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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 October, 2004, 05:04 GMT 06:04 UK
Vice-presidential debate: Key quotes
Senator John Edwards (left) and Vice President Dick Cheney
Edwards and Cheney had sharp exchanges
Vice-President Dick Cheney and Senator John Edwards have held their first and only televised debate of the 2004 US election campaign.

Here are key quotes from the confrontation in Cleveland, Ohio - as the Republican incumbent and his Democratic challenger candidates focused on international issues, notably Iraq.


Vice-President Cheney:

What we did in Iraq was exactly the right thing to do. If I had it to recommend all over again, I would recommend exactly the same course of action.

Senator Edwards:

Mr Vice-President, you are still not being straight with the American people. Mr Vice-President, there is no connection between the attacks of 11 September and Saddam Hussein. The 9/11 Commission has said it. Your own secretary of state has said it.


Vice-President Cheney:

We're four days away from a democratic election, the first one in history in Afghanistan. We've got 10 million voters who have registered to vote, nearly half of them women... We've made enormous progress in Afghanistan.

Senator Edwards:

Here's what's actually happened in Afghanistan, regardless of this rosy scenario that they paint on Afghanistan, just like they do with Iraq... Not only are they (the Afghans) providing 75% of the world's opium, large-cut parts of the country are under the control of drug lords and warlords.


Vice-President Cheney:

If we want to win the war on terror, it seems to me it's pretty clear the choice is George Bush, not John Kerry... A little tough talk in the midst of a campaign or as part of a presidential debate cannot obscure a record of 30 years of being on the wrong side of defence issues.


Senator Edwards:

When [Dick Cheney] was CEO of Halliburton, they paid millions of dollars in fines for providing false information on their company, just like Enron. They did business with Libya and Iran, sworn enemies of the United States.

Vice-President Cheney:

It's an effort that they made repeatedly to try to confuse the voters and to raise questions. But there's no substance of the charges. The reason they keep trying to attack Halliburton is because they want to obscure their own record.


Vice-President Cheney:

First [John Kerry and John Edwards] voted to commit the troops, to send them to war... then they came back and when the question was whether or not you provide them with the resources they needed - body armour, spare parts, ammunition - they voted against it.

I couldn't figure out why that happened initially. And then I looked and figured out that what was happening was Howard Dean was making major progress in the Democratic primaries, running away with the primaries based on an anti-war record...

Now if they couldn't stand up to the pressures that Howard Dean represented, how can we expect them to stand up to al-Qaeda?


Senator Edwards:

We've been largely absent, not entirely absent, but largely absent from the [Middle East] peace-making process over the last four years.

Vice-President Cheney:

The president stepped forward and put in place a policy basically that said we will support the establishment of two states [Israel and a Palestinian state]. First president ever to say we'll establish and support a Palestinian state next door to Israelis.


Senator Edwards:

The reality about Iran is that Iran has moved forward with their nuclear weapons program on their watch. They ceded responsibility to dealing with it to the Europeans.


Vice-President Cheney:

Frankly, senator, you have a record that's not very distinguished... You've missed a lot of key votes: on tax policy, on energy, on Medicare reform. Your hometown newspaper has taken to calling you 'Senator Gone.'

Senator Edwards:

Mr Vice-President, I don't think the country can take four more years of this type of experience.





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