Difference between Bush and Kerry:
On April 19, 2004, (anniversary of the Waco massacre), Bush campaigned in Pennsylvania in support of the Patriot Act and against amending the Act to comply with constitutional guarantees of civil liberties. Kerry voted for the Patriot Act as an emergency enactment with a "sunset" provision, but now opposes it and wants to amend it. Bush favors extending the powers granted to the government in a "Patriot Act II" --- which Kerry opposes.
BUSH SUPPORTING PATRIOT ACT:
(04-19) 16:34 PDT HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) --
President Bush gave an impassioned defense Monday of the Patriot Act, using a visit to this electoral battleground state to warn that if the law begins to expire as scheduled in 20 months it would undermine domestic security.
"It's a law that is making America safer," Bush said of the measure that expanded the government's surveillance and detention powers -- and has been widely criticized by both liberals and conservatives.
With chief political adviser Karl Rove in tow, Bush made his 27th trip to Pennsylvania, a state he lost in 2000 and the one he has visited the most since taking office. State polls show Bush with a slight lead over Democratic rival John Kerry in the fight for Pennsylvania's 21 electoral votes.
The purpose of the trip was twofold as Bush, for the first time this year, was raising cash for another candidate -- four-term Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, who is trying to fend off a primary challenge from conservative GOP Rep. Pat Toomey. The primary is April 27.
Bush's message on the Patriot Act didn't mesh with Specter, who is among 18 co-sponsors of legislation that would amend the law.
Key provisions of the Patriot Act aren't set to expire until the end of 2005, but Bush argued that the law is critical for keeping tabs on terrorists and should be renewed. He mentioned the Sept. 11, 2001 crash of a hijacked airliner 140 miles away in Shanksville, Pa.
"The terrorists declared war on the United States of America and the Congress must give law enforcement all the tools necessary to protect the American people," Bush said in his call for Congress to make the law's provisions permanent.
Congress approved the Patriot Act after the terrorist attacks, but both liberals and conservatives in Congress want to allow some of the act's provisions to expire and have introduced several bills to do so. They argue that parts of the law are too intrusive on Americans' lives.
Opposition to the law has prompted lawmakers to pass resolutions against it in Alaska, Hawaii, Vermont and Maine, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU says more than 291 communities representing nearly 50 million people in 39 states have supported resolutions assailing the law.
Bush did not explain why he felt compelled to promote the law's permanence 20 months before it begins to expire, but his speech came at a time when his administration has been under fire for the steps it took before the Sept. 11 attacks with the intelligence it had. The independent commission investigating the attacks has kept the matter in the spotlight for weeks, putting Bush on the defensive on an issue his campaign regards as a political strong suit.
On Tuesday, the president will speak about the Patriot Act with law-enforcement officers in Buffalo, N.Y., near the site of recent criminal cases against the Lackawanna Six, a group of Yemeni-Americans convicted of supporting terrorism by briefly attending al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan.
KERRY STATEMENT ON THE PATRIOT ACT:
From "On The Issues" web site
Include a sunset provision in the Patriot Act
Q [to Kerry]: Would you revise or repeal the Patriot Act?
A [Kerry]: I strongly supported including a sunset provision in the Patriot Act. Bush reportedly plans to introduce a second "Patriot Act" - we have learned from the first Patriot Act that the last thing we need is John Ashcroft rewriting the Bill of Rights. I am alarmed by what has been reported to be part of "Patriot Act II" and I will very carefully review any new proposal and fight to ensure that it does not violate civil liberties.
Source: MoveOn.org interview Jun 17, 2003