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George W

Republican president. Has faced tough tests during first term, including the 11 September attacks, the war in Iraq and corporate corruption.

Is expected to base his re-election bid on his national security and economic track records.

"In our country we must work for a society of prosperity and compassion, so that every citizen has a chance to work and succeed."


Democrat. Massachusetts senator, served in Vietnam. Promises to keep America "safe from foreign threats and greedy special interests".

Supported the war in Iraq, but criticised diplomatic shortcomings. Emphasises his military background, would end tax cuts for the rich.

"An international policy where we stand alone is wrong. I will challenge George Bush for taking our country in the wrong direction."


Democrat. Ohio congressman. Says he offers a "different vision for America", seen as the most liberal of the candidates.

Anti-war, would withdraw US troops from Iraq and cut defence budget. Would cancel tax cuts, fund education and healthcare. Backs gay marriage.

"I am running to challenge this system which traps so many of Americans in fear, violence and poverty and makes us pay for wars we don't want."


Democrat. New York community leader and religious minister. Believes in the need to focus on domestic issues over international concerns.

Against the war in Iraq, backs UN-led reconstruction. Would repeal all Bush tax cuts. Proposes a constitutional amendment to enshrine the right to healthcare and education for all.

"I'm running for president because we not only need a new director, we need a new direction. And this party must go back to representing the interests of people, working people."


Democrat. North Carolina senator. Lawyer, has devoted his professional and political career to championing populist causes and issues relating to ordinary people.

Supported war in Iraq and US-led reconstruction. Would repeal tax cuts for the rich, promote healthcare for all American children.

"We deserve a president who is close to our people, not the lobbyists... I will be a champion for regular people every day."


Democrat. Former governor of Vermont. Says he is a "common-sense moderate", believes in social justice based on strong financial management.

Opposed war in Iraq, but committed to reconstruction. Would repeal Bush tax cuts, use money to provide health insurance for all Americans.

"This campaign is about more than issue differences. It is about something as important as our children. It's about who we are as Americans."


Democrat. Highly-decorated former general and Vietnam war veteran, commanded Nato operations in Kosovo in 1999.

Says his military background makes him the ideal candidate to fight terrorism. Has promised to cut budget deficits and reinvigorate the economy.

"We'll ask the tough questions. Why has America lost 2.7 million jobs? Why has our country lost our sense of security, and feels the shadow of fear?"


Democrat. Missouri congressman. Believes in the need to set aside destructive political power games and focus on issues.

Would repeal tax cuts for high earners and spend money on healthcare. Opposed to Nafta, calls for free trade reform. Supported war in Iraq.

"Every proposal I'm making has a single purpose - to revive a failing economy and give working Americans the help and security they need."


Democrat. Connecticut senator. Seen as progressive on social issues, moderate on taxation and budgets, conservative on defence.

Supported war in Iraq, backs reconstruction. Would repeal tax cuts for the rich, provide tax incentives for investment and job creation.

"I intend to talk straight to the American people. I will not hesitate to tell my friends when they are wrong - and to agree with my opponents when they are right."


Democrat. Former Illinois senator. Describes herself as an advocate of diversity, committed to social justice and good government.

Would repeal Bush tax cuts and spend the money on health. Supports gay marriage. Opposed the war in Iraq.

"This country is on the wrong track. Our economy is in the doldrums. Not because of any natural phenomenon or the threat of war, but because of failed leadership."

This at-a-glance guide is intended to give an overview of candidates' stances and policies only. More detailed information may be available on their individual campaign websites.


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