Future of terror war at stake in polls: Bush
WASHINGTON: President George W Bush said on Saturday that the future of the war on terror would be at stake in the US election, in his last weekly radio address before voters head to the polls on Tuesday.
Bush used the address — which was recorded on Friday, before Osama Bin Laden’s new video address to the United States was released — to press his case for being the toughest against terrorists.s.
“Americans will choose who will lead our country during a time of war and economic opportunity,” he said. “And the choice on Tuesday comes down to a few issues of great consequence. The first choice is the most important, because all our progress depends on our safety.”
Bush said he had led a “relentless campaign against the terrorists” since bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda hijackers carried out the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, leaving almost 3,000 people dead.
The president highlighted the US military campaigns against “terror regimes” in Afghanistan and Iraq and efforts to bolster US anti-terrorism defences. “We are on the offensive around the world, because the best way to prevent future attacks is to go after the enemy.”
Bush rubbished the national security stance of his Democratic challenger, John Kerry. “Senator Kerry says September 11 didn’t change him much, and his policies make that clear. He says the war on terror is ‘primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation.”
“The direction of the war on terror is at stake in the election of 2004. And when you go to the polls on Tuesday, remember this: I will do whatever it takes to defend America and prevail in the war on terror.”
Bush said the second key choice was the economy, and he said the US economy is growing again because of huge tax cuts that he has passed.
While opinion polls indicate that voters have more trust for Bush on national security, they give more support to Kerry on revitalising the economy, which has spluttered back into growth since 2001.
Bush said that Kerry would have to raise taxes to pay for his spending plans.
Kerry has said he will raise taxes for wealthy Americans, who he says have been the main beneficiaries of the Bush tax cuts. Bush said that he and Kerry were also “miles apart” on morality issues such as gay marriage and abortion. “I believe marriage is a sacred commitment, and I will always defend it. I will continue to appoint judges who strictly interpret the law. And I will keep working to move this good-hearted nation toward a culture of life,’ said Bush, who wants a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages and has banned some kinds of abortion.
“All of these choices make this one of the most important elections in our history,” said Bush. afp