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10.07.2004

John Kerry's closing debate statement...

24 years ago, President Reagan asked an audience like this, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?"

I could ask that same question tonight and millions of our fellow Americans would have to answer no. One million more people live in poverty after four years of this administration. Five million more live without the basic comfort of health insurance. Less Americans have jobs now than were employed when Mr. Bush took office. That is the first time this has happened since the great depression.

This administration has set records; record deficits, record spending, record government growth, record personal bankruptcies, record job loss, record profits to Halliburton and record medicare increases to our senior citizens.

The harsh but simple answer to that question posed by President Reagan is no. Most hard working Americans are not better off today than they were When President Bush took office.

But we live in a different time now than we did then. The question we must now ask ourselves is:

Is America and the world safer now than we were four years ago?

And again, the answer is no. Our world, as impacted by President Bush and his administration, is not safer. It is more dangerous. Under this administration we have endured the worst terrorist attack in our history. An attack which took the lives of over three thousand innocent civilians. An attack for which the terrorist mastermind, Osama bin Laden, has still not be captured dead or alive.

We live with the prospect of a still unsolved anthrax attack which killed several innocent Americans and infected our nation's capitol.

Many Americans live in fear because of the rising and falling color coded system that has been raised 7 times in the last two years.

America is far from alone in this new danger. Russian school children were horribly killed in Beslan. Spain endured it's own 9/11 when it's commuter trains were blown up, killing and maiming hundreds. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan and India have all seen increased levels of devastatingly violent attacks.

Iraq is spiraling into an unending cycle of explosions, murder and death.

Our soldiers there are paying the price for this administration's mistakes. More died in September than died in August. More in August than July and more in July than June. Over 7000 of our nations finest young men and women have been injured and, as of this day, 1065 have made the ultimate sacrifice. A sacrifice I will always honor and never forget.

In Iraq, insurgents strike at will. Scores of people have been kidnapped by our number one enemy there, Abu al-Zarqawi, who roams the country at will; and too many have been beheaded and had their horrendous murders displayed across the globe for a shocked world to see.

Missiles, just yesterday, were fired into the most heavily fortified and protected area in the country, the Green Zone, hitting a hotel populated by many of the journalist who are in too much danger to leave the walled compound to find out what is going on in this "liberated" country.

Is America and the world safer today than it was for years ago? No it is not and it will continue to be more dangerous unless we, the American people, change the course we have been forced to take. Changing course, when it is wrong is not weak, it is smart.

I am asking you tonight, my fellow Americans, to support me in this important time for our country. To right a wrong. To make a change for the better and to make our country whole again.

May God bless each and every one of you to make the best decision for our country and may God bless the United States of America.


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