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The Candidates:
• George W. Bush
• John Kerry
• Ralph Nader
• Third Parties
Showdown States:
The Conventions:
• Democratic
• Republican

<img src="" width="622" height="53" usemap="#IssuesMap" border="0" hspace="0" vspace="0">
About Ralph Nader:
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader announced on February 22, 2004, that he will run for president as an independent candidate to "challenge the two-party duopoly" he says is damaging American democracy. Nader has run three times for president, the last time in 2000, when he won 2.7 percent of the vote nationally. Many Democrats blame Nader's performance in Florida for costing then-Vice President Al Gore the election and fear his 2004 campaign will help re-elect Bush.
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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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Affirmative Action
Supports affirmative action policies
Gay marriage
Backs same-sex marriages to ensure GLBT full equal rights
Gays in the military
In 2000, favored allowing gay men and women to serve openly in military
Gay adoption
No public position, but supports full equal rights for GLBT
Hate crime legislation
In 2000, supported strengthening hate crimes legislation
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National Missile Defense
Opposes NMD, major critic of military 'overspending'
Increase size of Army
Criticizes deployment of forces in Europe, East Asia, Iraq
Program budgets
Curb funding for 'wasteful ... military industrial complex'
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Drilling in ANWR
Opposes oil exploration in Arctic refuge
Alternative fuels
Invest in renewable energies such as wind, solar power
Energy policy
Do not subsidize energy interests; promote sustainable energy
Gas mileage requirements
Push for more efficient automobiles, energy sources
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Drug costs
Challenge drug industry, negotiate for cheaper drugs
Medicare solvency
Says single-payer system will fix program's "precarious future"
Prescription drugs benefit
Universal health care addresses issues, lowers drug prices
Nationalized health care
Single-payer program with full coverage for all
Sue HMOs
Get insurance companies out of health care administration
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Enemy combatants
End secret detentions, no tribunals for civilians
Patriot Act
Repeal Patriot Act, restore and expand civil liberties
Offer worker permits, employee rights; opposes open borders
Intelligence agencies
No public position on reform
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War in Iraq
'Faulty and fabricated rationale' led to quagmire in Iraq
Iraqi reconstruction
Replace U.S. troops with U.N. force, expedite Iraqi elections
Pre-emption policy
For limiting force, says pre-emption violates international law
Wary of unrest, harm to Afghans, absence of U.S. exit policy
Middle East
Sympathetic to Palestinians' plight; urges open, balanced dialogue
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Supports a woman's right to an abortion
Death penalty
Opposes death penalty; says it doesn't deter crime, has racial and class bias
Drug policy
End 'drug war,' legalize some drugs; calls drug abuse a health problem
Gun control
Backs trigger locks, licensing of gun owners, bans in some cases
Education reform
Bar vouchers, curb standardized testing push
Supreme Court
No public position on justices
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Social Security
Calls retirement fund "solid," says no immediate changes needed
State fiscal crisis
Notes state crises, points to misplaced federal tax/spending priorities
Tax cuts
Increase corporate taxes; tax stock, bond sales; retain estate tax
Budget deficits
Sharply criticizes Bush deficits, urges Ross Perot to speak out
Job creation
Amend trade pacts including NAFTA, fund public works projects, reform bureaucracy
• 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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