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Click here for excerpts from Commission Recommendations
The Sept. 11 commission issued a final report Thursday decrying a "failure of imagination" by presidents and lawmakers to grasp the gravity of the threat to Americans posed by Islamic terrorists despite repeated attacks and warnings over a decade.
And nearly three years after the worst assault ever on the American homeland, the panel concluded that the government still has not adequately transformed its structures or methods for countering the clear intent of al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups to continue attacking Americans.
|Democratic Party Platform released : July 20, 2004|
The platform is highly critical of the war in Iraq, saying "The administration badly exaggerated its case, particularly with respect to weapons of mass destruction and the connection between Saddam's government and al-Qaida." The draft reflects Kerry's strategy, which has been to criticize handling of the war in Iraq but not appear soft on national security.
About half the platform focuses on national security, up from about 20 percent in the past. Kerry is trying to establish his credentials as a potential commander in chief. The platform calls for adding 40,000 new troops to maintain commitments abroad and doubling Special Forces that often are the first fighters in a war. It calls for strengthening America's position abroad, a Democratic swipe at a Bush foreign policy that has isolated the United States and angered allies.
The platform also wades into the contentious issue of gay marriage, opposing a constitutional amendment the president favors banning such unions, but not going as far as some gay, lesbian and transgender voters had hoped. It would continue letting states define marriage.
|George W. Bush on Environment : July 15, 2004|
In 1988, Train was co-chairman of Conservationists for Bush, an organization that backed the candidacy of George W. Bush's father. Train spoke at an event organized by Environment2004, which opposes Bush's environmental record. He accused Bush of weakening the Clean Air Act and said the president's record falls short of those set by former Republican presidents, from Theodore Roosevelt, who advocated creating national parks and forests, to George H.W. Bush, who supported revised standards for clean air.
The Bush-Cheney campaign defended the president's record, saying states such as New Hampshire benefit from the president's Healthy Forests Initiative. They also argued that sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions have dropped during the Bush administration.
|John McCain on gay marriage : July 14, 2004|
McCain also said the amendment "will not be adopted by Congress this year, nor next year, nor any time soon until a substantial majority of Americans are persuaded that such a consequential action is as vitally important and necessary as the proponents feel it is today. The founders wisely made certain that the Constitution is difficult to amend and, as a practical political matter, can't be done without overwhelming public approval. And thank God for that," he said.
The proposed amendment will likely die Wednesday in the Senate if GOP leaders cannot muster the 60 votes needed to overcome a procedural hurdle that would allow them to move it to the floor. With most Democrats and a number of moderate Republicans opposed, clearing that hurdle is considered unlikely. McCain said he would side with opponents of the amendment on the procedural vote in order to make clear to his constituents that he is against the amendment itself.
Bush, who defeated McCain for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, has championed the amendment, saying it is necessary to defend the institution of marriage from "activist judges." Social conservatives have been pushing hard for the measure since May, when Massachusetts' highest court legalized same-sex marriages in the Bay State. But McCain argued on the Senate floor that there are "far less draconian" remedies, including the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act -- which defined marriage for purposes of federal law as a union between a man and a woman and allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states -- and state constitutional amendments limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. "What evidence do we have that states are incapable of further exercising an authority they have exercised successfully for over 200 years?" McCain said. "We will have to wait a little longer to see if Armageddon has arrived."
|Ashcroft: Patriot Act is laser-guided weapon : July 14, 2004|
But some Democrats in Congress -- including those who helped write the legislation -- said there remains too little oversight to prevent abuses of civil liberties. Others expressed concern that many of the crimes that have been uncovered via the new powers were not associated with terrorism; instead, law enforcement has frequently used the act to bring charges such as child pornography and kidnapping. "The attorney general's report is no substitute for thoroughgoing Congressional oversight," Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement. "The real issue now is how the Patriot Act should be improved to satisfy civil liberty concerns while keeping our country safe." The Patriot Act was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support following the 2001 attacks, but opposition to some of its provisions has grown since its passage. Republicans in Congress last week narrowly defeated a second attempt in the House of Representatives to overturn the provision that allows the federal government to review library records, a power that has alarmed privacy advocates.
In a Capitol Hill news conference, Ashcroft said the 29-page report shows how effective the Patriot Act has been: helping uncover terrorist cells in upstate New York and Oregon; leading to the indictments of individuals involved with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group; uncovering a case in Florida involving money laundering for a leftist terror group in Colombia; and a money-laundering case in New Jersey involving attempts to sell shoulder-fired missiles. "The Patriot Act has been our laser-guided weapon to prevent terrorist attacks," Ashcroft said. "This report is an unprecedented compilation of dozens of real life cases from across the country in which the FBI and other law enforcement officials have the tools of the Patriot Act to protect America's families and communities, and even to save lives."
Democrats were quick to say that many of their outstanding concerns about the act remained unanswered by the report. The report, for example, did not address some of the more controversial aspects of the law, such as the FBI's ability to obtain library records or "sneak and peek" search warrants, in which agents are not required to immediately inform suspects that their home or business has been searched. Representative John Conyers of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, accused the Justice Department of selectively releasing information that portrays the act in a positive light. "Coupled with the department's consistent record of exaggerating their record about terrorism, this entire report is suspect," he said in a statement.
|Senate Intelligence Committee: No Iraqi WMDs : July 10, 2004|
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the leading Democrat on the 18-member panel, said that "bad information" was used to bolster the case for war. "We in Congress would not have authorized that war with 75 votes if we knew what we know now," the West Virginia Democrat said. "Leading up to September 11, our government didn't connect the dots. In Iraq, we are even more culpable because the dots themselves never existed."
Roberts listed several points emphasized in the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate that were "overstated or "not supported by the raw intelligence reporting." Among these were that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program, had chemical and biological weapons, and was developing an unmanned aerial vehicle, probably intended to deliver biological warfare agents.
Rockefeller said that the "intelligence failures" will haunt America's national security "for generations to come." "Our credibility is diminished. Our standing in the world has never been lower," he said. "We have fostered a deep hatred of Americans in the Muslim world, and that will grow. As a direct consequence, our nation is more vulnerable today than ever before."
Rockefeller said the administration's position was that Iraq stockpiled weapons and actively pursued a nuclear weapons program and that it "might use its alliances with terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda, to use these weapons to strike at the United States." Rockefeller said that "no evidence existed of Iraq's complicity or assistance in al Qaeda's terrorist attacks, including 9/11."
Roberts said President Bush and Congress sent the country to war based on "flawed" information provided by the intelligence community. He said the panel concluded that the intelligence community suffered "from what we call a collective group think, which led analysts and collectors and managers to presume that Iraq had active and growing WMD programs." Roberts said this "group think caused the community to interpret ambiguous evidence, such as the procurement of dual-use technology, as conclusive evidence of the existence of WMD programs." Over and over, the report noted, analysts had exaggerated what they knew and left out, glossed over or simply dismissed dissenting views.
|John Kerry picks John Edwards as running mate : July 6, 2004|
You are the heart and soul of our campaign. You've shattered records and expectations every step of the way. Every time someone said you couldn't do it, you proved them wrong. Because of your incredible grass roots energy and commitment, I wanted to make the first official announcement of my decision to you -- more than one million online supporters at johnkerry.com.
I want you to know why I'm excited about running for president with John Edwards by my side. John understands and defends the values of America. He has shown courage and conviction as a champion for middle class Americans and those struggling to reach the middle class. In the Senate, he worked to reform our intelligence, to combat bioterrorism, and keep our military strong. John reaches across party lines and speaks to the heart of America -- hope and optimism. Throughout his own campaign for president, John spoke about the great divide in this country -- the "Two Americas"that exist between those who are doing well today and those that are struggling to make it from day to day. And I am so proud that we're going to build one America together.
In the next 120 days and in the administration that follows, John Edwards and I will be fighting for the America we love. We'll be fighting to give the middle class a voice by providing good paying jobs and affordable health care. We'll be fighting to make America energy independent. We'll be fighting to build a strong military and lead strong alliances, so young Americans are never put in harm's way because we insisted on going it alone.
|John Kerry: Life begins at conception : July 5, 2004|
''Vatican II is very clear. There is something called freedom of conscience in the Catholic Church," Kerry said. ''I oppose abortion, personally. I don't like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception. But I can't take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist... who doesn't share it. We have separation of church and state in the United States of America."
While Kerry, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, has previously mentioned his personal discomfort with abortion, a database search of newspaper stories failed to find any previous reference to him saying that he believed life began at conception. A campaign spokeswoman said she also was unaware of him making the comment previously. It is that belief among conservatives both in and out of his church that leads them to oppose not only abortion, but also stem cell research -- which Kerry has said he favors and which Bush supports only in a limited fashion.
''John Kerry's ridiculous claim to hold 'conservative values,' and his willingness to change his beliefs to fit his audience, betrays a startling lack of conviction on important issues like abortion that will make it difficult for voters to give him their trust," said a Bush-Cheney spokesman.
|David Cobb nominated as Green for President : June 30, 2004|
"I look forward to doing for the next four months what I've been doing for the past 8 months -- working to build and grow the Green Party, supporting local candidates and registering more Green voters," said David Cobb. Pat LaMarche, noting that the Cobb-LaMarche ticket features two candidates registered in the Green Party -- unlike the 2000 campaign -- said, "I'm proud that we have a Green Party ticket with Green candidates advancing a Green agenda."
"The six-month Green primary has produced a truly Green ticket," said the co-chair of the Green Party of the United States. "While a year ago, few predicted that a grassroots Green would emerge from the ranks of the party, David Cobb has proven that the party has developed a high level of political maturity and self-confidence. We look forward to working with the Cobb-LaMarche ticket in challenging voters to cast their votes for a better America."
|Pat LaMarche nominated as Green for Vice President : June 30, 2004|
LaMarche, who won 7 percent of the vote when she was the Green Independent candidate for governor of Maine in 1998, said she'll vote for whoever has the best chance of beating Bush. But "if Bush has got 11 percent of the vote in Maine come November 2, I can vote for whoever I want," she said in an interview with the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. And if the state is, as it is now, a toss-up between Bush and presumptive Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry? She could well vote for the Democrat.
"I love my country," she said. "Maybe we should ask them that, because if (Vice President) Dick Cheney loved his country, he wouldn't be voting for himself." A spokesman for the Bush-Cheney campaign said the vice president is certain to vote for his and Bush's re-election.
LaMarche rejects what she calls an incorrect perception that Nader cost Gore the presidency. She said 6 million Democrats voted for Bush, and there were many irregularities in the 2000 vote. "There are a million things that are rotten about that last election cycle," she said. When her party chose to run a candidate this year, she felt compelled to support the decision. "What we need right now is to make sure that the Green Party grows," she said.
|Kerry touts higher education plan : June 29, 2004|
About 2 million students will earn bachelor's and associate's degrees this year, according to Education Department statistics, and the number of students attaining those degrees each year is forecast to increase by almost 100,000 by 2010. Kerry's pledge would increase those gains tenfold. Kerry has already promised to increase college enrollment by 1.5 million students within five years of taking office.
Kerry often tells voters that tuition rates have gone up during Bush's presidency, making it harder for average American families to get by. Kerry has been seeking minority support for his campaign. Kerry's education plan emphasizes support for minority enrollments in college. He would require colleges to report to parents and students annual data on the number of minority, low-income and middle-income students enrolling and graduating.
Kerry says he'll make a special push to encourage students to study math, science and technology by spending $100 million more annually on scholarships for those fields and $20 million more than Bush requested to spend this year on programs in those areas at colleges with large minority enrollment.
Money for those programs would come from Kerry's plan to raise $30 billion, which he announced last week, by speeding the transition to digital television and auctioning off the space created on broadcast airwaves, his campaign said. Kerry says he will divide a $100 million incentive fund among colleges that increase graduation rates of low-income students receiving Pell Grants. And he says he'll offer $10 billion in federal relief for states they commit to keep tuition increases at or below the rate of inflation for two years.
|Gore: "Bush intentionally misled America" : June 25, 2004|
Gore accused both Cheney and Bush of deliberately misleading the public about the connections between Al Qaeda and Hussein. "If Iraq had nothing to do with the attack or the organization that attacked us, then that means the president took us to war when he didn't have to," Gore said. The president, he added, "is now intentionally misleading the American people by continuing to aggressively and brazenly assert a linkage between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein."
The president, Gore said, plays on Americans' fear of global terrorism to justify "his reinterpretation of the Constitution in ways that increase his personal power at the expense of Congress, the courts and every individual citizen." Gore reserved his most scathing remarks for what he called the "curious question of why Bush continues" to claim that "there was a working cooperation between Iraq and Al Qaeda." Citing the Sept. 11 commission staff's findings that no meaningful relationship existed, Gore described the president and the vice president as either lying or incompetent. "They dare not admit the truth, lest they look like complete fools for launching our country into a reckless, discretionary war against a nation that posed no immediate threat to us whatsoever," Gore said. "Whenever a chief executive spends prodigious amounts of energy convincing people of lies, he damages the fabric of democracy and the belief in the fundamental integrity of our self-government."
|Jack Ryan withdraws from IL Senate race amid sex scandal : June 25, 2004|
It is clear a vigorous debate on the issues could not take place if I remain in the race. What would take place rather is a brutal scorched-earth campaign, the kind of campaign that has turned off so many voters, the kind of politics I refuse to play.Illinois Republican Party leaders were to meet to choose a replacement candidate within a week [to oppose Democrat Barack Obama]. Ryan decided to quit when polls taken after his custody documents were released showed he had a slim chance of winning. The Illinois US congressional delegation unanimously decided Ryan should be replaced. Ryan's fate was sealed after a secret conference call among party leaders. Ryan was accused by his then-wife, television actress Jeri Ryan, of taking her to explicit sex clubs in the 1990s and pressuring her to perform sex acts in public.
|Bill Clinton's My Life released : June 21, 2004|
My Life is more likely to appeal to readers who want to celebrate a president who rose from modest roots, survived an abusive, alcoholic stepfather and developed an insatiable intellectual curiosity. At 957 pages, it's short on personal revelations, but long on every campaign Clinton waged, from Boys Nation to the White House. Everywhere he goes he makes friends and learns valuable lessons.
My Life is occasionally funny but rarely brief. (Its wisdom depends on your politics.) Clinton describes growing up among great storytellers, including his resilient mother and his uncle Buddy who "taught me that everyone has a story." But does Clinton have to tell them all? With Lewinsky he avoids details. He labels his behavior "immoral and foolish." He repeatedly argues that his impeachment had nothing to do with morality and everything to do with a right-wing grab for power. As angry as his wife was with him, he writes, she was angrier at special prosecutor Ken Starr. He also writes that "in politics, if you don't toot your own horn, it usually stays untooted."
There's much tooting here, from Clinton's economic success to the warning he describes giving President-elect Bush about Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Clinton adds, "He listened to what I had to say without much comment, then changed the subject to how I did my job."
I haven't listened to the abridged 6½-hour audio, read by Clinton, but I suspect that with skillful editing, it could be better than the overwritten book.
|CT Governor John Rowland resigns : June 21, 2004|
State and federal authorities have been investigating the allegations, and a special House committee also has been considering whether to recommend Rowland's impeachment. The committee was scheduled to begin its third week of hearings later Monday but may now end those hearings, the co-chairman said Monday. The news comes several days after the state Supreme Court ruled that the legislative panel could compel the governor to testify.
Rowland was once the nation's youngest governor -- he was 37 when first elected in 1994 -- and considered a rising star in the GOP. He is a former chairman of the Republican Governors Association and was rumored to be considered for several positions in the Bush administration. But 2003 began badly for Rowland and rapidly descended into nightmare. Last March, Rowland's former deputy chief of staff, Lawrence Alibozek, pleaded guilty to federal charges he steered state business to certain contractors in exchange for gold and cash. That plea -- and the governor's subsequent acknowledgment that a federal grand jury had subpoenaed stacks of documents relating to several major projects and a politically connected contractor -- set the stage for a spring and summer of embarrassing revelations about discounted vacations he had taken at homes owned by people doing business with the state. In mid-December Rowland admitted he had lied about who paid for improvements to a one-story, lakeside cottage he purchased in 1997. Asked Dec. 2 about who paid for the work, Rowland insisted he and his wife, Patricia, had taken out several loans to cover the bills. Ten days later he issued a statement apologizing to the Capitol press corps and admitting friends, employees and some state contractors had paid for renovations, including a new heating system, a hot tub, work on the kitchen, ceiling and deck. But he said those helping him got nothing in return.
Only seven governors in U.S. history have been impeached and removed from office.
|Kerry: Hike minimum wage to $7 : June 18, 2004|
Kerry's proposal returns his attention to fiscal policies as the economy is rebounding under President Bush. In the midst of a two-week campaign swing focusing on ways to improve the financial standing of American families, Kerry cites statistics like rising bankruptcy rates and dropping wages as a share of national income. Yet he can no longer point to rising unemployment as the main evidence that Bush's economic leadership is failing. So far this year, 1.2 million jobs have been created, although there is still a net job loss of more than 1 million jobs since Bush took office.
|Nader excluded from presidential debates : June 17, 2004|
However, only candidates who score at least 15 percent support in an average of five national polls by the time of the first debate will be invited. Nader's current support is at about half the required level, making it likely that he will be excluded, as he was in 1996 and 2000, when he was the Green Party candidate. "This commission is a political organization designed to support the two major parties and shut out third party and independent candidates," Nader said in a written statement. "We need to reinvigorate our democracy by having real debates -- not joint press conferences designed to limit the voices heard by voters."
In May, a group of former third-party presidential candidates, including Nader and Pat Buchanan, and three small political parties sued the Federal Elections Commission, demanding that it decertify the Commission on Presidential Debates. The FEC was sued because it earlier dismissed a similar complaint filed by the excluded candidates, who argued that the commission is a partisan group designed to further the interests of Democrats and Republicans. Nader said the debate commission "should be stripped of their non-profit status, and television networks who work with them should realize they are working with a political organization, not an educational organization."
|9/11 Panel: No al Qaeda, Saddam link : June 15, 2004|
"The Sudanese, to protect their own ties with Iraq, reportedly persuaded bin Laden to cease this support and arranged for contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda." A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting bin Laden in 1994.
Bin Laden is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded. "There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after bin Laden had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship," the report said.
"Two senior bin Laden associates associates have adamantly denied" any relationship, the report said. The report also found that there was no "convincing evidence that any government financially supported al Qaeda before 9/11" other than the limited support provided by the Taliban when bin Laden arrived in Afghanistan. It found that Saudi Arabia was a rich fund-raising ground for al Qaeda, but that it had found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior officials within the Saudi government funded al Qaeda.
The commission, which is scheduled to release its final report on the attacks at the end of July, is holding its last hearings Wednesday and Thursday. Commission chairman Thomas Kean told CNN that the panel would focus on learning more about bin Laden's terrorist network. "We want to know why these people hate us so much. We're going to follow some of these conspirators from one step to the other as they plan the attack. Then we're going to turn to the response. What did our leaders do? What decisions did they have to make? How did they get planes in the air? How did they do all those things? Mistakes were made on both sides," Kean said.
|Bush stands by al Qaeda, Saddam link : June 15, 2004|
Vice President Dick Cheney, in a speech Monday in Florida, raised eyebrows by reasserting claims that Saddam "had long-established ties with al Qaeda." Bush said Tuesday that Saddam also had ties to Palestinian militant groups and was making payments to the families of suicide bombers in Israel. "We did the absolute right thing in removing him from power, and the world is better off with him not in power," he said. Bush has tried to portray the war in Iraq as the "central front" in the war on terrorism that began with al Qaeda's September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.
|John Kerry: Support stem cell research : June 12, 2004|
The Bush-Cheney campaign defended the president's record on stem cell research as ensuring that it is conducted "in ways that respect human dignity and help build the culture of life." A campaign spokesman said, "Under President Bush's thoughtful leadership, for the first time federal dollars are supporting human embryonic stem cell research consistent with the ethical guidelines" he put in place. Bush signed an executive order in August 2001 that limited federal help to financing stem cell research on 78 embryonic stem cell lines then in existence. Because day-old embryos are destroyed when stem cells are extracted, the process is opposed by some conservatives who link it to abortion.
Kerry said stem cells "have the power to slow the loss of a grandmother's memory, calm the hand of an uncle with Parkinson's, save a child from a lifetime of daily insulin shots or permanently lift a best friend from his wheelchair." Shortly before Reagan's death, Kerry and 57 other senators asked Bush to relax the restrictions, and Mrs. Reagan has long argued that using stem cells from embryos could lead to cures for a number of diseases. "If we pursue the limitless potential of our science, and trust that we can use it wisely, we will save millions of lives and earn the gratitude of future generations," Kerry said.
|Powell: Government terrorism report was incorrect : June 11, 2004|
The finding however was criticized by academics and intelligence analysts, who said a number of terrorist attacks were omitted, including attacks in Turkey and Chechnya that claimed several hundred lives. Mr. Powell denied accusations that the data had been manipulated for political gain. The secretary said mistakes by a new terrorism data collection office contributed to an undercount of attacks.
|Ashcroft memo approved some prisoner torture : June 9, 2004|
[Situations like the prisoner torture at Abu Ghraib prison] "is what directly results when you have that kind of memo out there," said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. "And it's all because of executive authority and executive power."
Republicans, led by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah, endeavored to praise Ashcroft and defend the president while avoiding any tacit endorsement of torture as a legitimate means of interrogation. "We live in a dangerous world and our commander-in-chief must have the proper amount of authority to act decisively to protect the public," said Hatch. "As well, we need more discussion about where and by whom the line should be drawn between permissible aggressive interrogation techniques, and when interrogation becomes torture and whether torture is ever justified."
the panel's top Democrat, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, charged that Ashcroft simply wants more power for "increasing secrecy and lessening accountability" at the Justice Department, and he said the advice on the permissibility of torturing terrorist suspects demonstrates the continuing pattern of trampling on civil liberties. "Interrogation techniques approved by the Department of Justice have led to abuses that have tarnished our nation's reputation and driven hundreds, if not thousands of new recruits to join our enemies, the terrorists," said Leahy.
Ashcroft said because the al-Qaida terrorist network is not a "high contracting party" to the international treaties known as the Geneva Conventions that prohibit physical abuse of prisoners of war, the treaties' protections do not apply to members of the militant Islamic group.
But Sen. Joe Biden, D-Delaware, retorted that "there's a reason why we sign these treaties -- it's to protect my son in the military" in the event he is ever captured by enemy forces. Several Democrats said Aschroft's refusal to show the torture policy memos to members of the congressional panel charged with Justice Department oversight bordered on contempt of Congress, which if prosecuted and convicted can result in punishment of up to one year imprisonment and/or a $1,000 fine. "Y'all better come up with a good rationale [not to release the memos] or otherwise it's contempt of Congress," Biden warned Ashcroft.
|Ronald Reagan dies : June 6, 2004|
We are blessed to live in a Nation, and a world, that have been shaped by the will, the leadership, and the vision of Ronald Reagan. With an unshakable faith in the values of our country and the character of our people, Ronald Reagan renewed America's confidence and restored our Nation. His optimism, strength, and humility epitomized the American spirit. He always told us that for America the best was yet to come.
Ronald Reagan believed that God takes the side of justice and that America has a special calling to oppose tyranny and defend freedom. Through his courage and determination, he enhanced America's security and advanced the spread of peace, liberty, and democracy to millions of people who had lived in darkness and oppression. As America's president, Ronald Reagan helped change the world. President Reagan has left us, but he has left us stronger and better. We take comfort in the knowledge that he has left us for a better place, the shining city that awaits him.
In honor and tribute to the memory of Ronald Reagan, and as an expression of public sorrow, do hereby direct that the flag of the United States be displayed at half-staff at the White House and on all buildings, grounds, and Naval vessels of the United States for a period of 30 days from the day of his death. I do further appoint Friday, June 11, 2004, as a National Day of Mourning throughout the United States.
|Reinstate the draft? : June 1, 2004|
"I don't know anyone in the executive branch of the government who believes it would be appropriate or necessary," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said again recently. Recent polling indicates four out of five Americans surveyed oppose resuming the draft, which would appear to seal its fate as a dead issue during an election year.
Still, lawmakers keep questioning whether perhaps a draft may be needed, even as proposed legislation on it goes nowhere. Analysts say there are two main reasons the idea keeps coming back. One is that even with its 1.4 million active-duty volunteers and thousands more reservists, the United States seems to have too few troops for the wars it is fighting. The other is a kind of guilt that the cost of the wars is being paid by very few Americans.
Rumsfeld says the high amount of military activity now probably is temporary — "a spike." But even if most troops come out of Iraq within several years, the war against al-Qaeda and other terror networks could last decades. And there is no predicting how many more sizable military campaigns there might be over that time.
"If we in fact, as the president says and I agree, are in a generational war here against terrorism, it's going to require resources," says Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel. "The mission must match the resources."
And there is also the question of who bears the burden. That's a point repeatedly made by another draft supporter, Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, who has unsuccessfully sponsored legislation on conscription. "Who is doing all of the fighting?" Hagel asked. "Should we continue to burden the middle class who represents most all of our soldiers, and the lower middle class ... burden them with the fighting and the dying if in fact this is a generational — probably 25-year war?" "It's not a shared burden," said Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., noting that most Americans have sacrificed little through the Afghan and Iraq wars.
|Al Gore speaks out on Iraq War : May 27, 2004|
Besides calling for the defeat of President Bush and Vice President Cheney this November, Gore called for the immediate resignation of six top administration officials: National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, CIA Director George Tenet, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, along with top Rumsfeld deputies Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, and Stephen Cambone. Altogether, Gore accused the administration of implementing "twisted values and atrocious policies at the highest levels of our government."
In response, the Republican National Committee released a statement saying Gore had been vice president for eight years in which "Osama bin Laden declared war on the United States five times and terrorists killed U.S. citizens on at least four different occasions." The statement continued: "Al Gore's attacks on the president today demonstrate that he either does not understand the threat of global terror, or he has amnesia."
Finally, Gore singled out one non-government official for attack: conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. The former vice president called on President Bush to "condemn" Limbaugh, whom Gore called "perhaps [the president's] strongest political supporter."
Limbaugh, speaking on his radio program, said he found it odd to be included among the administration officials named by Gore. "I have never seen a media figure targeted much the same way the president of the United States is being targeted," Limbaugh said, "and now the president of the United States, who's got really important things to do, has been told or challenged by Gore to condemn me."
|Kerry's Energy Plan : May 25, 2004|
Bush emphasizes increased drilling for domestic oil and gas to help wean the country from reliance on foreign energy sources and has proposed billions of dollars in tax incentives to accelerate the development of hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles. The president also supports opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling; Kerry opposes that.
A Bush spokesman said Kerry has voted against proposals that would lower gas costs and in favor of higher gas taxes. Kerry's campaign said Bush's mishandling of the war in Iraq has contributed to the increase in gas prices.
|Bush 5-step plan on Iraq : May 25, 2004|
|Hillary Clinton on Iraq : May 23, 2004|
U.S. SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-SC: Well, send in more troops, absolutely. I think we need more people in the military. When I went to Iraq last year, you could see that there was a lot of ammo dumps that needed to be guarded. Forty percent of the people, by the end of the year, are going to be Guard and Reserve members. And we're moving people out of Korea. So I thought for a long time that we needed more people, but when your combat commanders tell the secretary of defense we have enough, then, you know, what's the secretary of defense to do? But it's clear to me, not just Iraq, but when you look at Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea and all of the obligations of this country, we're putting too much pressure on the men and women in uniform. We need more of them, sooner rather than later.
U.S. SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON, D-NY: And I agree with that 100 percent. And, you know, I reached the same conclusions when I was there last year. And a number of us on the Armed Services Committee have been sounding this alarm, not only asking that we get more troops in Iraq, and in Afghanistan I would add, but that we have to face the fact we need a larger active- duty military. We cannot continue to stretch our troops, both active- duty, Guard and Reserve, to the breaking point, which is what we're doing now.
Q: 25,000 more troops, 50,000? Give me a scale of order.
CLINTON: Well, the way I would talk about this is that, at this point, General Abizaid has asked for additional troops, and we're going to see those troops brought in, some from Korea. We're going to end up with what the last number was, 140,000. That's fine, but it's still late, and it's been a little slow. I'm supporting an effort to increase the end strength of the Army, increase the size of the military. This is a big decision for our country to make. It is expensive, but I don't think we have any alternatives. We talk a lot about the global war on terrorism. We have faced some very difficult times in Iraq. We did not go in with enough troops, in my opinion. I might have a slight disagreement with my colleague that I think that there was such a clear message from the top of the Pentagon, "Don't ask for more troops," that our commanders are very resourceful, they're incredibly professional, they did the best they could with what they had. But many people with a lot of experience, like John McCain and others, from the very beginning have been saying we can't do this mission with the numbers we have.
|Kerry: no abortion litmus test for judges : May 20, 2004|
On the Supreme Court, Kerry said he has voted in favor of "any number of judges who are pro-life or pro-something else that I may not agree with," some of whom were nominated by Republican presidents. "Do they have to agree with me on everything? No," Kerry said. Asked if they must agree with his abortion-rights views, he quickly added, "I will not appoint somebody with a 5-4 court who's about to undo Roe v. Wade. I've said that before. But that doesn't mean that if that's not the balance of the court I wouldn't be prepared ultimately to appoint somebody to some court who has a different point of view. I've already voted for people like that. I voted for Judge Scalia."
Aides said later that "some court" was not a reference to the Supreme Court, only lower federal benches. In his clarifying statement, Kerry said, "I will not appoint anyone to the Supreme Court who will undo that right" to an abortion. But a Bush spokesman said Kerry was trying to have it both ways. He noted Kerry's promise during the primaries to nominate to the high court only those individuals who support abortion rights. "John Kerry's reversal today on appointing pro-choice judges shows a startling lack of conviction on an issue that someone seeking the presidency should approach with principled clarity," the Bush aide said. Kerry said he regrets his vote for Scalia, saying he didn't see at the time of the vote in 1986 "such a level of ideology and partisanship" that he now sees in the justice.
|Mass. Gov. Romney on same-sex marriages : May 19, 2004|
The legal strategy emerged as Romney demanded copies of marriage license applications issued in Provincetown, Somerville, Worcester and Springfield, the four cities municipalities that are defying his order. A Romney spokeswoman said only that "marriages performed outside the law will be null and void." Romney, for the second day in a row, kept an extremely low profile yesterday.
Romney has interpreted a 1913 law as prohibiting the granting of marriage licenses to residents of states that do not permit gay couples to marry. Lawyers said yesterday that Romney could use the forms as evidence to prosecute clerks, for knowingly issuing the applications to out-of-state residents even though, as he interprets the 1913 law, those applications are not legal. Or he could use them to instruct the state Registrar to refuse to record the marriages of out-of-state couples, making it difficult for them to apply for benefits associated with marriages in their home states, such as health insurance and Social Security benefits. Under the 1913 law, the state cannot grant marriage licenses to couples if their marriages would be "void" in their home states. Reilly has interpreted that law to apply only to residents of the 38 states which have specific prohibitions on gay marriage. Romney has interpreted it to apply to residents of all 49 other states, since none of them specifically permit gay marriage.
Supporters of gay marriage say the 1913 law has been dusted off by Romney specifically to block gay marriages, and that it is being improperly and unfairly applied in this case. "Someone should tell him he's the governor of Massachusetts, not of the United States," said the chair of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus. "This is grossly inappropriate, to waste his time and taxpayer dollars on a witch hunt against gay people." Meanwhile, gay and lesbian couples continued to go to city and town halls today to apply for licenses, but they did so in far fewer numbers and with less fanfare than yesterday, the first day of legalized gay marriage in the state.
|Kerry-Dean ticket? : May 18, 2004|
Dean has put a lot of effort in recent months into his latest project - Democracy for America, formerly Dean for America. The new project is about empowering people, Dean said, much like his campaign for presidency intended. Democracy for America endorses the "Dean's dozen," a list of candidates from all over the country running grassroots campaigns that Dean feels will help bring the government back to the people.
The first thing that's going to happen if Kerry wins, Dean said, is balancing the budget and passing a health insurance bill, guaranteeing coverage for all Americans. Dean is also confident that Kerry will solve the situation in Iraq. Dean would not state with any specificity what his plans for the future are, but said, "Whatever I do will be consistent with the goals of Democracy for America, which is about empowering people. Action is always better than apathy."
|Kerry-McCain ticket? : May 18, 2004|
McCain, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and in line to take over the Senate Armed Services panel in two years, endorsed Biden's call for bridging the political gap between Democrats and Republicans. ''There's too much partisanship in America, and there's too much partisanship in the Senate," he said. ''And we're not doing our job as our constituents expect us to do." ''I will always take anyone's phone calls," McCain said of any call he might get from Kerry, a fellow decorated Vietnam War veteran. ''But I will not, I categorically will not do it."
Kerry said Wednesday that McCain would be his first choice to replace Donald H. Rumsfeld, President Bush's secretary of defense. Rumsfeld is now wrestling with the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal
|Kerry: US schools still 'separate and unequal' : May 17, 2004|
Both candidates agreed that more needs to be done to reach the goal of educational opportunity for all. On the campaign trail, Kerry advocates more federal spending on education; Bush stresses his support for standardized testing and local control of schools. "While our schools are no longer segregated by law, they are still not equal in opportunity and excellence," Bush said. "Justice requires more than a place in a school. Justice requires that every school teach every child in America. The habits of racism in America have not all been broken," he said. "The habits of respect must be taught to every generation. Laws against racial discrimination must be vigorously enforced in education and housing and hiring and public accommodations."
Kerry told his audience that Bush deserves part of the blame for inequality in education. He criticized the president for failing to push for full funding to carry out the 2002 No Child Left Behind law. "You cannot promise no child left behind and then pursue policies that leave millions of children behind every single day," Kerry said, calling the new law "a promissory note to all of America's families that must be paid in full. Today, more than ever, we need to renew our commitment to one America," Kerry said. "We should not delude ourselves into thinking that we have reached our goal."
|Powell: Evidence presented to UN was deliberately misleading : May 17, 2004|
The elaborate United Nations presentation, where Powell, backed by CIA Director George Tenet, alleged that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction, has tarnished the former four-star general's legacy and credibility. Among the now-discredited intelligence Powell was assured was accurate was a discredited defector's insistence that Saddam had mobile weapons factories. After freezing Powell out for much of the decision-making in Iraq, the administration in recent weeks has increasingly turned to him to help clean up the ever-increasing mess.
|Kerry Again Opposes Same-Sex Marriage : May 15, 2004|
Yet Kerry has taken several positions on the issue: He voted against the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as a union only of a man and woman, saying it amounted to gay-bashing. Kerry has opposed President Bush's call for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage but said in February that he favors such a ban in Massachusetts.
"If the Massachusetts legislature crafts an appropriate amendment that provides for partnership and civil unions, then I would support it, and it would advance the goal of equal protection," he told the Boston Globe. Kerry's careful line is likely to come under increasing scrutiny as Massachusetts becomes the first state to sanction gay marriages, under a ruling by the state's Supreme Judicial Court. Massachusetts's capital, Boston, is also the site of the 2004 Democratic National Convention in late July.
Kerry's apparent discomfort with the issue showed at a news conference yesterday at his campaign headquarters in Washington. Asked by a reporter what he would say "on a personal level" to same-sex couples married in his state, Kerry said: "It's not my job to start parceling advice on something personal like that. I personally believe marriage is between a man and a woman, and in extending our rights under the Constitution in a nondiscriminatory manner." Asked if he would offer his congratulations to the newly married, Kerry replied: "I obviously wish everyone happiness. I want everyone to feel fulfilled and happy in their lives. The way to do that is by respecting every citizen's rights under the Constitution."
Republicans are likely to tie worldwide publicity over the state's action to Kerry in an effort to paint him as a northeastern liberal who is out of touch with the values of the rest of the country. Polls show a majority of Americans, including many Democrats, opposed to granting full marital status to same-sex couples. Yesterday, Bush campaign officials said Kerry's statements reinforce their portrait of him as inconsistent on major issues. "This represents his typical pattern of confusing and contradictory statements," said Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt. Gay and lesbian groups, however, said they enthusiastically support Kerry after meeting with him yesterday. "His commitment to equality and fairness to all Americans, including gay and lesbian Americans, is real," said one participant
|Rep. Nadler: Inequality for same-sex partners is "gratuitous cruelty" : June 2004|
The subcommittee chairman is Lamar Smith (R, TX), whose views on homosexuality aren't a secret. He recently wrote that "same-sex marriage, and the lifestyle that accompanies it, should not be endorsed because it is unhealthy and unnatural."
|Nader Wins Endorsement From Reform Party : May 12, 2004|
Nader has struggled to win ballot access in some early states, such as Texas, where a deadline passed Monday without him collecting enough signatures to appear on the ballot. Nader filed a federal lawsuit Monday challenging the signature requirement in Texas. Nader also missed an early opportunity to get on Oregon's ballot, although he has time to try again. In Florida, Nader faced the daunting task of collecting more than 92,000 signatures to gain ballot access. If he runs as the Reform Party's candidate, he will not need any signatures.
The Reform Party claims more than 1 million active members, but has been plagued by infighting and lost membership since it was founded by billionaire Ross Perot in 1992. Perot won 19 percent of the vote when he ran for president in 1992 and 8 percent in 1996. In 2000, conservative maverick Pat Buchanan and rival John Hagelin both claimed the party mantle at competing national conventions. Buchanan was declared the true nominee after a legal challenge, but garnered less than 1 percent of the vote nationally. Some accused Buchanan of trying to bend the party's politics to the right and the party lost membership, with some large groups splintering into other organizations.
Nader had courted Reform Party leaders since March, a spokesperson said. Six other lesser-known candidates sought the party's nod. Nader also would consider gaining ballot access through other third-party political organizations that might endorse him.
|Bush imposes sanctions on Syria : May 11, 2004|
Syrian exports to the United States are not banned by the president's order, but State Department officials said American oil companies would be hard-pressed to keep operating in Syria because they would not be able to import equipment from their American factories. Syria is not a major producer, but exploration for oil and natural gas is a priority because its known reserves are running out. Diplomatic relations with Syria were not severed. One reason, State Department officials said, was to keep the door open to any prospect of Syria participating in Middle East peacemaking. Trade with Syria already was limited by sanctions imposed because Syria is one of seven countries branded supporters of terror by the State Department. Bush's order will cut even deeper.
The president chose not to take other, more drastic action under the Syria Accountability Act, such as economic sanctions that would have barred U.S. companies from doing business in the Middle Eastern country. The act bars U.S. exports to Syria of dual-use items that could have military applications. It also requires Bush to choose at least two of six possible economic or diplomatic sanctions. From the list, Bush chose the export ban and the prohibition on flights. The United States is sending "a loud and clear message to the leaders of Syria that we will no longer turn a blind eye to their transgressions," said Rep. Eliot Engel, who co-authored the legislation with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. "The ball is now in Damascus' court."
Syria provided the United States with intelligence on al-Qaida after the September 11, 2001, attacks. Though some U.S. officials have played down the importance of that, the cooperation probably discouraged the administration from imposing sanctions that would have reduced diplomatic contacts. Despite its criticism of Syria, the Bush administration initially saw the legislation as a restraint on its diplomatic options. Even after a provision was included that enabled Bush to waive any penalties, the president demonstrated his lack of enthusiasm by signing the bill without any fanfare.
|Bush: $6B available for education funds for states : May 10, 2004|
Signed in 2003, the No Child Left Behind education law was the centerpiece of Bush's domestic policy agenda. It mandated tough testing and gives all students until 2014 to become proficient in reading and math. The legislation had bipartisan backing initially, but has run into opposition from Democrats who claim Bush is enforcing the law on the cheap by holding schools accountable for big gains without enough money to succeed. Administration officials dispute that, saying states and school districts had not tapped some $6 billion in education funding that was available at the start of the year. Last month, the administration announced it was easing some testing and other provisions of the law that required teachers to have a degree or be certified in every subject they teach.
Kerry, a Massachusetts senator who voted for No Child Left Behind, now says he sees problems with the legislation and wants changes, mainly in the way student progress is measured. During a three-day education tour of his own last week to Minnesota, New Mexico and California, Kerry vowed that 1 million more students would graduate high school if he is elected. Kerry wants to roll back Bush's tax cuts for people making more than $200,000 a year and use some of the money to create a $200 billion education trust fund over 10 years. Kerry says about half the money would be used to fully fund No Child Left Behind. He also pledged to channel $30 billion over 10 years to improve teacher pay as well as raise teaching standards, including bonuses of up to $5,000 for those who teach math and science or work in high-need schools.
Bush visited El Dorado, Ark., last month to advocate other education changes. He called for broad changes to a $1 billion vocational training program, and for the creation of $5,000 grants for poor students who emphasize math and science, a $100 million annual program to be paid for by imposing new restrictions on Pell Grants and by tapping private foundations. Bush also proposed requiring high-school seniors in every state to take national math and English tests that currently are mandated only for fourth- and eighth-graders.
|Response to Iraqi prison torture photos : May 10, 2004|
As they spoke, a series of new photographs came to light of U.S. military personnel using German shepherd guard dogs to threaten and apparently attack a naked Iraqi prisoner last December at Abu Ghraib prison, where other publicized cases of abuse were photographed and videotaped. Although no pictures depicting murder have become public, military investigators are looking into at least two apparent slayings by prison guards since December 2002 and 10 more Iraqi deaths, as well as 10 assaults, at detention facilities under the control of Central Command.
Particularly tough criticism of the Pentagon's actions came from two Republicans on the armed services and intelligence committees, Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) and Chuck Hagel (Neb.). Graham said that "it's clear to me that we had systemic failure" within the military and that "we just don't want a bunch of privates and sergeants to be the scapegoats here." Hagel said that "it's still in question whether... Rumsfeld can command the respect and the trust and the confidence of the military," because of the continuing prison abuse revelations.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John W. Warner (R-Va.) made clear that officials face additional grilling. He plans to chair a hearing tomorrow at which the Pentagon's top intelligence official and Central Command officers who oversee the conflict in Iraq are to testify. An Army report on the abuses said the guards were pressured into harming the Iraqis by military intelligence officers. Warner also said he expects the Pentagon to surrender today or tomorrow a full copy of the military's scathing internal report. The report, completed in February, was classified "Secret/No Foreign Dissemination". Annexes to the report, which contain testimony about the abuses and documentary evidence, have remained classified and inaccessible to anyone outside the military. Warner said he was "not able to answer" questions about when the data will be made public.
Neither Graham nor any other Republican lawmaker called yesterday for Rumsfeld to resign, but their statements of support were guarded. Warner said: "I want to support our president. The president says he's going to stay." Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that he thinks "it would be terribly premature to call for his resignation at this time." At the same time, McCain castigated those who wrongly, in his view, blurred the distinction between terrorists and detained Iraqis. "I think there was some blurring there that may have accounted" for the abusive actions by U.S. military personnel against Iraqis, he said. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) expressed unalloyed support for Rumsfeld, saying that "you can't give a person who is managing a 2.5 million-member armed forces across the world the responsibility for what happens at 2:30 in the morning in a remote prison in Iraq."
Many Democrats, including Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), the presumptive presidential nominee, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), have said Rumsfeld should go. Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), a member of the intelligence panel, said that Rumsfeld, "for the good of this nation, needs to step forward and say, 'As an important act to show we are changing courses... I am stepping down.' That would be an act of patriotism." A similar statement was made by retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark, a former Democratic presidential aspirant who also said the Iraqi people are likely -- due to these abuses and other problems -- to force a "catastrophic early end to this mission." But two other Democrats who have criticized the administration's handling of the conflict -- Sen. Carl M. Levin (Mich.) and Sen. Evan Bayh (Ind.) -- said they worried that Rumsfeld's resignation, by itself, would make little difference because, they believe, the administration's policies are so flawed.
|Bush asks for $25 billion more for War on Terror : May 6, 2004|
Bush included no war funding in his fiscal 2005 budget, and he had hoped to avoid such a request until after the November election, fearing a divisive debate over the war's conduct and future, Republican congressional aides said. Congress has approved two wartime emergency spending laws totaling $166 billion -- including $149 billion for Iraq. But in recent weeks, military officials publicly stated that U.S. forces were experiencing financial problems and would be likely to run out of money even before Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.
The White House conceded yesterday that the $25 billion it is seeking is likely to be only the first installment. "We will pursue a full FY 2005 supplemental request when we can better estimate precise costs," Bush said. House and Senate budget negotiators already agreed to include $50 billion in the budget blueprint for 2005, but defense experts say even that amount will fall short. Rep. David Obey (Wis.), the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said that with the cost of securing embassies and building a new embassy in Iraq, the cost would reach $75 billion. Indeed, Republican and Democratic aides on the Appropriations committees said yesterday that the big fight will be over holding the request to the president's level. For weeks, Republicans and Democrats have been imploring Bush to send up a war request before the military is forced to juggle different accounts to fund combat operations.
|Kerry unveils education plan : May 6, 2004|
|Nader on Corporate Crime : May 6, 2004|
|Nader on marijuana legalization : May 5, 2004|
|Nader on Government Reform : May 3, 2004|
|Film about Bush's role in Sept. 11 banned : May 6, 2004|
Moore said media companies such as Disney must allow all voices to be heard. "We live in a free and open society where dissent is not to be stifled or silenced. They have violated that trust," he said. The documentary maker said he hoped to find a new distributor so the film, entitled "Fahrenheit 911," could be released in the United States this year. "The good news is that internationally we already have distributors in much of the world. So it will be seen outside of America for sure some time this year," Moore told CNN. "But I hope it doesn't happen where an American film maker makes a film about America and it can't be seen in America.
The film -- which links Bush with powerful Saudi families, including that of Osama bin Laden -- is set to debut at the Cannes Film Festival in France later this month. In a written statement, Disney said "Moore has had and continues to have every opportunity to either find another distributor or distribute the film himself."
Moore won an Oscar for best documentary feature at last year's Academy Awards for his film "Bowling for Columbine." His acceptance speech, in which he lit into Bush, the 2000 election and the Iraq war, earned applause as well as boos.
|Bush and Cheney provide restricted testimony about 9/11 : April 29, 2004|
The panel will quiz Bush and Cheney on a wide range of topics, including whether the administration could have done more to combat al Qaeda in early 2001 and whether it should have been better prepared for a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, according to commission officials. Bush and Cheney are also expected to be questioned closely about the events of the day of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, several commission officials said. Panel investigators have discovered evidence that casts doubt on several official narratives that emerged about that day. One focuses on early White House statements that Bush initially did not return to Washington on Sept. 11 because he was told the White House received a phone call saying that Air Force One was a target. The caller is said to have used a classified code word, "angel," for the aircraft. The investigators have looked into the story and found no evidence of any such call, according to a source familiar with the staff findings who asked for anonymity because the information was not supposed to be disclosed.
Panel investigators have assembled a list of questions for Bush and Cheney that commission members have agreed to ask, according to several commission officials. Panel members will be free to ask questions on their own, officials said. "It's essentially the same set of questions that we asked President Clinton with one exception, which is just what happened on the day of September 11th," said commissioner Bob Kerrey, a former Democratic senator from Nebraska. "What was your strategy before, what was your strategy on September 11, and what allowed the FAA to be so surprised by a hijacking?" Commissioners said another central topic will be the President's Daily Brief delivered to Bush on Aug. 6, 2001. One article in the brief, titled "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US," warned that the FBI had observed "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks." Bush, who declassified the memo on April 10, has said it did not provide any "actionable intelligence" or specific threat.
|Kerry hydrogen plan: 100 mpg cars by 2020 : April 28, 2004|
|Bush announces $1.2 billion hydrogen fuel initiative : Jan. 28, 2004|
Under the President's hydrogen fuel initiative, the first car driven by a child born today could be powered by fuel cells. The hydrogen fuel initiative complements the President's existing FreedomCAR initiative, which is developing technologies needed for mass production of safe and affordable hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles. Through partnerships with the private sector, the hydrogen fuel initiative and FreedomCAR will make it practical and cost-effective for large numbers of Americans to choose to use clean, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2020. This will dramatically improve America's energy security by significantly reducing the need for imported oil, as well as help clean our air and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
|John Kerry rescinds term "atrocities" in describing Vietnam : April 25, 2004|
A Kerry campaign spokesman called the comments "misleading," adding that "we will stand toe-to-toe with [Bush] on our military service any day of the week." In an interview last week, Kerry said that his use of the word "atrocity" was "inappropriate" and that the language he had used "reflected an anger. It was honest, but it was in anger. It was a little bit excessive." He also said he never intended to cast a negative light on the soldiers with whom he served. In 1971, Kerry also testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and recited a litany of atrocities and war crimes he said had been reported to him by other soldiers.
During the presidential campaign, Kerry's comments from three decades ago have been fodder for conservative talk radio and have drawn fire from some of his fellow veterans, who say they can't forgive the stigma attached to his words. Bush campaign officials -- who have had to handle persistent questions about the president's National Guard service during the war -- have largely steered clear of the topic [until now], preferring to focus on Kerry's Senate votes on national security issues.
The Bush aide also took exception to Kerry's actions during a protest in the early 1970s in which veterans opposed to the war threw away their medals. Kerry, who was awarded a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts in Vietnam, says he threw away only his ribbons, not the actual medals.
|Clinton ordered killing of bin Laden in 1998 : April 26, 2004|
Clinton told the panel he not only read every scrap of intelligence on the leader of al-Qaeda but became obsessed with bin Laden and wanted him dead after al-Qaeda terrorists bombed U.S. embassies in East Africa in August 1998, murdering 224 people. If Clinton was so focused on bin Laden, why did he fail so spectacularly in his efforts to catch him? The ex-President told the commission he lacked "actionable intelligence." Others suggest the real problem was that Clinton's takedown orders were slathered in legalisms. As the commission's staff members noted in a report, "CIA senior managers, operators and lawyers uniformly said that they read the relevant authorities signed by President Clinton as instructing them to try to capture bin Laden ... They believed that the only acceptable context for killing bin Laden was a credible capture operation."
CIA officers who would be leading the covert operations wanted ironclad, unrestricted language in presidential memos that killing bin Laden would be legal. Instead of a Bond-style license to kill, Clinton's memos would say things like, "apprehend with lethal force as authorized."
Clinton told the 9/11 panel he thought his order to kill bin Laden was unmistakably clear. After all, the Justice Department had ruled that the U.S. government's ban on assassinations didn't apply to bin Laden because he was a military target. Even the commission's chairman [former NJ GOP Governor Thomas Kean] was convinced that Clinton wanted to kill bin Laden and that the CIA balked over the slightest ambiguities in his orders [because of concerns over the legality of assassination].
The 9/11 panel quizzed Clinton in detail about a meeting he had with President- elect Bush during the truncated transition period after the 2000 election. Clinton said he told Bush in that meeting that bin Laden would be his No. 1 national-security problem. Richard Clarke, who recounts this episode in his book Against All Enemies, writes that the incoming Administration found this assessment "rather odd." Commissioners are planning to seek Bush's side of the story.
|John Kerry discloses lobbyist meetings and military records : April 22, 2004|
Kerry is moving quickly to address criticism from President Bush and others that he is refusing to provide voters a fuller view of everything from his personal finances to his combat and medical records. "We released this information today," a Kerry spokesman said. "Now it's the Bush campaign's turn to release the list of oil company lobbyists in Cheney's secret energy task force that rewrote our energy policy." Kerry has been posting his military records on his Web site and promised additional medical information soon. The campaign also is rethinking its decision to keep secret the tax records of the candidate's wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry.
The lobbyists included Kip O'Neill, who said he brought issues to Kerry that ranged from banking to teaching hospitals to telecommunications (O'Neill represented AT&T during the 1996 Telecommunications Act fight). Kerry was a hard lawmaker to persuade, lobbyists said, and therefore he was not as beseeched as much as other lawmakers. "If your interests coincided he'd be a great advocate," Kip O'Neill said. "But he wouldn't carry anybody's water because he knew them or had a meeting with them." For example, O'Neill recalled, Kerry sided with the Baby Bell companies rather than AT&T in the debate over telecommunications legislation.
|Bob Woodward's book about Iraq war : April 19, 2004|
President Bush: He was "prepared to risk my presidency to do what I think is right," Bush said, and by January 2003 didn't need to ask his top aides their opinions on whether to go to war. "I could tell what they thought," Bush said. [Woodward's book says] that in July 2002, Bush allowed Army Gen. Tommy Franks to use $700 million that had been authorized for military use in Afghanistan for Iraq-related expenses instead. "Congress was totally in the dark on this," Woodward told CBS.
Response:Military funding approved by Congress after 9/11 put no restrictions on how it could be spent, and Congress was aware of changes, an administration official said.
Secretary of State Colin Powell: The former Army general warned Bush that if he went to war with Iraq, "you're going to be owning this place." He believed in the "Pottery Barn" rule: "You break it, you own it." Bush did not consult with him before deciding to go to war. Powell, Woodward said on CBS, "told colleagues that 'Cheney has a fever. It is an absolute fever.'" Woodward reports that Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powell barely speak to each other.
Response:Cheney and Powell are "more than on speaking terms," national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said. Rice denied that Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, was told about the decision to go to war before Powell was.
Vice President Cheney: Even before the Sept. 11 attacks, he was focused on Iraq. During the transition between administrations, he asked outgoing Defense Secretary William Cohen to arrange a briefing with Bush that would be a serious "discussion about Iraq."
CIA Director George Tenet: "It's a slam-dunk case," he told Bush before the war about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Later, Tenet told associates he should not have been so emphatic.
Response: A Bush adviser said the book debunks the idea that Cheney and Pentagon officials concocted and exaggerated intelligence to conclude that Saddam had chemical and biological weapons, but instead, those conclusions came from the CIA.
National security adviser Condoleezza Rice: "You have to follow through on your threat," she told Bush in January 2003 about his warnings to Iraq to give up weapons of mass destruction. She was the first person Bush told of his decision to go to war.
|Nader on Government Reform : April 13, 2004|
|John McCain on the Vice Presidency : April 13, 2004|
He raised eyebrows last month in an interview with ABC when he said that if Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee, asked him to be his running mate, "Obviously, I would entertain it." McCain went on to say that he thought such a scenario was impossible because the Democratic Party would never accept his conservative views on abortion, trade and national security. He tried to quash the speculation raised by his comments by putting out a statement the same day saying he would not run. Nevertheless, the chatter has persisted, fueled by media reports quoting Kerry advisers saying they think a Kerry-McCain ticket would be an unbeatable combination against Bush.
But McCain said Sunday that he believes Bush "deserves re-election." "Have we agreed on every issue? Of course not. We didn't agree on every issue when we ran against each other in a primary," he said. "I am not embarrassed to say that John Kerry is a friend of mine, but I want George Bush to be re-elected president of the United States." McCain, 67, is running for re-election to his Senate seat.
|John Kerry on Budget & Economy : April 12, 2004|
A misery index became well-known during the Carter administration as an economic measurement used to express the combined effect of unemployment and inflation. Since then, it has taken on a broader meaning as a measurement of economic suffering. By invoking the phrase, Kerry is attempting to underscore one of his ongoing messages: that Bush's policies have made life harder for average Americans.
|CIA warned of al Qaeda attacks within the US before 9/11 : April 11, 2004|
The document, known as the president's daily brief [or "PDB"], was declassified and released by the White House yesterday after it became the focus of controversy during White House National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice's testimony to the commission last week investigating the 9/11 attacks. The memo included redactions made to protect the names of foreign governments that provided information to the CIA. As it released the document, the White House contended that it supported Rice's testimony that the briefing was primarily "historical" in nature and did not warn specifically of the 9/11 attacks.
But the newly released briefing is certain to provide fresh ammunition to administration critics who want to challenge the veracity of Rice's testimony and question whether Bush did everything possible to prevent the attacks. They are likely to focus on the warning of planned domestic attacks by bin Laden supporters, which according to the Aug. 6 document was given to the U.S. Embassy in the United Arab Emirates in May 2001, just three months before the briefing was delivered to Bush. That could call into question Rice's repeated insistence in statements over the past two years that the Aug. 6 briefing and other pre-9/11 intelligence contained no warning of domestic attacks. In her testimony to the commission, Rice qualified that statement somewhat, saying that "the vast majority" of the intelligence warned of overseas attacks.
The document - entitled "Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in U.S." - said the al-Qaida leader had wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the United States since 1997, according to reports from foreign governments, clandestine sources and the media. It quoted a "clandestine source" as saying that in 1998 a bin Laden cell in New York was actively recruiting Muslim-American youth for such attacks.
|The Veepstakes begins : April 5, 2004|
|Powell: Evidence presented to UN was wrong : April 4, 2004|
Powell's dramatic case to the Security Council that Iraq had secret arsenals of weapons of mass destruction failed to persuade the council to directly back the U.S.-led war that deposed the Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. But it helped mobilize sentiment among the American people for going to war. As it turned out, U.N. inspectors were unable to uncover the weapons, but administration officials have insisted they still might be uncovered. David Kay, who led the hunt for the weapons, showed off a pair of trailers for news cameras last summer and argued that the two metal flatbeds were designed for making biological weapons. But faced with mounting challenges to that theory, Kay conceded in October he could have been wrong. He said he did not know whether Iraq ever had a mobile weapons program. Powell told reporters, "I'm not the intelligence community, but I probed and I made sure, as I said in my presentation, these are multi-sourced'' allegations, Powell said. The trailers were the most dramatic claims, "and I made sure that it was multi-sourced,'' he said. "Now, if the sources fell apart we need to find out how we've gotten ourselves in that position,'' he said.
The trailers were the only discovery the administration had cited as evidence of an illicit Iraqi weapons program. In six months of searches, no biological, chemical or nuclear weapons were found to bolster the administration's central case for going to war: to disarm Saddam of suspected weapons of mass destruction.
|British Ambassador: Bush committed to Iraq war just after 9/11 : April 4, 2004|
It was clear, Meyer says, 'that when we did come back to Iraq it wouldn't be to discuss smarter sanctions'. Elsewhere in his interview, Meyer says Blair always believed it was unlikely that Saddam would be removed from power or give up his weapons of mass destruction without a war. Faced with this prospect of a further war, he adds, Blair 'said nothing to demur'.
Details of this extraordinary conversation will be published this week in a 25,000-word article on the path to war with Iraq in the May issue of the American magazine Vanity Fair. It provides new corroboration of the claims made last month in a book by Bush's former counter-terrorism chief, Richard Clarke, that Bush was 'obsessed' with Iraq as his principal target after 9/11.
But the implications for Blair may be still more explosive. The discussion implies that, even before the bombing of Afghanistan, Blair already knew that the US intended to attack Saddam next, although he continued to insist in public that 'no decisions had been taken' until almost the moment that the invasion began in March 2003. His critics are likely to seize on the report of the two leaders' exchange and demand to know when Blair resolved to provide the backing that Bush sought.
|FBI translator: US knew about airplane attacks : April 2, 2004|
She told The Independent yesterday: "I gave [the commission] details of specific investigation files, the specific dates, specific target information, specific managers in charge of the investigation. I gave them everything so that they could go back and follow up. This is not hearsay. These are things that are documented. These things can be established very easily." She added: "There was general information about the time-frame, about methods to be used but not specifically about how they would be used and about people being in place and who was ordering these sorts of terror attacks. There were other cities that were mentioned. Major cities with skyscrapers."
The accusations from Mrs Edmonds, 33, a Turkish-American who speaks Azerbaijani, Farsi, Turkish and English, will reignite the controversy over whether the administration ignored warnings about al-Qa'ida. That controversy was sparked most recently by Richard Clarke, a former counter-terrorism official, who has accused the administration of ignoring his warnings. The issue what the administration knew and when is central to the investigation by the 9/11 Commission, which has been hearing testimony in public and private from government officials, intelligence officials and secret sources. Ms. Edmonds said said it was clear there was sufficient information during the spring and summer of 2001 to indicate terrorists were planning an attack. "President Bush said they had no specific information about 11 September and that is accurate but only because he said 11 September," she said. There was, however, general information about the use of airplanes and that an attack was just months away.
To try to refute Mr Clarke's accusations, Ms Rice said the administration did take steps to counter al-Qa'ida. But in an opinion piece in The Washington Post on 22 March, Ms Rice wrote: "Despite what some have suggested, we received no intelligence that terrorists were preparing to attack the homeland using airplanes as missiles, though some analysts speculated that terrorists might hijack planes to try and free US-held terrorists." Mrs Edmonds said that by using the word "we", Ms Rice told an "outrageous lie". She said: "Rice says 'we' not 'I'. That would include all people from the FBI, the CIA and DIA [Defence Intelligence Agency]. I am saying that is impossible." It is impossible at this stage to verify Mrs Edmonds' claims. However, some senior US senators testified to her credibility in 2002 when she went public with separate allegations relating to alleged incompetence and corruption within the FBI's translation department.
|Bush focus prior to 9/11 was missile defense : April 1, 2004|
The speech mentioned terrorism, but did so in the context used in other Bush administration speeches in early 2001: as one of the dangers from rogue nations, such as Iraq, that might use weapons of terror, rather than from the cells of extremists now considered the main security threat to the United States. The text also implicitly challenged the Clinton administration's policy, saying it did not do enough about the real threat -- long-range missiles. "We need to worry about the suitcase bomb, the car bomb and the vial of sarin released in the subway," according to excerpts of the speech provided to The Washington Post. "[But] why put deadbolt locks on your doors and stock up on cans of mace and then decide to leave your windows open?"
The text of Rice's Sept. 11 speech, which was never delivered, broadly reflects Bush administration foreign policy pronouncements during the eight months leading to the attacks, according to a review of speeches, news conferences and media appearances. Although the administration did address terrorism, it devoted far more attention to pushing missile defense, a controversial idea both at home and abroad, the review shows. Al Qaeda and Islamic terrorism rated lower on the list of priorities, as outlined by officials in their own public statements on policy.
Last week, President Bush's former counterterrorism chief, Richard A. Clarke, accused the administration of failing to take seriously enough the danger from al Qaeda -- a charge the White House strenuously disputes. The White House confirmed the accuracy of excerpts given to The Post.
|Bush: "Economy is strong and getting stronger" : March 26, 2004|
Bush noted that a record 68 percent of Americans own their own homes. He also cited relatively low inflation and a rise in manufacturing. "Our economy is growing," said Bush. "It's strong and getting stronger." Bush tied what he described as a growing economy to his series of tax cuts -- including a boost in the child tax credit and breaks for small businesses -- and he called on Congress to make them permanent.
Kerry highlighted less encouraging numbers about the economy. He pointed to a loss of jobs under the current administration and said the Bush tax policies had benefited the wealthy. "The truth is this president doesn't have a record to run on, but a record to run from, and that's what he's doing," Kerry said. Kerry pledged to create 10 million new jobs in four years.
The Bush administration has presided over the loss of more than 2 million jobs. Many Democrats, including Kerry, have said on the campaign trail that some international accords have not been enforced properly and have led to a loss of U.S. jobs. Bush decried what he called "economic isolationism," saying it would "lead to economic stagnation."
Kerry's campaign said his proposal includes tax reform and credits to encourage job creation in the United States, an education and job training program, as well as a plan to "restore fiscal discipline and confidence in the American economy." Kerry said, "Economic plans aren't just about dollars and decimals. They're about choices. Time after time, this administration has put ideology first and jobs last. Kerry also called for sweeping changes in international tax law to give incentives to companies that create jobs in the United States. Outsourcing -- the relocation of jobs offshore -- has become a key issue in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential election later this year, with Kerry promising to "crack down on the export of American jobs."
|Jesse Ventura on gay marriage : March 23, 2004|
Ventura asked, "How is my marriage under attack if two gays or lesbians down the street want to make a lifelong commitment to themselves?" Ventura, a one-term governor elected on the Reform Party ticket, added: "Love is bigger than government. Think about that."
|Terror czar: Bush ignored al Qaeda prior to 9/11 : March 23, 2004|
[In response], Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice made various news media appearances defending the administration, while other administration officials did the same in news conferences.
Rice -- whom Clarke says ignored his memo requesting an "urgent" meeting on the al Qaeda threat in January 2001 -- accused Clarke of "retrospective rewriting of history." Rice said, "To somehow suggest that the attack on 9/11 could have been prevented by a series of meetings -- I have to tell you that during that period of time, we were at battle stations."
Cheney told conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh that Clarke "wasn't in the loop" on major decisions. Cheney said, "The only thing I can say about Dick Clarke is he was here throughout those eight years going back to 1993 and the first attack on the World Trade Center, in  when the [U.S.] embassies were hit in east Africa, in 2000, when the USS Cole was hit. The question that has to be asked is, 'What were they doing in those days when he was in charge of counter-terrorism efforts?'"
Clarke answered Cheney's question today. During the Clinton administration, he said, al Qaeda was responsible for the deaths of "fewer than 50 Americans," and Clinton responded with military action, covert CIA action and by supporting United Nations sanctions. "They stopped al Qaeda in Bosnia," Clarke said, "They stopped al Qaeda from blowing up embassies around the world. Contrast that with Ronald Reagan, where 300 [U.S. soldiers] were killed in [a bombing attack in Beirut,] Lebanon, and there was no retaliation. I would argue that for what had actually happened prior to 9/11, the Clinton administration was doing a great deal," Clarke said. "In fact, so much that when the Bush people came into office, they thought I was a little crazy, a little obsessed with this little terrorist bin Laden. Why wasn't I focused on Iraqi-sponsored terrorism?"
|George W. Bush on cost of Medicare bill : March 20, 2004|
|Gephardt: No constitutional ban on gay marriage : March 14, 2004|
"We are members of PFLAG and we are proud members of PFLAG and we're very proud of our daughter Chrissy Gephardt and her partner, Amy, who's here tonight and we love both of them a lot," Gephardt said. "We were supportive as any parent should be. We love Chrissy unconditionally and we supported her in every way that we knew how and could."
The one-time Democratic presidential candidate also attacked the Bush administration's support for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.
"I must tell you I am ashamed when top leaders in this country and citizens of this country and even the president of the United States suggest to the people of this country that there should be an amendment to the constitution to take away rights from people rather than giving rights to people," Gephardt said.
The congressman is part of a public service announcement campaign featuring nationally recognized figures posing with gay and lesbian family members in hopes of encouraging other families of gays and lesbians to stay close.
|CIA says Cheney was wrong : March 10, 2004|
Tenet's comments to the Senate Armed Services Committee were expected to fuel friction between the White House and intelligence agencies over the failure to find any of the banned weapons stockpiles that President Bush, in justifying his case for war, charged Saddam Hussein with concealing. Tenet at first appeared to defend the administration, saying that he did not think the White House misrepresented intelligence provided by the CIA. The administration's statements, he said, reflected a prewar intelligence consensus that Hussein had stockpiled chemical and biological weapons and was pursuing nuclear bombs.
But under sharp questioning by Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, Tenet reversed himself, saying there had been instances when he had warned administration officials that they were misstating the threat posed by Iraq. “I'm not going to sit here and tell you what my interaction was … and what I did and didn't do, except that you have to have confidence to know that when I believed that somebody was misconstruing intelligence, I said something about it,” Tenet said. “I don't stand up publicly and do it.”
Tenet acknowledged to Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the committee's senior Democrat, that he had told Cheney that the vice president was wrong in saying that two truck trailers recovered in Iraq were “conclusive evidence” that Hussein had a biological weapons program. Cheney made the assertion in a Jan. 22 interview with National Public Radio. Tenet said that U.S. intelligence agencies disagree on the purpose of the trailers. Some analysts think they were mobile biological weapons facilities. Others think they may have been for making hydrogen gas for weather balloons.
Levin also questioned Tenet about a Jan. 9 interview with the Rocky Mountain News of Denver, in which Cheney cited a November article in The Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine, as “the best source of information” on cooperation between Hussein and al-Qaida. The article was based on a leaked top-secret memorandum. It purportedly set out evidence, compiled by a special Pentagon intelligence cell, that Hussein was in league with al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. It was written by Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy, the third-highest Pentagon official and a key proponent of the war. “Did the CIA agree with the contents of the Feith document?” Levin asked.
“Senator, we did not clear the document,” Tenet replied. “We did not agree with the way the data was characterized in that document.” Tenet, who pointed out that the Pentagon, too, had disavowed the document, said he learned of the article Monday night, and he planned to speak with Cheney about the CIA's view of the Feith document.
|Cheney would let people decide to marry who they like : Feb. 26, 2004|
He recently has said he would support Bush's decision on the matter.
But at a vice presidential debate in 2000, Cheney was asked, "Should a male who loves a male and a female who loves a female have all the constitutional rights enjoyed by every American citizen?"
Cheney responded, "People should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into. It's really no one else's business, in terms of trying to regulate or prohibit behavior in that regard."
He added, "I think different states are likely to come to different conclusions, and that's appropriate. I don't think there should necessarily be a federal policy in this area. I try to be open-minded about it as much as I can and tolerant of those relationships. ... (I) wrestle with the extent of which there ought to be legal sanction of those relationships. I think we ought to do everything we can to tolerate and accommodate whatever kind of relationships people want to enter into."
Cheney's office says that like Bush, the vice president is concerned that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act -- which defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman -- is under attack because of actions by officials in certain states.
Cheney, whose daughter is a lesbian and well-known figure in the Colorado gay community, was quoted in two Colorado newspapers as saying that he would support Bush's decision on an amendment no matter what it was.
|Kerry calls for state constitutional ban of gay marriage : Feb. 26, 2004|
In his most explicit remarks on the subject yet, Kerry told the Globe that he would support a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would prohibit gay marrriage so long as, while outlawing gay marriage, it also ensured that same-sex couples have access to all legal rights that married couples receive.
"If the Massachusetts Legislature crafts an appropriate amendment that provides for partnership and civil unions, then I would support it, and it would advance the goal of equal protection," the senator said yesterday, stressing that he was referring only to the state, and not the federal, Constitution. He has said he would oppose any amendment that did not include a provision for civil unions. "I think that you need to have civil union. That's my position," he said Tuesday.
Two weeks ago, a deadlocked state Legislature, meeting as a constitutional convention, spent two emotionally charged days grappling with proposals for amendments to ban gay marriage, but failed to find consensus. Lawmakers are scheduled to reconvene March 11. Voters would have a chance to make the final decision on an amendment in the November 2006 election.
The SJC ruling takes effect May 17. Barring legal maneuvers by opponents, the ruling gives a 2 1/2-year window in which gay couples can legally marry before voters decide the issue.
Not everyone on Beacon Hill said that Kerry's comments would affect the debate. Some called it a highly personal issue.
Kerry's position is also contrary to that of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, which last month endorsed gay marriage.
Kerry has appeared reluctant to enter into the gay-marriage debate as it unfolded in his home state.
Earlier this year, Kerry was the only member of the state's all-Democrat congressional delegation who chose not to sign a letter urging the state Legislature to reject a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. When the Legislature convened last month to consider amendment language, Kerry stayed silent, a position that drew criticism from several gay media outlets.
|Bush calls for constitutional ban of gay marriage : Feb. 25, 2004|
"If we are to prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever, our nation must enact a constitutional amendment," Bush said. "The union of a man and woman is the most enduring human institution . . . honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith." Bush left the door open for gay civil unions, saying state legislatures should be "free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage," but marriage should be defined as "a union of man and woman as husband and wife."
Democrats accused Bush of playing politics. "All Americans should be concerned when a president who is in political trouble tries to tamper with the Constitution," said Democratic front-runner John Kerry (D-Mass.), who opposes gay marriage but also is against a federal constitutional ban.
Kerry's position is complex - although he opposes a federal ban, he says he might back a Massachusetts constitutional ban on gay marriage if it allowed civil unions. Kerry was also one of just 14 senators who voted against the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, signed by President Bill Clinton, which lets states refuse to recognize gay marriages from other states. Kerry argued in 1996 that DOMA was "unconstitutional" because the Constitution requires states to recognize all contracts from other states - meaning that a gay marriage in Massachusetts must be legal all across America.
|Bill Clinton's statement on DOMA : Sept. 20, 1996|
I have long opposed governmental recognition of same-gender marriages and this legislation is consistent with that position. The Act confirms the right of each state to determine its own policy with respect to same gender marriage and clarifies for purposes of federal law the operative meaning of the terms "marriage" and "spouse".
This legislation does not reach beyond those two provisions. It has no effect on any current federal, state or local anti-discrimination law and does not constrain the right of Congress or any state or locality to enact anti-discrimination laws. I therefore would take this opportunity to urge Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, an act which would extend employment discrimination protections to gays and lesbians in the workplace. This year the Senate considered this legislation contemporaneously with the Act I sign today and failed to pass it by a single vote. I hope that in its next Session Congress will pass it expeditiously.
I also want to make clear to all that the enactment of this legislation should not, despite the fierce and at times divisive rhetoric surrounding it, be understood to provide an excuse for discrimination, violence or intimidation against any person on the basis of sexual orientation. Discrimination, violence and intimidation for that reason, as well as others, violate the principle of equal protection under the law and have no place in American society.
|Nader announces for president : Feb. 22, 2004|
First of all, this country has more problems and injustices than it deserves, and more solutions and goodwilled people applying those solutions. That's because there's a democracy gap. There's just too much power and wealth in too few hands, increasingly giant corporation, hands that have no allegiance to our country or our communities other than to control them or to abandon them. They have taken over Washington. There's massive media exposes documenting that in all the mainstream media.
Washington is now a corporate-occupied territory. There's a "For Sale" sign on almost every door of agencies and departments where these corporations dominate and they put their appointments in high office. The Congress is what Will Rogers once called "the best money can buy." Money is flowing in like never before that sells our elections. What does that mean to the American people? It means that corporations are saying no to the necessities of the American people. They're saying no to health insurance for everyone, no to tax reform, no to health and safety standards, no to stopping corporate welfare into hundreds of billions, no to straightening out the defense budget, which is bloated and redundant, as many retired generals and admirals said, no to access to our courts. It's time for people to say yes and we need more civic and political energies inside the campaign to challenge this two-party duopoly that's trending toward one-party districts all over the country.
|Al Sharpton endorses John Kerry : Mar 15, 2004|
“Now that we have resolved who our nominee will be we can move on to developing in detail what the Democratic Platform will be,” said Sharpton. “I am pleased that Senator Kerry has agreed work with me in an effort to implement a comprehensive Urban Agenda in his bid for the White House.” Sharpton and Kerry agreed to a series of meetings to develop and promote an agenda to rally support among minority voters in America’s urban centers by developing a platform that embraces Affirmative Action, and cracks down on police brutality, improves schools in minority districts, increases minority access to health care, and bolsters programs to create jobs for minorities.
Published reports that Sharpton plans to end his candidacy for President are not true. Rather, Sharpton, is conceding the nomination to Kerry but plans to continue his candidacy to solicit delegates that are dedicated to a progressive and inclusive Democratic platform to ensure that the voices of minorities are heard as the Democratic Party charts its future course for the 2004 election and beyond.
|Kerry sweeps 4 primaries in South : March 9, 2004|
"George W. Bush is running on the slogan of 'steady leadership,'" Kerry said at a victory rally in Chicago. "But after four years of the same old failed policies, what we've seen is 'stubborn leadership' ... that has led America in the wrong direction - and in November, it's going to lead him out the door."
The results in Florida were closely watched by both parties because of the strategic importance of the Sunshine State's 27 electoral votes in the general election and the controversial 36-day recount there that decided the 2000 race in favor of George W. Bush. Exit polls from Florida on Tuesday showed that Democrats still question whether the fall election will be conducted fairly. Only 26 percent said they are "very" confident that their votes will be counted in November, while 42 percent said they were "somewhat" confident and 19 percent said they had confidence in the state's new balloting technology. Fifteen Florida counties now have touch-screen ballot machines and the 52 other counties have ballots that are marked with pencils and scanned by computers, similar to standardized tests. The new balloting system replaces the antiquated "butterfly" ballots that caused confusion in the 2000 presidential election and led to the recount.
Although Kerry said earlier that he could win the presidency without any Southern states, he has tried to demonstrate in the Southern primaries that he can improve on the Southern showing by 2000 Democratic nominee Al Gore, who lost every Southern state to Bush, including Tennessee, his home. Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich and the Rev. Al Sharpton are still candidates, but continued to have no impact on the Democratic voting.
|Super Tuesday: Edwards withdraws: March 2-3, 2004|
Today I've decided to suspend my campaign for the presidency of the United States.
But I want to say a word about a man who is a friend of mine, somebody who I believe has great strength and great courage, my friend Senator John Kerry. He has fought for and will continue to fight for the things that all of us believe in: more jobs, better health care, cleaner air, cleaner water, a safer world. The truth is these are the causes of our party, the Democratic Party. They are the causes of America. And they are the reasons we will prevail, come November, and take back this country.
You know, it wasn't very long ago that all the pundits and pollsters said, by the time we get to "Super Tuesday," there won't be a John even competing much less fighting for the nomination. And we proved those pundits and pollsters wrong and we are going to prove them all wrong come November when we take back this country.
And I want to say a personal word about my friend John Kerry, who I know very well. This is a man who from the time he served this country courageously in Vietnam, and all the way through this campaign, is a man who is a fighter. I know him. I saw what we went through in November, December, and back in the summer when everyone said he didn't have a chance. But he showed the strength, resilience, and courage that he has shown his entire life when he fought for us and for our country in Vietnam. He has fought just as hard throughout this campaign.
The truth of the matter is that John Kerry has what it takes, right here in his heart, to be president of the United States. And I for one, intend to do everything in my power to make him the next president of the United States, and I ask you to join me in this cause. For our country, for our America!
Somewhere in America a little boy or little girl plays on a sandy lot. It might be in a mill village like where I played. It might be in a barrio, or on a farm, or it might be a vacant lot on a city. We want that child to have big dreams about what he or she can do, where he or she can go.
In this great country, all things should be possible for that child-- as they have been for me.
As I leave this stage today, I leave it to you to make certain that in our American, our children can prosper and dream. This cause, this challenge to change America, belongs to you. You should not step back. You should step up.
I couldn't ask for better company today. With the love of my life by my side. To have your life blessed with four beautiful children, and family and friends, you couldn't ask for anything more.
|Wisconsin results: Kerry 40%; Edwards 34%; Dean 18% : Feb. 19, 2004|
For now, the former Vermont governor did not endorse either of his top rivals, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts or Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. He called both men before his announcement to tell them his decision.
"I am no longer actively pursuing the presidency," Dean told a crowd of cheering, flag-waving supporters. "We will, however, continue to build a new organization using our enormous grass-roots network to continue the effort to transform the Democratic Party and to change our country."
Dean sounded a theme of party unity, saying, "The bottom line is that we must beat George W. Bush in November, whatever it takes."
He ruled out running as a third-party or independent candidate, but he also said he and his supporters would continue to be a force for change: "We are not going away. We're staying together unified all of us." He vowed to "continue to campaign for change," working to keep his issues alive.
"There is enormous institutional pressure in Washington against change, in the Democratic Party against change," Dean said. "Yet, you have already started to change the party and together we have transformed this race. The fight that we began can and must continue."
Dean's free-fall from the spot of top contender for the Democratic nomination began in January with poor showings in the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary and culminated in Tuesday's loss in Wisconsin's primary. In all, Dean was winless in 17 contests.
He exits the active race certain in the knowledge that he will live on in the annals of U.S. politics for shattering Democratic fund-raising records with $41 million collected in a single year — as well as on late-night television and Internet parodies for a high-octane concession speech on the night of the Iowa caucuses that he's likely never to live down.
Once a long-shot candidate, the Internet phenomenon filled his campaign coffers and attracted thousands of supporters through the spring and summer, pushing him to the head of the crowded Democratic field.
Historians will judge, but Dean and his devoted supporters are convinced that they more than anyone else defined the Democratic debate through his unwavering criticism of President Bush, the Iraq war and Democrats who helped Bush push his agenda through Congress.
|Third-party hopefuls sue for inclusion : Feb. 12, 2004|
The lawsuit, filed in federal court, says the debate commission is a partisan organization that violates federal election law by letting only Democratic and Republican candidates participate in the debates it organizes.
Those filing the lawsuit include consumer advocate Ralph Nader, the Green Party's presidential nominee in 2000 and a possible independent candidate this year; John Hagelin and Patrick Buchanan, former Reform Party candidates; and Howard Phillips, a former Constitution Party candidate.
The lawsuit asks the court to force the Federal Election Commission to stop the debate commission from sponsoring four debates scheduled to start Sept. 30. The third-party candidates first sought relief from the FEC last June, but complain that the agency has failed to take action.
Founded in 1987, the debate commission is a nonprofit corporation that allows candidates with at least 15 percent support in national polls to participate in its debates. Third-party candidates have long complained that they are unfairly excluded, but the commission says it wants to limit participation to those candidates with a realistic chance of winning the election.
The lawsuit also alleges that the commission excluded the plaintiffs from sitting in the audience at 2000 debates and that it distributed a `face book' of third-party candidates at one debate so staff could recognize and deny them access to the debate hall even if they had a ticket.
|Clark withdraws from presidential race : Feb. 11, 2004|
You have proven what a General can do when he has the greatest troops in the world. I can't tell you enough how honored and humbled I am by your commitment, your spirit, and your sacrifice. Because of all of you, this has been a cause, as much as it's been a campaign.
Together, five months ago, we began our journey for the presidency. We had no money, no office, and no staff. All we had was hope and a vision for a better America.
Today, after traveling the country, after visiting with the American people, we end that journey even more full of hope and even more committed to building a better America.
I will support our Party's nominee, to continue this campaign until we take back the White House next November. This soldier stands ready for duty. It's not going to be easy. So I've got one bit of advice for our nominee: give 'em hell and never retreat.
As a general who spent thirty-four years fighting for my country, here is my pledge: I will do everything I can -- everything -- to make sure George W. Bush doesn't play politics with national security.
For me, this race has been one of the most liberating experiences of my life. I've been able to talk about what I believe in and fight for it. You've given me the greatest gift a person can receive: the support to make that fight real.
I'd like to thank all the foot soldiers in this battle: our terrific staff, our dedicated volunteers, our thousands of loyal supporters. Most of all, those who believed in me long before anyone even knew who I was: the people who drafted me into this race. I want to thank my family...
I'm going to fight on, and I hope you will join me, until we win the campaign to create a new vision for America in the twenty-first century. Because I believe America's best days lie ahead. Today, I end my campaign for the presidency -- but our Party's campaign to change America is just beginning. This old soldier will not fade away. I'll be in the field and out in front, working the issues, supporting our candidates, and doing all I can to contribute to building a new and better America.
|Kerry wins Virginia and Tennessee : Feb. 10, 2004|
Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, a self-described outsider who continually attacked Bush over the Iraq war, will withdraw from the race today after winning only one of the 14 states that have had presidential primaries or caucuses to date.
''We're pulling out,'' Heather Hope, a Clark spokeswoman, told The Tennessean in Memphis last night. Clark has scheduled a press conference for 2 p.m. today in his home base of Little Rock, Ark.
North Carolina Sen. John Edwards finished second in both states yesterday, and declared, ''We're going to have an election, not a coronation.''
Kerry's momentum from earlier wins in 10 states was unstoppable as Democrats looked for someone to beat Bush.
In a victory speech from George Mason University in Virginia, Kerry said, ''Once again, the message rings out loud and clear: Americans are voting for change — east and west, north and now in the South, and I am grateful for that.
''Together, across the South, you have shown that mainstream values that we share — fairness, love of country, a belief in hope and hard work — are more important than boundaries or birthplace, and I thank you for that. America is coming together, and together we intend to move America forward.''
The two rivals from the South may have hurt each other by splitting the Southern vote.
|Kerry wins Maine caucus : Feb. 9, 2004|
Kerry won 45 percent of Democratic votes. Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean placed second with 26 percent. Kerry has now won all but two state contests for his party's nomination to challenge President Bush. Party officials said more than 20,000 people participated. Officials stopped counting for the night at 11 p.m. and planned to resume today.
Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich placed third with 15 percent, his personal highest percentage in the campaign. Although a negligible candidate in the national rankings, Kucinich had campaigned repeatedly in Maine as the only congressional candidate who opposed the war in Iraq and the Patriot Act.
The results completed a weekend sweep for Kerry, who won Saturday in Michigan and Washington state.
Three others in the race - North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, retired Gen. Wesley Clark and the Rev. Al Sharpton - largely ignored Maine and concentrated on southern primaries Tuesday in Virginia and Tennessee. Here in Maine, Edwards got 9 percent after winning his native South Carolina. Clark got 4 percent after winning Oklahoma. Sharpton got less than 1 percent and 1 percent were uncommitted.
Maine will send 35 delegates to the national convention July 26-29 in Boston, where 2,162 delegates are needed to clinch the nomination. The caucuses determine preferences for the state convention May 21-23 in Portland, where the party will designate 24 of those national delegates. The other 11 will serve by virtue of their elective and party posts.
Even more than a particular candidate, the prospect of beating Bush drove many participants to the caucuses on a frigid, windy afternoon.
Across the state, party organizers repeatedly said opposition to Bush was spurring participation in politics. Volunteers were signing up with campaigns to distribute signs and canvass voters. New faces attended the caucuses.
Overwhelming turnout surprised even the participants. In South Portland, voters lined up by the score to register to get into the middle-school gym where about 150 were seated and another 150 participants were already standing.
|Bush: Saddam did not have WMD : Feb. 8, 2004|
The new rationale offered by the president and vice president, significantly more modest than earlier statements about the deposed Iraqi president's capabilities, comes after government experts have said it is unlikely banned weapons will be found in Iraq and after Bush's naming Friday of a commission to examine faulty prewar intelligence.
"Saddam Hussein was dangerous, and I'm not just going to leave him in power and trust a madman," Bush said yesterday in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" that will be broadcast today. "He's a dangerous man. He had the ability to make weapons at the very minimum."
Cheney delivered a nearly identical message yesterday to a group of Republican donors in suburban Chicago. "We know that Saddam Hussein had the intent to arm his regime with weapons of mass destruction," he said. "And Saddam Hussein had something else -- he had a record of using weapons of mass destruction against his enemies and against his own people."
Before the invasion of Iraq 11 months ago, Bush and Cheney both argued that Iraq was an urgent threat to the United States, stating with certainty that Iraq had chemical and biological arms and had rebuilt a nuclear weapons program. "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised," Bush said in March 2003.
Though Bush has been careful about acknowledging fault in the prewar intelligence, or his allegations against Hussein, he said in naming a commission to investigate pre-war intelligence that CIA analyst David Kay "stated that some prewar intelligence assessments by America and other nations about Iraq's weapons stockpiles have not been confirmed. We are determined to figure out why."
|Kerry wins Washington and Michigan : Feb. 7, 2004|
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean was in second place with 17 percent, followed by North Carolina Sen. John Edwards at 13 percent. The Rev. Al Sharpton won just over 7 percent, retired Gen. Wesley Clark held just under 7 percent, and Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich was at 3 percent. Other votes were cast for candidates who have dropped out of the race.
In the all-important delegate count, preliminary results indicate Kerry grabbed 91 delegates, Dean took 24, Sharpton seven and Edwards six. Sharpton's delegate total reflected his comparatively strong showing in two heavily Democratic Detroit congressional districts, possibly reflecting anger there over the failure of leading candidates to attend an NAACP-sponsored candidates' forum Thursday.
In the other Saturday primary, Kerry also won the state of Washington. Returns from 81 percent of Washington’s precincts showed Kerry with 49 percent and Dean with 30 percent.
With 99 percent of the returns in, Michiganians cast 154,570 votes, including 46,000 Internet and 25,423 mail ballots.
|Junior Tuesday results : Feb. 3, 2004|
Tonight our journey comes to an end. I want to first and foremost thank everyone that has supported me over the past months. Without you we never would have been able to take part in this amazing adventure.
We have waged a campaign of which we can all be proud. We have strived to stay true to ourselves, true to our beliefs, and true to what we believe is best for this great country. I have always believed in working across party lines to get things done, and putting the national interest above special interests or partisan interests.
Our campaign has been about vision, and while the door on our campaign has closed, a window opens tonight for us to continue fighting for what’s right. I pledge to support whoever the Democratic nominee may be to deny George Bush a second term.
Though this campaign is ending tonight, our journey of purpose will go on. I will continue working hard on behalf of the people of Connecticut. I will continue working hard to secure a Democratic victory in November. And I will continue to be a national leader who works to give all Americans the opportunities I have had -- the chance to live the American Dream.
I am honored to have received the support and encouragement that you have shown me in these final months. I thank you for everything you've meant to me, my family, and this great country.
|Kerry wins NH Primary : Jan. 27, 2004|
Kerry, left for politically dead just two weeks ago, proved to be a sleeping giant whose campaign and personal energy was resurrected after a surprise win in the Jan. 19 Iowa caucus. Now the clear front-runner in the race for the nomination, he called his fortunes “the biggest turnaround in American politics in a long time.”
Dean, who in December led New Hampshire polls by 30 percentage points or more, did not recover from his third-place finish in Iowa and his well-publicized post-caucus rant and finished in a distant second place. He will limp out of New Hampshire and continue his search for national convention delegates in some of the seven states slated to hold primaries or caucuses on Feb. 3.
Retired Gen. Wesley Clark was narrowly leading North Carolina Sen. John Edwards for third place and the label of the premier southern candidate as the campaign moves to South Carolina and six other states on Feb. 3.
Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman did not receive the strong support of independent voters he had hoped for, and finished in fifth place. Lieberman and Clark did not campaign in Iowa.
With 99 percent of the votes counted, Kerry had 39 percent; Dean, 26 percent; Edwards and Clark, 12 percent each; Lieberman, 9 percent and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, 1 percent.
“I love New Hampshire, and I love Iowa, too,” Kerry told an enthusiastic crowd at the Center of New Hampshire in Manchester last night. A Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, Kerry, 60, thanked his fellow veterans. “In the hardest moments of the past month, I depended on the same band of brothers I depended on 30 years ago,” he said. “We’re a little older and a little grayer, but I’ll tell you this, we still know how to fight for our country.”
|Democrats debate one last time before NH primary : Jan. 23, 2004|
Again and again they bypassed opportunities to attack one another, leading one moderator to brand the session a "happy debate." And there were far fewer of the so-called rapid-response e-mail messages and leaflets that the campaigns have routinely fired off during debates to try to discredit opponents.
The tone at the debate, held on the grounds of St. Anselm College outside Manchester, was testimony to the extent to which Mr. Edwards's showing in Iowa, after running a campaign in which he presented himself as the most positive candidate, had set parameters for the intense contest in New Hampshire.
Not incidentally, the candidate who has often been the most aggressive in this contest, Dr. Dean, was under self-imposed restraints after giving an unruly concession speech in Iowa that many have seized upon to question his temperament.
This dynamic was clearly a matter of frustration to the questioners at the debate, which was sponsored by Fox News, ABC News, WMUR and The Manchester Union Leader.
At one point, Peter Jennings of ABC News tried to push Senator Joseph I. Lieberman to criticize his opponents, asking whether he believed that "Governor Dean and Senator Kerry have been hesitant, or would be hesitant, to take on George Bush successfully on the question of social values."
Mr. Lieberman chuckled, but would not take the bait.
"Let me put it this way: This is a time to be affirmative," he said. "I'd say, nice try."
The debate had been eagerly anticipated by many Democrats, given that the vote is just five days away and the contest is, by any measure, volatile.
|Dean appears on David Letterman show : Jan 22, 2004|
|State of the Union Address : Jan. 20, 2004|
The president mixed a defense of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the subject of criticism on the Democratic campaign trail, with a challenge to Congress to support his domestic agenda. In remarks that often drew a lopsided partisan reaction -- with far more vigorous applause from Republicans than Democrats -- he called on lawmakers to:
|Gephardt withdraws from Presidential race : Jan. 20, 2004|
Gephardt would not say which candidate he would back in Missouri's Democratic presidential primary on Feb. 3 or whether his return to private life would rule out a cabinet post or other government position. He did rule out a run for the U.S. Senate but would not say whether he would consider a vice-presidential spot. "I can't figure it out at this point," he said. "I've got enough in front of me. I haven't spent a moment on it. I've got enough to deal with right now."
Choking up as he thanked his wife and three children for supporting him during his career, Gephardt said that the "silver lining in all of this is that I'll finally get to see them at every opportunity."
Gephardt congratulated candidates who finished ahead of him in Iowa and thanked his supporters, particularly those in organized labor who had spent long hours campaigning for him. "My life's work has been fighting for the honor and the dignity of their life's work," he said, "and I couldn't ask for anything better from life."
He said he would now return to serve out the remainder of his term in Congress. "I'm proud of the campaign we waged," he said. "It was fought on the principles of fairness for our workers, security for our seniors and opportunities for our children. My career in public office is coming to an end, but the fight is never over." [Gephardt endorsed John Kerry on Feb. 5]
|Kerry wins Iowa Caucus : Jan. 19, 2004|
With 100 percent of Iowa's 1,993 precincts reporting, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who had also risen quickly in polls last week, was running in second place, ahead of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.
U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri, in fourth place, appeared to have fallen well short of his prediction that he would repeat his 1988 first-place finish, dealing a near-fatal blow to his second bid for the nomination.
Results showed Kerry with 37.7 percent of the state delegate equivalents, Edwards with 32.5 percent, Dean with 17.7 percent and Gephardt with 10.6 percent. Reports of heavy attendance were widespread, with polls showing 46 percent of those participating were attending a caucus for the first time.
Early official results came from generally rural precincts, where Kerry took a quick lead and Edwards, whose campaign concentrated on rural areas, was a close second. Smaller, rural precincts saw an average of 30 people, five or six times more than normally attend, Iowa Democratic Party staffer Kris Yeager said. Party officials reported that about a dozen precincts ran out of voter registration forms, suggesting a high number of new voters in attendance.
|Kucinich endorsed by 2000 presidential candidate John Hagelin : Jan. 18,2004|
Mr. Kucinich, a congressman for his native Ohio, is polling in the low single digits nationwide, and is not expected to do much better in tomorrow's Iowa caucuses. But you wouldn't know that here, where he draws hundreds to every public appearance, and where red, white and blue "Kucinich for President" paraphernalia seems to be part of the town's permanent aesthetic. In local stores, Mr. Kucinich's smiling photo is posted among advertisements for white crane tai chi, Himalayan quartz and houses with eastward-facing entrances. "This is a Kucinich town, most definitely," said a Fairfield resident and Vietnam veteran who counts himself as a Wesley Clark supporter. "He's got this really quirky appeal, and there's plenty of quirky people here."
Mr. Kucinich, a vegan, who has proposed a cabinet-level Department of Peace, is not a typical candidate. And Fairfield, despite its picturesque town square and fluttering American flags, is not a typical Iowan town. The home of Maharishi University of Management and a center of the Global Country of World Peace, Fairfield and the surrounding area is home to 2,000 practitioners of Transcendental Meditation who began settling there in the early 1970's.
"The main appeal is that he has established himself vocally as a peace candidate," said John Hagelin, a Fairfield resident and the founder of the New Age-oriented Natural Law Party, who himself has run for president several times. "This is a town dedicated to peace, to work for peace for the world and to radiate peace in the world."
One key to Mr. Kucinich's support in Fairfield is his longtime friendship with Mr. Hagelin, the three-time presidential candidate of the Natural Law Party, who has endorsed Mr. Kucinich. "Here was a mainstream Democrat that really presents all the contents that the Natural Law Party wants to see espoused," said Ed Malloy, the mayor of Fairfield, and a supporter of the Natural Law Party. "They were excited that these ideas could move on the agenda."
|Carol Moseley-Braun withdraws from presidential race : Jan. 15, 2004|
Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D-Ill.) folded her cash-strapped, long-shot presidential campaign today and threw her support to Howard Dean during a joint appearance in Iowa, days before the state's crucial caucus showdown.
The Dean campaign flew Braun to Iowa for an endorsement that a source said Dean had been working on for some time.
Braun's decision ends her nearly yearlong quest, having achieved to a degree her goal of rehabilitating her image and reviving her career, which stalled upon her return to the United States after serving as ambassador to New Zealand.
It's not known yet what role Braun will play in the Dean campaign, or if the former Vermont governor will ask his supporters to help pay her campaign debt.
Braun's departure leaves an all-male Democratic primary field and came on the same day that she filed to be on the Illinois March primary ballot. The abrupt exit was puzzling, since as late as Wednesday afternoon, her staff discussed her upcoming travel over the next few days to South Carolina and her determination to keep her campaign alive.
When asked why she is endorsing Dean, Braun, who had just arrived in Chicago, said it was "his ability to inspire people."
"People are energized and inspired by Howard Dean in a way that shows we don't have to put up with the fear-mongering the Bush campaign has perfected," she said.
Braun explained her presence in the race with a line she often used and repeated in her closing statement in Sunday's debate in Iowa. Said Braun, "Help us take the 'men only' sign off the White House door."
|Bush proposes manned mission to Mars : Jan. 15, 2004|
Today we set a new course for America's space program. We will give NASA a new focus and vision for future exploration. We will build new ships to carry man forward into the universe, to gain a new foothold on the Moon and to prepare for new journeys to the worlds beyond our own.
|Dean wins DC primary : Jan 14, 2004|
With 124 of 142 precincts reporting, Mr. Dean had 42 percent of the vote and Mr. Sharpton had 35 percent. Among the other major candidates on the ballot, former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois had 12 percent and Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio garnered 8 percent.
The results are not binding. D.C. Democrats officially will choose their nominee at caucuses on Feb. 14 and will pick delegates to the national convention in Boston at a March 6 caucus. But city leaders wanted the primary as much to highlight the District's lack of voting representation in Congress as to help choose a nominee.
"This nation will have to deal with statehood rights of D.C. as an issue," Mr. Sharpton said last night at his party. He also suggested that civil disobedience protests may take place in the February caucuses. He warned other candidates: "Bring your jail suits with you."
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C. Democrat, said the primary had accomplished its mission. "I declare it a success. I woke up this morning and all the newscasts said that D.C. was having a primary," she said after voting. "It's not so much for the turnout, but for the importance of getting the message for D.C. statehood out," Mrs. Norton said.
The D.C. Council passed a bill in the spring changing the city's 2004 primary date from the first Saturday in May to the second Tuesday in January, putting it before New Hampshire's primary and the Iowa caucuses, the traditional start of the nomination process.
But the Democratic National Committee objected to breaking that tradition. By rule, the DNC would have been forced to disqualify half of the city's 28 delegates to the national nominating convention in Boston. Facing the embarrassment of having to lock out a heavily black delegation, the DNC worked out the compromise of having a nonbinding primary as well as binding caucuses.
|Bush planned to overthrow Saddam before 9/11 : Jan. 11, 2004|
In a new book chronicling his rocky two-year tenure and in an interview with CBS's ''60 Minutes'' aired on Sunday, O'Neill said removing Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was a top priority at Bush's very first National Security Council meeting -- within days of the inauguration and eight months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
O'Neill told CBS the discussion of Iraq continued at the next National Security Council meeting two days later and that he was given internal memos, including one outlining a ''Plan for post-Saddam Iraq.''
''In the 23 months I was there, I never saw anything that I would characterize as evidence of weapons of mass destruction,'' O'Neill told Time magazine in a separate interview. ''There were allegations and assertions by people... To me there is a difference between real evidence and everything else.''
''What Paul O'Neill says... is what a lot of other people are beginning to conclude -- that there was an overstatement by the Bush administration of the weapons of mass destruction part of the argument for going to war against Saddam Hussein,'' Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman told ''Fox News Sunday.''
|Dick Cheney on Budget Deficits : Jan. 11, 2004|
O'Neill, fired in a shakeup of Bush's economic team in December 2002, told CBS the discussion of Iraq continued at the next National Security Council meeting two days later and that he was given internal memos, including one outlining a ''Plan for post-Saddam Iraq.''
O'Neill raised objections to a new round of tax cuts and said the president balked at his more aggressive plan to combat corporate crime after a string of accounting scandals because of opposition from ''the corporate crowd,'' a key constituency.
O'Neill said he tried to warn Vice President Dick Cheney that growing budget deficits -- expected to top $500 billion this fiscal year alone -- posed a threat to the economy.
Cheney cut him off. ''You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don't matter,'' he said, according to excerpts. Cheney continued: ''We won the midterms (congressional elections). This is our due.'' A month later, Cheney told the Treasury secretary he was fired.
The vice president's office had no immediate comment, but John Snow, who replaced O'Neill, insisted that deficits ''do matter'' to the administration. ''We're not happy about the size of these deficits. They're larger than they should be,'' Snow told ABC's ''This Week,'' adding that Bush was committed to cutting them in half over the next five years.
In the CBS interview, O'Neill likened Bush at Cabinet meetings to ''a blind man in a room full of deaf people.'' When he went in for his first one-on-one meeting with Bush ''with a long list of things to talk about..., I was surprised that it turned out me talking, and the president just listening. As I recall ... it was mostly a monologue,'' O'Neill said.
|Bush proposes immigration reform : Jan. 8, 2004|
Taking on an issue he shelved after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Bush proposed a program that would bestow temporary legal status for at least six years on the 8 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, as long as they keep their jobs. But it would not automatically put them on a path to obtaining citizenship or even permanent resident status.
"We must make our immigration laws more rational, and more humane," Bush told 200 Latino supporters attending his first White House announcement of the election year. "I believe we can do so without jeopardizing the livelihoods of American citizens."
What Bush calls his "temporary worker" program was eagerly embraced by business groups but condemned as stingy and impractical by advocates for immigrants. The administration hopes the plan will appeal to Hispanic voters and expand the Republican political base, and strategists in both parties described it as politically shrewd. But many said it has little chance of passing Congress in the form Bush described.
In addition to conferring temporary legal status on undocumented workers now in the country, Bush's program would allow an unlimited number of new immigrants to enter as long as they obtain jobs through a database that would be run by the government and would offer the openings first to U.S. citizens.
Under Bush's plan, foreign workers would be legal for three years and then could renew their status at least once. The White House plans to negotiate the number of renewals with Capitol Hill, but Bush said "it will have an end." The plan would include financial incentives for temporary workers to return to their home countries.
The temporary workers -- administration officials anticipate most would be Mexican -- would be given biometrically encoded cards. They would allow the workers to come and go legally to their home countries, a trip now difficult and occasionally dangerous for illegal workers who must sneak back into the United States.
No fee would be charged for the temporary worker status. Illegal immigrants now in the United States would pay unspecified fines but would not be prosecuted or expelled.
|Dean won't wipe out all of Bush's tax cut : Jan 7, 2004|
Dean, like all the Democrats running for president, has assailed the Bush tax cuts as favoring the wealthy. But unlike some of his rivals, including Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, General Wesley K. Clark, and Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, Dean has said he would not preserve any of the reductions.
According to the Labor-backed Citizens for Tax Justice, the Bush tax cut amounts to $2,015 in 2005 for a family with an income between $73,000 to $145,000. Thus, the Dean plan would effectively increase taxes on that family by $2,015 in the first year of a Dean presidency if he were elected and immediately repealed all the cuts.
In 2005, the Bush cuts are to save $971 for a family with an income between $45,000 to $73,000; $563 for a family with an income between $28,000 to $45,000; $371 for a family with an income between $16,000 to $28,000; and $77 for families earning less than $16,000. The wealthiest get the biggest windfall, with a family earning more than $337,000 saving $41,264.
Dean has contended that the Bush cuts don't significantly help most Americans. Speaking Monday in Charles City, Iowa, Dean pointed out that the Bush tax cuts save $112,000 for millionaires, but for 60 percent of Americans save an average of only $304.
The question now, Dean advisers said, is exactly what form the tax relief proposal might take. It is most likely to be a targeted income-tax reduction for families with children, they said.
For now, the Dean campaign says the repeal of all of the Bush tax cuts would pay for deficit reduction and to provide health care for the uninsured. A Dean campaign ad unveiled this week said says Dean "will repeal the Bush tax cuts to provide health insurance for every American."
On his website, Dean addresses the issue this way: "Many have questioned the political wisdom of challenging the president on politically popular tax cuts. I believe, however, that given a choice between having health insurance or keeping all of the Bush's tax cuts in place, most Americans will choose health insurance."
Dean's tax policy so far hasn't been a major problem for him in the Democratic primaries, although candidates such as Kerry and Clark have frequently criticized Dean for wanting to raise taxes on the middle class.
Kerry, for example, has proposed repealing the tax cut for those earning more than $200,000 while retaining all of the tax cut for middle-income households.
Clark on Monday proposed eliminating income taxes for those earning less than $50,000, and cutting taxes for those in higher middle-income brackets, while repealing the tax cuts for those earning more than $200,000.
|Bill Bradley endorses Howard Dean : Jan 6, 2004|
The endorsement is said to have been in the works for several weeks, although sources say Bradley signed off on the move only last weekend. Other New Jersey Democrats last month backed Dean, including Gov. Jim McGreevey, House Democratic Conference Chairman Robert Menendez and Rep. Rush Holt.
In a recent interview, Bradley said Dean "has the strongest free-media presence [of the Democratic contenders] and he has managed to broaden that to a broader protest and critique of the Bush administration. "The last things he got to do, he has to be able to broaden that to a broader agenda, more than simply anti-war," Bradley added. "And he has to have an aspirational component to what he is saying so that people will feel that they are empowered by him to be as good as they can possibly be."
Bradley, who served with John Kerry in the Senate for several years, had little to say about his former colleague, who is battling to regain his footing against Dean in Iowa and New Hampshire. Asked about Kerry in the same interview, Bradley said, "Well, let's go on."
|Democrats debate in Iowa : Jan 5, 2004|
Dean's opponents, hoping to slow down his front-running candidacy, ganged up on him during a two-hour debate that took place 15 days before Iowa's precinct caucuses, the first major event on the 2004 nomination calendar. But the attacks mostly covered ground the candidates have plowed in past debates, and Dean responded with measured answers and occasional barbs of his own that did little to change the shape of the race.
Dean got the first question in the candidate round-robin part of the debate and used it to challenge the others to support him -- or any other Democrat who becomes the nominee. Pledging he would back any of the others and would encourage his supporters to do the same, Dean said, "I'd like to find out who on this stage agrees that they will pledge to vigorously support the Democratic nominee." All the others raised their hands.
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