Lehrer: Senator, the first question goes to you. Should you be president?
Kerry: Yes, of course I should. But first I want to thank you, the President, this university, the state of Florida, and everyone who had anything to do with this debate. Now let me say, I should be president because I'm tough. And I'm tough because I served in Vietnam. I love America. I will defend America from the terrorists with my secret plan. In fact, fourcount 'em, four!military men support me for president. I'll even name them. It won't take long.
Bush: I thank everyone too and my prayers go with the people of Florida. September 11 changed everything. Freedom is good. Need to fight hatred. Making progress. Hard work. Negativism sends wrong message to our troops, our allies, and the Iraqi people.
Kerry: We don't have enough money for our troops in the Middle East. And I know what its like to be in combatI was in 'Nam. If President Bush sends money to the troops, we won't be able to pour money into our failed welfare state at home in exchange for votes. But I have a secret plan. I want to make sure we're spending money and redistributing wealth away from those who earn it.
Bush: Hard work. Making progress. Vociferously. Freedom good. Must fight hatred. My opponent sends the wrong message to our troops, our allies, and the Iraqi people.
Lehrer: Senator, where do you stand on preemptive war?
Kerry: I believe in preemptive war. But it has to pass a global test. That's why I have a secret plan. I will never give a veto over American security to any country. But we should go to the U.N. first. And pass the global warming treaty. I will bring in our allies with my secret plan. Except for Tony Blair who I sneer at. I mean, he didn't even serve in Vietnam…like I did.
Bush: It's hard, hard, really hard work. But I'm up to it. And we're making progress. Can't have freedom and terrorism. Just freedom. Gotta fight hatred. And show consistent support for our troops, our allies, and the Iraqi people.
Lehrer: Senator, what about Iraq?
Kerry: Going to Iraq after 9/11 would be like Franklin Roosevelt sending troops to Germany after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Yes, Saddam Hussein was a threat. But he didn't have anything to threaten us with. I will take determined action. And I will kill terrorists. But only the ones who flew the planes on 9/11. Not all the other ones who are still alive and trying to destroy this country and all we stand for. I will do this with my secret plan. And by holding meetings. Lots of meetings. With our allies, with the U.N., even with the states that sponsor the terrorists. Maybe we could sanction somebody. How about a sanction? What, we did already? Well, how 'bout we sanction them again? We could send inspectors. Or pass another resolution. No one can stand up against 20 resolutions, can they? That would get an "F" on the global test.
Bush: Fighting hatred. Making progress. Need freedom. Hard, hard work. [Turns paper over and then back again.] Is my 90 seconds up yet, Jim?
Lehrer: Senator Kerry, do you have a consistent position on Iraq?
Kerry: I have taken many positions over the years, including a crouching position while I served in combat in Vietnam. But all of these positions are really just the same position. That's the difference. With President Bush you just get more of the same. But if I'm president, I'll take so many positions, one of them is bound to be right. That's the essence of my secret plan.
Bush: Jim, can I go off topic and appeal to women voters by not being divisive or serious? I just want to say for a moment what a great dad the Senator is. A great dad. No comment about the wife, though.
Kerry: I really appreciate that. And I just want to say what fine girls those Bush twins are. I'll be keeping an eye on them, if you know what I mean.
Bush: I do know. It gets lonely traveling around this great land of ours. That's why I tried to love a widow in Charlotte, North Carolina the best that I could.
Lehrer: Uh, new question, gentlemen. What's the biggest threat we face?
Bush: The biggest threat we face are weapons in the hands of terrorists.
Kerry: Yes, the biggest threat we face are weapons in the hands of Americans and terrorists. You see, whether we use weapons to subjugate and kill innocent people, or use weapons to defend the noble cause of freedom, it's really all the same.
Lehrer: What about North Korea?
Kerry: We should have bilateral talks.
Bush: We should have multilateral talks.
Lehrer: Okay. Closing statements.
Kerry: I was in Vietnam and that's why I deserve to be president. Whatever I did in the thirty years after returning from Vietnam isn't important right now. I won't even mention what it was. But once I'm president, I will unveil my secret plan. Then money will rain from the sky to solve all of our problems and everyone in the global community will love us again. That's one thing I've been consistent on tonight.
Bush: I don't need to make the case for war in Iraq. Or why the thugs and wimps who run the U.N. can't be trusted. Or why as the lone superpower in the world we will always contribute the largest portion of troops and funding to any effort on behalf of freedom. Or even mention September You-Know-What more than once tonight. All I need to tell you is that I'm the President. We will win because I say so. And I stick by everything I say. That's why I gave the same answer to every question tonight.
Lehrer: Thank you and good night.