Capital punishment is a controversial and often divisive issue in U-S politics. President Bush and his likely Democratic challenger Senator John Kerry hold markedly different positions on the issue.
President Bush has been a long-standing supporter of the death penalty. During his five years as Texas governor, he permitted 152 state executions.
Senator Kerry, on the other hand, says he opposes the death penalty almost without exception. Mr. Kerry has said that in his years working as a federal prosecutor, he came to believe that the death penalty is not a deterrent, and that there are better ways to deal with violent crime.
He amended his views after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, saying he now supports capital punishment, in limited cases, for terrorists.