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A lesson in how to answer a question

by Steven Haninger / October 8, 2004 9:44 PM PDT

While I feel both GWB and JK did their share of limiting time spent answering direct questions and sidesteppping them in favor of using debate time to run their own scripts, I think the following is telling about what we can expect from these two candidates. Granted, each of you will have your opinion on the topic but I think the answer given is quite clear from one and completed evaded by the other. Here goes

Question 17: Sen. Kerry, how can you assure a voter who believes abortion is murder that their tax dollars would not support abortion?

KERRY: I would say to that person exactly what I will say to you right now.

First of all, I cannot tell you how deeply I respect the belief about life and when it begins. I'm a Catholic, raised a Catholic. I was an altar boy. Religion has been a huge part of my life. It helped lead me through a war, leads me today.

But I can't take what is an article of faith for me and legislate it for someone who doesn't share that article of faith, whether they be agnostic, atheist, Jew, Protestant, whatever. I can't do that.

But I can counsel people. I can talk reasonably about life and about responsibility. I can talk to people, as my wife Teresa does, about making other choices, and about abstinence, and about all these other things that we ought to do as a responsible society.

But as a president, I have to represent all the people in the nation. And I have to make that judgment.

Now, I believe that you can take that position and not be pro- abortion, but you have to afford people their constitutional rights. And that means being smart about allowing people to be fully educated, to know what their options are in life, and making certain that you don't deny a poor person the right to be able to have whatever the Constitution affords them if they can't afford it otherwise.

That's why I think it's important. That's why I think it's important for the United States, for instance, not to have this rigid ideological restriction on helping families around the world to be able to make a smart decision about family planning.

You'll help prevent AIDS.

You'll help prevent unwanted children, unwanted pregnancies.

You'll actually do a better job, I think, of passing on the moral responsibility that is expressed in your question. And I truly respect it.

BUSH: I'm trying to decipher that.

My answer is, we're not going to spend taxpayers' money on abortion.

This is an issue that divides America, but certainly reasonable people can agree on how to reduce abortions in America.

I signed the partial-birth -- the ban on partial-birth abortion. It's a brutal practice. It's one way to help reduce abortions. My opponent voted against the ban.

I think there ought to be parental notification laws. He's against them.

I signed a bill called the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.

In other words, if you're a mom and you're pregnant and you get killed, the murderer gets tried for two cases, not just one. My opponent was against that.

These are reasonable ways to help promote a culture of life in America. I think it is a worthy goal in America to have every child protected by law and welcomed in life.

I also think we ought to continue to have good adoption law as an alternative to abortion.

And we need to promote maternity group homes, which my administration has done.

Culture of life is really important for a country to have if it's going to be a hospitable society.

Thank you.

Bush is quite concise. I, too, am still trying to decipher Kerry's answer but believe he is trying to hide it somewhere in the text I have bolded. But, he speaks of the Constitution and I have yet to find any language in it that speaks to the issue of abortion rights or a provision that would suggest that the federal government would be liable or proper in funding such. Also, one could interpret from the next paragraph that he would not be opposed to using US tax dollars to fund abortions around the world if he considers abortion as a component of "family planning".

Well, whether you liked or disliked the answer, at least you got one.

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The key is access ...
by Bill Osler / October 8, 2004 10:15 PM PDT

Kerry is showing his liberal colors here, for better or for worse.

making certain that you don't deny a poor person the right to be able to have whatever the Constitution affords them if they can't afford it otherwise

IOW, in this context, he appears to say that the Constitution gives you a right to an abortion at taxpayer expense if you cannot/will not pay for it yourself. The words themselves, however, do not limit the notion to paying for abortion. Think about it. He is answering a question on abortion, but what he said was that the nation is morally obligated to guarantee that you can exercise all the rights that you are permitted under the Constitution. Guaranteed! By that logic, I should be given all kinds of things that most of us currently work to obtain. IIRC, the Constitution gives me the right to own property. By Kerry's logic, the government is now obligated to provide property for me to own.

His reply succinctly demonstrates one of the great divides between liberals and conservatives regarding the role of government. Most of the political conservatives who support the "right" to abortion would claim that the "right" means it is legal to obtain one, not that the government is obligated to pay for it. That would put abortion on the same level as most other healthcare services and most other economic transactions. Kerry said otherwise.

A large segment of our politicians (and population) have apparently concluded that government can and should guarantee access to any "necessary" health services. I am puzzled by that because: (1) I do not see any comparable guarantee of access to food, housing, clothing or any number of things that are far more important than health care. I can live a few days without food. Depending on climate I can usually live somewhat longer without clothing or housing. Most of us can live many years without health care. There is a logical disconnect here that Kerry has apparently accepted. And (2) I'm not sure how we are supposed to pay for everybody's food, clothing, shelter, health care and so forth if they are all guaranteed as part of our social contract.

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(NT) (NT) A very astutely drawn distinction. Everyone should read
by James Denison / October 9, 2004 8:23 AM PDT
In reply to: The key is access ...
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Re: A lesson in how to answer a question
by C1ay / October 8, 2004 10:56 PM PDT
and making certain that you don't deny a poor person the right to be able to have whatever the Constitution affords them if they can't afford it otherwise.

Can someone direct me to this part of the Constitution? I know I've read it several times and I just don't recall any section on providing for the citizens. Where does the Constitution guarantee a right to have anything?

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Re: A lesson in how to answer a question
by cbbrown / October 9, 2004 3:44 AM PDT
Where does the Constitution guarantee a right to have anything?

I doubt it is a measure of what the Constitution guarantees citizens.

Certain conservatives wish to abolish Roe v Wade which is coming with successive right wing administrations.

Let us not speak so much of what the Constitution "provides" as what the REAL matter is: who will better provide for a woman's RIGHT TO CHOSE.

It is clear that the President wishes to reverse R v W and John Kerry will not erode this law.
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And just to be fair
by Steven Haninger / October 9, 2004 12:32 AM PDT

This was a loaded question and probably more tuned to fit the Bush aganda. So, I want to "load" it another way and ask...

"If I were to find myself with an unwanted pregnancy, made up my mind that I wanted an abortion but could not afford one, would you be sympathetic to a suggestion that US tax money should be available for use in my case and others like it?"

I am wondering how the two candidates would respond to this one.

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Re: And just to be fair
by cbbrown / October 9, 2004 3:56 AM PDT
In reply to: And just to be fair

You need some work on loading a question on the other side of what you show that you strongly believe.

Listen again to Jonn Kerry's response in the debate and you have a better question than you proposed.

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Re: And just to be fair/huh!!
by Steven Haninger / October 9, 2004 4:03 AM PDT
You need some work on loading a question on the other side of what you show that you strongly believe.

And just what belief did I strongly show and in what statement of mine can you quote from to justify yours?
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Re: And just to be fair/huh!!
by cbbrown / October 9, 2004 4:19 AM PDT

Some netizens know more about you than you know.

Care to prove my statement as being non-representative of your closely held RELIGIOUS belieifs, or are you just posturing as some do?

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This comes to rest right now
by Steven Haninger / October 9, 2004 4:52 AM PDT
Some netizens know more about you than you know.

Care to prove my statement as being non-representative of your closely held RELIGIOUS belieifs, or are you just posturing as some do?

You profile shows you to be fairly new to posting here...at least under the name given. I am only an occasional poster and you can search my name and read what you wish. If you find any in which I was not at least polite, you are welcome to cite them. After three rebukes of my posts in this thread, I must come to believe you are trying to bait me, venting, or have someway formed an opinion of me with no shown rationale. I originated this thread with no intent to rile though knowing there is no guarantee of it. But your game I will not play. I will state that I will not dignify your questions with my response. You may rant in peace and rant alone. Regards...
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Thanks Steve
by David Evans / October 9, 2004 6:07 PM PDT

And I mean a sincere thanks. If everyone would remember "DNR" when it comes to this kind, this would be a far more pleasant place for everybody here.

Much appreciated dude.


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Re: Debate 2 ( a bit off topic) -- but so were many answers
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / October 9, 2004 1:54 AM PDT

Hi, Steve.

I wanted to post this interesting analysis, and this seems to be the only thread on the second debate.
Debate exchanges become personal; Bush fights to keep emotions in check in bid to halt Kerry momentum.
(Chronicle login: semods4@yahoo.com; pw = speakeasy)

You could see that fight on Bush's face at times, especially early on; later his moth stayed straight-across most of the time. I wish the debate weren't on a Friday -- haven't seen any reports on how the undecided focus groups viewed this one. Bush and Edwards won the first two handily among the undecided.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Re: Debate 2 ( a bit off topic) -- /not really

The difficult part for me is to see the debates and political ads, listen to the political spins, and watch/read news reports without the tainted thought that much of this is just marketing and showmanship...because, Dave, it is. The candidates are like athletes competing in subjective events and we are the judges. They have handlers that tell them how to "tweak" their performances and I cannot help but think this means to hide flaws and highlight their assets. Such has been the case since Nixon/Kennedy when, after the TV event, the most notable influence on people was how poorly Nixon came off in his physical presence. From then on, it's been "showtime" first. There is no doubt in my mind that JK is master over GWB in his verbal presentations and this has to fluster Bush. JK controls himself by looking pensive rather than scowling when his opponent attacks. This is a good tactical move on his part but I am not sure what value this characteristic would bring to the oval office. We, the voters, are left to find the substance behind the stage performance and it's not always easy.

I have been disappointed by the lack of direct response to questions posed during these debates. All four candidates too often seque from a vague response into scripted attacks, criticism of their opponents, or their own messages and I find this to be quite annoying. But, when watching last night, I jumped for joy! It has nothing to do with my feelings on the issue being discussed but it was the first time I have seen any of the four candidates answer a question that one did not need to be interpreted or could be easily twisted by pundits. Regards, and thanks for taking the time to read and respond to my post.

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Re: Debate 2 ( a bit off topic) -- /not really
by cbbrown / October 9, 2004 4:09 AM PDT

Did you also jump for joy when the President all but refused to honestly answer the last question about his three mistakes when he showed to all that he cannot admit any mistakes other than appointments which he said he could not expound upon?

That of course must be "National Security".

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What are you talking about?
by James Denison / October 9, 2004 9:50 AM PDT

I've read your statement several times and it does not compute.

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The statement computes well enough ...
by Bill Osler / October 9, 2004 10:08 AM PDT

It computes perfectly well in a non-rational fashion.

Consider the source. Read through some of the rest of the posts from that user, note the tone and the number that have been deleted.

Somebody's trying hard to push buttons and yank chains.

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(NT) (NT) sigh, I guess so.
by James Denison / October 9, 2004 10:43 AM PDT
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And thanks to you too, Dr. Bill
by David Evans / October 9, 2004 6:10 PM PDT

Remembering "DNR" when it comes to the button-pushers will go a long way toward making this forum more pleasant for us and more inhospitable for the troublemakers. Thanks once again.


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In the dictionary, beside the word....
by James Denison / October 9, 2004 9:35 AM PDT

....Bias, should be a picture of RON FOURNIER.

I'm glad to see Bush in a fighting mood. That's better than Kerry in any mood. We need that type of person Bush is to win this war on terror. Kerry is the wrong person for this time.

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