The presidential candidate praised abstinence at a key moment in the debate in St. Louis, and he admitted that the Kyoto Protocol treaty on global warming was "flawed." He looked right into the camera and said, "Absolutely. I am not going to raise taxes."
Was this George W. Bush appealing to his base, or reprising his father's famous "read my lips" pledge? No, that was Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. trying to win the support of undecided voters at the second presidential debate.
The debate staged at Washington University in St. Louis was filled with conservative questions and answers that must have stunned the media. This unique dialogue between candidates and undecided voters from mid-America was a revelation to viewers accustomed to seeing liberals control questions and answers on television.
A young attendee asked Kerry, "Suppose you're speaking with a voter who believed abortion is murder, and the voter asked for reassurance that his or her tax dollars would not go to support abortion, what would you say to that person?"
Kerry's answer was to paint himself as a lifelong Roman Catholic, a former altar boy, and as someone who "can talk reasonably about life." But, as President Bush pointed out, Kerry's record in the Senate shows him consistently pro-abortion, even voting against the federal ban on partial-birth abortion.
Kerry was asked, "You've stated your concern for the rising cost of health care. Yet you chose the vice presidential candidate who has made millions of dollars successfully suing medical professionals." Kerry passed up this golden opportunity to defend his running mate's career and instead fell back on his mantra "I have a plan."
Bush stepped up to the plate and said that Kerry's plan "would lead to rationing (and) ruin the quality of health care in America." Bush explained that Democrat plan for universal health care is, in fact, government-controlled health care.
Referring again to Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., career of suing doctors, another questioner asked Kerry if he would favor "capping awards on pain and suffering? Would you limit attorney's fees?" Kerry's non-answer discussed after-school programs and federal deficits.
Kerry is not fooling anyone, but it is comical to watch him trying to portray himself as a born-again middle-of-the-roader. Meanwhile, Bush was confronted with questions as to why he is not more conservative.
"You've not vetoed a single spending bill," one questioner complained. Less government is what the American people want, yet that important question had hitherto gone unasked by the media.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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