New York Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry Tuesday laid out the fundamental choice facing voters in the 2004 election between four more years of an administration that puts the narrow interests of the few ahead of the interests of most Americans or new leadership that will serve as a champion for the middle class and those struggling to join it.
Speaking in New York just days before the Republican convention, Kerry said it is time for a truthful debate about the choices America faces. Kerry urged voters to look past the misleading soundbites, slogans and attacks coming from the Republican convention next week and to watch as they disguise the president’s failed record. Whereas President Bush has presided over record job loss, increased taxes on the middle class, skyrocketing health care costs and squandered U.S. leadership in the world, Kerry pledged to put middle-class families first, as he has done throughout his career.
“I am here today to call for a truthful and robust debate about our values as Americans and the fundamental choices we will make at a critical time in our history,” Kerry said. “That is what this election should be about. But from the other side, we have seen a calculated effort to evade that debate. The Bush campaign and its allies have turned to the tactics of fear and smear because they can’t talk about jobs, health care, energy independence, and rebuilding our alliances the real issues that matter to the American people. They have no plans, no positive vision and no understanding of an urgent and undeniable truth a stronger America begins at home.”
From supporting outsourcing of American jobs to turning surpluses into record deficits to putting the interests of HMOs and drug companies over the interests of patients and families, President Bush has turned away from the middle class and the American Dream.
No where is this more true than the economy. Thanks to a deliberate set of choices by this president, 1.8 million jobs have been lost, middle-class families are paying a higher share of taxes, skyrocketing costs for health care, education and energy are squeezing family budgets and 6 million workers now face life without overtime pay.
As Kerry noted today, this is a record the Republican party is trying to conceal at their convention and through their support of negative, misleading attacks and smears. The Bush Republicans at their 2000 convention misled Americans by promising to create jobs, get tough with trade violations so “our trading partners will hear from us,” provide seniors with affordable prescription drugs and the power to hold their HMOs accountable, balance budgets and ease the tax burden on hard working families, make America energy independent and offer a “humble foreign policy.” Four years later, Americans know the Bush Republicans’ record and they know this administration is out of credibility.
“The world will listen to what the Republicans say when they come here,” Kerry said. “But words, slogans, and personal attacks cannot disguise what they have done and left undone. They are going to say that we’ve turned the corner; that the job is getting done. They are even going to claim, as they already have, that this is the best economy of our lifetimes.”
Having traveled across the country meeting families on front porches and main streets, Kerry and Edwards know that America has not yet “turned a corner” or gotten “the job done.” Their plan to strengthen the middle class offers a clear choice from the Bush administration’s failed record for America’s families.
In stark contrast to the actions of George Bush, they will put middle-class families first and strengthen the economy to expand opportunity and help families get ahead. Their plan, outlined in their new book “Our Plan for America,” will create millions of new, good-paying jobs, expand access to quality, affordable health care, move America towards energy independence and restore America’s leadership in the world to make us stronger and more secure.
“If people want to know the real choice in this election, just look at the record,” Kerry said. “For more than 20 years, I’ve fought for the middle class and those struggling to join it. But time after time, President Bush has sided with the narrow interests of the few.”
Kerry has spent his life serving his country and fighting for families. As a prosecutor, he fought for victim’s rights and to put criminals behind bars. In the Senate, he was a leader in the fight to put more cops on the street and broke with party lines to support the same common sense budget principles families live by every day. He has been a champion for our nation’s veterans and for health care for America’s children.
“The fundamental choice we face comes down to this: because a strong America begins at home, as president, I will be a champion for the middle class and those struggling to join it,” Kerry said. “But this administration has weakened our middle class, weakened our economy, neglected the crisis of health care and turned away from the American dream of growth and opportunity for all. Every step of the way, George W. Bush has put the narrow interests of the few ahead of the interests of most Americans.”