On the Issues
President George W. Bush PRESIDENT

George W. Bush

Sen. John Kerry SENATOR

John Kerry

Abortion

NPR Coverage:

Bush, Kerry Rarely Discuss Divisive Issue

President Bush's and Sen. John Kerry's positions on abortion couldn't be much more different. But they have one thing in common when it comes to the divisive issue — neither of them wants to talk about it much on the campaign trail.

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Immigration

NPR Coverage:

Candidates See Immigration Policy as Key to Latino Vote

On the campaign trail, President Bush and Sen. John Kerry are taking aim at U.S. immigration policies -- and at the 7 million Latino voters expected to cast ballots this November.

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Iraq

NPR Coverage:

War Triggers Harshest Debate

The war in Iraq has polarized voters like no other issue in this presidential election year. With U.S. fatalities continuing to rise, the volatile situation in Iraq is likely to make the election as unpredictable as any in history.

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The Patriot Act

NPR Coverage:

National Security Law Provides Political Fodder for Bush, Kerry

The USA Patriot Act, enacted after the Sept. 11 attacks, stirs raw emotions in the debate over civil liberties vs. national security. Both Bush and Kerry support the law, but the Democratic senator urges changes and says Attorney General Ashcroft abuses the measure.

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Energy Policy

NPR Coverage:

Bush, Kerry Push Independence from Foreign Sources

Energy policy rarely takes center stage in a presidential race, but this year, with high gasoline prices, voters seem to be paying attention. Both President Bush and Sen. John Kerry are touting long-term plans to cut dependence on foreign oil and develop new sources of energy at home.

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Health Care

NPR Coverage:

Health Care Fails to Register in Campaigns

Many experts predicted that health care policy would be a key to the 2004 presidential race. Coping with the problem of 44 million uninsured Americans was supposed to be a major issue, but it hasn't been so far.

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Homeland Security

NPR Coverage:

Parties at Odds over Defense Against Terrorist Attacks

One of the larger questions hanging over the presidential election is whether the country is safer from another terrorist attack because of steps the Bush administration has taken since Sept. 11. It's an issue that President Bush and Sen. Kerry have only begun to debate.

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College Costs

NPR Coverage:

College Costs Emerge as Campaign Issue

Making college more affordable has emerged as a major domestic policy debate between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry. According to recent polls, Americans rank education -- and growing concern about the rising cost of college -- as one of the most important domestic issues.

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Gay Marriage

NPR Coverage:

Debate over Amendment May be Key in Some States

With the defeat in the Senate of a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriages, President Bush expressed disappointment, but urged continued debate on the issue. Sen. Kerry also opposes gay marriage but does not favor the amendment. The controversial issue could sway the election in key battleground states.

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Environment

NPR Coverage:

Candidates Court Voters with Environmental Policies

While the environment has never played a deciding role in a presidential election, these issues are often a critical part of how the candidates define themselves and each other. This election is proving to be no different.

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No Child Left Behind

NPR Coverage:

Bush, Kerry Spar over 'No Child Left Behind'

Growing criticism of the No Child Left Behind Act and its uniform testing standards makes it unclear if the president's record on education will give him an edge against his Democratic challenger.

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Jobs

NPR Coverage:

Democrats, GOP Spin Latest U.S. Jobs Figures

April marked the ninth consecutive month of U.S. job growth with 250,000 new jobs. The Bush administration hailed the numbers, but Sen. Kerry called the growth too slow, noting that the nation's overall unemployment rate did not change. Both are trying to tout their rival plans for job growth as the election nears.

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