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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 October, 2004, 15:03 GMT 16:03 UK
Second presidential debate: Key quotes
President George W Bush and Senator John Kerry have held their second of three televised debates of the 2004 US election campaign.

Here are key quotes from the confrontations on various subjects from the contest in St Louis, Missouri.


WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION IN IRAQ

George W Bush: I saw a unique threat in Saddam Hussein, as did my opponent, because we thought he had weapons of mass destruction... I wasn't happy when we found out there wasn't weapons, and we've got an intelligence group together to figure out why. But Saddam Hussein was a unique threat. And the world is better off without him in power.

John Kerry: The world is more dangerous today because the president didn't make the right judgements... This president rushed to war, pushed our allies aside. And Iran now is more dangerous, and so is North Korea, with nuclear weapons. He took his eye off the ball, off of Osama Bin Laden.

George W Bush: Saddam Hussein was a threat because he could have given weapons of mass destruction to terrorist enemies. Sanctions were not working. The United Nations was not effective at removing Saddam Hussein.

John Kerry: The goal of the sanctions was not to remove Saddam Hussein, it was to remove the weapons of mass destruction. And, Mr President, just yesterday the [Iraq Survey Group] report told you and the whole world they worked. He didn't have weapons of mass destruction, Mr President. That was the objective. And if we'd used smart diplomacy, we could have saved $200bn and an invasion of Iraq. And right now, Osama Bin Laden might be in jail or dead. That's the war against terror.

CHANGING MIND ON IRAQ

George W Bush: You know, for a while [Mr Kerry] was a strong supporter of getting rid of Saddam Hussein. He saw the wisdom - until the Democrat primary came along and Howard Dean, the anti-war candidate, began to gain on him, and he changed positions. I don't see how you can lead this country in a time of war, in a time of uncertainty, if you change your mind because of politics.

John Kerry: The president didn't find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, so he's really turned his campaign into a weapon of mass deception... I've never changed my mind about Iraq. I do believe Saddam Hussein was a threat. I always believed he was a threat... But I would have used that force wisely, I would have used that authority wisely, not rushed to war without a plan to win the peace.

US POPULARITY OVERSEAS

George W Bush: I recognise I've made some decisions that have caused people to not understand the great values of our country... People love America. Sometimes they don't like the decisions made by America, but I don't think you want a president who tries to become popular and does the wrong thing.

John Kerry: We're not getting the best co-operation in the world today. We've got a whole bunch of countries that pay a price for dealing with the United States of America now. I'm going to change that.

IMPORTING CHEAPER MEDICINES

George W Bush: Just want to make sure they're safe. When a drug comes in from Canada, I want to make sure it cures you and doesn't kill you... My worry is that, you know, it looks like it's from Canada, and it might be from a third world.

John Kerry: We're not talking about third-world drugs. We're talking about drugs made right here in the United States of America that have American brand names on them and American bottles. That's the difference between us. The president sides with the power companies, the oil companies, the drug companies. And I'm fighting to let you get those drugs from Canada.

BUDGET DEFICIT

John Kerry: It's the president's fiscal policies that have driven up the biggest deficits in American history. He's added more debt to the debt of the United States in four years than all the way from George Washington to Ronald Reagan put together. Go figure.

George W Bush: We have a deficit. We have a deficit because this country went into a recession... Secondly, we're at war... I'm concerned about the deficit. But I am not going to short-change our troops in harm's way. And I'm not going to run up taxes, which will cost this economy jobs.

ECONOMY AND JOBS

George W Bush: I think if you raise taxes during a recession, you head to depression. I come from the school of thought that says when people have more money in their pocket during economic times, it increases demand or investment. Small businesses begin to grow, and jobs are added. We found out today that over the past 13 months, we've added 1.9 million new jobs in the last 13 months.

John Kerry: After 9/11, after the recession had ended, the president asked for another tax cut and promised 5.6 million jobs would be created. He lost 1.6 million, ladies and gentlemen. And most of that tax cut went to the wealthiest people in the country. He came and asked for a tax cut - we wanted a tax cut to kick the economy into gear. Do you know what he presented us with? A $25bn giveaway to the biggest corporations in America, including a $254m refund check to Enron. Wrong priorities. You are my priority.

PATRIOT ACT

George W Bush: The Patriot Act is necessary, for example, because parts of the FBI couldn't talk to each other. The intelligence-gathering and the law-enforcement arms of the FBI just couldn't share intelligence under the old law. And that didn't make any sense. Our law enforcement must have every tool necessary to find and disrupt terrorists at home and abroad before they hurt us again. That's the task of the 21st Century.

John Kerry: A whole bunch of folks in America are concerned about the way the Patriot Act has been applied... People's rights have been abused... This is in our country, folks, the United States of America. They've got sneak-and-peek searches that are allowed. They've got people allowed to go into churches now and political meetings without any showing of potential criminal activity or otherwise... I believe in the Patriot Act... But you know what we also need to do as Americans is never let the terrorists change the Constitution of the United States in a way that disadvantages our rights.

EACH OTHER'S RECORDS

John Kerry: the president is just trying to scare everybody here with throwing labels around. I mean, "compassionate conservative", what does that mean? Cutting 500,000 kids from after-school programmes, cutting 365,000 kids from health care, running up the biggest deficits in American history?

George W Bush: He's got a record. It's been there for 20 years. You can run, but you can't hide. He voted 98 times to raise taxes. I mean, these aren't make-up figures. And so people are going to have to look at the record. Look at the record of the man running for the president. They don't name him the most liberal in the United States Senate because he hasn't shown up to many meetings. They named him because of his votes. And it's reality.




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