President Bush and his Democratic challenger, John Kerry take different stands on the war on terror, considered a crucial issue by many voters.
Mr. Bush, the Republican incumbent, says he believes the only viable option for winning the war on terror is to go on the offensive and confront terrorists abroad. Mr. Bush says that after the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, he resolved to "take the battle to the enemy" to protect American lives at home. He says the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have made the world safer.
Mr. Bush pledges to improve U.S. intelligence capabilities. His administration created the Department of Homeland Security, increased security funding and pushed for the Patriot Act -- legislation that boosts official powers to monitor citizens and detain terrorist suspects.
Democratic Senator John Kerry has pledged to track down terrorists and kill them before they can cause harm. He says there remains much to be done to make America safer, citing fragmented intelligence services and vulnerable borders, ports, chemical and nuclear plants. Mr. Kerry says, if elected, he will back up his words with financial resources and ensure that firefighters, police officers and other so-called "first responders" have the equipment and manpower they need to do the job.