Transcript: When has Bush misled the public?
CORAL GABLES, Florida (CNN) -- The following is a partial transcript of the debate between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry held Thursday night at the University of Miami. The topic of the debate is foreign affairs, and the moderator is Jim Lehrer of PBS:
LEHRER: New question. Senator Kerry, two minutes.
You just -- you've repeatedly accused President Bush -- not here tonight, but elsewhere before -- of not telling the truth about Iraq, essentially of lying to the American people about Iraq.
Give us some examples of what you consider to be his not telling the truth.
KERRY: Well, I've never, ever used the harshest word, as you did just then. And I try not to.
I've been -- but I'll nevertheless tell you that I think he has not been candid with the American people. And I'll tell you exactly how.
First of all, we all know that in his State of the Union message, he told Congress about nuclear materials that didn't exist.
We know that he promised America that he was going to build this coalition.
I just described the coalition. It is not the kind of coalition we were described when we were talking about voting for this.
The president said he would exhaust the remedies of the United Nations and go through that full process. He didn't. He cut if off, sort of arbitrarily.
And we know that there were further diplomatic efforts under way.
They just decided the time for diplomacy is over and rushed to war without planning for what happens afterwards.
Now, he misled the American people in his speech when he said we will plan carefully. They obviously didn't.
He misled the American people when he said we'd go to war as a last resort. We did not go as a last resort. And most Americans know the difference.
Now, this has cost us deeply in the world.
I believe that it is important to tell the truth to the American people. I've worked with those leaders the president talks about, I've worked with them for 20 years, for longer than this president.
And I know what many of them say today, and I know how to bring them back to the table.
And I believe that a fresh start, new credibility, a president who can understand what we have to do to reach out to the Muslim world to make it clear that this is not, you know -- Osama bin Laden uses the invasion of Iraq in order to go out to people and say that America has declared war on Islam.
We need to be smarter about now we wage a war on terror. We need to deny them the recruits. We need to deny them the safe havens. We need to rebuild our alliances.
I believe that Ronald Reagan, John Kennedy, and the others did that more effectively, and I'm going to try to follow in their footsteps.
LEHRER: Ninety seconds, Mr. President.
BUSH: My opponent just said something amazing.
He said Osama bin Laden uses the invasion of Iraq as an excuse to spread hatred for America.
Osama bin Laden isn't going to determine how we defend ourselves.
Osama bin Laden doesn't get to decide. The American people decide.
I decided the right action was in Iraq. My opponent calls it a mistake. It wasn't a mistake.
He said I misled on Iraq. I don't think he was misleading when he called Iraq a grave threat in the fall of 2002.
I don't think he was misleading when he said that it was right to disarm Iraq in the spring of 2003.
I don't think he misled you when he said that, you know, anyone who doubted whether the world was better off without Saddam Hussein in power didn't have the judgment to be president.
I don't think he was misleading.
I think what is misleading is to say you can lead and succeed in Iraq if you keep changing your positions on this war. And he has.
As the politics change, his positions change. And that's not how a commander in chief acts.
Let me finish.
The intelligence I looked at was the same intelligence my opponent looked at, the very same intelligence.
And when I stood up there and spoke to the Congress, I was speaking off the same intelligence he looked at to make his decisions to support the authorization of force.
LEHRER: Thirty seconds. We'll do a 30 second here.
KERRY: I wasn't misleading when I said he was a threat.
Nor was I misleading on the day that the president decided to go to war when I said that he had made a mistake in not building strong alliances and that I would have preferred that he did more diplomacy.
I've had one position, one consistent position, that Saddam Hussein was a threat.
There was a right way to disarm him and a wrong way. And the president chose the wrong way.
LEHRER: Thirty seconds, Mr. President.
BUSH: The only consistent about my opponent's position is that he's been inconsistent. He changes positions. And you cannot change positions in this war on terror if you expect to win.
And I expect to win. It's necessary we win.
We're being challenged like never before.
And we have a duty to our country and to future generations of America to achieve a free Iraq, a free Afghanistan, and to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction.
Next question: Has the war been worth the loss of lives?