1 Dec. 2003 - ...

Last update 2 Feb. 2004

L3xicon.com - a web thesaurus and lexicon listing Wesleyclark.h1.ru under Wesley Clark, Kosovo and Democratic nomination

Here:
Turnaround Plan For America:

The Environment
Health Care
Remarks On Leadership And The Economy
Remarks On Rangel Endorsement and Child Poverty
Remarks On Higher Education
Families First: Tax Reform Plan
Clark To Bush: Leave Science to the Scientists
Remarks on Counter-Terrorism
Establishing an Openness Doctrine
Democrat Clark Pledges Prescription Drug Reform

Wesley Clark's official sites:
http://clark04.com
http://americansforclark.com
http://draftwesleyclark.com

TURNAROUND PLAN FOR AMERICA


Wesley Clark

The Environment

These last three years have not been kind to many Americans and their families.

That's what I want to talk to you about today. About how our President has spent his term squandering everything we worked so hard to build. About how under George W. Bush our country has suffered from a leadership deficit. About how for three years, he has taken this country in one direction: the wrong direction.

I'm running for President because I want to provide the leadership that will get us going in the right direction -- and I have a Turnaround Plan for America to do just that.

In the U.S. Army, where I served for thirty-four years, I dealt with real issues and real problems -- on bases, in barracks, and out in the field.

One of the things many people don't realize is that Generals don't just give orders and wage wars. Most of the battles we fight aren't against the enemy. They're battles to make sure that our troops have the tools they need to succeed in their jobs and raise their children.

I learned a lot about good plans, good people and good leadership. In the Army, when you have a tough challenge -- you set clear, ambitious goals and you are always accountable.

I'm going to take the leadership lessons I learned in the military and apply them to our domestic challenges. That's what my Turnaround Plan for America is all about: taking a country that's on the wrong track and getting it moving forward again. Setting specific goals, so the voters can hold me accountable and meeting them.

Yesterday, I talked about family income. Under President Bush, the average family's income dropped by almost $1,500 a year. I laid out a plan to turn this around. After four years of my economic policies, I pledged family incomes will be up $3,000.

Today, I want to talk about the environment: Under President Bush, our industries have had free reign to pollute America. As a result it's projected that by 2020, 100,000 people will die prematurely. We're going to turn it around. I will put environmental policies in place that will save lives not destroy them.

My career has been devoted to national security. When I was a boy, growing up in Arkansas, national security had only one meaning -- readiness to deal with threats posed by other nations, principally the Soviet Union.

What wasn't clear then-and what we must acknowledge now-is that environmental threats imperil American's security as well. Currently, 175 million Americans live in areas where the air pollution is so severe that it is considered to be a health hazard. Our environment is crucial to our health, our economy and our well-being generally.

Today I would like to focus on one element of our environment -- the air we breathe.

Our atmosphere sustains life. Though the atmosphere seems cast from the Earth's surface it's actually quite thin. If you walked ten miles, you will have walked the expanse of the atmosphere. Unfortunately, throughout most of our modern history, we have treated our atmosphere as a dump for airborne industrial byproducts.

America's efforts to address air pollution are in many ways a great success story. In 1970, concerns about the health toll of air pollution led to the passage of the Clean Air Act. It was a landmark legislative achievement and a product of bipartisan cooperation, pushed by Democrats in the Congress and signed into law by a Republican president.

Under the Bush administration, the bipartisan cooperation that led to this landmark achievement has broken down. We lack the leadership necessary for such an outstanding environmental achievement. Instead, the President is moving relentlessly to dismantle environmental protections and undo a generation of progress.

His so-called "Clear Skies" legislation, for instance, would weaken public health protections against dangerous soot, smog pollution and toxic mercury.

Airborne mercury eventually settles in water, enters the food chain and is ingested by people. It attacks the brain and nervous system, poses special risks for pregnant women and damages the immune and cardiovascular systems of adults.

If Bush has his way, there will be five times as much of this stuff in the air as there would be if we simply enforced existing provisions of the Clean Air Act.

Oh, he'll tell you that he's got a plan to use the markets to deal with the problem so that polluters can buy mercury credits from the good corporate citizens. And he'll tell you that this is what environmentalists proposed for carbon dioxide.

Don't be fooled: these trading schemes weren't intended for toxics. If you want to know why, ask the family living next door to a polluting factory.

Plus, Bush is trying mightily to rollback, weaken, and delay environmental protections across the board. For instance, the Clean Air Act requires older polluting power plants to reduce emissions when upgrading facilities. But this administration has given industry carte blanche to make multi-million dollar expansions -- and huge pollution increases -- without installing modern pollution controls.

Even those plants caught red-handed are being let off the hook. Last month, Bush's EPA announced it was dropping dozens of pollution investigations. The administration also cut back on inspections by 15% and prosecution by 40%. Plus, Bush proposes cutting 100 additional enforcement positions.

I guess you don't need enforcers, if you aren't going to enforce.

EPA's own documents admit that the administration's policies have resulted in more pollution-hundreds of millions of more pounds per year.

The Bush administration assault on the Clean Air Act bears real costs. According to EPA studies, each year, air pollution causes 30,000 premature deaths and five million lost work days.

Instead of enforcing our environmental laws and protecting people's health, this administration chooses, time and again, to weaken clean air standards and put our health at risk.

It couldn't be clearer-we can't trust George Bush with the air we breathe.

I believe all Americans should be able to breathe clean and healthy air.

We need a President who protects the public's health, not polluters' pocketbooks. We need a President who will tell the truth to the American people about the risks posed by air pollution, not one who hides data and distorts the science. We need a President who understands that clean air and a healthy economy go hand in hand.

My Clean Air Plan will improve America's health and America's economy. Compared to the Bush administration's policies, my Clean Air Plan will prevent more than 100,000 premature deaths and more than two million asthma attacks through the year 2020.

Specifically, my four-part plan will:

- Set tough standards for the worst sources of air pollution, starting with electric power plants;

- Crack down on corporate polluters;

- Use American technology and market-based approaches to meet air pollution challenges with innovative, job-creating solutions; and

- Restore trust in the environmental stewardship of the White House.

Power plants produce huge amounts of air pollutants that threaten the health of millions. To protect the health of all Americans, I will set tough new standards for power plants, such as those in Senator James Jeffords' Clean Power Act.

We must also act aggressively to reduce air toxins. I will fully implement the Clean Air Act, set new national standards for the most dangerous pollutants, and revoke the Bush Administration's efforts to allow older plants to continue polluting at high rates even as they undertake massive expansion.

Plus, I'll put the environmental cop back on the beat.

The Bush Administration has cut enforcement. I will make polluters pay their way, by rigorously enforcing environmental laws, and returning EPA inspections and personnel to the levels they were at before Bush became President.

Breaking the law must never pay for a polluter. That's why I'll stiffen fines for environmental polluters and double fines against repeat offenders.

President Bush has failed to encourage industry innovation. Working with business leaders, public health experts, and state officials, I'll develop fresh incentives for businesses to modernize while reducing air pollution.

Today, innovative technologies are often slow to market because companies are skeptical about their benefits. My administration will accelerate the adoption of new technologies by providing the testing needed to assess their efficacy.

We must also use market approaches to lower compliance costs. Such programs are a proven tool for dealing with problems like acid rain which impose similar risks on residents over a large geographic area. But I will not support the trading of toxic pollutants, like mercury. When it comes to toxins, we must ensure that reductions are achieved at every site so that no community is unfairly burdened.

The Bush Administration has undermined states' abilities to adopt stronger-than-federal pollution standards. I will protect state prerogatives to advance innovation in pollution control.

We must restore trust in our stewardship of the environment.

The Bush administration violated our trust -- by censoring scientific information on the impacts of global warming, by failing to provide accurate information on air pollution risks in New York City after 9/11, by withholding information from members of Congress, and by making energy policy behind closed doors with its campaign contributors.

I will tell the American people the unvarnished truth about air pollution. I will put an end to backroom deals with big polluters.

In a Clark administration, America will resume its rightful place as the world leader in efforts to avert environmental disaster. And I'll start with real Clean Air controls.

My administration will also take on the threats posed by climate change, which range from droughts, floods, extreme storms and wild fires to financial ruin and tides of migrants.

Our President dismisses the threat of climate change, disparages the research of respected scientists and sneers at energy efficiency as nothing more than a civic gesture. The Bush Administration even argues that using existing technologies to address the threat of climate change will hurt the economy. That's nonsense.

We must recapture the lead from foreign competitors on the environmental technologies that American scientists and businesses pioneered. It's good for our environment and good for business.

Spurring energy efficiency and capturing waste energy will enhance America's competitiveness. The fastest growing energy industries in the world are wind and solar, but much of that growth is benefiting Japanese and European companies. American companies should dominate the next generation of the energy industry. If European and Japanese companies can reduce emissions and increase profitability, American companies can do it too.

We have a President who mocks environmental concerns and sacrifices our air water and forests for the benefit of well-connected companies. A President who embarrasses us abroad by lending credibility to spurious science.

Every day that I served in the Army I had to make tough decisions about the security of our country. And every day, I made these decisions based on one factor and one factor only: the best interest of the United States of America.

America deserves a president they can trust with their future, a president who understands that security means more than the projection of military might. America needs a president who will protect our borders and our environment.

I intend to be that president.

Thank you.

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Health Care

General Wesley Clark Remarks On Health Care Turnaround Plan For America
Knoxville, Tennessee
December 12, 2003

Thank you for that big Rocky Top welcome and for inviting me out here today.

You know, during my years in the Army, I was sent to military bases all over the world. But while you can take a man out of the South, you can never take the South out of a man.

And it's great to be back home.

I'm an Arkansan. And I don't know how the Razorbacks would feel about this -- but when in Tennessee, and with a bunch of Vol fans, there's only one thing to shout out. And that's "Go Big Orange."

I don't know about you, but I have a feeling that the Vols are going to finish strong this season. I know that I'll be rooting for you.

But I've got to tell you, there's one man who I haven't spent much time rooting for -- and that's our President, George W. Bush.

George Bush has spent three years squandering everything we worked so hard to build.

Back in the 2000 campaign, he said he was going to create jobs ...

He's lost them.

He said he was going to protect our environment ...

He's polluted it.

He said he was going to leave no child behind ...

Our schools are cash-starved, overcrowded, and failing.

He's says he believes in freedom ...

But he appointed an Attorney General who spends his days taking our freedoms away.

He said he was going to have a humble foreign policy ...

He's alienated nearly every one of our allies.

He said he was going to bring fiscal responsibility to Washington...

He's turned record surpluses into record deficits.

For three long years, President Bush has taken our country in one direction: the wrong direction. As they say down in Texas, that man is all hat and no cattle.

But I'm not running to bash George Bush - I'm running to replace him.

We need a president who can bring a lifetime of leadership experience to put America back on top again.

Someone who's been in the trenches and on the frontlines.

Someone who doesn't just talk the talk, but walks the walk.

I walked the walk every day as an officer in the United States Army.

I fought to make sure that our soldiers had top-notch health care. That their children had first-class schools and access to Headstart. That they had affordable housing and time with their families.

And no matter what challenge we faced, one thing was always true:

With the right plan, hard-working troops and good leadership, you can turn any situation around.

I'm running for president to turn America around.

That's what I've been talking about all week -- My Turnaround Plan for America. A plan to tackle our toughest domestic challenges and get our country moving forward again.

To increase family income by $3,000.

To clean up the environment and prevent 100,000 premature deaths by 2020.

To send an additional one million Americans to college.

To lift two million children out of poverty.

And today, I want to talk to you about my plan to turn around health care in America. My plan will give 30 million more Americans access to health insurance.

When George W. Bush took office, he said that health care would be one of his top priorities.

He promised that he'd fix America's health care system real good.

Well, he did.

Today, thanks to George Bush, our health care system's in a real fix.

In just the past three years, an additional 3.8 million Americans have been added to the ranks of the uninsured. Today, 44 million Americans go without health insurance every single day - 9 million of them children. And health care costs continue to go up by double digits.

Think about it: What's the point of having the best health care system in the world if so many people can't even use it?

President Bush told us that he was a compassionate conservative. Well, if that's true, he certainly has a strange way of showing his compassion. Someone ought to tell him that the Hippocratic Oath is not a license to practice hypocrisy.

We can do better. I've got a health care plan to turn this around.

My plan has three pillars:

First, one of the great benefits about the health care I had in the Army was that it emphasized prevention every step of the way - from annual physicals, to cholesterol screenings, to routine check-ups. My health care plan gives all Americans those same benefits. It promotes prevention and diagnosis by ensuring that all Americans have access to services that diagnose diseases early, improve health, and constrain long-term costs.

Second, my plan provides access to affordable health insurance for every single American, and provides coverage for every single American child up to the age of 22. It will give those without access to job-based coverage the chance to purchase insurance through the same system that covers Members of the United States Congress.

Third, my plan gives extra support to our most vulnerable citizens. It provides assistance to low-income families and workers in between jobs, and expands health care options for America's reservists and veterans.

This is an ambitious plan. But we can't afford anything less. We can't afford to have America's children go without vaccinations and checkups. We can't afford to have America's seniors go without hospital services. And we can't afford to have a single American citizen whose only access to medical care is at the emergency room.

I believe we can do better.

And that's why I'm running for President. Together, we're going to turn America around.

Thank you.

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Remarks On Leadership And The Economy

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK
TURNAROUND PLAN FOR AMERICA
REMARKS ON LEADERSHIP AND THE ECONOMY
NEW HAMPSHIRE
December 8, 2003

I'm so glad to be here today. I haven't exactly had a lot of time these last few months to curl up with a good book. As a former economics professor, I hope you don't mind if I spend a few minutes browsing the shelves after our talk.

Many of you here today have good jobs, and I know, like me, you're thankful for what you have. But too many people in New Hampshire aren't as lucky. These last three years have not been kind to many Americans and their families.

That's why I want to talk to you about today. About how our President has spent his term squandering everything we worked so hard to build. About how under George W. Bush our country has suffered from a leadership deficit.

About how for three years, George W. Bush has taken this country in one direction: the wrong direction.

This is a President who is all bully and no pulpit when it comes to our nation's security ... all mouth and no money when it comes to supporting our children ... and all photo and no opportunity, when it comes to fixing the mess here at home.

I'm running for President because I want to provide the leadership that will get us going in the right direction - and I have a Turnaround Plan to do just that.

Back in the 2000 campaign, George W. Bush said he was going to bring compassionate conservatism to the White House.

He said he was going to create jobs. He's lost them.

He said he was going to protect our environment. He's polluted it.

He said he was going to leave no child behind. Our schools are cash-starved, overcrowded, and failing.

He said he was going to have a humble foreign policy. He's alienated nearly every single one of our allies.

He said he was going to bring fiscal responsibility to Washington. He's turned record surpluses into record deficits.

As Al Gore used to say: everything that should be going down is going up. And everything that should be going up is going down. Ironically, this time it involves another Bush Administration.

And it's going to take real leadership to put us back on the right track. Today, we need a president who can bring a lifetime of leadership experience to put America back on top again.

Someone who's been in the trenches and on the frontlines.

Someone who's been working these issues on the ground.

Someone who has a real record of turning things around.

Someone who just doesn't talk the talk, but walks the walk. Someone who wants to lead. Someone who is a doer.

And that's just we are taught in the U.S. Army, where I served for thirty-four years. Dealing with real issues and real problems - on bases, in barracks, and out in the field.

One of the things many people don't realize is that Generals don't just give orders and wage wars. Most of the battles we fight aren't against the enemy. They're battles to make sure that our troops have the tools they need to succeed in their jobs and raise their children.

That's what I did every day as an officer in the U.S. Army. I was responsible for the lives of tens of thousands of men and women and their families.

I realized that we would never win in battle if we didn't invest in the lives of our soldiers. That's why I fought to make sure that our soldiers had top notch health care. That their children had first-class schools and Headstart. That they had safe and affordable housing.

That they had time with their families - that they could go to church and PTA meetings and baseball games. And that everyone on my base learned to work together - no matter what their background or the color of their skin.

But like any city or state - no matter how good your programs and policies are - there are always challenges. And I saw my fair share of them over the years.

One of my first assignments was in 1970 after I'd come home from Vietnam. I was sent to Fort Knox in Kentucky where they put me in charge of C Company, Sixth Battalion.

It wasn't a glamorous assignment. C Company was supposed to have 91 soldiers, but only about 70 reported for duty. Many of the men had been wounded and were still recovering. Others were early returnees. On top of that, the administration announced it wanted to end the draft.

The newspapers were filled with reports of drug use, racial tensions and demoralization within the ranks.

The task at hand wasn't exactly an easy one. A lot of these guys had lost hope, and none of them thought they had a future in the Army. What these soldiers needed more than anything was good, strong leadership - and I did my best to provide it.

And together, we turned C Company around. Believe it or not, by the end of that summer, much to even our surprise, C Company actually won the reenlistment award.

The lesson here was simple: with the right plan, hard-working troops and good leadership, you can turn any situation around.

And during my thirty-four years in the Army, I learned a lot about good plans, good people and good leadership. In the Army, when you have a tough challenge - you apply five principles of leadership. These are the principles I will apply to the challenges we face here at home today.

First, you set clear, ambitious goals. You lay them out and make sure everyone understands them.

Second, you inspire the people you lead. You give credit where it's due. You bring people together - and get everyone pulling in the same direction.

Third, you never forget that it's the soldiers - not the generals - who win the battles. It's the people who roll up their sleeves, get mud on their boots, and do the heavy lifting that make the difference.

Fourth, no matter what, there can be no alternative but success. In the Army, where we held the security of a nation in our hands - where life and death matters were at stake - we had only one alternative: success.

Fifth, the buck stops with you. You must always be accountable for your decisions, and always be straight with your soldiers.

I'm going to take those same leadership lessons I learned in the military, apply them to our domestic challenges, and make America better. That's what my Turnaround Plan for America is all about: taking a country that's on the wrong track and getting it moving forward again.

Today I'm announcing my Turnaround Plan for America. Each day this week, I'll be highlighting a benchmark for success that I will achieve as President.

These are goals that I want voters to hold me accountable to in the first four years of my administration. Let me be clear: As President, I will set specific goals -- and I will meet them. And I will do so while reducing the deficit each and every year."

First, family income: Under President Bush, the average family income has dropped by almost $1,500 a year.

We're going to turn it around.

After four years of my economic policies, family incomes will be up $3,000. The American people work hard, pay taxes, and play by the rules. As President, I will do my part to make sure Americans can get ahead and get their fair share of the American dream.

Second, the environment: Under President Bush, our industries have had free reign to pollute America. As a result it's projected that by 2020, 100,000 people will die prematurely.

We're going to turn it around.

I will put environmental policies in place that will save lives not destroy them.

Third, education: Under President Bush, college tuition costs have gotten out of control with the average tuition and fees for public colleges have risen by 28 percent.

We're going to turn it around.

My education plan will help ensure that an additional one million students are enrolled in college. We should be making it easier, not harder, to get a good education in this country.

Fourth, child poverty. Under George W. Bush, more than half a million children have sunk into poverty. That this is happening in the United States of America is nothing but a disgrace.

We're going to turn it around.

At the end of our first term, we will lift 2 million children out of poverty - including 3,000 children here in New Hampshire. There is nothing more important than helping our children.

Fifth, health care: President Bush's policies have led to an additional 3.8 million Americas joining the ranks of the uninsured. There's no point in having the best health care system in the world if so many Americans can't use it.

We're going to turn it around.

My plan will extend health care coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans - including 78,000 people right here in New Hampshire.

Over the next five days, I will lay out my plans to achieve these goals. On Tuesday, I will announce my environment plan, on Wednesday my education policy, Thursday child poverty, and Friday health care.

Today, I want to discuss my plan to turn the economy around and raise family incomes by $3,000. It's time we put money back into America's wallets.

George W. Bush is already declaring Mission Accomplished for America's economy. We all want the economy to pick up. But George Bush's optimism is just wishful thinking.

The statistics paint a different picture. The number of jobs being created on a monthly basis are simply not enough to keep up with the number of new people entering the job market. And it doesn't help that we've lost more than 3 million private sector jobs over the past three years.

We see it right here in New Hampshire. This past Friday, it was announced that a food manufacturing plant in Manchester is closing -- laying off 550 workers in Manchester alone.

These numbers aren't just statistics on a page. They're a mom or a dad getting a pink slip during the holidays ... a whole family that's struggling to make ends meet ... an entire community left out in the cold.

During the Clinton years, the average family income surged by more than $7,200, giving families the resources they need to pay the bills, save for college, and make their mortgage payments. But under President Bush, instead of helping families, he's taken from them.

My plan will increase family incomes by $3,000.

Let me put that in real terms. For the average family, $3,000 can buy 10 months of groceries or pay 5 months rent. That's real money that American families need to get by.

Here's how I'm going to do it.

We've to begin by creating job. My Jobs Creation Plan that will take back President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans - those earning more than $200,000 -- and use that money to jumpstart the economy and create jobs.

We also need to restore fiscal discipline. I have proposed a "Savings for America's Future" plan which will save $2.35 trillion over ten years to reduce the deficit each and every year and help put our fiscal house in order.

In the Clinton economy, we saw the benefits of a fiscally responsible approach to the economy.

And finally, we can't just focus on the next paycheck or next quarter. We need to think about the next generation.

As President, I will expand economic opportunity for all by creating the conditions for long-term prosperity. It is not just about turning the economy around.

It's about putting in place the policies to sustain long-term growth: investments in research and technology, pro-growth tax reform, and sustainable energy policies.

By turning around President Bush's failed policies and restoring sound economic policies, the American economy will be able to generate the same income growth it achieved in the 1990s.

Every day that I served in the Army I had to make tough decisions about the security of our country -- sometimes life and death decisions.

And every day, I made these decisions based on one factor and one factor only: what is in the best interest of the United States of America. This is the leadership that I will bring to the White House.

We need to get back to the simple principle that it's the duty of leaders to look after the people they lead -- not just for themselves.

Most of us keep our part of that bargain -- we work hard, pay taxes, and play by the rules. But leaders have to keep their part of the bargain too -- and they have to expect to be held accountable.

As President, I promise that I'll never forget that. Working together, we're going to turn America around, one step at a time.

Thank you.

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Remarks On Rangel Endorsement and Child Poverty

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK
REMARKS ON RANGEL ENDORSEMENT AND CHILD POVERTY
HARLEM, NEW YORK
December 11, 2003

You know, I've been to a lot of places and visited with a lot people. But I've got to tell you: there's no place like New York.

This is the greatest city in the world.

Now, my wife grew up in Brooklyn. And Brooklyn's a great place.

But Harlem's got one thing Brooklyn doesn't - Charlie Rangel.

For more than three decades, Charlie has been a powerful voice for those who too often go unheard in the halls of Congress. And let me tell you, when Charlie talks, people listen.

He's been on the front lines of some of the toughest battles - from civil rights, to education, to health care.

So this summer, when I was deciding to run for president, there was one phone call I got that was particularly persuasive:

"General, this is Sergeant Charlie Rangel ..."

You know you're in good shape when you have Charlie on your side. He's been a great friend and trusted advisor. And I'm honored to have his endorsement.

These days, there's something Charlie and I spend a lot of time talking about: how George W. Bush has spent three years squandering everything we worked so hard to build.

Back in the 2000 campaign, he said he was going to create jobs...

He's lost them.

He said he was going to protect our environment...

He's polluted it.

He said he was going to leave no child behind...

Our schools are cash-starved, overcrowded, and failing.

He's says he believes in freedom...

But he appointed an Attorney General who spends his days taking our freedoms away.

He said he was going to have a humble foreign policy...

He's alienated nearly every one of our allies.

He said he was going to bring fiscal responsibility to Washington...

He's turned record surpluses into record deficits.

For three long years, President Bush has taken our country in one direction: the wrong direction.

And I'm running for president because I want to turn it around.

We need a president who can bring a lifetime of leadership experience to put America back on top again.

Someone who's been in the trenches and on the front lines.

Someone who doesn't just talk the talk, but walks the walk.

That's what I did every day as an officer in the U.S. Army. I fought to make sure that our soldiers had top notch health care. That their children had first-class schools and access to Headstart. That they had affordable housing and time with their families.

And no matter what challenge we faced, one thing was always true:

With the right plan, hard-working troops and good leadership, you can turn any situation around.

That's what I've been talking about this week: my Turnaround Plan for America - a plan to tackle our toughest domestic challenges and get our country moving forward again.

Today, I want to talk to you about one part of that plan -- my goal to lift two million American children out of poverty.

Under George W. Bush, here in the richest nation in the world, more than half a million children have sunk into poverty.

Right here in New York City, more than 25 percent of children live below the poverty line. That's one in four children in America's wealthiest city - living right in the shadow of Wall Street and Park Avenue.

The effects of growing up in poverty can last a lifetime. Studies show that poverty literally shaves points off a child's IQ score, and stunts their potential for learning.

We can - and must - do better.

And I've got a plan to turn it around.

My plan has three parts.

First, we need to create jobs and get the economy growing again, because we know that the best anti-poverty program is a job.

My Job Creation Plan will take back President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans - those earning more than $200,000 -- and use that money to jumpstart the economy and create jobs.

Second, we're going to make work pay. We can't expect people to provide for their families when their jobs don't provide for them.

That's why I'm going to raise the minimum wage to $7 an hour by 2007 and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, so that lower-income families are rewarded, not punished, for their work.

Third, we need to give people the tools they need to get out of poverty - and stay out. That's why my education plan guarantees access to preschool for every single American child. Why my health care plan guarantees access to affordable insurance for all Americans, and coverage for every single American child.

And why I'm going to make transportation, child care, and housing affordable to all working Americans.

Lifting two million children out of poverty is an ambitious goal. But I believe leaders need to set ambitious goals and work hard to achieve them.

That's what I will do as President.

Thank you.

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Remarks On Higher Education


GENERAL WESLEY CLARK
TURNAROUND PLAN FOR AMERICA
REMARKS ON HIGHER EDUCATION
NEW CASTLE, NH

December 10, 2003

It's great to be here today at Somersworth High School. Since before the Civil War, the doors of schools in this town have been open to anyone who wants to go through them.

That's what makes our public education system the best in the world - it's the idea that every single child in this country should get the opportunity to succeed.

The public schools of Little Rock, Arkansas gave me that chance. My teachers there inspired me to go to West Point and then to the Army, and every day I'm grateful for that. So we should all take time, every day, to recognize our teachers. And I want to start today. Thank you.

I know many of you, especially the seniors, have college on your mind. I know I did when I was your age. Getting into college these days is no easy feat. And paying for it is even harder.

But I was lucky. I knew I didn't have the money for college. But the military paid for my education -- and I paid them back by serving. It was the best deal going: I got to serve my country, got a great education, and didn't leave school with a pile of debt.

Every young person in American deserves that same opportunity. And that's what I'm here to talk to you about: giving every American child the chance to go to college.

Unfortunately, we're nowhere near that goal today.

Since President Bush took office, the cost of a public college education has jumped by 28 percent. That's a $1,032 increase -- the highest tuition increase on record.

Now for George Bush, this wasn't a problem. His folks weren't exactly scraping to get by. But today, because of him, too many of us are.

Back in the 2000 campaign, he said he was going to create jobs. He's lost them.

He said he was going to protect our environment. He's polluted it.

He said he was going to leave no child behind. Our schools are cash-starved, overcrowded, and failing.

He said he was going to have a humble foreign policy. He's alienated nearly every one of our allies.

He said he was going to bring fiscal responsibility to Washington. He's turned record surpluses into record deficits.

For three long years, President Bush has taken our country in one direction: the wrong direction.

And I'm running for president because I want to turn America around.

We need a president who can bring a lifetime of leadership experience to put America back on top again. Someone who's been in the trenches and on the frontlines. Someone who doesn't just talk the talk, but walks the walk.

And that's just what we did in the United State Military, where I served for thirty four years. Many people don't realize that Generals don't just wage wars. Most of the battles we fight are to make sure that our troops have the tools they need to succeed in their jobs and raise their children.

That's what I did every day as an officer in the U.S. Army. I fought to make sure that our soldiers had top notch health care. That their children had first-class schools and access to Headstart. That they had affordable housing and time with their families.

Of course, there were challenges. But no matter what we faced, one thing was always true: with the right plan, hard-working troops and good leadership, you can turn any situation around.

That's what I've been talking about this week: my Turnaround Plan for America - a plan to tackle our toughest domestic challenges and get our country moving forward again.

Today, I want to you about one part of that plan -- my goal for higher education in America.

A college education is the foundation of the American dream. And it pays off. Not just in knowledge, but in dollars. Studies show that for each additional year of higher you get, you earn 5 to 15 percent more. That's more than the average returns on stocks and bonds.

So today, we should be making it easier--not harder--for our kids to get the education they need to succeed in the 21^st century economy.

Unfortunately, too many young people don't even consider going to college because it's just too expensive.

Under President Bush, the cost for four-years of public higher education has risen by 28 percent. Just this July, the University of New Hampshire tuition increased by nearly 7 percent. And the typical student graduates from there with $20,000 in debt.

What's going on here?

I'll tell you.

It starts with President Bush's irresponsible tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans - those earning more than $200,000 a year. They've plunged many states into record-breaking debt, forcing them to balance their budgets on the backs of students.

It gets worse. Pell Grants and other types of student aid have not kept pace with the rising cost of tuition - and they're increasingly difficult to get. Students who want financial assistance have to fill out a 108 line form - and that's just the beginning of a long, bureaucratic process.

This is unacceptable. Our students should be studying for classes -- not studying how to pay for them. We have the best higher education system in the world, but that doesn't matter if so few Americans can afford to enroll.

Today, I want to announce my plan to turn that around. My Universal College Plan will enable every single American to attend college without going bankrupt.

I pledge to you that by the end of my first term in office, one million additional students will gain access to higher education.

My plan has four parts.

First, we will provide $6,000 a year for the first two years of college to any student whose family earns $100,000 or less. That's double the federal grant students currently get -- and it covers more than 100 percent of the tuition and fees for the average four-year public university.

Second, we've got to make it easier for student to apply for financial aid. I'll streamline the application process, so students only have to fill out one form for Pell Grants and Hope Scholarships.

This will make it much easier for more students to get the aid they need.

Third, we have to help cash-starved states with tuition costs. Right now, President Bush's tax cuts have put states in the red, forcing them to raise tuition prices just to stay afloat. That's why state tuition increases are twice as high as private ones.

My plan sends state and local governments $40 billion to help fix their fiscal crises, and get tuition costs under control.

Finally, my plan helps working families save for college by giving tax credits to working families, those who have the hardest time putting money away.

Enrolling one million more Americans in college is an ambitious goal. But I believe leaders need to set ambitious goals and work hard to achieve them.

That's what I will do as President.

Working together, we will ensure that more of our children go to college. We will turn America around, one student at a time. Thank you.

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Families First: Tax Reform Plan

More on Women issues

GENERAL WESLEY K. CLARK
REMARKS FOR
FAMILIES FIRST: TAX REFORM PLAN
NASHUA, NEW HAMPSHIRE

January 5, 2004

I am so glad to here with all of you today. I want to begin by thanking the Nashua Community Action Association for all the great work you do every day for New Hampshire families -- from providing Head Start for our children to administering nutrition programs for our seniors. This forum has become a New Hampshire tradition, dating back to 1976, when you helped elect another southern Democrat to the White House. I hope to continue that fine tradition. I am running for president to bring a higher standard of leadership back to Washington.

Today, I'm here to talk to you about the great moral crisis we face here in America: how in the wealthiest country in the world, so many of our families are struggling to make ends meet. And I'm here to say that, as Democrats, the time for us to be timid or silent about this problem is over.

There are many reasons why millions of working families today can barely get by. But there is one problem that we can solve if we have the courage and the political will to tackle it -- America's unfair and complicated tax system.

Over the last two decades, the tax system has become more regressive, as the share of taxes paid by the richest Americans has decreased significantly. Twenty-five years ago, the wealthiest Americans paid a 70% tax rate. Today, they pay half of that -- 35%. And the share of total taxes paid by U.S. corporations has dropped by nearly fifty percent. And where has the burden of this dramatic reversal fallen? On working families and the hardest-pressed Americans.

In countless homes tonight, after the kids have gone to bed, hard working parents will look at each other across the kitchen table, and they'll wonder how they will make ends meet. How they will pay the bills, clothe their children, care for an elderly parent - and still have enough left over to enjoy a night at the movies, or save a few dollars for the future.

I believe those who work hard and excel should be rewarded. But I also believe that all Americans must pay their fair share in the burden of preserving our country. Freedom is not free - all of us benefit from the liberty and laws of our great nation, and the protections bestowed by our Constitution - and all of us have a responsibility to contribute our fair share.

For years now, Republicans have campaigned under the banners of tax reform and family values. But for them, tax reform is all too often a cover for giving huge tax breaks to the families of the wealthiest Americans. They don't care if it's fair to working families ... if it makes the tax code more complicated ... or if it explodes the deficit. That's simply unacceptable.

It's time for Democrats to take back tax reform as our issue, and we're going to do it the right way. Rather than creating new loopholes for special interests, we're going to simplify the tax system and make it easier and fairer for all working Americans. It's a matter of seeing what's right for America - and having the courage to demand it. And I will.

That's why today, I am proposing the most sweeping tax reform this nation has seen in years. My tax reform proposal is simple: those who make the most should pay more. Those who make the least should pay less. Under my plan, families of four making under $50,000 will not have to pay a single penny in federal income tax. And all taxpaying families with children making under $100,000 will get a tax cut.

Right now, the sad fact is that too many Americans are working harder and harder and earning less and less. Under George W. Bush, the typical working family has seen its income fall by nearly $1,500. Compare that to the eight years under President Clinton, when the typical family saw its income rise by $7,200.

What's George Bush's solution to this? He's given us three tax cuts that have disproportionately benefited the richest Americans. This year alone, the richest Americans - those making more than $1 million - are getting an average tax break of $128,000. So while working families have seen their bank accounts shrink, the President has worked overtime to help the richest Americans get richer.

You know, the Republicans always accuse the Democrats of engaging in class warfare - of pitting the poor against the rich, and using income to divide people. Well, maybe they should take a look in the mirror.

As the New Hampshire native, Daniel Webster, once said, "The freest government cannot long endure ... a rapid accumulation of property in the hands of a few ... rendering the masses poor and dependent." I think it's fair to say that Webster would not be pleased with George Bush's America.

And it's not as if family expenses have gone down with incomes over the last three years. Just the opposite. As incomes have fallen, expenses have gone up - way up.

And America's working families are bearing the brunt of this. For the last three years, they've gotten the short end of the stick. Their incomes are down and their bills are up. To put it in perspective: Since 1970, the economy has more than doubled in size, but not all families have benefited from that growth. In fact, the vast majority of families, the bottom ninety percent, have actually seen their incomes fall an average of two percent -- while the top one tenth of one percent of American families have seen their incomes go up by 357 percent.

To make matters worse, parents are working two and three jobs and longer hours than ever before -- and they are getting less in return. And too many families are feeling the strain. Research shows that compared to 1969, parents have 22 fewer hours per week to spend with their children. That's not a recipe for building strong families--it's a recipe for trouble. And I'm going to do something about it.

President Bush hasn't exactly helped matters. In fact, he's only made things worse. In the last three years, three million private sector jobs have disappeared. 44 million Americans are without health insurance. Property taxes have gone up. And with tuition up 28 percent, the fastest increase on record, many more can't afford to send their children to college. That's just plain wrong.

I know how hard all this can be. My father died when I was about four years old, leaving behind $450 in savings. My mom had to raise me all alone. She got a job as a secretary in a bank and worked hard every day just to provide the basic necessities. We never had much, but we somehow made ends meet.

When you work so hard - in the wealthiest country in the world -- you shouldn't be struggling to get by. That's not right. That's not fair. But that's the reality of George Bush's tax system and his vision of America. It's a system stacked against working families and the hardest-pressed Americans.

George Bush claimed he would reform America's tax system. Instead, he used the rhetoric of reform as an excuse to pass tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, while shortchanging working families. On top of that, he's created a system that is now more complicated than ever before. You practically need to be an accountant just to figure out where to put your name and address.

The bottom line: our tax system is broken. And I want to fix it. The Republicans are always talking about family values. It's time in America that we started valuing families. It's time we put America's families first again.

The week I announced my candidacy, I said that reforming America's tax system would be one of my top priorities. And I promised that I would create a new system with real tax reform that was simpler, fairer, more progressive, and more pro-growth - and I'd do it all without increasing the deficit one dime.

My sweeping tax reform plan meets every one of these values. It's called "Families First." Because that's exactly what it does. It will overhaul our tax system so that all Americans pay their fair share. It will reduce poverty. It will encourage families to work and save, so we can be a richer, more prosperous nation. And it will do all this while protecting our most pressing priorities - education, health care, and national security.

First, as I said before, families of four making under $50,000 a year will stop paying income taxes altogether. They will literally not owe a single penny in income taxes to the United States government.

Right now, a married couple with two children that earns $50,000 pays $1,500 in income taxes. At a time when we're giving giant tax cuts to the richest Americans, that's simply not fair.

Under my plan, working Americans will get to keep that $1,500 - and put it to good use. On average, $1,500 is enough for five months of groceries, 7 months of health care premiums, or a year of electricity and gas bills. That's not pocket change.

Second, my tax reform plan will give a tax cut to all taxpaying families with children making under $100,000, because all working families are being squeezed by George W. Bush's economy.

Third, my tax reform plan will reward work by building on the Earned Income Tax Credit -- helping millions of America's hardest-pressed families. It will help these families go to work by paying for childcare, transportation, and other work-related expenses. As a result, hundreds of thousands of children will be lifted out of poverty.

Finally, my plan will simplify the tax process, eliminating dozens of pages of forms and boiling hundreds of pages of the tax code down to one easy-to-use form. With this new system, you can figure out whether or not you need to pay taxes just by filling out three lines.

The first line is your income. The second line is your marital status. The third line is the number of children you have. And if it all adds up to $50,000 or less and two children or more, then you should put away your checkbook - because you won't owe the government a dime in income taxes. Right now, that same family would have to cut a check for $1,500.

And you won't even need to send this new three-line form to the IRS, because under my plan, more than half of America's taxpayers won't need to file any tax forms at all. Now of course, if you want to fill out the form, you're welcome to - but you won't be forced to.

My tax reform plan will help hard working American families from all walks of life.

People like Lance and Leah Adams from Jaffrey, who are here with us today. Lance is a construction site supervisor and earns $42,000 a year. Leah develops a website for a non-profit organization. She makes $3,500 a year - just enough to pay for day care for their two children, Sophie and Owen. My tax reform plan is designed for families like the Adams. Under my plan, they won't pay a dime of income tax. Instead, they'll receive a check from the U.S. government, for a total tax break of $1,500.

As I stressed earlier, my tax reform plan is fiscally responsible. It will restore fairness to the tax system without increasing our deficit by one iota. Instead, the tax relief for America's working and hard-pressed families will be paid for by taking the following two steps:

First, I will close corporate loopholes that give companies tax breaks for moving their headquarters and revenue overseas. Believe it or not, the way our tax system is structured, American corporations actually get paid in tax benefits when they move their headquarters offshore to islands like Bermuda and the Grand Caymans. Companies like Enron -- which recently took advantage of loopholes and gimmicks to get $2 billion dollars in tax savings. That's plain wrong.

My plan will take these tax breaks away, helping keep jobs where they belong -- in the USA. And my plan will guarantee that companies here in America pay their fair share in taxes, so that working families get the tax relief they need.

Second, under my tax reform plan, those families with incomes greater than $1 million a year will pay a five percentage point higher tax rate, only on the amount they earn over a million dollars a year. These families will have to pay their fair share - but their tax rates will be far short of what they were a generation ago.

This plan is fair. This plan is just. This plan won't increase the deficit.

So if Karl Rove is watching today, I want him to hear me loud and clear: I am going to provide tax cuts to ease the burdens for 31 million American families -- and lift hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty -- by raising the taxes on 0.1 percent of families -- those who make more than $1,000,000 a year. And if that makes me an "old style" Democrat, then, I accept that label with pride and dare you to come after me for it. Because what I am talking about today is in the best tradition of Wilson and Roosevelt; of JFK, LBJ, and Bill Clinton - and it is in the best interest of the United States of America!

But let's also be clear: this is not old style "tax and spend." 99.9 percent of Americans will not have to pay this extra rate. And it can only be used toward tax relief for America's working and hard-pressed families. Not a penny will go to increase government spending.

And families making $50,000 a year will still be paying payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, and sales and property taxes to help fund their neighborhood schools and police departments.

Let me conclude by saying this: the tax system under George W. Bush is broken. It's going to take a sharp and steady scalpel to remove the problems. My tax reform plan will do that, while protecting American values.

It's simpler. The majority of American families will no longer need to fill out any tax forms.

It's fairer. It will end the penalty on working families, who receive less of a tax break for their children than the wealthiest Americans.

It's more progressive. Under President Bush, the tax code has given huge tax cuts to the richest Americans, as working families have seen their incomes drop. My plan will reverse this trend, and help restore the standard of one America, where all families share in the promise of opportunity for those who are willing to work hard for it.

It's more pro-growth. My plan will reward the most hard-pressed Americans who work, but are scraping to get by. And by giving them the ability to buy the goods and services they need for growing families, we'll raise the overall level of economic activity in America - benefiting each and every one of us.

It won't expand the deficit, because reforming the tax code shouldn't be an excuse to increase the burden on our children and grandchildren.

It builds on the plans for our families that I've laid out so far. My health care plan to expand health insurance to an additional thirty million Americans, including every single American child. My job creation plan to take back the tax cuts George Bush gave to the wealthiest Americans and use that money to create jobs. And my higher education plan to help an additional one million Americans enroll in college.

Finally, and most importantly, my tax reform plan will put families first. To me, that's the most fundamental American value, and the one that will guide everything I do as president.

We need a higher standard of leadership in America. One that puts America's interests above the special interests. One that promotes open, honest government, and holds its leaders accountable, with real, measurable goals. And not just for the next election, but for the next generation.

I'm running for president to bring that higher standard of leadership back to the White House. To make the tough choices. To bring the values of family, faith, patriotism, and inclusion to Washington. And I hope you will support me. Together, we can turn America around.

Thank you very much.

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For Immediate Release
Date: January 14, 2004

Clark To Bush: Leave Science to the Scientists

Little Rock - The Washington Post reported today that the Bush Administration has altered a scientific report on racial disparities in health care to make the findings sound more upbeat than the authors of the study intended.

The article finds that "top administration officials" played down the extent of the inequality and eliminated reference to it as a "national problem."

Wes Clark criticized the changes made by politicians:

"The Bush Administration has a disturbing pattern of tampering with information when it doesn't tell Americans what he wants them to hear. They did it with global warming, they did it with birth control, and they did it with the intelligence on Iraq. Now they're doing it with health care. Mr. President, leave science to the scientists.

"We need a leader who's willing to face the facts even when they're not convenient. My health care plan will address the minority health disparity, which is a national disgrace. The infant mortality rate for African-Americans, American Indians and Puerto Ricans is two and a half times greater than for white Americans. The rate of diabetes is also twice as high for African-Americans. We should deal with these problems instead of pretending they don't exist."

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Speech 029

General Wesley K. Clark
Remarks on Counter-Terrorism

Concord, NH
January 14, 2004

(As prepared for delivery)

Thank you President Hutson for that kind introduction and for having me here today at the Franklin Pierce Law Center. It's always nice to be on the same stage with a fellow officer - even if you are a Navy man. I'd also like to thank the faculty and students for peeling themselves away from their books for a little politics. I know you don't get enough of it up here.

Two years ago, our nation was rocked by a tragedy so horrific that you'd be hard pressed to find an American who didn't remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when it happened.

The world we knew on September 10, 2001 seems to be gone. In its place is a new world: one where the threat of terrorism looms large - in our subways, on our airplanes, at our harbors.

The effects of that day are indelibly stamped on nearly every aspect of American life.

At home, two weeks ago, we rang in the New Year at terror alert code orange. Once again, we were a nation on edge, looking over our shoulders for the smallest sign of danger.

Abroad, we are a nation at war. In total, more than 130,000 service men and women are still on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our all-volunteer Army is stretched almost to the breaking point. And since September 11th, our nation has buried almost 600 soldiers, and more than 10,000 have been wounded.

Two years after 9-11, the war on terrorism is far from over.

Like most Americans, and like most of America's allies, I rallied behind President Bush in the weeks and months after 9-11, eager for him to lead our country through a time of crisis. I supported him when he grabbed that bullhorn at Ground Zero and when he stood before a Joint Session of Congress in late September 2001.

But today, despite his tough talk, George Bush still hasn't finished the job he started. Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda network are still at large. Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban, is still on the loose, and al Qaeda seems to still be a functional organization. New terrorist cells have been formed and old ones reinvigorated. The Administration's failure to create the conditions for stability in Afghanistan have left the nation with a resurging Taliban presence and the warlords are gaining renewed strength. And opium production, which al Qaeda uses to fund its efforts, is back on the rise.

At home, two years after 9-11, America remains insufficiently protected from terrorist attacks. Our borders, ports, critical infrastructure, and nuclear facilities are vulnerable targets, and our cash-starved states can't afford the first-responders we need to keep our communities safe.

Like many Americans, I've lost faith in our Commander in Chief. He has failed to lead effectively and honestly, and every day, Americans live at risk because of his failures.

After September 11th, we witnessed one of the greatest showings of solidarity in world history - including nearly every Muslim nation. Today, with brash arrogance, we've alienated almost every single one of them, including some of our oldest allies. We've gone from a world united with us against terrorism to a world deeply divided and increasingly hostile toward America.

Even worse, recent polls show that today, in a stark reversal, many citizens of Muslim countries think more highly of Osama bin Laden than they do of George W. Bush and the United States.

The bottom line: George Bush hasn't done his job. Al Qaeda is at large. Our world is more divided. Our reputation has been compromised. Our homeland is unnecessarily at-risk. We can - and we must - do better.

In this election, the question we need to ask ourselves is simple: Have we done all we can do to make America safe? Have we used our resources wisely to ensure success in the years ahead?

The answer I'm finding in city after city, stop after stop, is a resounding "no."

The question now is who has the best vision to make America safer four years from today.

I am running for president to take on terrorism, to stomp out the al Qaeda network, and protect America at home and abroad. Because we need a higher standard of leadership in America. One that puts the nation's interests above political interests. Not one that puts old rivalries above new threats.

Within days of the September 11th attacks, President Bush pinned responsibility on Al Qaeda and the Taliban regime. He called them murderers and vowed that the United States would retaliate. And we did. President Bush declared that our forces would "smoke [Al Qaeda] out of their holes" and would get bin Laden dead or alive.

But instead of ferreting out Al Qaeda, the Bush Administration militarized the war on terror. He pulled a world class bait and switch, and turned America's attention, energy and resources to Iraq. In fact, it's been months since Mr. Bush has even mentioned Osama bin Laden. The only name we hear is Saddam Hussein, and the only country we hear about is Iraq. And according to former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, this isn't a coincidence: The Bush Administration starting planning their actions against Iraq during their first days in the White House - long before the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and despite being warned that our greatest threat was Osama bin Laden, not Saddam Hussein.

But diverting our attention from al Qaeda hasn't made the problem go away. Ending the dictatorship in Iraq has not gained us ground against a loose but lethal network of jihadists that now reside in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. On the contrary, there have been more Al Qaeda operations in the last several months than in any comparable period - in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Morocco.

The Bush Administration says that rooting out terrorism is going to be a "long, hard slog." I agree. Quashing terrorism is not easy. And if we continue with George W. Bush, the slog is going to be a lot longer and harder than necessary.

Today, I'm announcing my strategy to fight terrorism, destroy al Qaeda, and protect America. My counter terrorism plan has three parts: first, a concerted effort to reengage our allies and work with the Islamic world; second, an all out offensive to destroy al Qaeda wherever it remains; and third, a strong homeland security to defend America's borders.

First, we need to isolate terrorists rather than isolating ourselves. We can't win the war unilaterally or by military force alone. That means we must restore the alliance that the Bush Administration has spent the last three years undercutting. As President, I will launch a new Atlantic Charter with our European allies to meet the new threats of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and strengthen our response to the old threats that are still with us. The central premise of the Charter will be a commitment from all to work together as a first, not last resort.

If necessary, America will always reserve the right to act alone in defense of our country. But the only way to win the war against the al Qaeda network is to work cooperatively with our friends and allies - and to only rely on force as a last resort. We need to have every government in the civilized world energized to stop al Qaeda operatives in their tracks, keep them from recruiting, raising money or operating on their territory, and alleviating the conditions that have promoted the rise of terrorism in the first place. Achieving full cooperation from the international community is not a military mission. It is a matter of law, diplomacy and persuasion. That is what I will work toward as president - developing real partnerships -- partnerships where nations use intelligence, law-enforcement and financial means to stop the al Qaeda network.

We need to broaden NATO's scope so that it's more than a military alliance. It must truly live up to its charter and strategic concept - helping to harmonize laws, track proliferation and anti-proliferation efforts, and help focus worldwide counterterrorism efforts. This means enhancing NATO's structure to be able to deal with the full array of intelligence and legal, commercial, and law enforcement activities essential to detecting, identifying, detaining and prosecuting terrorists, their networks of supporters, and those who would proliferate weapons of mass destruction. And, if necessary, it means mustering the national and international resolve essential to employing military forces as a last resort.

Using NATO as our focal point, we must reach out to and engage the Islamic world. For example, Saudi Arabia must accept its responsibilities to halt the invective of hatred and disassemble the terrorist financing networks. Working with NATO and other interested governments, the Saudis should realign their policies to promote greater internal economic development based on effective secular education and greater opening to the West.

We must put special effort into our policy toward the Muslim world. The fight against terrorism is their fight as much as it is ours. Instead of alienating people and nations in that part of the world, as the Bush Administration has done, we should work together, as a united front, against al Qaeda to identify, target, and disrupt terrorist organizations and the finance and logistical efforts behind them. And we should be working in favor of reforms that will undercut the abilities of any remaining terrorists.

But there is no country whose future will be more important in the war against al Qaeda than Pakistan. Right now, we know that the Taliban and al Qaeda are operating beyond the rule of law in Pakistan. We know that Pakistani laboratories are responsible for selling nuclear weapons technology to Iran and North Korea. And we know that many religious schools there, the radical madrassas, are educating tens of thousands for Jihad in Kashmir and against the United States.

We must present President Musharaff of Pakistan with a clear choice: either work with America and the civilized world to defeat al Qaeda and stop the proliferation of nuclear technology -- or become another outlaw nation. Recent events indicate that Pakistani leaders may be ready for a real break with the past, and I encourage them to continue down that path.

Early in my Administration, I will invite President Musharaff to Washington to meet with me and with congressional leaders. In those meetings, I will offer a dramatic multi-billion dollar assistance program and a new relationship with America.

But this new relationship and new assistance will require real change by the government. No longer will we turn a blind eye to nuclear technology exports. No longer will we ignore the religious schools that preach hate and justify terrorism. And no longer will we accept weakness as an excuse not to go into the outlying provinces to root out al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Second, we have to recognize that even with the full weight of international law, diplomacy, and law enforcement, some use of military force may still be necessary. In that event, I have a plan to take the offensive and extinguish al Qaeda once and for all. To do this right, we will have to bring our allies in so that they are as committed to success as we are. Today, because the reputation of the United States is at an all-time low, many countries around the world have resisted the presence of special operations forces on their territory. Others have refused American troops because the United States has not sought international legitimacy for its actions.

To address this problem, we will ask NATO to create a combined Joint Counter-Terrorism Strike-Force, composed of forces from NATO members and nations outside the alliance, including Arab countries like Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as South Africa, Singapore, and the Philippines. The Strike Force's number one mission will be to seek out, capture and destroy al Qaeda operatives and their associates. It will be built using same combined joint task force concept developed by NATO during the 1990s.

The first mission of this new Joint Counter-Terrorism Strike Force will be to take down Osama bin Laden. With help from Arab countries, who may have intelligence and access that Americans can't get, I will send that Strike Force into the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan where most believe bin Laden is holed up and where he and his deputies continue to order terrorist attacks. I will work directly with other countries and our military to refocus our energies where they should have been all along: on capturing or killing those who committed the attacks on September 11 and making sure they can never, never attack our country again.

Third and finally, we can't be secure abroad unless we're secure at home. Right now, two years after September 11th, we're short on homeland security and long on homeland insecurity. While we've taken steps to protect our borders, we have not gone far enough to protect our citizens.

We've manned our airplanes with marshals and beefed up security at airports, but other points of entry are still wide open. Our borders to the north and south are guarded inconsistently. Most packages and freight soar right through customs without the slightest inspection. Most bridges, tunnels, and nuclear power plants are completely unguarded. And a litany of federal mandates have been passed on to the states without a dime of federal funding - forcing states to cut their programs to pay for the exorbitant costs of police, firefighters, and other first responders. To put it in perspective, every time we go to higher state of alert, it costs cities $70 million dollars a week, money they desperately need during this economic downturn for everything from schools to health care.

What has the Bush Administration done to protect the homeland? They've shortchanged vital areas of homeland security -- providing little of the funding needed for our police, fire fighters, and other first responders. And they haven't done enough to secure our most vulnerable facilities. The result is continuing vulnerability on nearly every front. Right now, for example, there are at least 123 chemical facilities in the United States that can literally be turned into weapons of mass destruction, producing plumes of deadly vapor clouds capable of injuring or killing more than a million people. As president, I will not rest until Americans are safe from the threat of terrorism.

We will set high standards in cyber security, in bio-weapons defense, and in critical infrastructure protection. And my Homeland Economic Security Fund will invest $40 billion dollars to directly fund jobs that immediately improve our security. The fund will improve our defenses against terrorist attacks by paying to train more firefighters and police officers, and to hire more Coast Guard, Customs Service and law enforcement personnel. It will also pay for construction projects to safeguard bridges, ports and tunnels, and fund high-tech efforts to develop ways to detect nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and materials.

As part of my national security strategy, I will also implement a new national service program called the Civilian Reserves. In the aftermath of the attacks of September 11th, people were asking what they could do to help their country. Here in New Hampshire, people lined up to give blood until the blood banks said "no more." In times like those, we see a tremendous desire on the part of Americans to volunteer, but we have no way of organizing their efforts, cultivating their talents, and utilizing them where they are needed most. The Civilian Reserves will reinvigorate that American ethic of service, tap our vast reservoir of skill, and call millions more Americans to duty. The Civilian Reserves will work in partnership with professional first responders and other non-profit and non-governmental organizations.

America has always had the power to confront the threat from al Qaeda. But instead of using law, diplomacy, economics and military means to defeat this threat, our will and our energy have been focused on Iraq. While still ensuring success in Iraq, I will return America's focus to the more urgent threat from al Qaeda.

With help from others, with a new relationship with key Islamic countries, with a strong homeland defense, and with the power of our military and joint operations, I pledge to you today that we will prevail in our fight against global terrorism. I will bring a higher standard of leadership to America, leadership that will win the war on terrorism while living up to our ideals, and retaining the respect of the world.

Thank you.

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Establishing an Openness Doctrine

Hot Topics

In sharp contrast to the Bush Administration's policy of governing in secret, the Clark campaign launched an online reading room, where anyone who wants to see Clark's records can access them at any time.

Americans expect a higher standard of leadership. Wes Clark has provided that by putting his personal documents, including his voter registration information, and his financial records, including his tax returns for the last five years, on the web for all to see. 

Plus, Clark will reverse the Bush Administration's secrecy policies and Clark pledges to make his administration the most open presidency in history:

Reverse Bush Secrecy Policies:

Establish an Openness Doctrine:

Check out the online reading room.

Quote of the Day

"It's time President Bush played it straight with the American people. President Bush has shut the people out of government and told them they have no right to know what he says to special interests in the Oval Office. As president, my administration will be an open book. We need a higher standard of leadership in Washington."

- Wes Clark

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reuters.com

Democrat Clark Pledges Prescription Drug Reform

Fri January 23, 2004 07:05 PM ET
By John Crawley

MANCHESTER, N.H. (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark promised on Friday to force pharmaceutical companies to reimburse taxpayers when they use federal subsidies to develop profitable prescription drugs.

In a proposal announced at a health care forum ahead of the first U.S. presidential primary on Tuesday, the retired Army general challenged drug companies to lower their prices.

"Prescription costs are rising faster than any other medical expenditure," Clark said to loud applause.

Medical coverage is a pressing issue in this year's campaign, and all the major candidates have unveiled proposals to cover most of the more than 40 million uninsured Americans. No one, however, is offering an overhaul similar to the sweeping plan that failed during the Clinton administration.

Clark illustrated his own experiences -- shot during combat Vietnam and operations to remove his tonsils and thyroid -- to set up his plan to offer universal coverage for children and fully fund benefits for veterans. Other candidates have advanced similar initiatives.

While Clark previously discussed his options for child and veterans coverage, most of his prescription drug plan was new, a top aide said.

"What I cannot tolerate is subsidizing prescription drug companies at the price of health care for Americans. What I cannot tolerate is what pharmaceutical companies are doing with their taxpayer subsidies," Clark said in one of his most forceful speeches this week on policy proposals.

Clark said he would direct the Health and Human Services Department to audit drug companies to gauge the impact of federal research subsidies on the development of profitable prescription drugs. If necessary, Clark said he would force these businesses to reimburse taxpayers.

The Arkansas Democrat also said he would permit the re-importation of prescription drugs from Canada and other western nations with strict quality standards and would speed the introduction of generics into the market.

Additionally, Clark would allow the government to negotiate bulk discounts for prescription drugs. The Medicare prescription drug bill passed by Congress and signed by President Bush prohibits this.

Clark's health care proposals came as he tried to boost his standing in the polls, which have him running third behind front-runner John Kerry, a Massachusetts senator, and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.

He is training his focus on domestic issues, perceived as a weaknesses compared with his foreign policy experience and military credentials.

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