The Need to Contain Threats Agreed on by Both Candidates

Dear Members and Friends,

If you are elected president, what will you take to that office thinking is the most single most serious threat to the national security to the United States? (Jim Lehrer,9/30/04)

Last Thursday night that question was asked at the first 2004 Presidential debate by Jim Lehrer at the University of Miami, Coral Cables, Florida to the President of the United States, the Republican nominee, and to Senator John Kerry, the Democratic nominee. Their response was in agreement that the proliferation of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists pose the most serious threat to our national security.

Senator Kerry: “Nuclear Proliferation. Nuclear Proliferation”

President Bush: “I agree with my opponent that the biggest threat facing this country is weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist network”

Both agreed that as the most serious threat to our future, our public safety, and our way of life–nuclear proliferation must be contained. Senator Kerry stated that there over 600-plus tons of unsecured material in the former Soviet Union and Russia and he will contain all of that nuclear material in four years. President Bush stated that his administration is working with over 60 nations to disrupt the transfer of information and weapons of mass destruction materials. President Bush states that he already has been effective with taking out the A.Q. Khan network, a proliferator out of Pakistan selling secrets to North Korea and Libya, and disarming Libya.

I ask you, is that enough? Can we as a country realistically believe that the United States can stop all proliferation of weapons of destruction? Are we as citizens of this country willing to take the risk that our lives, our children’s lives, and our future generation lives will be safe from this most serious threat by focusing our efforts and resources on containing proliferation?

President Bush: “I’ll tell you another way to help protect America in the long run is to continue with missile defenses. And we’ve got a robust research and development program that has been ongoing during my administration. We’ll be implementing a missile-defense system relatively quickly. And that is another way to help deal with the threats that we face in the 21st century.”

“My Opponent opposed the missile defenses”

So its correct to say, that if somebody is listening to this, that both of you agree, if you’re reelected, Mr. President, and if you are elected, the single most serious threat you believe, both of you believe, is nuclear proliferation? (Jim Lehrer,9/30/04)

President Bush: “In hands of a terrorist enemy”

Senator Kerry: “Weapons of mass destruction, nuclear proliferation”

Members and Friends, I leave you with your opinion on who as the President of the United States could best provide for our safety as a nation from our most serious threat.

For full transcript of this Debate go to www.debates.org Presidential Debate, full transcript, Sept. 30, 2004

Resource Library