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The Candidates:
• George W. Bush
• John Kerry
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About George W. Bush:
President Bush took the first formal step in his re-election bid May 16, 2003, by filing his candidacy with the Federal Election Commission, a move that allowed him to start building his campaign structure and raise funds. Bush is expected to try to remain above the political fray, enjoy the benefits of an incumbent with no primary opponent and wait to formally declare his candidacy.
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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
Has both opposed and supported affirmative action
Gay marriage
Backs constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage
Gays in the military
Supports "don't ask, don't tell" policy
Gay adoption
Opposes gay adoptions
Hate crime legislation
Opposes expanding federal law to cover sexual orientation
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National Missile Defense
Has ordered limited NMD system deployed by 2004
Increase size of Army
Has not proposed increasing the Army's size
Program budgets
Would increase military spending 4.2 percent to $380 billion
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Drilling in ANWR
Favors opening refuge for gas and oil exploration, drilling
Alternative fuels
Proposed $1.7 billion to develop hydrogen-powered fuel cells
Energy policy
Supports market-based solution to improve air quality
Gas mileage requirements
Supports 1.5 mpg increase for SUVs, light trucks by 2007
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Drug costs
Supports reducing drug costs for low-income patients
Medicare solvency
Introduce private sector competition to reduce costs
Prescription drugs benefit
Supports adding drug benefit to Medicare
Nationalized health care
Favors improving current system over government-based system
Sue HMOs
Would place limits on patient lawsuits against HMOs
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Enemy combatants
Supports labeling of U.S. citizens as "enemy combatants"
Patriot Act
Supports Patriot Act
Proposed increasing budget to enforce immigration laws
Intelligence agencies
Homeland Security Dept. primary conduit of threat information
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War in Iraq
Authorized war to oust Saddam Hussein regime
Iraqi reconstruction
Initially opposed U.N. involvement; now warming to idea
Pre-emption policy
Announced new policy of pre-emption in June 2002
More than $1 billion proposed for reconstruction
Middle East
Co-sponsored "Road map" plan for peace process
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Opposes except cases of rape, incest or to save woman's life
Death penalty
Supports death penalty
Drug policy
Reduce illegal drug usage by 10 percent over two years
Gun control
Protect gunmakers from lawsuits
Education reform
Signed NCLB; federal budget has not fully funded legislation
Supreme Court
Has cited Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia as model justices
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Social Security
Supports investing some Social Security taxes in stocks
State fiscal crisis
Allocated funds to help states pay increased security costs
Tax cuts
Signed two tax cut bills so far; more tax cuts unlikely
Budget deficits
Reduce deficit by holding spending increases to 4 percent
Job creation
Says 2001, 2003 tax cuts have helped keep economy going
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• 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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