A periodic look at the charges being made against the presidential candidates--and the facts behind them
THE CHARGE: While wiretaps, subpoena powers and surveillances are routinely used against drug dealers and organized crime, Kerry would now repeal the Patriot Act's use of these tools against terrorists. --BUSH-CHENEY campaign advertisement
THE CONTEXT: Senator Kerry does not oppose antiterrorism measures, as implied by this TV spot. Nor does he advocate repealing the Patriot Act. He does, however, argue that it provides insufficient judicial oversight of surreptitious searches conducted by domestic security agencies. The ad also charges that "fellow liberals" cajoled Kerry into watering down the Patriot Act. Whether or not Kerry was pressured by "liberals," the fact is some Republicans too would like to see checks on law-enforcement powers covered by the act. Indeed, legislation Kerry has co-sponsored to that end, which seeks "reasonable limitations on surveillance and the issuance of search warrants," was introduced last year by Republican Senator Larry Craig.
THE CHARGE: On the campaign trail, George Bush talks about the need to improve programs like veterans' health care, but now we know that his Administration's plans would cut over $900 million from the Veterans budget in 2006. --PHIL SINGER, spokesman for Senator John Kerry
THE CONTEXT: The charge is premature at best. A budget proposal for 2006 isn't due to be submitted until next February, eight months before the start of the fiscal year in October. Kerry's spokesman is alluding to an internal White House memo obtained by the Washington Post that warns federal agencies of potential budget cuts in the 2006 fiscal year. Among those, the Post reports, are $910 million in suggested cuts from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) budget. But that would follow a $519 million increase proposed by Bush for 2005. The Bush team says that since 2001, VA funding has grown 40%, nearly 200 new community clinics have been opened and disability claims are being processed 30% faster.
--By Eric Roston