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Inside Politics

Kerry highlights issues in victory speech

Sen. John Kerry outlined several initiatives Tuesday.
Sen. John Kerry outlined several initiatives Tuesday.

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America Votes 2004
John F. Kerry
Democratic candidates

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. John Kerry articulated the key issues of his campaign Tuesday, following projected wins in nine contests and without any major opposition for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Kerry went through a list of promises which included cutting the deficit in half in four years; eliminating loopholes in the tax code which allow corporations to export jobs; adding incentives for the creation of manufacturing jobs; and raising the minimum wage.

The message from Tuesday night's election results "could not be clearer," he said. "All across our country: Change is coming to America."

Kerry laid out the broad outlines of his platform, with promises to repeal Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy and to "renew our alliances" with nations that did not support President Bush's drive to war in Iraq.

Further, he promised to raise the minimum wage "so that no one in America works a 40-hour workweek and can't get out of poverty."

He added that he would provide "a bold new initiative to guarantee that we have a plan for energy independence for the United States."

In doing so, he said, he would invest in the "technologies of the future," thereby creating 500,000 jobs "so no young American in uniform will ever be held hostage to America's dependence on oil in the Middle East."

On the domestic front, Kerry promised "to make certain that health care is regarded as a right, and not a privilege," and to protect Medicare and Social Security.

Under his leadership, the United States would "rejoin the community of nations" by renewing alliances and building new ones "because they are essential" to any victory against terrorism, he said.

Kerry continued to speak harshly of Bush, declaring that "the Bush administration has run the most inept, reckless, arrogant and ideological foreign policy in the modern history of our country, and we will reverse that course."

In a well-worn campaign taunt to the Republican Party, he said, "If George Bush wants to make national security the central issue of the campaign of 2004, I have three words for him that I know he understands: Bring it on!"

Kerry's catch-phrase harkens back to a statement Bush made in July 2003 when it was becoming clear that the violence in Iraq would not have a quick end. Bush was criticized for saying "Bring 'em on" as a taunt to those who were attacking U.S. troops.

Kerry also took Bush to task for proposing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would effectively ban same-sex marriage, a matter the Democrat has recommended be handled by individual states.

"He has no right to misuse the most precious document in our history in an effort to divide this nation and distract us from our goals," Kerry said. "We resoundingly reject the politics of fear and distortion."

Bush said last week that he supports a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage to "prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever."

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