Wednesday, October 13


Wonder of wonders. Howie Kurtz actually did some fact checking!

President Bush charged in a pair of television ads yesterday that John F. Kerry's health care plan would lead to "rationing," "less access," "fewer choices" and "long waits." But his campaign acknowledged that these were references to the existing Medicaid program, whose eligibility would be expanded under the Massachusetts senator's proposal.

The ads also charge, as Bush has on the campaign trail, that his challenger's plan is "a big government takeover." But there is no takeover -- the Kerry plan builds on the existing system of private health insurance, primarily through tax credits and incentives.
Health care is not the only battlefield. In an ad released Sunday, the president cites Kerry's comments to the New York Times Magazine: "We have to get back to the place where terrorists are a nuisance like gambling and prostitution . . . we're never going to end them." The commercial says: "Terrorism . . . a nuisance? . . . How can Kerry protect us when he doesn't understand the threat?"

But Kerry did not call terrorism a nuisance. He said "it's something that you continue to fight" and that his goal is to reduce it to a nuisance level.

The ad also quotes Kerry as saying that "defeating terrorism was really more about law enforcement and intelligence than a strong military operation." While Kerry has used that formulation, he said in a January debate that the war "will continue" to be military in nature "for a long time. And we will need the best-trained and the most well-equipped and the most capable military."

Kerry has responded to other Bush attacks with a spot that says: "Here's the truth about taxes. After nearly four years under George Bush, the middle class is paying the bigger share of America's tax burden, and the wealthiest are paying less. It's wrong."

A Congressional Budget Office study found that while the richest Americans have seen their part of the tax burden drop since 2001, the share of tax payments by those earning $50,000 to $75,000 increased.


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