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Bush Weekly Radio Address Focuses on Family Values - 2004-07-17


President Bush is emphasizing traditional family values in his re-election campaign, and highlighted the issue in his weekly radio address Saturday. The Democratic radio address criticized the president's prescription drug plan, saying it has driven-up costs for those it was meant to benefit.

President Bush spent much of the past week appealing to his electoral base, campaigning in areas of the Midwest where he won in 2000, and reminding Cuban-Americans in Florida of his desire to see an end to the rule of Fidel Castro.

In his weekly radio address, Mr. Bush focused on issues of importance to conservatives, including drug testing in schools and sex education based on abstinence.

"Every day in America, parents struggle to raise their children in a culture that too often glorifies instant gratification and irresponsible behavior. During this time of great change in our nation, government must stand with families to help them raise healthy, responsible children," said president Bush.

Mr. Bush wants $25 million for a Character Education Initiative to encourage schools to develop programs promoting good character and developing a sense of responsibility to the community.

"When parents, schools, and government work together, we can counter the negative influences in today's culture, and send the right messages to our children," he said.

With most public opinion polls showing the president running about even with his presumptive Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry, both campaigns are focusing a lot of attention on getting their core supporters to the polls. Voter turnout, especially in key swing states, may determine the election's outcome.

In the Democratic radio address, Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky said the president's new prescription drug plan has failed to lower costs for the 41 million Americans enrolled in the government's Medicare health plan.

"Unfortunately, the law is so flawed that there is no hope of fixing it," she said. "For the sake of our seniors and for people with disabilities, we must scrap this bill entirely and start fresh."

From its start, the prescription drug plan has been a highly partisan issue. Democrats want to lift a ban preventing the government from negotiating lower drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. President Bush says he will veto any changes.

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