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Presidential debate, full transcript, Sept. 30, 2004

Page 3 of 32 -- LEHRER: New question, Mr. President, two minutes.

Do you believe the election of Senator Kerry on November the 2nd would increase the chances of the U.S. being hit by another 9/11-type terrorist attack?

BUSH: No, I don't believe it's going to happen. I believe I'm going to win, because the American people know I know how to lead. I've shown the American people I know how to lead.

I have -- I understand everybody in this country doesn't agree with the decisions I've made. And I made some tough decisions. But people know where I stand.

People out there listening know what I believe. And that's how best it is to keep the peace.

This nation of ours has got a solemn duty to defeat this ideology of hate. And that's what they are. This is a group of killers who will not only kill here, but kill children in Russia, that'll attack unmercifully in Iraq, hoping to shake our will.

We have a duty to defeat this enemy. We have a duty to protect our children and grandchildren.

The best way to defeat them is to never waver, to be strong, to use every asset at our disposal, is to constantly stay on the offensive and, at the same time, spread liberty.

And that's what people are seeing now is happening in Afghanistan.

Ten million citizens have registered to vote. It's a phenomenal statistic. They're given a chance to be free, and they will show up at the polls. Forty-one percent of those 10 million are women.

In Iraq, no doubt about it, it's tough. It's hard work. It's incredibly hard. You know why? Because an enemy realizes the stakes. The enemy understands a free Iraq will be a major defeat in their ideology of hatred. That's why they're fighting so vociferously.

They showed up in Afghanistan when they were there, because they tried to beat us and they didn't. And they're showing up in Iraq for the same reason. They're trying to defeat us.

And if we lose our will, we lose. But if we remain strong and resolute, we will defeat this enemy.

LEHRER: Ninety second response, Senator Kerry.

KERRY: I believe in being strong and resolute and determined. And I will hunt down and kill the terrorists, wherever they are.

But we also have to be smart, Jim. And smart means not diverting your attention from the real war on terror in Afghanistan against Osama bin Laden and taking if off to Iraq where the 9/11 Commission confirms there was no connection to 9/11 itself and Saddam Hussein, and where the reason for going to war was weapons of mass destruction, not the removal of Saddam Hussein.   Continued...

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