Sunday, September 12, 2004

The Arizona Republic : Bush, Kerry pitch their anti-terror plans - Candidates differing on style and ideology

The Arizona RepublicSept. 12, 2004 12:00 AM

When it comes to fighting terrorism, President Bush and Sen. John Kerry are poles - and polls - apart, a division that may prove crucial to the country's about 150 million registered voters in November.

"Is there any other issue?" asks Steven Schier, a political scientist and author of High Risk and Big Ambition. "We're seeing both campaigns converge on national security. ... It's the doorway issue. If you're not good enough on that, you're ignored.

"Differences between George W. Bush and John Kerry are a matter of style as well as ideology.

The president is a hardheaded Texas executive who makes quick and permanent judgments, filtered through a conservative Republican philosophy. In the post-9/11 era, Bush set out to fight back first and worry about legalities and diplomacy later.

Kerry, the contemplative New Englander, weighs each move on a scale that shifts among personal ideals, the Democratic left and public opinion. He, too, has pressed the war on terror, but with reservations about constitutional rights, world backing and costs.

National-security analysts and leadership experts say that pretty much sums up the choice voters face Nov. 2. Campaign spinners use more bare-knuckle language.

(click on the title for the whole article)

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