A periodic look at the charges being made against the presidential candidates--and the facts behind them
THE CHARGES: "He's voted to cancel weapons programs like the Stealth bomber, the [M-1] tank, the Apache helicopter, the MX missile...He's voted to cut $1.5 billion from the intelligence community." --ED GILLESPIE, Republican National Committee chairman, accusing John Kerry of being soft on defense
THE CONTEXT: Kerry did fight the MX, voted to cut funds for missile defense and the B-2 Stealth bomber, and proposed cutting the intelligence budget $300 million a year from 1996 to 2000. But it was the first President Bush who halted production of the MX, and Republicans including Senator John McCain have opposed building more B-2s. On intelligence, Kerry says he wanted to scale back money for expensive spy satellites and put more into human intelligence. Another G.O.P. charge: that Kerry voted 10 times in 1990 against weapons like the F-15, F-16, Patriot missile and M-1 tank. Actually it was only one vote--against an appropriations bill that funded all these weapons. Dick Cheney, then Defense Secretary, also wanted to reduce funding for these weapons.
THE CHARGES: "He's making it punitive. He's disrespecting teachers. And he's walked away from his promise to fully fund [the law]." --JOHN KERRY, on the No Child Left Behind education bill Bush pushed through Congress
THE CONTEXT: Democrats claim that Bush has not provided enough money for the law. He gave the low-income schools that No Child is supposed to improve only $12 billion of the $18 billion the law allows him to spend. Even so, Bush has dramatically increased the money for these schools, boosting their funding from $9 billion in Clinton's last budget. Overall, money for public education under Bush has increased from $17 billion to $24 billion. Kerry also blasts Bush for turning schools into "testing factories," but his aides say Kerry would still require yearly math and reading tests. --By Perry Bacon Jr. and Douglas Waller