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Focus of Final US Presidential Debate to be on Domestic Issues - 2004-10-13


With less than three weeks before the U.S. Presidential election, Republican President George Bush and his Democratic Party opponent, Senator John Kerry are set to debate for the third and final time on Wednesday night. The focus of the debate will be on domestic issues. Amy Katz takes a look at what some of those issues are -- and what the candidates are saying about them.

The previous two debates focused largely on Iraq and U.S. foreign policy. But the third and final debate will focus only on domestic issues. Three primary topics are the economy, health care and the environment. Since the last debate, President Bush and Senator Kerry have been back out on the campaign trail -- highlighting their differences on those issues. In Missouri, President Bush promised voters more jobs are being created despite a disappointing government jobs report that was released last Friday.

"We've created 1.9 million new jobs in the last 13 months. We're on the move," he said.

In Florida, Senator Kerry said the total number of jobs is smaller than four years ago. "One-point-six million jobs lost. First president in 72 years to lose jobs," Mr. Kerry said.

American voters are also concerned about:
-The high cost of gasoline due to increasing crude oil prices.
-And how much they can expect to pay in taxes.

Another important issue is reforming the health care system in the U.S., which just about everyone agrees, needs to be fixed.

Over the weekend, President Bush was touting his prescription drug plan for senior citizens, which Senator Kerry says only benefits the drug companies. "Seniors will get prescription drug coverage in 2006 and we're not going back," he said. "He (Mr. Kerry) chose the drug companies and he turned over $139 billion windfall profit to the companies. That comes right out of your pocket," he said.

The two men are also sure to disagree on the environment.

President Bush insists his administration has improved the environment -- saying air and water have become cleaner during his presidency. Mr. Kerry charges the Bush administration has favored business interests over the environment and pledges to work toward eliminating pollution and protecting natural resources while growing the economy.

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