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THE ISSUES / JOHN KERRY
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About John Kerry:
Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry was the second Democrat to enter the race, announcing on December 1, 2002. Going into 2004, he was not considered a front-runner but came roaring back to win the Iowa caucuses and nearly every primary or caucus afterward, amassing enough delegates to be the Democratic nominee. First elected to the Senate in 1984, the 60-year-old Kerry is a decorated Vietnam War veteran. He considered a presidential run in 2000.
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Editor's note: This chart features brief summaries of candidates' viewpoints on some issues, based on their statements and records. Most candidates have offered more comprehensive explanations of their positions on these and other issues. More information may be found on their campaign Web sites.
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TOPIC
POSITION
Affirmative Action
Supports affirmative action policies
Gay marriage
Against same-sex marriage, backs benefits, rights for same-sex couples
Gays in the military
Favors allowing gay men, women to serve openly in military
Gay adoption
Supports adoption by gay men, women
Hate crime legislation
Expand federal hate crimes legislation, assure equal justice
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TOPIC
POSITION
National Missile Defense
Opposes NMD, supports nonproliferation and arms control
Increase size of Army
Recruit more service members; start Community Defense Svc.
Program budgets
Invest in new equipment, technology; offer better pay, benefits
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TOPIC
POSITION
Drilling in ANWR
Opposes oil exploration in Arctic refuge
Alternative fuels
Promotes clean, renewable fuel sources, especially ethanol
Energy policy
Set goals, incentives to reduce dependence on fossil fuels
Gas mileage requirements
Push new gas requirements, hybrid cars, hydrogen fuel
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TOPIC
POSITION
Drug costs
Close loopholes; financial incentives to lower drug costs
Medicare solvency
Fund all health care by rescinding tax cuts, cutting waste
Prescription drugs benefit
Tighten rules on drug companies; focus on seniors, vets
Nationalized health care
Let people buy into govt. system, fund by reversing Tax cuts
Sue HMOs
Allow patients to sue HMOs, collect money for damages
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TOPIC
POSITION
Enemy combatants
Against labeling U.S. citizens "enemy combatants"
Patriot Act
Backs letting act expire without congressional approval
Immigration
Speed immigration process; unite families; patrol borders
Intelligence agencies
Reform domestic intelligence; start targeted alert system
Compare this with all candidates
TOPIC
POSITION
War in Iraq
Supported the war; later said Bush misled nation
Iraqi reconstruction
Involve other nations more in Iraqi rebuilding, security
Pre-emption policy
Denounces threat of pre-emption; would seek global consensus
Afghanistan
Boost international efforts to secure peace, beat al Qaeda
Middle East
Improve social, economic, political conditions in region
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TOPIC
POSITION
Abortion
Supports a woman's right to an abortion; planning resources
Death penalty
Opposes death penalty
Drug policy
More police; aggressively target traffickers; fund treatment
Gun control
Close gun show loophole; require child safety locks
Education reform
Bar vouchers; fully fund NCLB, special ed., school building
Supreme Court
Appoint judges committed to law, civil and abortion rights
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TOPIC
POSITION
Social Security
Opposes privatizing Social Security
State fiscal crisis
Give priority to giving states fiscal aid to resolve crises
Tax cuts
Repeal tax cuts for wealthy; increase child tax credit
Budget deficits
Undo deficit trend with eye on corporate loopholes, spending
Job creation
Assist small businesses; train workers; infrastructure jobs
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NOTE
• AG: Attorney General; ANWR: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; CAFÉ: Standards that provide tax and other incentives for consumers to purchase and alternative fuel vehicles; COPS: Community Oriented Policing Program; DOMA: Defense of Marriage Act; GLBT: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered; NCLB: No Child Left Behind; NMD: National Missile Defense.
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