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CAMPAIGN 2000 A USER'S GUIDE

Gore vs. Bush

March 19, 2000

They're questioning each other's qualifications and truthfulness, but here's what Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore are saying on some key issues:

"If you look at his risky [tax cut] scheme, it raises again the serious and pointed question: Does Gov. Bush have the experience to be president?"

--Gore on Bush

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"This is a person who will say anything to get elected, even if it clouds the truth." --Bush on Gore

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ABORTION

Bush: Would allow only in the cases of rape, incest or when a woman's life is in jeopardy. Supports Republican platform position calling for a constitutional amendment banning abortion. Says he would nominate "strict constructionists" to the Supreme Court, taken by some to mean justices open to abortion restrictions.

Gore: Abortion is a "fundamental personal right." Supports Medicaid abortion financing despite past statements to the contrary. Has not committed to nominating only Supreme Court justices who share his views on abortion but has said: "I will protect a woman's right to choose." *

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

Bush: Opposes racial preferences. Supports Texas law requiring public universities to admit the top 10% of every high school's graduating class.

Gore: Criticized efforts to roll back affirmative action.

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CHILD CARE

Bush: Says tax relief would allow parents to pay for child care. Supports unspecified extra spending on after-school programs.

Gore: Proposes spending $5 billion annually to expand preschool programs and allocating $2.3 billion over four years to expand Head Start. Supports subsidies and tax credits for low-income families and mothers at home. Supports expanded family leave law to cover employees in firms with 25 or more workers.

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DEFENSE

Bush: Supports increasing weapon research and development spending by $20 billion over five years. Favors spending an extra $1 billion a year to raise military salaries beyond recent pay increase.

Gore: Favors increasing spending by $127 billion over the next decade.

*EDUCATION

Bush: Proposes creating a $500-million fund in first five years to reward states that improve student performance, as measured by a national sampling test or an equivalent. In states where test scores lag, he would shift 5% of federal education financing to charter schools. Would guarantee $3 billion in loans in two years to help build 2,000 charter schools.

Gore: Would spend $3 billion annually to help reduce class sizes nationally to no more than 20 students for all grades. Favors awarding grants to states to build smaller high schools. Proposes raises of as much as $5,000 for qualified teachers in poor and rural areas, and an extra $5,000 in pay for "master teachers" meeting even higher standards in those areas.

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ENVIRONMENT

Bush: Supports the exist-ing limited moratorium on California and Florida offshore oil drilling. Favors unspecified increase in spending on conservation. Opposes Kyoto Protocol, which aims to reduce global warming by cutting down on six "greenhouse gases."

Gore: Favors a ban on all new offshore oil drilling in federal waters off Florida and California. Supports spending $2 billion over 10 years to set aside more parkland, paying for it with new mining royalties from federal lands. Supports and helped negotiate Kyoto Protocol. The treaty is supported by President Clinton but has not been ratified by the Senate.

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FOREIGN POLICY

Bush: Unlike the Clinton-Gore administration, would define the relationship between China and U.S. as one of competitors, not strategic partners. Suggests crises not directly tied to U.S. interests, such as 1994 Rwandan genocide, might not meet standard for intervention. But also says isolationism and trade protectionism are "shortcut to chaos, an approach that abandons our allies and our ideals."

Gore: United States should pay its U.N. debt in full. Supports unspecified extra spending on foreign affairs. Said United States should show willingness to "use our strength to lead the world toward what is right and just."

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GAYS

Bush: Supports "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in military. Opposes gay marriage.

Gore: Supports letting gays serve openly in military. Opposes gay marriage but supports some "contractual rights" usually reserved for married couples.

*GUN CONTROL

Bush: Emphasizes the need to enforce existing gun laws. Supports raising the age for handgun purchases to 21. Supports instant background checks at gun shows, opposes universal gun registration.

Gore: Wants to mandate photo ID licenses for handgun buyers. Favors requiring gun manufacturers and federally licensed sellers to report gun sales to state authorities to help trace the owner when a gun is used in crime.

*HEALTH CARE

Bush: Favors expanding medical savings accounts. Would consider charging wealthier Medicare recipients more for coverage. Would strengthen tax incentives to small businesses that provide health care to employees.

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