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Presidential debate, full transcript, Sept. 30, 2004

Page 7 of 32 -- And now we see beheadings. And we got weapons of mass destruction crossing the border every single day, and they're blowing people up. And we don't have enough troops there.

BUSH: Can I respond to that?

LEHRER: Let's do one of these one-minute extensions. You have 30 seconds.

BUSH: Thank you, sir. First of all, what my opponent wants you to forget is that he voted to authorize the use of force and now says it's the wrong war at the wrong time at the wrong place.

I don't see how you can lead this country to succeed in Iraq if you say wrong war, wrong time, wrong place. What message does that send our troops? What message does that send to our allies? What message does that send the Iraqis?

No, the way to win this is to be steadfast and resolved and to follow through on the plan that I've just outlined.

LEHRER: Thirty seconds, Senator.

KERRY: Yes, we have to be steadfast and resolved, and I am. And I will succeed for those troops, now that we're there. We have to succeed. We can't leave a failed Iraq. But that doesn't mean it wasn't a mistake of judgment to go there and take the focus off of Osama bin Laden. It was. Now, we can succeed. But I don't believe this president can. I think we need a president who has the credibility to bring the allies back to the table and to do what's necessary to make it so America isn't doing this alone.

LEHRER: We'll come back to Iraq in a moment. But I want to come back to where I began, on homeland security. This is a two-minute new question, Senator Kerry.

As president, what would you do, specifically, in addition to or differently to increase the homeland security of the United States than what President Bush is doing?

KERRY: Jim, let me tell you exactly what I'll do. And there are a long list of thing. First of all, what kind of mixed message does it send when you have $500 million going over to Iraq to put police officers in the streets of Iraq, and the president is cutting the COPS program in America?

What kind of message does it send to be sending money to open firehouses in Iraq, but we're shutting firehouses who are the first- responders here in America.

The president hasn't put one nickel, not one nickel into the effort to fix some of our tunnels and bridges and most exposed subway systems. That's why they had to close down the subway in New York when the Republican Convention was there. We hadn't done the work that ought to be done.   Continued...

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