. Not by draft, and not to increase the number of soldiers in Iraq, but to add new volunteer soldiers trained and ready to meet new threats and relieve the strain on our troops. My plan will bring more of our soldiers, guardsmen and reservists back home to their families and get them time for the new training they need.

I will fight a tougher, smarter, more effective war on terror. My priority will be to find and capture or kill the terrorists before they get us. I have a plan to win the peace in Iraq, and bring our troops home. And I will face the urgent nuclear dangers in North Korea and Iran, which George Bush has allowed to mount on his watch.

President George Bush Responds:

I want to quell the recent rumors that have been circulating once and for all: We will not have a draft so long as I am the President of the United States. In fact, current law prohibits reinstatement of the draft absent legislation and such legislation was recently defeated in the House of Representatives 402 to 2.

I am committed to keeping participation in the United States Armed Services voluntary. In order to win the war on terror, we must ensure that our troops are highly skilled and specialized, and that they are trained and equipped to successfully complete their missions. A draft will not allow us to create the specialized force we require to face our current threats. That is why the all-voluntary military is working superbly, and we do not need a draft.

My Administration has maintained a consistent and firm position on this issue, and we have clearly stated that a draft is not being considered. Recruitment and retention rates remain strong, and the military has not had any problem maintaining a strong force. I am confident in the current state of the military and I have assured the Nation that the all-volunteer military is performing with great strength and valor.

Military commanders in the field tell me they have the personnel and resources they need. If they need more, I will make sure they get it. We have the resources now to meet current and potential threats. I also have great confidence in the men and women of our armed forces, and our Nation greatly appreciates their service and honors their sacrifices. My pledge to our military is that it will have what it needs to fight and get the job done. Our enemies need to know that we are determined, and any effort to test us will draw a strong response. We are transforming our military so that we can meet any test with all the might of this great country.

Mr. Ralph Nader Responds:

The Rangel and Hollings bills not only failed to provide exemptions for college students and only children, but the bills offered no special status for conscientious objectors. Despite the House's recent resounding 402-2 defeat of the draft bills in question, the spectre of a draft remains. With candidate John Kerry calling for 150,000 more troops in Iraq, but not indicating where they will come from, and with President Bush promising endless warfare, American youth must act now to prevent forced conscription.

A back-door draft is already in place. Syndicated columnist Mark Shields recently made the point that "We do not have an all-volunteer service today. The reality is that we now have a limited military draft. But the only Americans who are subjected to the current "draft" are those who have already demonstrated their patriotism by volunteering to serve in the military and have then served honorably. The truth is that as of last month, no fewer than 44,500 American soldiers who had fulfilled their contractual obligations, completed their enlistments and made plans to return to civilian life or retirement were frozen -- by an arbitrary "stop-loss" order -- on active duty."

Coerced military service amounts to slavery, and America can stop the talk of a draft with a dual corporate and military exit from Iraq. Under a U.S. withdrawal, the United Nations should develop an international peace-keeping force from neutral nations with such experience and from Islamic countries. This peacekeeping force should be assembled immediately to replace all US troops and civilian military contractors doing many jobs the Army used to do more efficiently. Americans must support Iraqi self rule and free and fair elections. The US should provide humanitarian aid to Iraq to rebuild its infrastructure. Control over Iraqi oil and other assets should be exercised by Iraqis.


To the candidates, you talk a lot about the importance of promoting democracy in other countries. However, I have never heard you take on the issue of election reform in our own country. The current presidential system seems to have several shortcomings, including two-party duopoly and the ability to win the Election without winning the popular vote. This hardly seems democratic. What are your positions on instant-runoff voting and proportional representation? Do you currently, and would you in the future, support any reforms to encourage a greater diversity in our political system?
- A combination of 2 questions from Douglas, 19, of IA, and Jeffrey, 30, of NC

President George Bush Responds:

I signed the Help America Vote Act, which has provided $3 billion to states and local governments to help make sure the voting process is fair. The law requires jurisdictions to provide for provisional voting, provide voter information at polling places, comply with Federal rules for mail-in registration, and properly manage statewide voter registration lists. It also created the Election Assistance Commission, which is providing assistance to state and local authorities as they move forward on complying with the Act's requirements.

I was also proud to sign into law campaign finance reform, which is helping to improve the integrity of the electoral process by preventing unions and corporations from making unregulated, "soft" money contributions, increasing the influence of individuals, and creating new disclosure requirements.

Senator John Kerry Responds:

All Americans saw in the 2000 election how crucial free and fair elections are for our society. That is why I supported the election reform legislation and continue to fight for electoral reform. Voter intimidation and race-based efforts to stop people from voting are an outrage that we simply must stop. Even before I am elected, I will protect voting rights by providing teams of election observers and lawyers to monitor elections and enforce the law. And as president, I will reform our national election system to correct the problems revealed by the 2000 presidential election.

Mr. Ralph Nader Responds:

Our democracy is in a descending crisis. Voter turnout is among the lowest in the western world. Redistricting ensures very few incumbents are at risk in one-party districts. Barriers to full participation of candidates proliferate making it very obstructive, for most third party and Independent candidates to run. Obstacles, and deliberate manipulations to undermine the right to vote, for which penalties are rarely imposed, are preventing voters from voting. New paperless voting machines are raising questions about whether we can trust that our votes are being counted as they are cast. Finally, money dominates expensive campaigns, mainly waged on television in sound bite format. The cost of campaigns creates a stranglehold making politics a game for only the rich or richly funded. Major electoral reforms are needed to ensure that every vote counts, all voters are represented through electoral reforms like instant run-off voting, abolition of the electoral college, none-of-the-above options, and proportional representation, non-major party candidates have a chance to run for office and participate in debates, and that elections are publicly financed.

The Nader/Camejo campaign favors lowering the voting age to 16 years old. Persons aged 16 work, pay taxes and more and more often are subjected to criminal laws passed that treat them like adults. Democracy in the United States needs re-invigoration. Allowing youth the right to vote will increase voter participation, not only of 16 to 18 year olds, but also in the longer term as youth are taught at an early age the importance of voting. Concurrent with this change in law, instruction in school should increase about civics, government and the importance of voting. Rather than explaining all the very good reasons for allowing the youth vote, we believe it is best to let youth speak for themselves.


I have a question about the Higher Education Act (HEA) drug provision. This provision disqualifies students with drug convictions from receiving financial aid. Black students and lower to middle class students are unfairly targeted, as wealthier students can afford tuition and need not apply for financial aid. Do you feel it is necessary to deny financial aid to a student who already paid for their crime? Are you aware that students with a rape or murder conviction are not exempt from receiving financial aid?
- Margaret, 20, of WI

President George Bush Responds:

A good education is the most important factor in ensuring your future success. My first legislative priority was the No Child Left Behind law, which is setting high standards and demanding results from schools so that every student completes high school prepared for the rigors of college or to enter the workforce equipped with the necessary skills.

My Administration has worked tirelessly to make available the financial resources that will help more students attend college. My 2005 budget requests a record $73.1 billion in financial aid to help nearly 10 million students attend college, an increase of $25.9 billion (55%) since I took office. My budget also increases Pell Grant funding by 47% since 2001, helping one million more low-income students. My plan also provides low-income students with the chance to receive up to $5,000 in grants to study math or science in college. I have proposed Enhanced Pell Grants to provide additional assistance to low-income students who complete challenging coursework in high school better preparing them for success.

My commitment to our Nation's students is clear. Because of the leadership of my Administration, attending college is a reality for more students - especially those struggling to pay college costs. I also want students to avoid unhealthy and often dangerous activities, such as using illegal drugs. Illegal drug use can have devastating consequences. Taking responsibility for one's actions is another important part of becoming a successful adult.

My 2005 Budget proposes to fix the drug provision of the Higher Education Act so that incoming students who have a prior drug-related conviction would be able to receive Federal student aid, and only students convicted while in college would lose their eligibility for student aid.

Senator John Kerry Responds:

Education is perhaps the best way for someone who has been involved with drugs or crime to turn their life around. If a young person has overcome past obstacles and is ready to go to college, I don't think that a nonviolent drug conviction in their past should prevent them from doing so. And the reality is that preventing them from obtaining federal loans means they won't be able to afford to go to college.

Mr. Ralph Nader Responds:

Repeal the Higher Education Act drug provision as it applies to non-violent offenders. The drug war has failed - we spend nearly $50 billion annually on the drug war and problems related to drug abuse continue to worsen. Drug abuse is a health problem with social and economic consequences. The solutions are public health, social services and economic development and tender supportive time with addicts in our depersonalized society. Law enforcement should be at the edges of drug control not at the center. It is time to control some illegal drugs through regulation and taxation. Ending the drug war will dramatically reduce street crime, violence and homicides related to underground drug dealing.

The drug war and criminal injustice system certainly have a racially unfair impact. The facts on this are evident, according to federal surveys, "most current illicit drug users are white. There were an estimated 9.9 million whites (72 percent of all users), 2.0 million blacks (15 percent), and 1.4 million Hispanics (10 percent) who were current illicit drug users in 1998." Despite these facts, African Americans constitute 36.8% of those arrested for drug violations, over 42% of those in federal prisons for drug violations. African-Americans comprise almost 58% of those in state prisons for drug felonies; Hispanics account for 20.7%. From racial profiling to discretionary decisions of prosecutors and judges, African Americans and Latinos are treated more harshly than European-Americans.

By reducing corporate welfare, cutting the military budget and taxing wealth not work, the federal government can guarantee a free higher education to all qualified people. Already more than $155 billion has been spent on the Iraq war, adding to huge Bush deficits, when critical needs are not being met at home. That $155 billion could finance four years of free public college and university tuition for all students.


In the 1960s, a concerted effort was made, at the behest of Pres. Kennedy, to reach the moon within 10 years, an incredibly ambitious goal that was ultimately achieved. Do you think that, if a similar effort were made to develop alternative fuels, we would be similarly successful, and would you be willing to make this effort? Also, what benefits do you see alternative fuels bringing our nation, with respect to education, environment, security, and foreign policy?
- Larry, 23, of CA

Senator John Kerry Responds:

I believe that we must return to our great tradition of asking, "what if?" That is the approach that I take to energy independence. We must push our scientists and greatest thinkers to marshal a great effort to develop the new technologies that will make us energy independent. Our reliance on Mid-Eastern oil have placed a great burden on our economic security and our national security. Under my administration, we will set forward looking goals, like using renewable fuels for 20 percent of our energy by 2020 and bringing new, low-emission vehicles to our streets.

President George Bush Responds:

For too long, the Federal government has enacted patchwork solutions when an energy crisis arises, rather than addressing the root of the challenges we face. As one of my first acts in office, I proposed the first comprehensive and balanced National Energy Policy (NEP) in a generation to encourage energy efficiency and conservation, support alternative and renewable energy, increase domestic energy production, create jobs, and promote economic growth.

I have always been a strong proponent of clean, domestic renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. I have repeatedly called on Congress to enact a flexible, national renewable fuels standard that would require the use of 5 billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel as motor fuel by 2012. This program will help reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil, help our farm economy by creating new markets for agricultural products, and create new agricultural jobs.

To further improve our energy security, I proposed tax incentives for consumers who purchase hybrid and fuel cell vehicles. I also raised fuel economy standards for SUVs, vans, and pick-up trucks for the first time in a decade. Once fully adopted, this rule will save 343,000 barrels per day of gasoline, or about 1 billion barrels over 10 years.

In the longer term, we must pursue the transformation of America's energy infrastructure to support a more fuel-efficient, hydrogen-based economy. I announced two important measures in early 2003 that will help make a hydrogen economy possible. My budget supports $1.7 billion over five years for the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative and a public-private partnership, Freedom CAR, which will work to create automobiles that run on clean-burning hydrogen.

Mr. Ralph Nader Responds:

We urge a new clean energy policy that no longer subsidizes entrenched oil, nuclear, electric and coal mining interests -- an energy policy that is efficient, sustainable and environmentally friendly. We need to invest in renewable energy because America's addiction to cheap oil is at the root of our two largest problems: the Iraqi occupation and facing up to the immediate crisis of global climate change. Future geopolitical crises involving oil resources and environmental problems will be diminished by finding alternatives to fossil fuels.

The Nader/Camejo Campaign praises the Apollo Alliance's "Ten-Point Plan for Good Jobs and Energy Independence," an overdue agenda for the country's energy future, as a welcome contrast to the shortsighted policies of the Bush Administration. In the spirit of its namesake, which galvanized the will of the American people into a national effort to put an American on the moon, the new Apollo Project advocates a full engagement of the federal government with the initiative of the American people in the service of revitalizing our country's approach to its energy plight.

Within a single decade, beginning in 2005, the Apollo Project proposes to establish a viable infrastructure to achieve American energy independence. Calling for a $313.72 billion dollar federal investment in that ten-year period, Apollo shifts the burden of American energy consumption away from fossil fuels and onto domestic renewable energy markets such as the wind, biomass, and solar energy industries.

The Apollo Alliance's Ten-Point Plan for Good Jobs and Energy Independence:

  1. Promote Advanced Technology & Hybrid Cars.
  2. Invest In More Efficient Factories.
  3. Encourage High Performance Building.
  4. Increase Use of Energy Efficient Appliances.
  5. Modernize Electrical Infrastructure.
  6. Expand Renewable Energy Development.
  7. Improve Transportation Options.
  8. Reinvest In Smart Urban Growth.
  9. Plan For A Hydrogen Future.
  10. Preserve Regulatory Protections.

Having gone to high school in a very conservative area, where parents refused to teach their children proper sex education, I watched 20 of my classmates leave due to teenage pregnancy. Some knew about sex while others had no idea how to get pregnant. What is your opinion on sex education in the classroom and what resources (information, condoms, etc) should be used? Do you believe that teaching abstinence alone is enough to save our children from teen pregnancy and spreading disease?
- John, 25, of KY

President George Bush Responds:

While I have maintained funding for existing "abstinence-plus" sex education programs, the fact is the number of sexually transmitted diseases in this country represents a real public health challenge. To encourage right choices, we must be willing to confront the dangers young people face - even when they are difficult to talk about. Each year, at least 3 million teenagers contract sexually-transmitted diseases that can harm them, kill them, or prevent them from ever becoming parents - and those numbers are going up. In my budget, I proposed a grassroots campaign to help inform families about these medical risks. We will double Federal funding for abstinence programs, so schools can teach this fact of life: Abstinence for young people is the only certain way to avoid sexually-transmitted diseases or pregnancy.

Decisions children make now can affect their health and character for the rest of their lives. All of us - parents, schools, and government - must work together to counter the negative influence of the culture and to send the right messages to our children.

Mr. Ralph Nader Responds:

Education needs to be facts-based not dogma-based. This is true when it comes to responsible sex education. More important is civics educations. School must teach civic education and connect the classroom with the community. Getting youngsters, even as young as the fifth and sixth grades, to learn how to practice democracy, to connect knowledge to action is vital.

To help people grow up civic instead of growing up corporate is an important function of the Department of Education. Our education system is becoming too vocational and occupation-oriented, which is OK if it is not disproportionate and if it doesn't squeeze out the most important role of education, which is civic. I also would emphasize consumer education. Children are spending more and more money directly -- under 12 years of age they spent $ 12 billion last year, and they caused their parents to spend $ 150 billion. They need a consumer perspective, how to become a smart shopper.

Children's commercial television programming conveys that violence is a solution to life's problems, and pushes low-grade sensuality, from junk food and drink to pornography and addiction, as a way of life. Commercial Alert's "Parents' Bill of Rights" includes provisions that could reduce the number of pornographic and violent images children see, and potentially diminish the drive towards premature sexual behavior. The "Parents' Bill of Rights" includes provisions like the Advertising to Children Accountability Act, Commercial Free Schools Act, and the Fairness Doctrine for Parents' Act. See for more info.

Senator John Kerry Responds:

I believe that sex education instruction should include information about both abstinence and contraception and have worked in the Senate to ensure that sex education funding is not limited to teaching abstinence education.


Why won't the candidates address the difference between civil marriage and religious marriage? Do they recognize the significance that this demarcation holds as a stand against discrimination? Do they realize how their unwillingness to address this issue impacts every aspect of GLBT's (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender), and their families', lives? Are they aware that when political issues call civil rights into question that hate crimes rise exponentially?
- Amanda, 23, of IA

President George Bush Responds:

I believe that the union of a man and woman in marriage is the most enduring human institution. I called upon the Congress to pass, and to send to the states for ratification, an amendment to our constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of man and woman as husband and wife. I believe that the American people, and not activist judges, should make this decision.

Senator John Kerry Responds:

I believe that gay and lesbian couples in committed relationships should have equal rights and responsibilities and I believe that the best way to achieve that is through civil unions. I also believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. Finally, I believe that marriage law has been the responsibility of the states for over 200 years and that is how things should remain. George Bush's effort to pass a federal marriage amendment is divisive.

Mr. Ralph Nader Responds:

The Nader/Camejo campaign supports equal rights for gays and lesbians, including equal rights for same-sex couples. We oppose President Bush's proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages as adults should be treated equally under the law. Any attempt to mandate inequality by Mr. Bush leads the country in the wrong direction.

Marie C. Wilson of the Ms. Foundation recently said: "The most important thing is really having equal rights. It's not about the marriage. It's having the same rights that you would get if you were married." Love and commitment are not exactly in surplus in America and should be encouraged. The main tragedy of marriage, what undermines marriage, is divorce, Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago recently said.

We support full equal rights for gays and lesbians. While civil unions move us in the right direction, under current federal and state law they do not afford equal rights. Some 1,049 federal rights go only with marriage. At the state level, a civil union is only recognized in the state where it occurs, while marriage, and all its attendant rights, is recognized in all the states. The only way to ensure full equal rights is to recognize same-sex marriage.

During the U.S. Constitution's 228 years, there have been only 17 amendments, and in each instance (except for Alcohol Prohibition, which was repealed), the amendments extended rights and liberties to Americans, not restrict them. Civil rights were expanded by amendments that ended slavery and guaranteed people of color, young people and women the right to vote. The Federal Marriage Amendment urged by President Bush would be the only one that would single out one class of Americans for discrimination by ensuring that same-sex couples would not be granted the equal protections that marriage brings to American families.


My husband works for a small business, about 20 people maximum, and the insurance the company offers not only would cost over 1/3 of his monthly income, but it would not cover our son due to his "pre-existing condition" (asthma). My question to you is, do you plan to make the limitations for assistance higher? Eliminate "pre-existing conditions," such as asthma? Make it to where agencies that provide assistance not just look at a monthly income, but look at the monthly outgoing?
- Christina, 28, of CO

Senator John Kerry Responds:

First of all, my health care will expand health insurance to every child in America. We should never leave our children at the whim of employers. I also believe that we must help out small businesses lower the cost of health insurance and my plan will do that by having the federal government pick up the cost of the most expensive health care costs and allow small businesses access to the same health care that members of Congress give themselves. My plan will cut health care costs by up to $1,000, making coverage more available and affordable for your family.

President George Bush Responds:

We are fortunate in America to have the best health care system in the world, but I believe we must do more to ensure that all Americans have access to quality affordable health care. People like your husband who work in small firms often face difficulties in finding affordable insurance that provides good benefits. One reason for this is that small firms lack the bargaining power that bigger employers have. They and their workers are forced to pay more for health insurance and the coverage isn't always as good as they would like for it to be. So it's no surprise that more than half the uninsured are small business employees and their families.

Small businesses should be able to obtain health insurance at an affordable price, much like large employers and unions do, so they can pass these savings along to their workers. That's why I have proposed legislation to create Association Health Plans (AHPs), giving small business access to better, more affordable coverage by banding together with other small businesses to negotiate with insurance companies on behalf of their employees and their families. Insurance offered through AHPs cannot exclude coverage of a person's pre-existing medical condition for more than six months, so it would have to cover treatment of your son's asthma. And if your husband had insurance coverage prior to going to work with a company that had insurance through an AHP, the pre-existing medical condition would be covered without any six-month waiting period.

In order to make insurance even more affordable to small businesses and individuals, I signed legislation creating health savings accounts (HSAs), which combine affordable major medical insurance with a fully portable account that you can use to pay for everyday medical expenses and to save for future health care needs. Premiums for major medical insurance generally cost thousands of dollars less than standard health insurance coverage and your husband's employer can put the savings into your family's health savings account. That account belongs to you and your husband, not to your employer, and it moves with you from job to job.

If you prefer to own your own insurance coverage rather than having it provided through your husband's employer, you might also benefit from my proposal to create refundable tax credits. These credits of up to $3,000 for a family of four phase out at $60,000 in income. They can be used to buy standard health insurance coverage or to buy high-deductible health insurance and establish an HSA.

As your income rises over the years, you will benefit from my proposed tax deduction of your health insurance premiums and for contributions that you make to your HSA.

To assure that people who buy health coverage outside the employment setting have access to affordable, high quality health coverage, I want to let private, non-profit groups - like civic organizations, charitable associations and religious groups - offer insurance coverage to their members. This will give individual purchasers the ability to buy coverage through an insurance pool formed by an organization they trust, where they can get the full benefit of volume discounts on their healthcare premiums. And I would allow those who live in states where regulations and mandates drive up the cost of health insurance to shop for health insurance across state lines, so that they can find the best health coverage at the most affordable prices.

Mr. Ralph Nader Responds:

The U.S. is the only industrialized country without universal health care. We support a single-payer health care plan that replaces for-profit, investor-owned hospital care and removes the private health insurance industry. This national, single-payer health insurance program would be federally funded and would provide comprehensive benefits to all Americans throughout their lives. Under the current system, billing fraud, large executive salaries and excess profit costs hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Americans pay more than any country for health care, but receive less in services. By cutting this waste, Americans could easily fund a single-payer plan.

Of the many professional health care peer groups that support single-payer care, the Physicians for a National Health Program's proposal, at, stands out:

  • Everyone would be included in a single, comprehensive public plan covering all medically necessary services, including acute, rehabilitative and long-term care, mental-health services, dental care, prescription drugs and medical supplies.
  • Everyone would have access to personalized care with a local primary care physician, and free choice of doctors and hospitals. In this universal health care system, patients and doctors retain control of medical decisions, not insurance companies or the government.
  • Health care sellers would stay private, and the health plan would provide for different payment schemes for health-care sellers to minimize disruption. These payment schemes should prevent profit motives from influencing physicians, so no structured incentives could recommend too much or too little care.
  • A transition fund would be established for insurance-company employees whose jobs would be eliminated due to the simplicity of the single-payer system.
  • A focus on prevention as a critical part of health care. A single-payer health plan that includes a prevention focus will help mitigate behaviors (i.e. smoking and consumption of fatty foods) and environmental conditions that increase health problems.

When is it appropriate for a leader to change their opinion? Both sides have been accused of flip-flopping on important issues - President Bush on establishing the Dept. of Homeland Security and steel tariffs, Senator Kerry on the Iraq war. But changing opinion due to thoughtful reconsideration ought not to be derided as flip-flopping. Tell us about a time when you had an honest change of opinion on a topic of national importance.
- Jeremy, 30, of WA

Mr. Ralph Nader Responds:

When I first arrived in Washington, DC, one of my first meals was a hot dog. After I discovered what were in hot dogs I never ate another one. I changed my mind. When we get new facts or new information, it is foolish to continue on the same course as if the new information did not exist. The Bush administration has been among the most anti-scientific, anti-fact based administrations we've ever seen. They are willing to amend the facts in government reports in order to justify the policy choices they make. We've seen this with critically important issues like global climate change and the war in Iraq. In truth, facts matter - science matters and we need to seek it out, understand it and make decisions based on it.

Senator John Kerry Responds:

It is important for leaders to tell the truth to the American people. If the leaders get the facts wrong then they should admit it. If leaders form their opinions based on a set of facts and they learn that those facts are wrong, it is appropriate to change their position. American government works best when it works based on trust and honesty.

President George Bush Responds:

President Bush declined to answer this question. - Editor



The Bush administration has made a big deal of President Bush's Christian faith. Democratic candidate John Kerry is also a Christian. My question for the candidates is how does your faith affect your decision-making for the future of our country? Also, America is based on the separation of church and state. For the candidates, is it conflicting to take a position on issues based on Christianity (such as abortion and gay marriage) when not everyone in America believes in God or Christianity?
- Marcy, 17, of CO

President George Bush Responds:

I have a great respect for people of all beliefs, and I am proud to live in a Nation that welcomes and respects people of diverse philosophies and backgrounds. My faith has made a big difference in both my personal life and my public life. As President, I make decisions based on what I think is best for the country. However, my faith is an integral part of my life, and I cannot separate my faith from who I am as a person.

I support the separation of church and state, but I do not believe our Founders intended for the State to discriminate against the church and banish faith from the public square. Our Nation was based on founding principles; the decisions I make as a leader are sbased on these principles and not my personal faith. Marriage, for example, has been the foundation of our society and of societies and cultures throughout history -- and it has always been defined as the union between a man and a woman. I believe that the future of marriage in America should be decided through the democratic process, rather than by the court orders of a few.

I also believe government should not fear faith, but welcome faith and utilize America's "armies of compassion" as they continue to transform lives. My Faith-Based and Community Initiative levels the playing field in the Federal grants process for religious organizations. I signed a law reaffirming "one Nation under God" in our Pledge and "In God we trust" as our Motto. And I support the Equal Access Act which allow religious organizations to hold voluntary meetings on public property - such as schools, because denying them that right would be unconstitutional.

Mr. Ralph Nader Responds:

When President Bush starts talking about doing the Lord's work, when he starts taking about appealing for strength to a higher Father than his father, when he starts talking about all the quotations for the last two years that the press has reported, about his references to Providence, we are dealing here with a messianic militarist. A messianic militarist under our constitutional structure is an unstable officeholder. Talk about the separation of church and state. It is not separated at all in Bush's brain and this is extremely disturbing. We want him to make decisions as a secular president.

The whole process of how Bush made this decision to go to war in Iraq without informing Secretary of State Powell, etcetera, indicates that he has got some psychological impulse that is driving - whether it is revenge for his father or whatever or more likely a combination of distraction from domestic necessities which is the greatest beneficial fallout from the war for him politically. The danger of injecting God into the Iraq war is further angering a Muslim world that already distrusts U.S. policies and motives. Anybody with a stable approach to this would keep his mouth shut.

The continually weakening separation between church and state can also be seen in the two parties pressing for or allowing faith-based government funding. Liberals have become increasingly estranged from demands that their party incorporate these subjects as part of what it stands for. They have settled for the Democrats' saying or doing the right things on the social and cultural issues such as choice, gay and lesbian rights, church-state separation and Social Security. When considered against the deterioration of standards of living, access to justice and the dwindling power of the people vs. giant corporations, the party's offerings are grossly insufficient.

Senator John Kerry Responds:

Teresa Heinz Kerry and I are practicing and believing Catholics. If you're a person of faith as I am, faith is your guidepost, your moral compass - the sustaining force in everything you do. God's work must truly be our own and the job of a leader is to convey to people that what we do does not speak for one particular belief but bring people together around a set of values that we share as a nation.

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Wow I feel sad for the future (-1, Troll)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515000)

The Bush administration has made a big deal of President Bush's Christian faith. Democratic candidate John Kerry is also a Christian.

Erm, no for some reason I have the feeling he's Catholic. *please* dont tell me this was the best question from that age-group other wise it's not *this* election to worry about, it's the one a few years down the road.

Re:Wow I feel sad for the future (3, Informative)

erick99 (743982) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515031)

Catholics aren't Christians? I'm Catholic and consider myself a Christian.

Re:Wow I feel sad for the future (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515139)

And just to troll, the catholics are technically the FIRST Christians. There wasn't much of a distinction until the protestant revolt separated away from the church.

The most distinct difference is the acknowledgement of the Pope's authority, the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and admiration of Mary/Saints.

Bush is "pro-life" but favors capital punishment and this war on terror/ Saddam. Kerry isn't much as a pro-choice catholic either. If one votes based on Christian values alone -- neither will pass with flying colors. Choose the lesser of the two evils.

Re:Wow I feel sad for the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515258)

There wasn't much of a distinction until the protestant revolt separated away from the church.

You are forgetting the second largest Christian denomination...

Re:Wow I feel sad for the future (-1, Flamebait)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515143)

I'm saying surely these kids can differientate. They're complaining about 'not being represented' and one of Kerry's points on the abortion issue is
"Oh well I'm Catholic so blah blah blah, but since I'm a Democrat blah blah blah" I'm not arguing that one is not a subset of the other, but I felt that surely they could recognize that he is Catholic. Further more here's a nice quote from the Vatican itself:
"Churches such as the Church of England, where the apostolic succession of bishops from the time of St. Peter is disputed by Rome, and churches without bishops, are not considered 'proper' churches. They suffer from 'defects.'"

So (according to the pope since this was published with his permission) if you're Christian but not Catholic, you're defective.

linkeh []

Re:Wow I feel sad for the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515237)

Well, yeah. Unless you are someone who belives in the Virginity of Mary and No Divorce (among other tenents and Dogma) then you are not Catholic, simple as that. Given that the Holy Roman Church has been around th elongest (among the Christians) it gets to say how things are. That is not to say that the other Protestant sects are wrong, Martain Luthor had some good points about the austere and corrupt Chruch at the time. Vatican II moved the church along and it only too several hundred years to get Mother Chruch into shape. Oh, and if you are a Hun, you ARE defective.

Re:Wow I feel sad for the future (3, Informative)

DarthTaco (687646) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515214)

A lot of people call themselves Christians, and many of them aren't. Sometimes it seems like most of them aren't.

Catholic or Protestant, if you have accepted and received Christ and have faith in Him, then you are a Christian. That is referring to the Christ of the Hebrew scripture and the New Testament.

Re:Wow I feel sad for the future (1)

eXtro (258933) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515285)

I was raised Catholic though I am best non-practicing. I moved to the middle of the bible belt and have on a number of occasions been preached at about Christianity by my co-workers. One time I figured telling them I was Catholic would make them go away. Instead it redoubled their efforts. To many, not all, maybe not most, but to many of them Catholism and Christianity are mutually exclusive.

Re:Wow I feel sad for the future (1)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515309)

In my experience (As a former born-again Christian with formerly-religious parents[1]), many Protestants don't consider Catholics to be Christian.

It's an 'us and them' thing. WE are right, THEY are wrong. There is only one way. "Protestants" worship Jesus Christ directly. Catholics are a cult worship the pope and saints and are in league with the Devil. That pretty much sums up Sunday School for me.

Oh, and Led Zepplin is a cult.

[1] MY father was Catholic. My mother was Protestant mother. My dad was 17 in Catholic high school and asked a priest a fundamental question: How did he know that God exists? The priest beat up my father-- it took several people to pry the priest off of my father.

Re:Wow I feel sad for the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515115)

Catholics believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died on the cross for our sins and was raised after three days. Need more qualification for being a Christian?

Re:Wow I feel sad for the future (1, Insightful)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515116)

Erm, no for some reason I have the feeling he's Catholic.

So, you're saying Kerry believes in his lord Jesus Cathol?

No, he belives in Christ. Will christians *please* get over themselves? Catholic, baptist, protestant--the rest of us really don't care.

Re:Wow I feel sad for the future (1)

brandona788 (307504) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515170)

I completely agree with you. But, I ask what about the difference in interpretation of Scripture? Catholics even have a completely different canon from Protestants. Those fundamental things are what divides Christians.

Re:Wow I feel sad for the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515271)

There's also a vast difference in interpretation between various Christian sects. It seems that after a while, if one doesn't like the way things are interpreted, they take their ball (or in this case their book) and go elsewhere.

The catechism of the catholic church was created to serve as a reference on where the church stands on things and isn't as subject to numerous interpretations as the bible.

Re:Wow I feel sad for the future (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515175)

Actually, if you're not Catholic but you are Christian, you're still 'defective' say soeth the pope []

Re:Wow I feel sad for the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515196)


Maybe you dont know what a christian is? (1)

l4m3z0r (799504) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515249)

Strange that you seem to think being Catholic and being Christian are mutually exclusive(although if you were arguing based on how far away from Christs actual teachings Catholics have become you would be somewhat more accurate) HOWEVER Christianity is the set of all religions based on the teachings of Christ which would include Catholocism.

mod parent stooopid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515274)

Kerry is Catholic therefore he is Christian, man! You'd figure all those crosses and pictures of Jesus in a Catholic church would clue you in.

Hello Pinocchio, Nice Nose (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515005)

When is it appropriate for a leader to change their opinion? Both sides have been accused of flip-flopping on important issues -...

President George Bush Responds:

President Bush declined to answer this question. - Editor
Such a decisive leader!

Seriously, that should have been a cinch to answer, but as Nader and Kerry indicate the current administration is fond of changing facts to support their answers. Anyone who claims not to ever have made mistakes is to be met with a great degree of skepticism.

I'm looking forward to tonights final debate, which would certainly be more interesting if Nader where there to show people an alternate view, but it's still fun to watch these guys think on their feet.

BTW, was I the only one who caught that comment by Bush on Friday, regarding picking SCOTUS justices and hedging all over the place before finally saying, "besides, I want all of them to vote for me!" You don't say... like in 2000? You don't get nuggets like that without putting them on their toes before a camera, without all their helpers.

Re:Hello Pinocchio, Nice Nose (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515062)

Sucks to be you.

Re:Hello Pinocchio, Nice Nose (4, Insightful)

pizza_milkshake (580452) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515100)

President George Bush Responds:

President Bush declined to answer this question. - Editor

Such a decisive leader!

indeed. at first i found it amusing, but i am troubled that gwb finds it impossible to admit a specific instance in which he made a wrong decision.

his leadership style is like that of a religious organization... no matter what, never admit you are wrong (until at least a few hundred years after the incident, if ever).

part of making decisions is making the wrong ones and being able recognize them, admit it, and learn from them going forward.

Re:Hello Pinocchio, Nice Nose (5, Insightful)

Rostin (691447) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515210)

Uh, did you read the "answers" given by the other two candidates?

Re:Hello Pinocchio, Nice Nose (5, Funny)

afree87 (102803) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515265)

Ralph Nader admitted he made a mistake in eating that hot dog. In the realm politics, I think that's a pretty big apology!

Re:Hello Pinocchio, Nice Nose (1)

lar (148557) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515183)

Don't forget, the other two candidates didn't answer the question either.

Well, Nader did say he decided to never eat a hot dog again, but I don't think that quite matches the wording of the question: "Tell us about a time when you had an honest change of opinion on a topic of national importance." Note "national importance".

Re:Hello Pinocchio, Nice Nose (2, Insightful)

Feynman (170746) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515213)

Seriously, that should have been a cinch to answer

Yes! Tell it Senator Kerry:

Tell us about a time when you had an honest change of opinion . . .

Senator John Kerry Responds:

It is important for leaders to tell the truth to the American people. If the leaders get the facts wrong then they should admit it. If leaders form their opinions based on a set of facts and they learn that those facts are wrong, it is appropriate to change their position. American government works best when it works based on trust and honesty.

Nice specific answer!

Re:Hello Pinocchio, Nice Nose (1)

Punkrokkr (592052) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515298)

You forgot the rest of the question: Tell us about a time when you had an honest change of opinion on a topic of national importance.

Seems to me that Kerry avoided the question altogether as well. He just opened his mouth and let crap flow forth as normal. To me, President Bush is to be more respected in this situation.

Not good (5, Interesting)

erick99 (743982) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515012)

Well crafted answers by the three candidates. I doubt that they sat down and wrote out the answers by themselves, you can see the speech writers hands in this as well as the "handlers." Well, Nader might have written his responses, he gets quite weird in places. Anyway, I was hoping for responses that would be a bit more informal in tone, especially since the audience is suppose to be youth. But, none of the candidates can afford to make even the tiniest slip, or even to be human. I am a republican but even I will admit that Bush does not talk the way these responses are written. And, Kerry, rather than saying "Theresa and I" or "my wife and I," gets quite formal with "Teresa Heinz Kerry and I are practicing and believing Catholics." Why so formal? There are better and warmer ways to honor your wife and show respect for her independence. These responses, from the three candidates, are disappointing.

Re:Not good (5, Interesting)

Liselle (684663) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515281)

Another clue is that they avoided the only question I was really interested in hearing: the issue of instant-runoff voting. Nader is the only one who even touched it. Kerry and Bush's "responses" talked about campaign finance reform (what? the question didn't even mention money)!

I will admit I didn't expect them to actually answer the question, but I am still angry that they didn't. This article is worthless to me.

umm... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515013)

hands up who thinks bush wrote that.

Re:umm... (5, Funny)

trevdak (797540) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515094)

"Federal law prohibits execution of those under 18 when the offense was committed, and I see no reason to change that statue."

Re:umm... (1)

SocietyoftheFist (316444) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515310)

OK, so the guy that writes his speeches and Allawi's speeches makes the occasional spelling error.

Hard Work (5, Funny)

CGP314 (672613) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515027)

I don't think bush wrote that:

Clue One: Bush didn't mention Hard Work [] once.
Clue Two: It wasn't written in purple crayon.

-Colin []

Re:Hard Work (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515098)

3. He would have claimed it was "long winded" and not too the point.

Re:Hard Work (2, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515106)

"I don't think bush wrote that"

Digs at GWB aside, the responses dont match his normal speech patterns. It does indeed seem unlike something he would write.

Re:Hard Work (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515187)

I, and almost every one I know, talk rather different than the way they write.

Don't you?

Re:Hard Work (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515223)

His talking is completely different than this writing - not just in style - but in opinions.

Bush believes in his stance, simplicity and simple logic - not long winded answers.

Re:Hard Work (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515239)

I would love to find something about about John Kerry but he will not let me know it.

I would like to know why he will not sign from 180, why he pays less than 13% federal income tax and why he didn't check the check box on his MASS state tax return to pay the higher rate.

IOW, I want to know why he takes advantage of things he considers wrong.

Re:Hard Work (2, Insightful)

TheFlyingGoat (161967) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515200)

I disagree. I know that my writing style isn't anything like my public speaking style.

However, I would guess that both Bush and Kerry's responses were written by their staff and revised/approved by the candidate, as is commonly done with most written responses during a campaign.

Re:Hard Work (5, Funny)

droid_rage (535157) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515296)

Is it possible that he's just a very poor public speaker, but given the chance to sit down and think over his answers, can provide at least coherent responses? That's my guess.

Re:Hard Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515117)

Meh. Yet another vapid insult marked "Insightful".

Clue Three: None of them wrote their answers.

Re:Hard Work (1)

CGP314 (672613) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515165)

Meh. Yet another vapid insult marked "Insightful". Clue Three: None of them wrote their answers.

I'll bet Kerry is at least capable of writing his responces and that Nader really wrote his. Nader's answers at least sound the way he speaks. My point is that I don't think that Bush would be able to write anything decent without tremendious help from others.

-Colin []

Re:Hard Work (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515152)

I don't think bush wrote that:
It wasn't written in purple crayon.

Look for an upcoming slashdot book review on My Pet Goat []

Re:Hard Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515234)

Gosh what a typically clever democratic response. Moron.

Obvious question (4, Insightful)

MikeXpop (614167) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515028)

Why aren't Cobb, Badnarik, Brown, and others shown? I find their answers are much more interesting, as they aren't afraid to alienate voters with different opinions (AKA no John Kerry-esque 'For votes who don't agree with it, I don't agree with it either. But for those who do, I'll still enforce it. Vote for me please!')

Because we have a TWO PARTY SYSTEM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515068)

"This is the greatest country on Earth,
we have a whole system just to ensure that people like you don't become president!"
-- Abe Simpson


Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515087)

Wow, education in the US really seems to be lacking.

Re:And that's why THREE CANDIDATES ANWSER? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515151)

How many candidates are in the "debates"?

And you misspelled "AN S wer" Thank you. Come again!

So who invited Nader? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515158)

Badnarik is on nearly every ballot while Nader is not.

Re:Obvious question (1)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515257)

I agree. The only thing 3rd parties can hope for is that their opinions are at least heard!

Isn't this always the case? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515058)

I'm seriously not trolling, but don't most tax cuts in the U.S. benefit the richer and not the poorer? If that's the case, why do we need to cut taxes like Bush has done? It shifted economic burdens to many states (ie budget crises) which personally haven't helped me at all being state employee who hasn't gotten a raise in over two years. I'm pretty sure I lost more money due to no raises than these crappy tax cuts.


"As your income rises over the years, you will benefit from my proposed tax deduction of your health insurance premiums and for contributions that you make to your HSA."

Telling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515059)

When is it appropriate for a leader to change their opinion?

President George Bush Responds:
President Bush declined to answer this question. - Editor

If you watched the last debate you'd know that he never makes mistakes, so why should he change his opinion?

Re:Telling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515133)

That's okay, Kerry's real answer was "It's always and never appropriate."

WTF? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515065)



coyotedata (644211) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515072)

Has Nader done anything since 1966 when he wrote 'Unsafe At Any Speed'. Nader and Kerry are both in the 1960s.

We need to take ourselves seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515089)

...before they will take us seriously.

Remember all that ruckus about green party and libertarian candidates not being included in the debates and whatnot? Why aren't they included here, where it doesn't take court orders and breaking the law to get word about them out?

Re:We need to take ourselves seriously (0)

halivar (535827) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515299)

Remember all that ruckus about green party and libertarian candidates not being included in the debates and whatnot? Why aren't they included here, where it doesn't take court orders and breaking the law to get word about them out?

Ummm... the Green Party was included, and Michael Badnarick had his own, exclusive interview with Slashdot.

Good... (5, Funny)

ottergoose (770022) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515092)

I'm glad that Bush took the time to use the internets. He really relates to young voters...

(Funny, not Flamebait)

What about the Libertarian and Green candidates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515109)

They're on more ballots than Nader. Why didn't they get to answer?

Bajesus! (5, Insightful)

Mmm coffee (679570) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515114)

Wow. I knew Bush was bad, but he successfully avoided answering all the questions and replying with bullshit. All of the questions. "What do you think of this important issue?" "America is the greatest nation, a bastion of hope for the world. I am proud to have voted for bill X..."

Kerry sometimes avoided the questions, and sometimes answered them. Fairly decent job, as far as politicians usually go.

Nader actually answered the questions.

The Libertarian and Green candidates not only agreed to be interviewed directly by a random nerd website (/.), but gave well thought out answers to the questions.

Says a lot. I won't go into what it says, as that is on the shoulders of the beholder, but it does say a lot.

Re:Bajesus! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515255)

A random nerd website probably has around 400,000 individual eligible US voters visiting every day. It's a very effective place to get your message out, and a great place for third parties to reach new voters (although most here have already made their mind up, i suppose).

Re:Bajesus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515264)

It all boils down to: "I'm in favor of good things, and opposed to bad things. Rah, rah, rah, Go USA!"

Re:Bajesus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515273)

Come on, give him a break, after all it's HARD WORK(tm).

Re:Bajesus! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515300)

The Libertarian and Green candidates not only agreed to be interviewed directly by a random nerd website (/.), but gave well thought out answers to the questions.

Says a lot.

Yes, it says that their campaigns are so hopeless that they are willing to waste the time and energy to respond to a group who, frankly, the rest of the country really doesn't give a rat's ass about. If either of the "real" candidates had wasted the time to respond to these questions with more effort than farming the job out to an intern to answer by cribbing from the candidate's speeches and position papers I would actually be worried...

Poor kids... (0, Troll)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515123)

Slashdot readers both contributed and helped moderate questions

Read "wrote and selected". Poor kids, getting their votes hijacked by a bunch of grumpy old fart programmers.

I'm half surprised nobody asked whether the candidates preferred 'vi' or 'emacs'. (But then, that would be a wonderfully divisive issue for the Presidential debates... can you imagine the second civil being started when the predominantly vi using states cede from the union because they code federal legislation using emacs?)

Question 10 technicality? (4, Insightful)

allism (457899) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515129)

I noticed that the author of question 10, regarding health insurance, is from Colorado. I am from Colorado, and when I applied for health insurance I was told that by Colorado law I could not be turned down for health insurance due to a pre-existing condition. This did not change when I left my job and was added to my husband's health insurance.

The company that I worked for would have had a lot of people turned down if asthma was a pre-existing disqualification - I worked with about 50 resipiratory therapists, and at least half of them had asthma. Everyone had health insurance.

Does anyone have any insight into why this person would think that her son had been turned down because of his asthma? Is there something with the Colorado law that I am unfamiliar with, or has something recently changed?

Re:Question 10 technicality? (2, Informative)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515188)

I don't live in colorado - but here in PA my allergies are a pre-existing condition and therefore were not covered for the first year after starting a new plan.

The expecptions were being if i had refilled my allergy medicine within 60 days of getting the new health insurance - unfortunately my allergies were seasonal and i had not planned on pre-ordering my meds that early.

SO now i have to wait till next year or pay the 90 bucks... paid the 90 bucks because OTC doesn't work as well.

Health Insurance is a Scam if you ask me. It not only needs to be reformed and optimized - but looked at and analyzed. Associate Health Programs won't solve anything.. i did those types of programs with Small business insurance forever and they ALL exclude child births, most defensive medicines and really try and scare you out of pro-active healthcare and only to emergency needs that have huge deductables.

Re:Question 10 technicality? (1)

allism (457899) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515231)

The company I worked for was still considered a small business at the time I started there (before it was bought out and expanded) and no one was ever turned down for health care due to the wonderful Colorado health care laws. Prenatal care and childbirth were covered too, including for someone who started work when she was three months pregnant.

Colorado is funny that way - we are a primarily conservative state, but on some issues (i.e. health care, domestic partner rights, etc) we are pretty progressive - which is the kind of conservatism I prefer.

Kerry who? I'm just voting against Bush (3, Interesting)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515137)

You are either voting against Bush or for Bush. Unless the other candidate is a child molesting, neo-nazi, it really doesn't matter much.

Not that simple.. (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515256)

There are tons of people voting for Kerry.. believe it or not he has some great ideas and is probably one of the best candidates in a long time.

Liberal or not, i don't see that as a bad thing. Our leader has to be adept at adapting to new environments and new situations.. completely opposite of Bush.. i see Kerry as holding that trait..

So in essence i am voting against Bush on that st ance, but voting for Kerry because he seems to understand the issues and knows the ramifications of his decisions a bit more than Bush & Co.


Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515142)

Slashdot uses Slashcode running on Apache with a MySQL backend. All of these packages are OPEN SOURCE, and therefore the odds of errors occurring are VIRTUALLY ZERO! On top of the impecable software, this site is maintained like a finely tuned machine by some of the most brilliant administrators and programmers the human race has to offer! I'm sick of these rumors about server errors! THEY ARE LIES!

Question #11 (1)

MrScience (126570) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515148)

I thought the answers to #11 provided the most insight into each campaign.

Re:Question #11 (1)

rackhamh (217889) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515282)

Seriously. Now that I know both Kerry and Nader have made mistakes, I couldn't possibly vote for either of them!

Kerry on Social Security (-1, Flamebait)

amightywind (691887) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515156)

Mr. Kerry's non-response to the Social Security question was most revealing. This chalatan and most partisan of politicians would have us think that we can restore through the sheer force of his personality. It seems to be his position on most issues, including Iraq. He is in in complete denial. Social Security is an unstable ponzie scheme built on a fortunate fact of gemography that no longer exists. Fact is, we need to means test the program and slash it immediately.

Re:Kerry on Social Security (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515306)

Good god, in 2000 Bush explicitly said he would lower gas prices by CALLING UP OPEC MEMBERS AND ASKING THEM. Believe me, Kerry's not the won trying to win on force of personality.

Oh, wait, I just read the last sentence of your post and realize you're totally irrational. I'll just leave this conversation at this point...

uhhh (5, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515160)

President Bush: Yet despite the energy and activism of many youth, less than half of eligible voters, ages 18-24, voted in recent national elections. The youth voice needs to be heard - so I encourage you to make sure that it is!

Yeah, right. The last thing he wants is more 18-24 year olds (who tend to skew heavily democratic) voting.

Nader makes the most sense? (5, Insightful)

victor_the_cleaner (723411) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515171)

It's kinda scary that Nader's answers appear the most thought out. Bush basically answered "this is what I did" to most of the questions, regardless of whether it was the right thing to do, or even matched the question. Kerry mostly said, "we need to change" (yeah but how?).

Stating the obvious... (2, Funny)

Ninwa (583633) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515178)

I know it's pretty obvious, and it should have been assumed before we recieved these responses but I'm somewhat dissapointed at how obvious it is that Bush didn't write his own responses. There's not a single spelling error, which I think gave it away.

Re:Stating the obvious... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515235)

None of them wrote their own answers. I was campaign manager for a university presidential election, and I answered questions for my candidate. I knew my candidate so well, that I could write entire multi-page statements in "her voice" which no one but she and I could detect. It's part of the job.

Bush touched my privates (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515190)

He strapped me down onto the table and began fondling my breasts. They were soft, milky white, 36D, and waiting for the right man in my life. But Bush was not the right man. He was an evil, demonic manifestation of the Anti Christ. And as he squeezed my breasts violently, I felt pain, I felt sorrow, I felt unloved.

He ran his fingers down, and began touching my privates. He kept whispering in my ear, It's ok now Stacy, that feels good, doesn't it? You're not going to tell anyone about this are you? Only bad girls are going to tell...

His fingers penetrated my most intimate of places, his cold, disconnected laugh echoing through my mind, as silent tears of violation streamed down my cheeks. I felt so worthless, so powerless, so alone.

Bush touched my privates, and he will pay the price.

Close, but no mod point! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515305)

Would've been funnier if you were an ensign and Bush strapped you into his Navy S-3B Viking [] to touch your junk.

Sheesh, kids these days, can't even follow a damn troll template correctly.
And I'm still waiting for some decent Jessica Lynch slash fiction. Not that nasty skank Lynne England, though!

Responses I'd like to see more of.. (2, Insightful)

Mad_Rain (674268) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515191)

I found it interesting that after being criticized for having "nuanced" (to put it politely) or "long-winded" (to put it less politely) responses, that Sen. Kerry seemed to have the more concise answers to the questions. I'm curious to hear what other people would like the canidates to elaborate some more on...

Kerry addressing the intended audience (5, Interesting)

Peyna (14792) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515193)

It seems to me, that Kerry (or his staff) is the only one who wrote his responses addressing the intended audience (Mostly non-voting youth). Many of the other responses would be quickly glossed over by anyone under the age of 18 with a less than serious devotion to politics. Most of his answers seemed short, concise, and to the point. Which is what a younger audience demands.

OT - Don't touch that... dial? (5, Funny)

sczimme (603413) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515204)

don't touch that dial!

Wow, that's quite the anachronism.

/ties an onion to his belt, which was the style at the time

You see, kids... Once upon a time, radios were controlled by analog potentiometers, variable resistors, and yams filled with gunpowder. If you wanted to change the station, you had to walk dickety-six feet over to the wireless radio-set and fiddle around with the knob. If you moved it too far, that was a paddlin'. If you didn't move it far enough, that was a paddlin'. If you tuned in to the canoe races, that was definitely a paddlin'. Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes - the important thing to remember is that nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. "Give me five bees for a quarter" you'd say...

/Very very off-topic, but non-partisan.

Re:OT - Don't touch that... dial? (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515266)

I think the poster meant "don't touch that mouse scroll wheel". ;)

Bush's Answers (1)

dominyx (691595) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515206)

The President's answers seemed like a copy/paste from older speeches. Kerry's were a bit short for my taste, but more on topic and to the point.

Campaign advisor responses? (1)

God of Lemmings (455435) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515207)

Does anybody else get the feeling that the Bush and Nader responses were written by a campaign advisor rather than the actual person? And if not that, they appear at least to have been prepared responses pulled out of a filing cabinet somewhere.

SlashDot = Democrats (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515212)

Read the first set of posts and tell met that slashdot readers are not overwhelmingly Democrat. Very reflexive thinking, specious arguments, self serving arguments, etc. Not an original thought in the bunch.

Re:SlashDot = Democrats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515293)

Yes, and your post positively DRIPS with original thoughts, correct? Bah...

Intellectual Property (1)

blacklily8 (780659) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515216)

Hmmm...I would have loved to read their responses to a question concerning intellectual property law. Asking them about free software might have been too much; they'd likely have turned to the official White House technology consultant, a certain Mr. William Gates. What do you think Nader's spin would be? Perhaps he'd be the only one to take Stallman seriously.

omg* (2, Insightful)

cliveholloway (132299) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515220)

When is it appropriate for a leader to change their opinion? ...... Tell us about a time when you had an honest change of opinion on a topic of national importance.

President Bush declined to answer this question. - Editor

wow - Bush has no response to this? Does this man think he can never be wrong? Be afraid. Very, very afraid.

cLive ;-)

* replace with other, non-denominational/cultural entity as appropriate ;-)

what he should have said... (4, Interesting)

cliveholloway (132299) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515240)

"When I was young, I thought getting drunk and snorting coke were a good idea. I was wrong. I realised it was destroying my life and changed my mind."

Now, if he'd said something like that, I *might* have a grain of respect for the man.

cLive ;-)

Questions not answered (5, Interesting)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515224)

The thing that stands out most is the number of questions that were simply not answered. Sure, a response was given, but it often completely ignored the real question. All the candidates did this, though some more than others.

The most striking examples include:

Election Reform - Both Bush and Kerry completely ignored the main thrust of the question which related to different voting system, and the two party duopoly.

Personal - All candidates effectively ignored this question, Bush most prominently, but neither Nader nor Kerry actually had much to say about changing their own minds on any issue of any significance.

But many of the other questions involved significant dodges on various points of the question, other otherwise derailing the answer from the main track to make completely unrelated points.

Sure, these are politicians and that's what they do, but really, they had so many advisors to write this for them, and plenty of time to do it - you would think they'd do a better job of actually answering the questions directly.


Double this, triple that...with what $$$? (1)

FerretFrottage (714136) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515230)

All these pledges to increase this and double efforts here and there and no mention on how we [US] citizines will pay for it. Tax cuts are just great and make a candidate sound like the right answer, but at what overall cost? Let's just keep running up the national debt, while the quality of our schools/education, transportation systems, and civil servants decline. I think that as US citizens we have a duty to pay for what this country can and does provide. I'm not saying I want higher taxes, but where else will the money come from? IMHO, since we are in a "time of war", we should increase our taxes to fund the efforts of the war and if anyone deserves a tax cut, it should be the men and women who are serving or have served in the military. Many of them and their families have already paid too much.

healthcare (1)

Neophytus (642863) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515236)

We are fortunate in America to have the best health care system in the world

While the quality of care may be superb, putting the entitlement of your citizen's in the hands of private for-profit companys seems rather a poor policy. After all, the best insurance policy is an unclaimed policy.

A use of the term "debate" I was unfamiliar with (2, Informative)

StateOfTheUnion (762194) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515241)

the New Voters Project Presidential Youth Debate. Uh . . . that doesn't look like a debate to me. In a debate, there should be some interaction between the parties . . . some followup response and rebuttal.

This would more accurately be characterized as text based interview of the candidates (or mare accurately, their campaigns . . .I can't believe that the candidates personally wrote these answers). Though this information has value, lets not jade young voters by telling them something is a debate when its merely answers to questions . . .

Impressed as always (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515245)

"We will double Federal funding for abstinence programs, so schools can teach this fact of life: Abstinence for young people is the only certain way to avoid sexually-transmitted diseases or pregnancy."

Now that is not only a great answers to someone who shared his experience that abstinence programs don't work but only worsen the problem, but also begs the question if this "fact of life" could not also be taught with proper sex education.

Wow (1, Interesting)

ericdano (113424) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515277)

I think Bush's answers were more thought out than Kerry's. Amazing.......And everyone says Kerry is the long winded one......

Question to slashdotters (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515278)

I'm curious how many honestly read the whole thing? I didn't.

Vote Nader (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515286)

Fuck Bush

Fuck Kerry

PS In other news, Hillary Duff looks like she sucks a mean dick!!!!11

After reading their responses ... (2, Insightful)

RealAlaskan (576404) | more than 9 years ago | (#10515302)

After reading their responses, one ineluctable fact impresses itself on me: I want to vote for none of the above.

If we're going to have election/political reform, I think making that a ballot option would be a great start.

If you're not in a swing state, vote for any third party candidate.

renewable energy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10515308)

Kerry: "like using renewable fuels for 20 percent of our energy by 2020 and bringing new, low-emission vehicles to our streets."

If we're only using 20% renewable energy by 2020, we're totally screwed.
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