January 28, 2003 - Response to President Bush's State of the Union Address
Tuesday, January 28, 2003
Statement of John Kerry
We live in serious times facing serious challenges, and we can not afford a mere rhetorical presidency. Americans are tired of politicians who make promises in speeches and break them in practice. Too often President Bush offers slogans not solutions, and too often his solutions would take America backwards.
Tonight, President Bush talked about fixing the economy, but clings to failed economic policies that make special interests happy while nearly two million Americans have lost their jobs. He talked about energy independence, but his energy plan would make America more dependent on foreign oil twenty years from now than we are today. He talked about health care, but would break the promise of Medicare and force seniors into HMO's that run roughshod over patients. He talked about keeping Americans safe, but has too often practiced a blustering unilateralism that is wrong, and even dangerous, for our country. He talked about holding Saddam Hussein accountable, but has too often ignored opportunities to unify the world against this brutal dictator. He talked about homeland security and corporate reform even though his Administration was dragged kicking and screaming into accepting either. He talked about fighting AIDS in Africa but pulled the rug out from under Bill Frist and me last fall when he had the chance to make America the world's leader in fighting that pandemic.
We can do better than this President is offering. It's time we had a better choice that seeks to make America safer and stronger in actions, not just words. It's time we had an economic plan that puts Americans back to work, creates fairness in the tax code, and puts money in the pockets of workers who pay their taxes through the payroll tax. It's time we had a health care plan that delivered choice, quality, affordability, and access for every American. It's time we had an energy plan that delivered real energy independence while making our air cleaner. It's time we had a progressive internationalism in our foreign policy, backed by undoubted military might, that commits America and its allies to lead the world toward liberty and prosperity.