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In November, 2005, the Bush Administration grew weary of being misunderstood and decided to set the record straight.


Setting the Record Straight: Sen. Kennedy On Iraq

 

For Immediate Release
November 11, 2005

"It is regrettable that Senator Kennedy has chosen Veteran's Day to continue leveling baseless and false attacks that send the wrong signal to our troops and our enemy during a time of war. It is also regrettable that Senator Kennedy has found more time to say negative things about President Bush then he ever did about Saddam Hussein. If America were to follow Senator Kennedy's foreign policy, Saddam Hussein would not only still be in power, he would be oppressing and occupying Kuwait." - Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary

Sen. Kennedy On Iraq

Sen. Kennedy Said Saddam Hussein Was Developing WMDs: "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." (Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Remarks At The Johns Hopkins School Of Advanced International Studies, Washington, D.C., 9/27/02)

Sen. Kennedy: "Saddam Hussein Is A Dangerous Figure. He's Got Dangerous Weapons." (CBS' "Face The Nation," 10/6/02)

Sen. Kennedy Now Says The President Manipulated Facts About Iraq's WMDs: "'Instead of providing open and honest answers about how we will achieve success in Iraq and allow our troops to begin to come home,' Kennedy said, 'the president reverted to the same manipulation of facts to justify a war we never should have fought.'" (Deb Riechmann, "Bush Forcefully Attacks Critics Of The War In Iraq," Associated Press, 11/11/05)

Sen. Kennedy Opposed Removing Saddam Hussein From Kuwait. (S.J.Res.2, CQ Vote #2: Adopted 52-47: R 42-2; D 10-45, 1/12/91, Kennedy Voted Nay)

Sen. Kennedy Opposed Removing Saddam Hussein From Power. (H. J. Res. 114, CQ Vote #237: Passed 77-23: R 48- 1; D 29-21; I 0-1, 10/11/02, Kennedy Voted Nay)

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Setting the Record Straight: The Washington Post On Pre-War Intelligence

November 13, 2005

--The Washington Post Implies That The Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) Was Superior To The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) Given To Congress. "But Bush does not share his most sensitive intelligence, such as the President's Daily Brief, with lawmakers. Also, the National Intelligence Estimate summarizing the intelligence community's views about the threat from Iraq was given to Congress just days before the vote to authorize the use of force in that country." (Dana Milbank And Walter Pincus, "Asterisks Dot White House's Iraq Argument," The Washington Post, 11/12/05)

--But The PDB Was The Focus Of Intelligence Reform And Was More "Problematic" Than The NIE Given To Congress. The Robb-Silberman Commission Found The PDB To Contain Similar Intelligence In "More Alarmist" And "Less Nuanced" Language. "As problematic as the October 2002 NIE was, it was not the Community's biggest analytic failure on Iraq. Even more misleading was the river of intelligence that flowed from the CIA to top policymakers over long periods of time--in the President's Daily Brief (PDB) and in its more widely distributed companion, the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief (SEIB). These daily reports were, if anything, more alarmist and less nuanced than the NIE." (Charles S. Robb And Laurence H. Silberman, The Commission On The Intelligence Capabilities Of The United States Regarding Weapons Of Mass Destruction, 3/31/05, Pg. 14)

--The Robb-Silberman Commission Reported That The Intelligence In The PDB Was Not "Markedly Different" Than The Intelligence Given To Congress In The NIE. "It was not that the intelligence was markedly different. Rather, it was that the PDBs and SEIBs, with their attention-grabbing headlines and drumbeat of repetition, left an impression of many corroborating reports where in fact there were very few sources. And in other instances, intelligence suggesting the existence of weapons programs was conveyed to senior policymakers, but later information casting doubt upon the validity of that intelligence was not." (Charles S. Robb And Laurence H. Silberman, The Commission On The Intelligence Capabilities Of The United States Regarding Weapons Of Mass Destruction, 3/31/05, Pg. 14)

--The Washington Post Implies That There Have Been No Findings On The Use Of Intelligence. "But the only committee investigating the matter in Congress, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has not yet done its inquiry into whether officials mischaracterized intelligence by omitting caveats and dissenting opinions. And Judge Laurence H. Silberman, chairman of Bush's commission on weapons of mass destruction, said in releasing his report on March 31, 2005: 'Our executive order did not direct us to deal with the use of intelligence by policymakers, and all of us were agreed that that was not part of our inquiry.'" (Dana Milbank And Walter Pincus, "Asterisks Dot White House's Iraq Argument," The Washington Post, 11/12/05)

--But Congressional And Independent Committees Have Repeatedly Reported No Distortion Of Intelligence The Bipartisan Senate Select Committee On Intelligence Report "Did Not Find Any Evidence" Of Attempts To Influence Analysts To Change Intelligence. "Conclusion 83. The Committee did not find any evidence that Administration officials attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities. Conclusion 84. The Committee found no evidence that the Vice President's visits to the Central Intelligence Agency were attempts to pressure analysts, were perceived as intended to pressure analysts by those who participated in the briefings on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs, or did pressure analysts to change their assessments." ("Report On The U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments On Iraq," U.S. Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 7/7/04, Pg. 284-285)

--The Robb-Silberman Commission Finds "No Evidence Of Political Pressure." "These are errors serious errors. But these errors stem from poor tradecraft and poor management. The Commission found no evidence of political pressure to influence the Intelligence Community's pre-war assessments of Iraq's weapons programs. As we discuss in detail in the body of our report, analysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments. We conclude that it was the paucity of intelligence and poor analytical tradecraft, rather than political pressure, that produced the inaccurate pre-war intelligence assessments." (Charles S. Robb And Laurence H. Silberman, The Commission On The Intelligence Capabilities Of The United States Regarding Weapons Of Mass Destruction, 3/31/05, Pg. 50-51)

--The British Butler Report Finds "No Evidence" Of Intelligence Distortion. "In general, we found that the original intelligence material was correctly reported in [Joint Intelligence Committee] assessments. An exception was the '45 minute' report. But this sort of example was rare in the several hundred JIC assessments we read on Iraq. In general, we also found that the reliability of the original intelligence reports was fairly represented by the use of accompanying quali cations. We should record in particular that we have found no evidence of deliberate distortion or of culpable negligence. We examined JIC assessments to see whether there was evidence that the judgements inside them were systematically distorted by non-intelligence factors, in particular the in uence of the policy positions of departments. We found no evidence of JIC assessments and the judgements inside them being pulled in any particular direction to meet the policy concerns of senior of cials on the JIC." ("Review Of Intelligence On Weapons Of Mass Destruction," Report Of A Committee Of Privy Counsellors, 7/14/04, Pg. 110)

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Setting the Record Straight: Sen. Levin On Iraq

For Immediate Release, November 14, 2005

Sen. Levin (D-MI) Tries To Separate Iraq From The War On Terror. SEN. LEVIN: "But before the war, the President was saying that you cannot distinguish between Saddam Hussein and Iraq. As a matter of fact, he said that so often that he tried to connect Saddam Hussein with the attackers on us, on 9/11, so often, so frequently and so successfully, even though it was wrong, that the American people overwhelmingly thought, because of the President's misstatements that as a matter of fact, Saddam Hussein had participated in the attack on us on 9/11. That was a deception. That was clearly misinformation. It had a huge effect on the American people." (CNN's "American Morning," 11/14/05)

But Sen. Levin And Other Democrats Previously Said That Iraq Was A Part Of The War On Terror.

Sen. Levin: "The War Against Terrorism Will Not Be Finished As Long As [Saddam Hussein] Is In Power." (CNN's "Late Edition," 12/16/01)

Sen. Levin: "We Begin With The Common Belief That Saddam Hussein Is A Tyrant And A Threat To The Peace And Stability Of The Region." (Committee On Armed Services, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 9/19/02)

Sen. Clinton (D-NY): "[Saddam] Has Also Given Aid, Comfort, And Sanctuary To Terrorists, Including Al-Qaida Members, Though There Is Apparently No Evidence Of His Involvement In The Terrible Events Of September 11, 2001. ... This Much Is Undisputed." (Sen. Hillary Clinton, Congressional Record, 10/10/02, p. S10288)

Sen. Kerry (D-MA) Says Saddam Hussein Is Part Of The "Global Menace" Of Terrorism. CNN'S LARRY KING: "What about enhancing this war, Senator Kerry. What are your thoughts on going further than Afghanistan, all terrorist places ..." KERRY: "Oh, I think we clearly have to keep the pressure on terrorism globally. This doesn't end with Afghanistan by any imagination. And I think the president has made that clear. I think we have made that clear. Terrorism is a global menace. It's a scourge. And it is absolutely vital that we continue, for instance, Saddam Hussein." (CNN's "Larry King Live," 12/14/01) Sen. Levin Admits That Democrats Also Believed That Saddam Hussein Had Weapons Of Mass Destruction (WMD). SEN. LEVIN: "You know, the administration continues to talk about everybody believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. That is true, but that isn't the issue." (CNN's "American Morning," 11/14/05)

Sen. Clinton: "In The Four Years Since The Inspectors, Intelligence Reports Show That Saddam Hussein Has Worked To Rebuild His Chemical And Biological Weapons Stock, His Missile Delivery Capability, And His Nuclear Program. ... It Is Clear, However, That If Left Unchecked, Saddam Hussein Will Continue To Increase His Capability To Wage Biological And Chemical Warfare And Will Keep Trying To Develop Nuclear Weapons." (Sen. Hillary Clinton, Congressional Record, 10/10/02, p. S10288)

Sen. Rockefeller (D-WV): "There Is Unmistakable Evidence That Saddam Hussein Is Working Aggressively To Develop Nuclear Weapons. And Will Likely Have Nuclear Weapons Within The Next Five Years. And Then Could Have It Earlier If He's Able To Obtain Materials On The Outside Market Which Is Possible. Difficult But Possible." (Sen. John Rockefeller, Congressional Record, 10/10/02, Pg.S10306)

Sen. Kerry: "According To The CIA's Report, All U.S. Intelligence Experts Agree That Iraq Is Seeking Nuclear Weapons. There Is Little Question That Saddam Hussein Wants To Develop Nuclear Weapons." (Sen. John Kerry, Congressional Record, 10/9/02, pp. S10172-10173)

Rep. Pelosi (D-CA): "Saddam Hussein Certainly Has Chemical And Biological Weapons. There's No Question About That." (NBC's "Meet The Press," 11/17/02)

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November 15, 2005, Setting the Record Straight: The New York Times Editorial on Pre-War Intelligence

The New York Times Editorial Says Foreign Intelligence Services Did Not Support American Intelligence. "Foreign intelligence services did not have full access to American intelligence. But some had dissenting opinions that were ignored or not shown to top American officials." (Editorial, "Decoding Mr. Bush's Denials," The New York Times, 11/15/05)

But Even Foreign Governments That Opposed The Removal Of Saddam Hussein Judged That Iraq Had Weapons Of Mass Destruction (WMD).

French Foreign Minister Dominique De Villepin: "Right Now, Our Attention Has To Be Focused As A Priority On The Biological And Chemical Domains. It Is There That Our Presumptions About Iraq Are The Most Significant. Regarding The Chemical Domain, We Have Evidence Of Its Capacity To Produce VX And Yperite. In The Biological Domain, The Evidence Suggests The Possible Possession Of Significant Stocks Of Anthrax And Botulism Toxin, And Possibly A Production Capability." (United Nations Security Council, 4701st Meeting, New York, 2/5/03)

German Ambassador To The United States Wolfgang Ischinger: "I Think All Of Our Governments Believe That Iraq Has Produced Weapons Of Mass Destruction And That We Have To Assume That They Still Have That They Continue To Have Weapons Of Mass Destruction. We Have Not Yet Seen Evidence Produced By The Inspectors." (NBC's "Today," 2/26/03) The New York Times Editorial Implies That Congress Was Presented With Incomplete And Manipulated Intelligence. "Congress had nothing close to the president's access to intelligence. The National Intelligence Estimate presented to Congress a few days before the vote on war was sanitized to remove dissent and make conjecture seem like fact." (Editorial, "Decoding Mr. Bush's Denials," The New York Times, 11/15/05)

But The Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) Was Judged Not To Have Different Intelligence Than The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) Provided To Congress, Which Represented The Collective Opinion Of The Intelligence Community.

Then-CIA Director George Tenet Said The NIE Summarized The Intelligence Community's Assessment Of Iraq's WMD Programs. TENET: "Let's turn to Iraq. Much of the current controversy centers on our prewar intelligence, summarized in the national intelligence estimate of October of 2002. National estimates are publications where the intelligence community as a whole seeks to sum up what we know about a subject, what we don't know, what we suspect may be happening and where we differ on key issues. This estimate asked if Iraq had chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. We concluded that in some of these categories Iraq had weapons, and that in others where it did not have them, it was trying to develop them. Let me be clear: Analysts differed on several important aspects of these programs and those debates were spelled out in the estimate. They never said there was an imminent threat. Rather, they painted an objective assessment for our policy-makers of a brutal dictator who was continuing his efforts to deceive and build programs that might constantly surprise us and threaten our interests. No one told us what to say or how to say it." (CIA Director George Tenet, Remarks On Intelligence-Gathering And Iraq's WMD Programs, Washington, D.C., 2/5/04)

The Robb-Silberman Commission Reported That The Intelligence In The PDB Was Not "Markedly Different" Than The Intelligence Given To Congress In The NIE. "It was not that the intelligence was markedly different. Rather, it was that the PDBs and SEIBs, with their attention-grabbing headlines and drumbeat of repetition, left an impression of many corroborating reports where in fact there were very few sources. And in other instances, intelligence suggesting the existence of weapons programs was conveyed to senior policymakers, but later information casting doubt upon the validity of that intelligence was not." (Charles S. Robb And Laurence H. Silberman, The Commission On The Intelligence Capabilities Of The United States Regarding Weapons Of Mass Destruction, 3/31/05, p. 14)

The Robb-Silberman Commission Found The PDB To Contain Similar Intelligence In "More Alarmist" And "Less Nuanced" Language. "As problematic as the October 2002 NIE was, it was not the Community's biggest analytic failure on Iraq. Even more misleading was the river of intelligence that flowed from the CIA to top policymakers over long periods of time in the President's Daily Brief (PDB) and in its more widely distributed companion, the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief (SEIB). These daily reports were, if anything, more alarmist and less nuanced than the NIE." (Charles S. Robb And Laurence H. Silberman, The Commission On The Intelligence Capabilities Of The United States Regarding Weapons Of Mass Destruction, 3/31/05, p. 14) The New York Times Editorial Implies That UN Sanctions Were Preventing Saddam Hussein From Pursuing WMD. "It's hard to imagine what Mr. Bush means when he says everyone reached the same conclusion. There was indeed a widespread belief that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons. But Mr. Clinton looked at the data and concluded that inspections and pressure were working a view we now know was accurate." (Editorial, "Decoding Mr. Bush's Denials," The New York Times, 11/15/05)

But Former President Bill Clinton Warned After 9/11 That The United States Could Not Allow Saddam Hussein To Continue Defying Weapons Inspectors.

In June 2004, Bill Clinton Said President Bush Had The Responsibility To Make Sure Iraq's Chemical And Biological Weapons Did Not Get In The Hands Of Terrorists. "After 9/11, let's be fair here, if you had been President, you'd think, Well, this fellow bin Laden just turned these three airplanes full of fuel into weapons of mass destruction, right? Arguably they were super-powerful chemical weapons. Think about it that way. So, you're sitting there as President, you're reeling in the aftermath of this, so, yeah, you want to go get bin Laden and do Afghanistan and all that. But you also have to say, Well, my first responsibility now is to try everything possible to make sure that this terrorist network and other terrorist networks cannot reach chemical and biological weapons or small amounts of fissile material. I've got to do that. That's why I supported the Iraq thing. There was a lot of stuff unaccounted for. So I thought the President had an absolute responsibility to go to the U.N. and say, 'Look, guys, after 9/11, you have got to demand that Saddam Hussein lets us finish the inspection process.' When you're the President, and your country has just been through what we had, you want everything to be accounted for." (Bill Clinton, "His Side of The Story," Time, 6/28/04)

The Duelfer Report Concluded That Saddam Hussein Sought To "Reconstitute His Weapons Of Mass Destruction (WMD) When Sanctions Were Lifted." "Saddam [Hussein] so dominated the Iraqi regime that its strategic intent was his alone. He wanted to end sanctions while preserving the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) when sanctions were lifted." (Comprehensive Report Of The Special Advisor To The DCI On Iraq's WMD, Key Findings Regime Strategic Intent, 9/30/04, p. 1) The New York Times Editorial Says There Was Little Evidence Suggesting Iraq Was Pursuing A Nuclear Weapon. "The administration had little company in saying that Iraq was actively trying to build a nuclear weapon. The evidence for this claim was a dubious report about an attempt in 1999 to buy uranium from Niger, later shown to be false, and the infamous aluminum tubes story. That was dismissed at the time by analysts with real expertise." (Editorial, "Decoding Mr. Bush's Denials," The New York Times, 11/15/05)

But The Weapons Inspectors Concluded That Saddam Hussein Sought A Nuclear Capability.

The Duelfer Report: "Saddam Aspired To Develop A Nuclear Capability." "Saddam wanted to recreate Iraq's WMD capability which was essentially destroyed in 1991 after sanctions were removed and Iraq's economy stabilized, but probably with a different mix of capabilities to that which previously existed. Saddam aspired to develop a nuclear capability in an incremental fashion, irrespective of international pressure and the resulting economic risks but he intended to focus on ballistic missile and tactical chemical warfare (CW) capabilities." (Comprehensive Report Of The Special Advisor To The DCI On Iraq's WMD, Key Findings Regime Strategic Intent, 9/30/04, p. 1) The New York Times Editorial Says The Claim That Iraq And Al Qaeda Were In League Was "Absurd" And Implies That The President Connected Saddam Hussein To The 9/11 Attacks. "The Bush administration was also alone in making the absurd claim that Iraq was in league with Al Qaeda and somehow connected to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. That was based on two false tales. One was the supposed trip to Prague by Mohamed Atta, a report that was disputed before the war and came from an unreliable drunk. The other was that Iraq trained Qaeda members in the use of chemical and biological weapons. Before the war, the Defense Intelligence Agency concluded that this was a deliberate fabrication by an informer." (Editorial, "Decoding Mr. Bush's Denials," The New York Times, 11/15/05)

But The President Never Connected Iraq To The 9/11 Attacks While Other Politicians And Independent Commissions Judged That There Were Contacts Between Iraq, Al-Qaeda And Other Terrorist Groups.

President Bush Said There Is "No Evidence That Saddam Hussein Was Involved With" 9/11. PRESIDENT BUSH: "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th." (President Bush, Remarks After Meeting With Members Of The Congressional Conference Committee On Energy Legislation, Washington, D.C., 9/17/03)

Condoleezza Rice Said That Saddam Hussein Never "Had Either Direction Or Control Of 9/11." RICE: "And we have never claimed that Saddam Hussein had either, that Saddam Hussein had either direction or control of 9/11. What we have said is that this was someone who supported terrorists, helped train them. But most importantly, that this is someone who, with his animus towards the United States, with his penchant for and capability to gain weapons of mass destruction, and his obvious willingness to use them, was a threat in this region that we were not prepared to tolerate." (ABC's "Nightline," 9/16/03)

Sen. Clinton (D-NY): "[Saddam] Has Also Given Aid, Comfort, And Sanctuary To Terrorists, Including Al-Qaida Members, Though There Is Apparently No Evidence Of His Involvement In The Terrible Events Of September 11, 2001. This Much Is Undisputed." (Sen. Hillary Clinton, Congressional Record, 10/10/02, p. S10288)

In 1999, The Clinton Administration Issued A Report That Said Iraq Was Supporting Terrorists. "[T]he Patterns of Global Terrorism report listed Iran, Libya, Cuba, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan and Syria and exiled Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden as terrorist sponsors. The seven countries were on the same list last year. Secretary of State Dr Madeleine Albright said: 'Governments on the list that would like to see their names removed know exactly what they must do: stop planning, financing and supporting terrorist acts and stop sheltering or interfering with the apprehension and prosecution of those who commit them.'" ("No Reprieve For Nations Of Terror," The [Perth, Australia] Sunday Times, 5/2/99)

The 9/11 Commission: "There Is Evidence That Around This Time [1997] Bin Ladin Sent Out A Number Of Feelers To The Iraqi Regime, Offering Some Cooperation." ("Final Report Of The National Commission On Terrorist Attacks Upon The United States," The 9/11 Commission Report, 7/22/04)

The 9/11 Commission: "In March 1998, After Bin Ladin's Public Fatwa Against The United States, Two Al Qaeda Members Reportedly Went To Iraq To Meet With Iraqi Intelligence." ("Final Report Of The National Commission On Terrorist Attacks Upon The United States," The 9/11 Commission Report, 7/22/04) The New York Times Editorial Implies That There Was Political Pressure To Change Intelligence. "Richard Kerr, a former deputy director of central intelligence, said in 2003 that there was 'significant pressure on the intelligence community to find evidence that supported a connection' between Iraq and Al Qaeda. The C.I.A. ombudsman told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the administration's 'hammering' on Iraq intelligence was harder than he had seen in his 32 years at the agency." (Editorial, "Decoding Mr. Bush's Denials," The New York Times, 11/15/05)

But Congressional And Independent Committees Have Repeatedly Found No Political Pressure To Change Intelligence.

The Bipartisan Senate Select Committee On Intelligence Report "Did Not Find Any Evidence" Of Attempts To Influence Analysts To Change Intelligence. "Conclusion 83. The Committee did not find any evidence that Administration officials attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities. Conclusion 84. The Committee found no evidence that the Vice President's visits to the Central Intelligence Agency were attempts to pressure analysts, were perceived as intended to pressure analysts by those who participated in the briefings on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs, or did pressure analysts to change their assessments." ("Report On The U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments On Iraq," U.S. Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 7/7/04, p. 284-285)

The Robb-Silberman Commission Found "No Evidence Of Political Pressure." "These are errors serious errors. But these errors stem from poor tradecraft and poor management. The Commission found no evidence of political pressure to influence the Intelligence Community's pre-war assessments of Iraq's weapons programs. As we discuss in detail in the body of our report, analysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments. We conclude that it was the paucity of intelligence and poor analytical tradecraft, rather than political pressure, that produced the inaccurate pre-war intelligence assessments." (Charles S. Robb And Laurence H. Silberman, The Commission On The Intelligence Capabilities Of The United States Regarding Weapons Of Mass Destruction, 3/31/05, p. 50-51)

The British Butler Report Found "No Evidence" Of Intelligence Distortion. "In general, we found that the original intelligence material was correctly reported in [Joint Intelligence Committee] assessments. An exception was the '45 minute' report. But this sort of example was rare in the several hundred JIC assessments we read on Iraq. In general, we also found that the reliability of the original intelligence reports was fairly represented by the use of accompanying quali cations. We should record in particular that we have found no evidence of deliberate distortion or of culpable negligence. We examined JIC assessments to see whether there was evidence that the judgements inside them were systematically distorted by non-intelligence factors, in particular the in uence of the policy positions of departments. We found no evidence of JIC assessments and the judgements inside them being pulled in any particular direction to meet the policy concerns of senior of cials on the JIC." ("Review Of Intelligence On Weapons Of Mass Destruction," Report Of A Committee Of Privy Counsellors, 7/14/04, p. 110)

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Statement by the Press Secretary on Congressman Murtha's Statement

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 18, 2005

Congressman Murtha is a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting a strong America. So it is baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party. The eve of an historic democratic election in Iraq is not the time to surrender to the terrorists. After seeing his statement, we remain baffled -- nowhere does he explain how retreating from Iraq makes America safer.

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Statement on Victory in Iraq, Prevailing in the War on Terrorism
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY

November 19, 2005
Victory in Iraq is key to prevailing in the war on terrorism and laying
the foundation of peace for our children and grandchildren. Our
commanders and troops know how high the stakes are, and they understand
the importance of completing the mission. For the second time this
week, Congress in strong, bipartisan fashion rejected the call to cut
and run. The best strategy to keep America safe is to continue taking
the fight to the terrorists, not to retreat in the face of the
despicable attacks of a determined enemy. We will succeed in Iraq by
hunting down the terrorists, training Iraqi forces and supporting the
Iraqi people as they build the foundations for a lasting democracy in
the heart of a dangerous region of the world. When victory is achieved
our troops will return home with the honor they deserve.

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Setting the Record Straight: Democrats On An Artificial Timetable In Iraq

For Immediate Release
November 30, 2005

Today, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Backed The Call For Withdrawal Of Troops. "'I will be supporting the Murtha resolution,' Pelosi said of Murtha's resolution calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq at the earliest practicable date." ("Pelosi Backs Murtha's Call For Withdrawal From Iraq," Reuters, 11/30/05)

Today, Senator Russell Feingold (D-WI) Reiterated The Call For An Artificial Timetable. "'We need leadership, and we need a policy on Iraq that includes a flexible timetable for completing our military mission there, so that we can focus on our national security priority - defeating the global terrorist networks that threaten the U.S.' ... In August, Feingold put forward December 31, 2006 to help jumpstart the discussion of a target date to complete the military mission there." (Sen. Russell Feingold, "Statement Of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold On The President's Speech Today," Press Release, 11/30/05)

Representative Murtha (D-PA) Has Said There Must Be An "Immediate Redeployment Of U.S. Troops." REP. MURTHA: "My plan calls for immediate redeployment of U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces, to create a quick reaction force in the region, to create an over-the-horizon presence of Marines, and to diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq." (Rep. Murtha, Press Conference, 11/17/05)

But Artificial Timetables Are "A Recipe For Disaster."

• The President Explains Why Timetables For Withdrawal Are Bad Strategy. PRES. BUSH: "Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would send a message across the world that America is a weak and an unreliable ally. Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would send a signal to our enemies - that if they wait long enough, America will cut and run and abandon its friends. And setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would vindicate the terrorists' tactics of beheadings and suicide bombings and mass murder - and invite new attacks on America." (President Bush, Remarks On The War On Terror, Annapolis, MD, 11/30/05)

• Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT): "And, I Am Convinced, Almost All Of The Progress In Iraq And Throughout The Middle East Will Be Lost If Those Forces Are Withdrawn Faster Than The Iraqi Military Is Capable Of Securing The Country." (Sen. Joe Lieberman, Op-Ed, "Our Troops Must Stay," The Wall Street Journal, 11/29/05)

• Army Major General William Webster Says Setting A Deadline For Troop Withdrawal Would Be "A Recipe For Disaster." "A top American commander in Iraq on Wednesday denounced calls by some U.S. senators and others to set a deadline for a troop withdrawal, calling it 'a recipe for disaster' for the 2 1/2 -year-old war." (Ellen Knickmeyer, "General Decries Call For Timetable In Iraq," The Washington Post, 11/17/05)

• Lt. General John Vines, Commander Of Multinational Corps Iraq: "Currently, Although Iraqi Security Forces Are Able To Conduct Operations In A Large Portion Of Their Area With Only Limited Or - Coalition Support, They Do Require Our Support At This Time. That Support Will Be Increasingly Less Over A Period Of Time, But A Precipitous Pullout, I Believe, Would Be Destabilizing." (Defense Department, Press Briefing, 11/22/05)

• Colonel James Brown: "We Need To Stay Here And Finish The Job That We Began." COL. BROWN: "Well, certainly, as we support the democracy, our forces and coalition forces are going to be the targets of insurgents. But as we incubate all of the national elements of power of this young democracy, it's necessary for us to be here to provide the security, provide the support for the Iraqi security forces to be able to do that. I think it would be - in my opinion, and I think it's supportive of what's being said is - that our job's not finished. And we need to stay here and finish the job that we began. I think the soldiers - my soldiers believe that we've made great strides in supporting the democracy of Iraq, and I think all those soldiers want to see that job finished." (Defense Department, Press Briefing, 11/18/05)

Today, Senator Feingold Said The President's Strategy Reflects "Same Old 'Stay The Course' Way Of Thinking." "In fact the booklet the administration released to accompany the President's speech is described as a '...document [that] articulates the broad strategy the President set forth in 2003...' That alone makes it clear that the President seems more dug in than ever to the same old 'stay the course' way of thinking." (Sen. Russell Feingold, "Statement Of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold On The President's Speech Today," Press Release, 11/30/05)

But, The Strategy For Victory Is Adaptive, And As Iraqi Security Forces Stand Up The American Mission In Iraq Will Change.

• President Bush Says The "Tactics Are Flexible And Dynamic." PRES. BUSH: "Some critics continue to assert that we have no plan in Iraq except to, 'stay the course.' If by 'stay the course,' they mean we will not allow the terrorists to break our will, they are right. If by 'stay the course,' they mean we will not permit al Qaeda to turn Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban - a safe haven for terrorism and a launching pad for attacks on America - they are right, as well. If by 'stay the course' they mean that we're not learning from our experiences, or adjusting our tactics to meet the challenges on the ground, then they're flat wrong. As our top commander in Iraq, General Casey, has said, 'Our commanders on the ground are continuously adapting and adjusting, not only to what the enemy does, but also to try to out-think the enemy and get ahead of him.' Our strategy in Iraq is clear, our tactics are flexible and dynamic; we have changed them as conditions required and they are bringing us victory against a brutal enemy." (President Bush, Remarks On The War On Terror, Annapolis, MD, 11/30/05)

• President Bush Says The Mission Will Change As Iraqi Security Forces And The Political Process Advance. PRES. BUSH: "My commanders tell me that as Iraqi forces become more capable, the mission of our forces in Iraq will continue to change. We will continue to shift from providing security and conducting operations against the enemy nationwide, to conducting more specialized operations targeted at the most dangerous terrorists. We will increasingly move out of Iraqi cities, reduce the number of bases from which we operate, and conduct fewer patrols and convoys. As the Iraqi forces gain experience and the political process advances, we will be able to decrease our troop levels in Iraq without losing our capability to defeat the terrorists." (President Bush, Remarks On The War On Terror, Annapolis, MD, 11/30/05)

• The Administration Is Pursuing A Conditions-Based Strategy. MCCLELLAN: "And I expect he'll talk about as the Iraqi security forces increase their experience and capability and the Iraqis make progress on the political front, then we will be able to reduce the number of our troops in Iraq, as well, but that that will be based on conditions on the ground. It's a conditions-based approach." (The White House, Press Gaggle, 11/29/05)

• General Casey: "Condition-Based Reductions Of Coalition Forces Remains An Integral Part Of Our Overall Strategy." GEN. CASEY: "I said that would - condition-based reductions of coalition forces remains an integral part of our overall strategy. And I believe I did say to the senator that that still remains possible in 2006." SEN. MCCAIN: "Are you planning on troop withdrawals for next year?" GEN. CASEY: "I just said that, Senator, yes, I mean -" SEN. MCCAIN: "Yes or no?" GEN. CASEY: "Yes, Senator. I do believe that the possibility for troop - for condition-based reductions of coalition forces still exists in 2006." (Gen. George W. Casey, Committee On Armed Services, U.S. Senate, 9/29/05)

# # #

 

Setting the Record Straight
Rep. Pelosi Downplays Progress In Iraq

For Immediate Release
December 7, 2005

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Tries To Talk Down Progress In Iraq. "In his speech today, President Bush offered anecdotes about economic progress in Iraq; he neglected to point out that oil production is flat, that the generation of electricity is below pre-invasion levels in many areas, and that unemployment is estimated to be 40 percent or more. Those facts produce frustration that only aids the insurgency. The reconstruction effort in Iraq has faltered in large part because the President's policies have not made Iraq secure." (Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Press Release, 12/7/05)

But Progress Has Been Made On All The Issues Rep. Pelosi Mentioned.

Oil Production Has Increased Since 2003. "Oil production increased from an average of 1.58 million barrels per day in 2003, to an average of 2.25 million barrels per day in 2004." ("National Strategy For Victory In Iraq," The White House, 11/30/05)

American-Funded Projects "Have Added Or Restored Over 2,700 Megawatts To The National Grid." IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION AND MANAGEMENT OFFICE DIRECTOR DAN SPECKHARD: "We have focused heavily on repairs to the electricity infrastructure, which was left extremely fragile after decades of neglect under the previous regime. Roughly half of the current generation today is the result of U.S.-funded projects. Over 220 projects are either complete or in progress and have added or restored over 2,700 megawatts to the national grid." (Department Of Defense, Press Briefing, Baghdad, Iraq, 11/14/05)

o The Rapid Contracting Initiative Is Working With Local Iraqi Firms To Complete Power Projects Quickly. "Under the Rapid Contracting Initiative (RCI), the US Project and Contracting Office (PCO) Electricity Sector has awarded nearly 200 of a total of 250 projects. To date, close to 60 projects have been completed. RCI focuses on direct contracting of smaller projects such as 11 to 33 kilovolt substations, laying of power cables, installation of power poles and running of overhead power lines. Benefits of this program include reduced security costs, enhanced Iraqi project ownership, increased Iraqi employment, contracting opportunities for local firms and quicker completion time of projects." ("Iraq Weekly Status Report," Department Of State, 11/16/05)

Entrepreneurial Activity In Iraq Is Leading To Lower Unemployment Rates. "Considering the increase in entrepreneurial activity after the end of the war, we have for the purposes of this database assumed that there has been an improvement in unemployment levels, and hence weighted information supporting such a conclusion heavier than contradictory data reports." ("Iraq Index," The Brookings Institution, 12/5/05)

o Since April 2003, 30,000 New Businesses Have Started In Iraq. "Since April 2003, Iraq has registered more than 30,000 new businesses, and its stock market (established in April 2004) currently lists nearly 90 companies with an average daily trading volume over $100 million (from January to May 2005), up from an average of $86 million in 2004." ("National Strategy For Victory In Iraq," The White House, 11/30/05)

# # #

 

Setting the Record Straight: Critics Launch Attacks Against Program to Detect and Prevent Terrorist Attacks

For Immediate Release
January 4, 2006

"Critics have stepped up their attacks on the President for authorizing the National Security Agency to listen to international communications of known al Qaeda members or affiliated terrorists during a time of war. The American people expect their leaders to stay a step ahead of the enemy, and the National Security Agency authorization is a critical tool in the War on Terror that saves lives and protects civil liberties at the same time."

- Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary

Setting The Record Straight On Separate NSA Activities To Safeguard Americans.

Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Expresses Concern That The NSA Was Conducting Surveillance Without Presidential Authority In The Aftermath Of 9/11. "During your appearance before the committee on October 1, you indicated that you had been operating since the September 11 attacks with an expansive view of your authorities with respect to the conduct of electronic surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and related statutes, orders, regulations, and guidelines. ... Therefore, I am concerned whether, and to what extent, the National Security Agency has received specific presidential authorization for the operations you are conducting. Until I understand better the legal analysis regarding the sufficiency of the authority which underlies your decision on the appropriate way to proceed on this matter, I will continue to be concerned." (Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Letter To Lieutenant General Michael V. Hayden, 10/11/01)

But These Were Separate NSA Activities Based On Previously Granted Authority.

* General Hayden Was Briefing On The NSA's Electronic Surveillance Activities, Not The Program Authorized By The President. "An intelligence official close to Hayden said that his appearance on Oct. 1, 2001, before the House committee had been to discuss Executive Order 12333, and not the new NSA program. The order, signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, gave guidance and specific instructions about the intelligence activities that the U.S. government could engage in." (Dafna Linzer, "Secret Surveillance May Have Occurred Before Authorization," The Washington Post, 1/4/06)

* These NSA Actions Had Been Authorized Since 1981. "Bush administration officials said on Tuesday that General Hayden, now the country's No. 2 intelligence official, had acted on the authority previously granted to the N.S.A., relying on an intelligence directive known as Executive Order 12333, issued by President Ronald Reagan in 1981. That order set guidelines for the collection of intelligence, including by the N.S.A. 'He had authority under E.O. 12333 that had been given to him, and he briefed Congress on what he did under those authorities,' said Judith A. Emmel, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. 'Beyond that, we can't get into details of what was done.'" (Eric Lichtblau And Scott Shane, "Files Say Agency Initiated Growth of Spying Effort," The New York Times, 1/4/06)

Setting The Record Straight On The Terrorist Ties Of Intercepted Communications.

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) Says The National Security Agency (NSA) Is Eavesdropping On American Citizens With No "Indication Of Wrongdoing." SEN. DURBIN: "And in passing the Patriot Act, we gave the government new authority, but we didn't give the National Security Agency the authority to spy on American citizens without any indication of wrongdoing." (CBS' "Early Show," 12/17/05)

But The NSA Authorization Is Solely For Intercepting Communications Of Suspected Al Qaeda Members Or Related Terrorist Groups.

* Ranking Democrat On The House Intelligence Committee Representative Jane Harman (D-CA) Calls The NSA Program "Essential" To Targeting Al Qaeda. "As the Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, I have been briefed since 2003 on a highly classified NSA foreign collection program that targeted Al Qaeda. I believe the program is essential to US national security and that its disclosure has damaged critical intelligence capabilities." (Rep. Jane Harman, Harman Statement On NSA Electronic Surveillance Program, Press Release, 12/21/05)

* The Program Targets Suspected "Al Qaeda Communications." DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE GENERAL MICHAEL HAYDEN: "Again, I make the point, what we are talking about here are communications we have every reason to believe are al Qaeda communications, one end of which is in the United States. And I don't think any of us would want any inefficiencies in our coverage of those kinds of communications, above all. And that's what this program allows us to do - it allows us to be as agile as operationally required to cover these targets." (The White House, Press Briefing, 12/19/05)

* The Government Has "A Reasonable Basis To Conclude That One Party To The Communication" Is Affiliated With Al Qaeda. ATTORNEY GENERAL ALBERTO GONZALES: "Another very important point to remember is that we have to have a reasonable basis to conclude that one party to the communication is a member of al Qaeda, affiliated with al Qaeda, or a member of an organization affiliated with al Qaeda, or working in support of al Qaeda. We view these authorities as authorities to confront the enemy in which the United States is at war with - and that is al Qaeda and those who are supporting or affiliated with al Qaeda. What we're trying to do is learn of communications, back and forth, from within the United States to overseas with members of al Qaeda. And that's what this program is about." (The White House, Press Briefing, 12/19/05)

Setting The Record Straight On The Scope Of The Program.

Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) Says The NSA Is Conducting Domestic Surveillance Of Calls. "He has rationalized the use of domestic, civilian surveillance with a flimsy claim that he has such authority because we are at war." (Sen. Byrd, "No President Is Above The Law," Press Release, 12/19/05)

But The NSA Authorization Is Solely For Intercepting International Calls.

* One Party On The Call Has To Be Outside The United States. ATTORNEY GENERAL GONZALES: "The President has authorized a program to engage in electronic surveillance of a particular kind, and this would be the intercepts of contents of communications where one of the - one party to the communication is outside the United States. And this is a very important point - people are running around saying that the United States is somehow spying on American citizens calling their neighbors. Very, very important to understand that one party to the communication has to be outside the United States." (The White House, Press Briefing, 12/19/05)

Setting The Record Straight On The Use Of The FISA Court.

Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) Says The Administration Should Be Using The FISA Court. "There is nothing the president needed to do to protect Americans that could not have been done through FISA. Since 1979, the FISA court has received some 19,000 requests and approved all but five of them. The administration's assertion that it needed to bypass the court is out of bounds." (Sen. Joseph Biden, Op-Ed, "No President Is Above Our Constitution," The Miami Herald, 1/1/06)

But The Program Provides The Speed And Agility Needed To Prosecute The War On Terror.

* The Government Continues To Use The FISA Court But Must Preserve The Flexibility To Act With Speed In All Circumstances. ATTORNEY GENERAL ALBERTO GONZALES: "Well, we continue to go to the FISA court and obtain orders. It is a very important tool that we continue to utilize. ... The operators out at NSA tell me that we don't have the speed and the agility that we need, in all circumstances, to deal with this new kind of enemy. You have to remember that FISA was passed by the Congress in 1978. There have been tremendous advances in technology ... since then." (The White House, Press Briefing, 12/19/05)

* Because Of Its Speed, The NSA Program Has Provided Crucial Information Otherwise Not Available. GENERAL HAYDEN: "I can say unequivocally, all right, that we have got information through this program that would not otherwise have been available." QUESTION: "Through the court? Because of the speed that you got it?" GENERAL HAYDEN: "Yes, because of the speed, because of the procedures, because of the processes and requirements set up in the FISA process, I can say unequivocally that we have used this program in lieu of that and this program has been successful." (The White House, Press Briefing, 12/19/05)

* Former Clinton Administration Associate Attorney General Writes That "FISA Does Not Anticipate A Post-Sept. 11 Situation." "The administration has offered the further defense that FISA's reference to surveillance 'authorized by statute' is satisfied by congressional passage of the post-Sept. 11 resolution giving the president authority to 'use all necessary and appropriate force' to prevent those responsible for Sept. 11 from carrying out further attacks. The administration argues that obtaining intelligence is a necessary and expected component of any military or other use of force to prevent enemy action. But even if the NSA activity is 'electronic surveillance' and the Sept. 11 resolution is not 'statutory authorization' within the meaning of FISA, the act still cannot, in the words of the 2002 Court of Review decision, 'encroach upon the president's constitutional power.' FISA does not anticipate a post-Sept. 11 situation. What was needed after Sept. 11, according to the president, was surveillance beyond what could be authorized under that kind of individualized case-by-case judgment. It is hard to imagine the Supreme Court second-guessing that presidential judgment." (John Schmidt, Op-Ed, "President Had Legal Authority To OK Taps," The Chicago Tribune, 12/21/05)

# # #

 

Setting the Record Straight: Democrats Continue to Attack Terrorist Surveillance Program

For Immediate Release
January 22, 2006

"The NSA's terrorist surveillance program is targeted at al Qaeda communications coming into or going out of the United States. It is a limited, hot pursuit effort by our intelligence community to detect and prevent attacks. Senate Democrats continue to engage in misleading and outlandish charges about this vital tool that helps us do exactly what the 9/11 Commission said we needed to do - connect the dots. It defies common sense for Democrats to now claim the administration is acting outside its authority while their own party leaders have been briefed more than a dozen times - only after there was a leak and subsequent media coverage did they start criticizing the program. Such irresponsible accusations will not keep us from acting to stay a step ahead of a deadly enemy that is determined to strike America again."

- Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary

Setting The Record Straight On The Legality Of NSA Activities To Safeguard Americans.

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) Claims That The NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program Is Illegal. SEN. KERRY: "It is a violation of law. ... There's nothing in the FISA law that we passed that suggests the President has this power." (ABC's "This Week," 1/22/06)

But The President's Authorization Of The Terrorist Surveillance Program Is Consistent With U.S. Law.

* The President Has The Inherent Authority Under The Constitution, As Commander-In-Chief, To Authorize The NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program. AG GONZALES: "I might also add that we also believe the President has the inherent authority under the Constitution, as Commander-in-Chief, to engage in this kind of activity. Signals intelligence has been a fundamental aspect of waging war since the Civil War, where we intercepted telegraphs, obviously, during the world wars, as we intercepted telegrams in and out of the United States. Signals intelligence is very important for the United States government to know what the enemy is doing, to know what the enemy is about to do." (The White House, Press Briefing, 12/19/05)

* The Congress Confirmed And Supplemented This Authority When It Passed The Authorization For The Use Of Military Force In The Wake Of The 9/11 Attacks. AG GONZALES: "Now, in terms of legal authorities, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ... requires a court order before engaging in this kind of surveillance that I've just discussed and the President announced on Saturday ... unless otherwise authorized by statute or by Congress. That's what the law requires. Our position is, is that the authorization to use force, which was passed by the Congress in the days following September 11th, constitutes that other authorization, that other statute by Congress, to engage in this kind of signals intelligence." (The White House, Press Briefing, 12/19/05)

* The Supreme Court Ruled That The AUMF's Authorization To "Use All Necessary And Appropriate Force" Encompasses The "Fundamental Incident[s] Of Waging War." AG GONZALES: "[O]ne might argue, now, wait a minute, there's nothing in the authorization to use force that specifically mentions electronic surveillance. Let me take you back to a case that the Supreme Court reviewed this past - in 2004, the Hamdi decision. ... [In Hamdi, the Supreme Court said that] it was clear and unmistakable that the Congress had authorized the detention of an American citizen captured on the battlefield as an enemy combatant for the remainder - the duration of the hostilities. So even though the authorization to use force did not mention the word, 'detention,' she felt that detention of enemy soldiers captured on the battlefield was a fundamental incident of waging war, and therefore, had been authorized by Congress when they used the words, 'authorize the President to use all necessary and appropriate force.'" (The White House, Press Briefing, 12/19/05)

* Interception Of Communications Has Been Authorized Since President Roosevelt In 1940. "[Interception of communications for foreign intelligence purposes] have been authorized by Presidents at least since the administration of Franklin Roosevelt in 1940." ("Legal Authorities Supporting The Activities Of The National Security Agency Described By The President," U.S. Department Of Justice, 1/19/06)

* Every Federal Appellate Court To Rule On The Issue Has Concluded That The President Has Inherent Authority To Conduct Warrantless Searches. "The courts uniformly have approved this longstanding Executive Branch practice. Indeed, every federal appellate court to rule on the question has concluded that, even in peacetime, the President has inherent constitutional authority, consistent with the Fourth Amendment, to conduct searches for foreign intelligence purposes without securing a judicial warrant." ("Legal Authorities Supporting The Activities Of The National Security Agency Described By The President," U.S. Department Of Justice, 1/19/06)

Setting The Record Straight On Congressional Briefings On The NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program To Safeguard Americans.

Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) Claims That The Administration Is Violating The National Security Act Of 1947. REP. HARMAN: "I think the Administration is violating the National Security Act of 1947 by failing to brief the full intelligence committees." (ABC's "This Week," 1/22/06)

But The Administration Has Repeatedly Briefed Congress On The NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program.

* Congressional Leaders "Have Been Briefed More Than A Dozen Times" On The NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program. THE PRESIDENT: "Leaders in Congress have been briefed more than a dozen times on this authorization and the activities conducted under it. Intelligence officials involved in this activity also receive extensive training to ensure they perform their duties consistent with the letter and intent of the authorization." (President Bush, Radio Address, 12/17/05)

* Rep Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) Says That Members Of Congress Had Multiple Opportunities To Ask Questions And Express Concerns. REP. HOEKSTRA: "When the program began, I guess, roughly four years ago, you know, congressional leaders were brought in. The leadership of the House and the Senate, the leadership of the House and Senate intelligence committees - I've been chair for about 15 months - I've been briefed four times on this, I've been given every opportunity to ask questions about the program, to ask questions about the legality of the program, to understand the scope of the program and how it works and, most importantly, the impact it has. I've had every opportunity to get information on the program. And I have a responsibility, as the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, that if I believe the law is being broken to stand up in that meeting and say, stop it and we're going to do everything in Congress. The problem that we have right now is we have a whole bunch of Democrats who were for this program before they were against it and the only thing that has changed is that the story was illegally, in a damaging way, leaked to The New York Times." (ABC's "This Week," 1/22/06)

* These Briefings Are Fully Consistent With The National Security Act Of 1947. The Act expressly states that Executive Branch briefings should be conducted in a manner consistent with "due regard for the protection from unauthorized disclosure of classified information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods or other exceptionally sensitive matters." (50 USC 413a(a))

Setting The Record Straight On The Use Of The FISA Court.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) Says The Administration Should Be Using The FISA Court. FOX NEWS' CHRIS WALLACE: "Senator, let's talk about the NSA wiretap program, though. We all saw the Osama bin Laden tape that came out late this week. If someone from Al Qaida in Pakistan is calling someone here in the U.S., don't you want to know what they're talking about?" SEN. DURBIN: "Absolutely. And that's why we created the FISA court." (Fox News' "Fox News Sunday," 1/22/06)

But The NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program Provides The Speed And Agility Needed To Prosecute The War On Terror.

* Former Clinton Administration Associate Attorney General Writes That "FISA Does Not Anticipate A Post-Sept. 11 Situation." "The administration has offered the further defense that FISA's reference to surveillance 'authorized by statute' is satisfied by congressional passage of the post-Sept. 11 resolution giving the president authority to 'use all necessary and appropriate force' to prevent those responsible for Sept. 11 from carrying out further attacks. The administration argues that obtaining intelligence is a necessary and expected component of any military or other use of force to prevent enemy action. But even if the NSA activity is 'electronic surveillance' and the Sept. 11 resolution is not 'statutory authorization' within the meaning of FISA, the act still cannot, in the words of the 2002 Court of Review decision, 'encroach upon the president's constitutional power.' FISA does not anticipate a post-Sept. 11 situation. What was needed after Sept. 11, according to the president, was surveillance beyond what could be authorized under that kind of individualized case-by-case judgment. It is hard to imagine the Supreme Court second-guessing that presidential judgment." (John Schmidt, Op-Ed, "President Had Legal Authority To OK Taps," The Chicago Tribune, 12/21/05)

* The Government Continues To Use The FISA Court But Must Preserve The Flexibility To Act With Speed In All Circumstances. AG GONZALES: "Well, we continue to go to the FISA court and obtain orders. It is a very important tool that we continue to utilize. ... The operators out at NSA tell me that we don't have the speed and the agility that we need, in all circumstances, to deal with this new kind of enemy. You have to remember that FISA was passed by the Congress in 1978. There have been tremendous advances in technology ... since then." (The White House, Press Briefing, 12/19/05)

* Because Of Its Speed, The NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program Has Provided Crucial Information Otherwise Not Available. GENERAL HAYDEN: "I can say unequivocally, all right, that we have got information through this program that would not otherwise have been available." QUESTION: "Through the court? Because of the speed that you got it?" GENERAL HAYDEN: "Yes, because of the speed, because of the procedures, because of the processes and requirements set up in the FISA process, I can say unequivocally that we have used this program in lieu of that and this program has been successful." (The White House, Press Briefing, 12/19/05)

# # #

 

Setting the Record Straight: Charges Of "Domestic Spying"

For Immediate Release
January 24, 2006

Setting The Record Straight On The Scope Of The NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program.

Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) Calls The NSA Program A "Domestic Spying Program." "That is why Americans of all backgrounds and political parties are concerned about the NSA's domestic spying program." (Sen. Harry Reid, Press Release, 1/23/06)

But The President's Authorization Only Covers International Communications In Which One Party Is Suspected Of Links To Al Qaeda Or Related Terrorist Organizations.

* Deputy Director Of National Intelligence General Michael Hayden: "One End Of Any Call Targeted Under This Program Is Always Outside The United States." GEN. HAYDEN: "I don't think domestic spying makes it. One end of any call targeted under this program is always outside the United States. I've flown a lot in this country, and I've taken literally hundreds of domestic flights. I have never boarded a domestic flight in the United States of America and landed in Waziristan. In the same way - and I'm speaking illustratively here now, this is just an example - if NSA had intercepted al Qaeda Ops Chief Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in Karachi talking to Mohamed Atta in Laurel, Maryland, in say, July of 2001 - if NSA had done that, and the results had been made public, I'm convinced that the crawler on all the 7 by 24 news networks would not have been 'NSA domestic spying.'" (General Michael Hayden, Remarks, Washington, DC, 1/23/06)

DEFINITION: Domestic Vs. International.

* Domestic Calls are calls inside the United States. International Calls are calls either to or from the United States.
* Domestic Flights are flights from one American city to another. International Flights are flights to or from the United States.
* Domestic Mail consists of letters and packages sent within the United States. International Mail consists of letters and packages sent to or from the United States.
* Domestic Commerce involves business within the United States. International Commerce involves business between the United States and other countries.

# # #

 

Setting the Record Straight: The Washington Post's Sebastian Mallaby on Health
Savings Accounts

For Immediate Release
February 13, 2006

Setting The Record Straight On The Benefits Of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).

Mallaby Claims That HSAs Are For "Rich People" And "Healthy People." "The
administration is proposing a new kind of 401(k), and using it as an inducement
to quit low-deductible insurance. Rich people, who gain most from the tax breaks
on saving, will be first to sign on; healthy people, who subsidize sicker people
in company health plans, will be right behind them." (Sebastian Mallaby, Op-Ed,
"Ownership Society Redux," The Washington Post, 2/13/06)

But Studies Have Shown That HSAs Have Broad Appeal.

*

Enrollment In HSAs Has Tripled Since March 2005. " At least three million
consumers currently receive health coverage through high-deductible health
insurance plans offered in conjunction with health saving accounts (HSAs),
according to preliminary results of a new study by America's Health Insurance
Plans (AHIP). According to the study, enrollment in the new insurance policies
eligible for HSAs has roughly tripled since last March when a similar AHIP
survey found that 1,031,000 people were covered by HSA-compatible insurance
policies." (America's Health Insurance Plans, "HSAs Triple in 10 Months," Press
Release, 1/26/06)
*

Studies Show That Low-Income And Previously Uninsured Americans Are
Signing Up For HSAs." These lower-premium plans are an important option,
especially for those who might not otherwise be able to afford coverage,
Ignagni said, noting that among the companies tracking the information,
previously uninsured people purchased 37% of the individual policies.
Twenty-seven percent of the policies in the small group market have been sold
to employers who did not previously offer coverage to their employees.
Shattering the myth that these new products only attract young and healthy
individuals, the census indicates that nearly half of people covered by
HSA-eligible insurance are over the age of 40." (America's Health Insurance
Plans, "HSAs More Than Double In Six Months, New AHIP Study Shows," Press
Release, 5/4/05)
*

Survey Finds More Previously Uninsured Americans Enrolled In HSA Programs
Than Traditional Health Plans. "The survey found that HSA-eligible enrollees
are of all ages and of no different health status than people enrolled in
traditional coverage. 'This survey finding dispels the myth that HSAs are only
for the young and healthy,' said Sullivan. 'In addition, we are also bolstered
by the finding that the number of previously uninsured currently enrolled in a
HSA-eligible product is double that of enrollees in traditional insurance
products (12 percent to 6 percent).'" (Blue Cross And Blue Shield, "BCBSA
Consumer Survey Shows High Rate Of Satisfaction With HSAs," Press Release,
9/28/05)
*

Nearly Half Of HSA Enrollees Are At Least 40 Years Old. "Other key
findings of the report on HSA-eligible health plan purchasers include: Nearly
half are at least 40 years old; More than one-third are families with children;
40 percent have incomes under $50,000 a year; One-third were previously
uninsured; and Of those in the $15,000 to $35,000 income bracket, there was a
161 percent increase of previously uninsured purchasers during all of 2004
compared to the first six months of the year." (eHealthInsurance, "Prescription
Drug Benefits Included In 99.4% Of HSA Health Plans," Press Release, 2/15/05)
*

The President Proposes Extra Financial Help For The Poor And The Sick. "A
family of four making $25,000 or less will be able to get a refundable tax
credit of $3,000 from the Federal government to help buy an HSA-compatible
policy that covers them for major medical expenses. These families will have
the flexibility to put up to $1,000 of the money directly into an HSA to pay
for routine medical expenses. What the family does not spend can be saved in
the account and carried over to the next year, earning interest tax-free." (The
White House, "State Of The Union: Affordable And Accessible Health Care," Press
Release, 1/31/06)
*

The President's Budget Proposes Allowing Employers To Contribute More To
The HSAs Of Chronically-Ill Employees Or Their Dependents. "The 2007 Budget
proposes to change 'comparability' rules to allow employers to contribute
additional amounts to the HSAs of chronically-ill employees or their
dependents." (Office Of Management And Budget, "Health," Press Release, 2/6/06)

Mallaby Claims That HSA High-Deductible Insurance Policies Do Not Provide
Comprehensive Care. "In practice, probably less than half of all health
spending outside Medicaid and Medicare would be affected by the new
consumer-driven discipline. Many hospital stays cost more than any deductible,
so consumers would have no incentive to bargain; emergency-room patients aren't
in a fit state to negotiate prices with their doctors." (Sebastian Mallaby,
Op-Ed, "Ownership Society Redux," The Washington Post, 2/13/06)

But Studies Have Shown That HSAs Provide Comprehensive Care At Lower Premiums.

*

HSA Plans Provide Comprehensive Care At Reasonable Prices. "Premiums for
health insurance plans sold to individuals and families as part of a Health
Savings Account (HSA) program dropped an average of $29 per month, according to
a semi-annual report released today by eHealthInsurance, the nation's leading
source of health insurance for individuals and families." (eHealthInsurance,
"Consumers Paying An Average Of $348 Less This Year For HSA-Eligible Health
Insurance Plans Compared To 2004," Press Release, 7/27/05)
*

HSA Plans Include Coverage For Prescription Drugs, Hospitalization, And
Visits To The Doctor's Office. "In 2005, HSA-eligible health insurance plans
continue to provide many of the benefits expected in comprehensive health
insurance plans. For example, nearly 80% of the plans purchased had
prescription drug coverage and more than 80% of the HSA-eligible plans
purchased had comprehensive OB/GYN coverage at no cost to the plan holder.
Also, all of the plans include emergency room, hospitalization and lab/X-ray
services." (eHealthInsurance, "Consumers Paying An Average Of $348 Less This
Year For HSA-Eligible Health Insurance Plans Compared To 2004," Press Release,
7/27/05)
*

Many HSA Plans Will Provide Plenty Of Reason To Find Bargains On Health
Care. Many HSA plans do not pay 100 percent after the deductible is met,
charging typically 20 percent coinsurance until an out-of-pocket maximum is
met. This definitely keeps the consumer engaged until their maximum is met. For
example, under the Federal employees plans, one family plan has a $5,000
deductible but an $8,000 out-of-pocket maximum. This means the family is paying
something on the first $20,000 of their care. The President's new proposals
would help families pay for these expenses through their HSA. (FEHB handbook,
available online http://www.opm.gov/insure/handbook/fehb00.asp)

Mallaby Says Americans Would Be Better Off In Traditional Corporate Health
Plans. "And health savings accounts pose a more formidable threat to
traditional corporate health plans than personal accounts posed to Social
Security. Market forces are already dislodging company health plans; an extra
shove could cause an avalanche." (Sebastian Mallaby, Op-Ed, "Ownership Society
Redux," The Washington Post, 2/13/06)

But Studies Provide No Evidence That Employers Are Dropping Coverage.

*

HSAs Make Coverage More Affordable For Business. "The cost of health plans
that encourage members to be better health care consumers grew at a
significantly slower rate in 2005 than other types of plans, U.S. employers
reported in a survey released today by the Deloitte Center for Health
Solutions. The cost of consumer-driven health plans - such as health savings
accounts or health reimbursement arrangements - increased by an average of 2.8
percent from 2004 to 2005, according to the survey of 152 major U.S. employers.
That compares to an 8 percent increase in total premiums for health maintenance
organizations, an 8.5 percent increase for point-of-service plans and a 7.2
percent increase for preferred provider organizations. Traditional or indemnity
plan costs increased 6.4 percent last year, according to the survey. The average
for all types of plans was 7.3 percent." (Deloitte Services LP, "Survey:
Consumer-Driven Health Plan Cost Growth Significantly Slower Than Other Plans,"
Press Release, 1/24/06)
*

HSAs Are Part Of A Health Care System In Which Patients Are In Control.
THE PRESIDENT: "An interesting product available is called health savings
accounts. I strongly urge small business owner[s] here to look at them. It's an
innovative product that enables the small business owner and the employee to
combine, to work together to come up with a plan where the employee owns it. It
provides for a high deductible catastrophic plan, coupled with tax-free
contributions in the plan, basically gives the consumer control over his or her
medical decisions. The plan can grow tax-free, which is an encouragement for
people to make wise decisions about how they treat their body. If you have a
catastrophic event, the insurance kicks in and covers it. It's portable. If you
change jobs, you can take it with you. It's an interesting idea. It certainly
stands in stark contrast with a system in which the federal government gets to
make the consumers decisions, or tells the providers what they can charge. It's
the opposite of federal control. It is patient control." (President Bush,
Remarks On Small Business, Sterling, VA, 1/19/06)

# # #

 

Setting the Record Straight: Despite Democrat Claims, President Bush's Policies Are Growing Our Economy

For Immediate Release
April 11, 2006

Fact sheet Setting the Record Straight

"The tax cuts I signed left $880 billion with our nation's workers, small business owners and families. They've used that money to fuel our economic resurgence. Not everyone in Washington agreed with the decision to let people keep more of their own money. On the day that Republicans in the House and Senate were finalizing the 2003 tax cuts, one Democratic leader said these cuts would 'do nothing to create jobs.' Facts have proven the critics wrong 5.1 million times over."

-President George W. Bush
April 7, 2006

Congressional Democrats Attack The President's Economic Agenda

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY): "Hillary Clinton, In Policy Address, Will Slam Bush On Economy." (Laura Litvan and Matthew Benjamin, "Hillary Clinton, In Policy Address, Will Slam Bush On Economy," Bloomberg, 4/11/06)

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV): "Democratic leaders say now is not the time to consider extending tax cuts ... 'I can't imagine they would do that to the American people,' Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said of the Republican leadership." (Tom Raum, "Crisis Overtakes Bush's Agenda, Rearranging Second-Term Landscape," The Associated Press, 9/17/05)

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): REP. PELOSI: "The Bush economy is going in the wrong direction." (Rep. Nancy Pelosi, "The Bush Economy Is Going In The Wrong Direction," Press Release, 4/7/06)

But Congressional Democrats, Including Clinton, Reid, And Pelosi, Voted Against The President's 2001 And 2003 Tax Relief That Kept $880 Billion In The Hands Of America's Workers And Families

Most Congressional Democrats, Including Clinton, Reid, And Pelosi, Voted Against The Economic Growth And Tax Relief Reconciliation Act Of 2001. (H.R. 1836, CQ Vote #149: Adopted 240-154: R 211-0; D 28-153; I 1-1, 5/26/01; H.R. 1836, CQ Vote #170: Adopted 58-33: R 46-2; D 12-31, 5/26/01)

Almost All Congressional Democrats, Including Clinton, Reid, And Pelosi, Voted Against The Jobs And Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act Of 2003. (H.R. 2, CQ Vote #225: Adopted 231-200: R 224-1; D 7-198; I 0-1, 5/23/03; H.R. 2, CQ Vote #196: Adopted 51-50: R 48-3; D 2-46; I 0-1, With Vice President Cheney Casting A "Yea" Vote, 5/23/03)

President Bush's Tax Cuts Helped Spur Economic Growth

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal Says The President's Tax Cuts "Undeniably Helped Spur" Jobs Expansion. "The Bush 2003 tax cuts have undeniably helped spur this jobs expansion by providing businesses more incentive to invest in equipment and technology, which in turn has increased the demand for workers." (Editorial, "Help (Very Much) Wanted," The Wall Street Journal, 4/10/06)

Today's Christian Science Monitor Reports The Economy "Isn't Just Producing Jobs These Days, It's Also Producing Good Jobs." "The US economy isn't just producing jobs these days, it's also producing good jobs. ... These reports in the past month symbolize a welcome trend during an economic expansion that at first offered only tepid job gains, both in quantity and quality. 'We're creating lots of all kinds of jobs, across many industries, occupations, and pay scales,' says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com." (Mark Trumbull, "US Economy's Latest Output: Better Jobs," The Christian Science Monitor, 4/11/06)

*

Management And Professional Occupations Are Employing More Americans. "Management and professional occupations are employing 1.2 million more people this month than a year ago - or about 1 in 3 new jobs in America. This is the highest-paying of five broad categories tracked by the Labor Department. Not all of them are CEOs or engineers, but the median paycheck for full-time workers in this category is $937 a week, far above the US median of $651." (Mark Trumbull, "US Economy's Latest Output: Better Jobs," The Christian Science Monitor, 4/11/06)
*

The Manufacturing Sector Is Stabilizing. "Even the manufacturing sector, which has long offered blue-collar workers a measure of middle-class prosperity, appears to be stabilizing after a period of heavy job losses. Despite downsizing in the automotive industry, 175,000 more people are employed in production occupations today than a year ago." (Mark Trumbull, "US Economy's Latest Output: Better Jobs," The Christian Science Monitor, 4/11/06)
*

The "Liberal" Economic Policy Institute Finds New Jobs Are Pulling Wages Up, Not Down. "'As this recovery gets under way, professional services have begun adding jobs fairly broadly,' says Jared Bernstein, an economist at the liberal Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in Washington. EPI tracks the weighting of higher-versus lower-paying jobs that are being added to the economy. For much of the current expansion, which began at the end of 2001, that indicator has been negative. In the past year, however, it has turned positive, meaning that the new jobs in the economy are the kind that tend to pull average wages up, not down." (Mark Trumbull, "US Economy's Latest Output: Better Jobs," The Christian Science Monitor, 4/11/06)

JUST THE FACTS: President Bush's Pro-Growth Policies Are Producing Results

FACT: Last year, the economy grew at a healthy 3.5 percent rate - faster than any other major industrialized country.

FACT: Since August 2003, we have added more than 5.1 million new jobs - more than Japan and the European Union combined.

FACT: The unemployment rate is at 4.7 percent - lower than the average of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

FACT: The Conference Board Index of Consumer Confidence rose to 107.2 in March - the highest level in nearly four years.

FACT: Real disposable income has risen 2.2 percent over the past 12 months. Since January 2001, real after-tax income per person has risen 8.3 percent.

FACT: Core inflation is contained, with Core CPI increasing a moderate 2.1 percent over the past 12 months.

# # #

 

The Washington Post's Reckless Reporting On WMD Claims

April 12, 2006

Fact sheet Setting the Record Straight

"I will point out that the reporting I saw this morning was simply reckless and it was irresponsible. The lead in The Washington Post left the impression for the reader that the President was saying something he knew at the time not to be true. … The President's statements were based on the joint assessment of the CIA and DIA that was publicly released the day before [the President made his statements]."

-Scott McClellan, White House Press Briefing
April 12, 2006

The Washington Post Implies President Bush Made Iraqi WMD Claims He Knew Had Already Been Proven False

The Washington Post: "On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile 'biological laboratories.' He declared, 'We have found the weapons of mass destruction.' The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true." (Joby Warrick, "Lacking Biolabs, Trailers Carried Case For War," The Washington Post, 4/12/06)

* Then, ABC News Irresponsibly Mischaracterizes The Washington Post's Report: "They'd found a couple trailers that he said actually were the mobile biological laboratories that he said showed that they were indeed developing WMD, and The Washington Post has a story today that says the President knew at the time that was not true." (ABC's "Good Morning America," 4/12/06)

But The CIA And DIA Had Jointly Assessed At The Time That The Labs Were For Producing Biological Weapons

The President's Comments Followed The Intelligence Assessment Of The CIA And The DIA That Was Publicly Released Just One Day Earlier.

o CIA/DIA Report (May 28, 2003): "Coalition forces have uncovered the strongest evidence to date that Iraq was hiding a biological warfare program. ... US forces in late April also discovered a mobile laboratory truck in Baghdad. The truck is a toxicology laboratory from the 1980s that could be used to support BW or legitimate research. The design, equipment, and layout of the trailer found in late April is strikingly similar to descriptions provided by a source who was a chemical engineer that managed one of the mobile plants." ("Iraqi Mobile Biological Warfare Agent Production Plants," Central Intelligence Agency And Defense Intelligence Agency, 5/28/03)

+ View The Entire CIA/DIA Report At: http://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraqi_mobile_plants/paper_w.pdf.

o U.S. Intelligence Official: "'We are highly confident that the coalition forces in Iraq have discovered ... a mobile biological production plant,' a U.S. intelligence official, not identified by the CIA, said via conference call." (Michelle Mittelstadt, "U.S. Officials 'Confident' Mobile Labs Were Intended For Biological Weapons Production," The Dallas Morning News, 5/29/03)

The CIA/DIA Report Was Only Later Determined To Be Wrong By The Robb/Silberman WMD Commission And The Iraq Survey Group. (Commission On The Intelligence Capabilities Of The United States Regarding Weapons Of Mass Destruction, "Report To The President," 3/31/05)

The Administration Has Repeatedly Acknowledged Intelligence Problems And Has Taken Multiple Steps To Address Them

The President Supported The Work Of The 9/11 Commission And The Robb/Silberman Commission. The White House provided the 9/11 Commission with unprecedented access, including providing close to 1,000 interviews with Administration officials and making available 2.3 million pages of documents for the Commission's review.

The Administration Has Taken Action On Most Of The 9/11 Commission's Recommendations That Apply To The Executive Branch.

* Appointing The Director Of National Intelligence. President Bush signed into law the landmark Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which overhauls the intelligence community, mandating a range of reforms and centralizing in one office key authorities. The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) serves as President Bush's principal intelligence advisor and the leader of the Intelligence Community.

The Washington Post Bases Its Claim On A Defense Department Field Report

The Washington Post: "A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq - not made public until now - had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president's statement." (Joby Warrick, "Lacking Biolabs, Trailers Carried Case For War," The Washington Post, 4/12/06)

But The Defense Department Field Report Was A "Preliminary Finding"

U.S. Intelligence Official: "You Don't Change A Report That Has Been Coordinated In The [Intelligence] Community Based On A Field Report.""A U.S. intelligence official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, confirmed the existence of the field report cited by the Post, but said it was a preliminary finding that had to be evaluated. 'You don't change a report that has been coordinated in the [intelligence] community based on a field report,' the official said. 'It's a preliminary report. No matter how strongly the individual may feel about the subject matter.'" ("White House Hotly Denies Report On Iraq WMD," Reuters, 4/12/06)

The Washington Post Cites Iraqi WMD Evidence As The Only Reason Offered By President Bush For Unseating Saddam Hussein

The Washington Post: "The trailers - along with aluminum tubes acquired by Iraq for what was claimed to be a nuclear weapons program - were primary pieces of evidence offered by the Bush administration before the war to support its contention that Iraq was making weapons of mass destruction." (Joby Warrick, "Lacking Biolabs, Trailers Carried Case For War," The Washington Post, 4/12/06)

But The President Provided Many Other Reasons For Liberating Iraq

1. Saddam Hussein Violated United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

* President Bush Says The United Nations Must Hold Saddam Hussein Accountable. PRESIDENT BUSH: "No, he's a threat. And that's why I went to the United Nations. I went to the United Nations because, I said to that august body, you need to hold this man to account." (President Bush, Remarks In South Dakota Welcome, Sioux Falls, SD, 11/3/02)

* PRESIDENT BUSH: "The United States Is Also Showing Our Commitment To Effective International Institutions." "In confronting Iraq, the United States is also showing our commitment to effective international institutions. ... We believe in the Security Council - so much that we want its words to have meaning. ... High-minded pronouncements against proliferation mean little unless the strongest nations are willing to stand behind them - and use force if necessary." (President Bush, Remarks On The Future Of Iraq, Washington, D.C., 2/26/03)

2. Patrolling The UN-Mandated No-Fly Zone, U.S. And Coalition Forces Were Regularly Attacked.

* PRESIDENT BUSH: "A Regime That Fires Upon American And British Pilots Is Not Taking The Path Of Compliance." (President Bush, Remarks At Signing Of The National Defense Authorization Act, Arlington, VA, 12/2/02)

3. Saddam Hussein Brutalized Iraq's Civilian Population.

* PRESIDENT BUSH: The United States Must Not Leave Saddam Hussein's "Torture Chambers And Poison Labs In Operation." (President Bush, Remarks On The Future Of Iraq, Washington, D.C., 2/26/03)

4. Saddam Hussein Supported And Harbored Terrorist Organizations.

* President Bush Said That By Ending Saddam Hussein's Support For Terrorism, The United States Would Help "Begin A New Stage For Middle Eastern Peace" And "Deprive Terrorist Networks Of A Wealthy Patron That Pays For Terrorist Training, And Offers Rewards To Families Of Suicide Bombers." (President Bush, Remarks On The Future Of Iraq, Washington, D.C., 2/26/03)

5. Saddam Hussein Had A History Of Pursuing And Using WMD.

* President Bush Cites Saddam Hussein's Use Of Weapons Of Mass Destruction Against His Own People. PRESIDENT BUSH: "Fifteen years ago, Saddam Hussein's regime ordered a chemical weapons attack on a village in Iraq called Halabja. With that single order, the regime killed thousands of Iraq's Kurdish citizens. ... The chemical attack on Halabja - just one of 40 targeted at Iraq's own people - provided a glimpse of the crimes Saddam Hussein is willing to commit, and the kind of threat he now presents to the entire world." (President Bush, Radio Address, 3/15/03)

6. Removing Saddam Hussein Brought Freedom To The Heart Of The Middle East.

* PRESIDENT BUSH: "Acting Against The Danger Will Also Contribute Greatly To The Long-Term Safety And Stability Of Our World. The Current Iraqi Regime Has Shown The Power Of Tyranny To Spread Discord And Violence In The Middle East. A Liberated Iraq Can Show The Power Of Freedom To Transform That Vital Region, By Bringing Hope And Progress Into The Lives Of Millions. America's Interests In Security, And America's Belief In L iberty, Both Lead In The Same Direction: To A Free And Peaceful Iraq." (President Bush, Remarks On The Future Of Iraq, Washington, D.C., 2/26/03)

Numerous Democrats Agreed Iraq Possessed WMD And Saw Saddam Hussein As A Threat

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY): "In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaeda members ... It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons." (Sen. Hillary Clinton, Congressional Record, 10/10/02, p. S10288)

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA): "When I vote to give the president of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security...." (Sen. John Kerry, Congressional Record, 10/9/02, p. S10174)

* Sen. John Kerry (D-MA): "[W]ithout question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real." (Sen. John Kerry, Remarks At Georgetown University, Washington, DC, 1/23/03)

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA): "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." (Sen. Edward Kennedy, Remarks At The Johns Hopkins School Of Advanced International Studies, 9/27/02)

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV): "The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..." ("Threats And Responses," The New York Times, 10/4/02)

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV): "There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years ... We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction." (Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Congressional Record, 10/10/02, p. S10305)

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI): "We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandated of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them." (Sen. Carl Levin, Committee On Armed Services, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 9/19/02)

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): "Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process. The responsibility of the United States in this conflict is to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, to minimize the danger to our troops and to diminish the suffering of the Iraqi people." (Rep. Nancy Pelosi, "Statement On U.S. Led Military Strike Against Iraq," Press Release, 12/16/98)

Former President Bill Clinton: "One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line." ("US: Clinton Says Diplomatic Solution Preferable In Iraq," AAP Newsfeed, 2/5/98)

Former Vice President Al Gore: "We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country." (Former Vice President Al Gore, Remarks At The Commonwealth Club, San Francisco, CA, 9/23/02)

# # #

 

May 4, 2006

Setting the Record Straight: GAO's Inaccurate, Incomplete, And Outdated
Medicare Report

"Well, first of all, let me point out that this report that you are
referring to was a snapshot of one aspect of all efforts being used to
communicate and sign seniors up for the new Medicare prescription drug
benefit. It was a snapshot that was taken three months ago, in the January
and early February time frame. And the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services has continued to take steps to make improvements to their
communications tool. ... But the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
also has an ongoing monitoring program which takes a random sample of the
calls coming in to make sure that they are being answered accurately. And
they have found that 93 percent of the time, those calls from people
wanting to sign up are being answered accurately."

-White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan
May 3, 2006

GAO's Findings Are Inaccurate, Incomplete, And Outdated

"Study Finds Medicare Operators Often Give Bad Information." (Ceci
Connolly, "Study Finds Medicare Operators Often Give Bad Information," The
Washington Post, 5/4/06)

But GAO Bases Its Evaluation Of 1-800-MEDICARE On Misleading Criteria - GAO
Did Not Find That Operators Gave Out Wrong Information. For its report, GAO
had test callers who were not actual beneficiaries call Medicare customer
service through the 1-800-MEDICARE help line. Per standard practice, the
customer service representatives requested the callers' beneficiary
identification numbers - which the test callers did not possess because
they were not actual beneficiaries. In most calls by actual beneficiaries,
they are able to provide their identification numbers. GAO's test was
fundamentally flawed, and there is no evidence that operators gave out
wrong information in these instances.

GAO Bases Its Report On A Snapshot In Time Three Months Ago (January And
Early February 2006). Medicare is continually improving all its
communications tools and the capabilities of 1-800-MEDICARE operators have
been strengthened. Medicare prepared for the open enrollment period by
developing a comprehensive training curriculum on the prescription drug
benefit and the Plan Finder for 1-800-MEDICARE operators. Medicare has
continued to update the scripts and reference materials available for
operators to use. Call wait times now average two to three minutes.

Since January, Calls To 1-800-MEDICARE Have Been Answered Accurately 93
Percent Of The Time, According To Medicare's Ongoing Monitoring Program.
The monitoring program evaluates a random sample of hundreds of actual
calls received each month.

Overall Satisfaction From 1-800-MEDICARE Callers Averaged 84 To 85 Percent
In February And March. The high satisfaction rates reflect the help line's
high accuracy rate.
GAO Bases Its Evaluation On Whether Beneficiaries Could Calculate
Out-Of-Pocket Costs Using Medicare's Plan Finder, But This Is Unnecessary
For Actual Beneficiaries. The Plan Finder was designed to make calculations
so that beneficiaries could make confident plan choices. Most beneficiaries
are using the web tool and choosing plans with benefits other than the
standard benefit design.

GAO Ignores Major Aspects Of Medicare's Communications Activities. Medicare
has expanded its community-based education and outreach efforts through an
extensive network of grassroots partners across the country. These efforts
are particularly important for beneficiaries who do not use the handbook or
the web. Medicare has built an unprecedented effort along with thousands of
national and local partner organizations including SHIPs, Area Agencies on
Aging, NCOA, disability organizations, church groups, the NAACP,
pharmacists and physicians.

Medicare's Website Is Working

Medicare Has Responded To More Than 19,000 Emails Received Through The FAQ
Section Of Medicare's Website, With 93 Percent Of Them Being Resolved
Satisfactorily In The First Response. The frequently asked questions
section of www.medicare.gov has been accessed more than 1 million times
since January 1, 2006.

The High Level Of Online Enrollment And Use By Partners Indicates That Many
People Have Found Medicare's Web Resource Useful And Effective. A
successful key tool for beneficiaries to find the information they need and
to enroll in a plan is the Medicare Personal Plan Finder. The drug plan
finder has received 164.6 million page views between November 15, 2005 and
April 26, 2006. Thousands of beneficiaries every day continue to sign up
for coverage through the Online Enrollment Center at www.medicare.gov.

Seniors Say They Are Satisfied With Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage

According To An AARP Poll, 78 Percent Of Seniors Enrolled Are Satisfied
With Their Medicare Drug Coverage. A U.S. Chamber of Commerce poll also
finds that 78 percent of seniors enrolled are satisfied with their drug
coverage. Ninety percent say they understand how their plan works and how
to use it and 52 percent say they are enjoying a significant cost savings.
("Enrollees' Perceptions of Medicare Part D: Three Months and Counting,"
AARP, April 2006; U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, "Nationwide Poll Of Seniors
Shows High Level Of Satisfaction With Medicare Prescription Drug Plan,"
Press Release, 4/25/06)

CALIFORNIA: Clara Takigawa, 89: "'She solved everything for me,' Takigawa
said, referring to the Medicare counselor who had helped her zero in on a
plan." (Sukhjit Purewal, "Medicare Plan Made Simple(r)," The Monterey
Herald, 4/20/06)

MISSISSPPI: Richard Anderson: "Richard Anderson of Hattiesburg, who
enrolled when he turned 65 a couple of years back, says an instructional
session through AARP helped him find the plan that works for him, and in
preparation for our chat, 'I went through prescriptions for February (2006)
and found I had a net savings of $230.51,' Anderson said.'" (Jean Prescott,
"Some Get Part D Delay," The Sun Herald [Biloxi, MS], 4/23/06)

ILLINOIS: Robert Ayo: "'The process was easy,' he wrote in an e-mail. 'The
government booklet, "Medicare and You," outlined the available plans.'"
(Marni Pyke, "Clock Ticking On Part D Singup," Chicago Daily Herald,
4/16/06)

OHIO: Kenimer Tucker: "He received an insurance card from Blue Cross and
Blue Shield Association, and paid about $75 for each of his prescriptions
that month. Then, Tucker said Medicare informed him that he had received
the wrong card. They sent him a new card from Humana insurance company. He
pays about $25 total for his prescriptions every month. 'I like this,' he
said. 'I haven't had trouble. No trouble at all.'" (Rachel Streitfeld,
"Seniors Face May 15 Deadline To Sign Up Under Medicare Part D," Zanesville
Times-Recorder [Ohio], 5/1/06)

Medicare's May 15 Enrollment Deadline Is Approaching

The GAO Report Is "Reviving Calls By Democrats To Extend The May 15
Deadline." (Ceci Connolly, "Study Finds Medicare Operators Often Give Bad
Information," The Washington Post, 5/4/06)

But More Than 30 Million People Have Signed Up For The Medicare Drug
Benefit, Surpassing The Administration's Enrollment Goal Of 28 To 30
Million Beneficiaries. If enrollment rates continue at the current pace,
the government may enroll 90 percent of the estimated 42 million eligible
seniors by the May 15 deadline.

More Than Thirty Million Seniors Enrolled Means More Than 71 Percent Of
Eligible Beneficiaries Are Receiving Coverage.

About 6 Million People Do Not Need To Enroll Because They Have Other
Coverage. I.E., they are covered by VA, Indian Health, or they are still
working.

Many People May Be Assisted By The Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit But
Do Not Realize It. As of March 23, there were 11 million seniors with
retiree coverage partially subsidized by the federal government and 5.8
million seniors were auto-enrolled. This month, CMS is auto enrolling about
1 million low income seniors that have not picked a plan but qualify for
extra help.

USA Today Editorial: "The deadline is forcing seniors - and their adult
children - to act. Note that one in eight taxpayers file in the week before
April 15. ... Congress rejected an extension in February. With almost a
month to go, it should resist the temptation to change its mind."
(Editorial, "Views Of Medicare Plan Shift," USA Today, 4/17/06)

USA Today: "There's Plenty Of Help Available To Make A Decision Now."
"Also, there's plenty of help available to make a decision now. Social
service agencies, state insurance departments and pharmacies are helping
seniors navigate the system. More than 1,000 enrollment seminars are held
each week." (Editorial, "Views Of Medicare Plan Shift," USA Today, 4/17/06)
# # #

 

May 8, 2006

Setting the Record Straight: The ABA Finds Brett Kavanaugh Is "Indeed
Qualified to Serve on the Federal Bench"

"In 42 votes cast in the three ABA reviews, all 42 found Mr. Kavanaugh to
be well qualified or qualified to serve on the DC Circuit. The ABA itself
says that even the lowest of the three ratings is, in its words, 'a very
high standard.'"

-White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino
May 8, 2006

The Associated Press: "ABA Downgrades Rating For White House Aide From
Well-Qualified To Qualified." (Laurie Kellman, "ABA Downgrades Rating For
White House Aide From Well-Qualified To Qualified," The Associated Press,
5/8/06)

But According To ABA Review Panel Chairman Stephen Tober, Kavanaugh Is
"Indeed Qualified To Serve On The Federal Bench." TOBER: "This nominee
enjoys a solid reputation for integrity, intellectual capacity, and writing
and analytical ability. ... A substantial majority of the Standing
Committee believes that Mr. Kavanaugh is indeed qualified to serve on the
federal bench." (Stephen L. Tober, Committee On The Judiciary, U.S. Senate,
Testimony, 5/8/06)

Tober Himself Notes That "There Is No Bright-Line Litmus Test As To Whether
A Nominee Is 'Well Qualified' Or 'Qualified.'" TOBER: "It is, at its most
basic, the difference between the 'highest standard' and a 'very high
standard.'" (Stephen L. Tober, Committee On The Judiciary, U.S. Senate,
Testimony, 5/8/06)

According To The ABA's "Backgrounder," A "Qualified" Rating Means The
Committee Believes A Nominee Will Be Able To Perform "All Duties And
Responsibilities" Of A Federal Judge. TOBER: "The Backgrounder also makes
clear that '(t)he rating of 'Qualified' means that the nominee meets the
Committee's very high standards with respect to integrity, professional
competence and judicial temperament and that the Committee believes that
the nominee will be able to perform satisfactorily all of the duties and
responsibilities required by the high office of a federal judge.'" (Stephen
L. Tober, Committee On The Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Testimony, 5/8/06)

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA): "[The ABA Rating Is] Just A Shading. ... He's
Got A Very Strong Record." (Laurie Kellman, "ABA Downgrades Rating For
White House Aide From Well-Qualified To Qualified," The Associated Press,
5/8/06)

Brett M. Kavanaugh Is Superbly Qualified For The D.C. Circuit

Throughout His Career, Brett Kavanaugh Has Demonstrated Legal Excellence
And The Fair-Minded Temperament To Serve As A Federal Appellate Judge.
Kavanaugh has an extraordinary range of experience in the public and
private sectors. He has dedicated the majority of his 16 years of practice
to public service as an appellate lawyer, a government lawyer, and an
Assistant to the President.

Kavanaugh Now Serves As Assistant To The President And Staff Secretary. He
is responsible for coordinating virtually all documents to and from the
President. He previously served as Senior Associate Counsel and Associate
Counsel to the President, during which time he worked on numerous
constitutional, legal, and ethical issues.

Prior To His Service In This Administration, Kavanaugh Was A Partner At The
Law Firm Of Kirkland & Ellis, Where His Practice Focused On Appellate
Matters. Kavanaugh also served as an Associate Counsel in the Office of
Independent Counsel, where he handled a number of difficult constitutional
issues presented during that investigation. Kavanaugh specialized in
appellate law and has extensive experience in the Federal appellate courts,
both as a law clerk and as counsel. Kavanaugh has argued both civil and
criminal matters before the U.S. Supreme Court and appellate courts
throughout the country.

Kavanaugh Clerked For U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, As Well
As Judge Alex Kozinski Of The Ninth Circuit And Judge Walter Stapleton Of
The Third Circuit. Prior to his Supreme Court clerkship, Kavanaugh earned a
prestigious fellowship in the Office of the Solicitor General of the United
States. The Solicitor General's office represents the United States before
the Supreme Court.

The American Bar Association (ABA) Has Consistently Rated Kavanaugh "Well
Qualified" Or "Qualified" To Serve On The D.C. Circuit. The ABA has rated
Brett Kavanaugh qualified to serve on the D.C. Circuit on three separate
occasions. In other words, 42 out of 42 ABA individual ratings found that
Mr. Kavanaugh is either Well Qualified or Qualified to serve on the D.C.
Circuit. And the majority of those 42 raters found Mr. Kavanaugh to be Well
Qualified to serve on the D.C. Circuit.

Kavanaugh Has Impeccable Academic Credentials. He received his B.A. cum
laude from Yale College and his law degree from Yale Law School, where he
served as Notes Editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Kavanaugh Has Offered His Legal Expertise And Personal Time To Serving His
Community. While in private practice, Kavanaugh took on pro bono matters,
including representation of the Adat Shalom congregation in Montgomery
County, Maryland, against the attempt to stop construction of a synagogue
in the county. Kavanaugh also represented, on a pro bono basis,
six-year-old Elian Gonzalez after the Immigration and Naturalization
Service decided to return him to Cuba.

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May 9, 2006

Setting the Record Straight: USA Today's Misleading Medicare Story

Millions Of Minorities Are Enrolling In Medicare Drug Coverage

USA Today Claims "Poor, Often Minority" Medicare Beneficiaries Are Not
Enrolling In Medicare Drug Coverage. "While millions of seniors and people
with disabilities are signing up and saving money, the program is being
used least by those who could benefit most: poor, often minority Medicare
beneficiaries." (Richard Wolf, "Those Most In Need May Miss Drug Benefit
Sign-up," USA Today, 5/9/06)

But By April, More Than 70 Percent Of Eligible African Americans, More Than
70 Percent Of Eligible Hispanics, And More Than 75 Percent Of Eligible
Asian Americans Are Enrolled Or Have Retiree Drug Coverage.

And More Than 9 Million Medicare Beneficiaries Have Other Forms Of
Coverage. Altogether, more than 9 million Medicare beneficiaries (over 20
percent of Medicare beneficiaries) - have coverage from sources including
Tricare, the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program, the Veterans
Administration or other forms of creditable coverage.
Low Income Beneficiaries Who Qualify For Medicare's Limited-Income Subsidy
(LIS) After May 15 Will Be Able To Enroll With No Penalty. About 3 million
beneficiaries who have not yet enrolled are eligible for the LIS. A
one-time opportunity using a special enrollment period will enable these
beneficiaries to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan immediately
after they become eligible for the limited-income subsidy, even if this is
after May 15. The extra help available through the LIS allows for
comprehensive and valuable drug coverage - in most cases costing
beneficiaries a few dollars for every prescription.

Medicare Is Aggressively Reaching Out To All Eligible Beneficiaries

USA Today Says Most Eligible Beneficiaries Who Have Not Yet Enrolled
"Haven't Been Reached." (Richard Wolf, "Those Most In Need May Miss Drug
Benefit Sign-up," USA Today, 5/9/06)

But The President Met Directly With Leaders Of Senior, Disability, And
Minority Groups At The White House On March 14 To Discuss Strategies For
Reaching All Seniors. The President met with organizations including the
National Alliance for Hispanic Health, the National Council on Aging
(NCOA), the NAACP, the AARP, Seniors Health Insurance Information Program
(SHIIP), and the National Baptist Convention.

Medicare Is Continuing To Work With Many Groups To Reach Hispanic Seniors
Across Our Nation. The Administration Is Working With the National Alliance
for Hispanic Health, the Hispanic Business Roundtable, the National
Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders. The Administration has
also reached out through public-service announcements on Univision,
Telemundo, and Spanish radio. As a result, we are getting hundreds of
enrollments each day through 1-800-MEDICARE and the National Alliance's "Su
Familia" helpline.

Over 600 Enrollment Events Have Been Held In Spanish. These events have
been held in conjunction with Medicare's thousands of Hispanic community
grassroots partners and national partners, including the National Alliance
for Hispanic Health, the National Association for Hispanic Elderly, and the
National Hispanic Council on Aging.

Tomorrow, President Bush Will Participate In A Hispanic Medicare Outreach
Event In Orlando, Florida. "The president's quick stop at the Asociacion
Borinquena de Florida Central could get the attention of many Hispanic
elders who qualify for new drug benefits but have not applied for them as a
May 15 deadline nears." (Victor Manuel Ramos, "Club To Welcome President,"
Sun-Sentinel [Ft. Lauderdale, FL], 5/9/06)
Medicare's Partners In The African American Community Have Sponsored
Numerous Events To Both Educate And Enroll African Americans. These
partners include the National Medical Association, the National Council on
Black Aged, the NAACP, the national fraternity and sorority organizations,
and the many leaders in the faith based community.

Medicare Is Taking Steps To Reach The Asian American Community. To reach
the Asian American community, Medicare sponsored telephone lines in
conjunction with the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging in three
languages: Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese. To date, over 28,000 Asian American
beneficiaries have received personalized assistance through these help
lines, which have been advertised broadly in their communities. In April,
President Bush and Secretary Chao participated in an Asian American
outreach event in Annandale, Virginia.

Medicare Drug Coverage Is Helping Low-Income Beneficiaries

The Families USA Report Cited By USA Today Claims "The Poorest Of The Poor
... Have Worse Drug Coverage Today Than They Had Before The New Medicare
Part D Program Began In January." (Families USA, "The Medicare Drug Program
Fails to Reach Low-Income Seniors," May 2006)

But Medicare Provides Extra Help For Beneficiaries With Limited Income And
Resources. About a third of seniors are eligible for prescription drug
coverage that includes little or no premiums, low deductibles, and no gaps
in coverage. On average, Medicare will pay for more than 95 percent of the
costs of prescription drugs for low-income seniors.

The Families USA Report Incorrectly Suggests That Medicare Beneficiaries
Previously Receiving Drug Coverage Under Medicaid ("Full-Benefit Dual
Eligibles") Will Not Be Helped By The Change To Part D Drug Coverage.
(Families USA, "The Medicare Drug Program Fails to Reach Low-Income
Seniors," May 2006)

But All Full-Benefit Dual Eligibles Get Comprehensive Drug Coverage And
Millions Of Full-Benefit Dual Eligibles Are Better Off Because:

They Have Access To Plans That Are Required To Have Broad Drug Lists
(Formularies) Which Are More Extensive In Many States Than The "Preferred
Drug Lists" Used By Many States. For example, all drugs for mental illness,
HIV/AIDS, and immune-related conditions are covered.

They Are No Longer Subject To Restrictions On The Number Of Prescriptions
They Can Fill. One in four states has restrictions in their Medicaid
program on the number of prescriptions covered each month.

They Are Protected From Any Out-Of-Pocket Expenses (Even The $1 And $3
Copays) When Total Drug Spending On Their Behalf Exceeds $5,100 A Year.
With an average cost of $100 per prescription, this would occur after 51
prescriptions and a total beneficiary expense for the year of only around
$100.

They Are No Longer Subject To Intermittent Eligibility Because Of Monthly
"Spend Down" And Eligibility Determination Requirements. Part D gives these
beneficiaries full continuity of their coverage throughout the year.

Some States Are Using A Portion Of Their Savings From Medicaid To Pay The
$1 Or $3 Drug Copayments For Dually Eligible Beneficiaries. This means the
state has savings, and beneficiaries have the same or lower copays than
before.
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May 10, 2006

Setting the Record Straight: The New York Times Continues to Ignore
America's Economic Progress

The New York Times Says "Fixed Costs, Like Housing, Health Care And
Gasoline" Are "Rapidly Outpacing" Paychecks And Benefits. (Editorial,
"Barely Staying Afloat," The New York Times, 5/10/06)

But Average Hourly Earnings Have Risen 3.8 Percent Over The Past 12 Months,
Their Largest Increase In Nearly Five Years. Hourly compensation rose at a
5.7 percent rate in the first quarter. Personal income rose 0.5 percent in
March.

Real After-Tax Income Has Risen By 13.8 Percent Since January 2001. Real
after-tax income has risen by $2,398 (8.2 percent) per person since January
2001.

Securities Prices Show The Market Believes That Inflation Is Expected To
Remain In Check.

More Than 5.2 Million Jobs Have Been Created Since August 2003, And 138,000
Jobs Were Created In April. The unemployment rate is 4.7 percent.

Yesterday, The Dow Jones Industrial Closed Within 83 Points Of An All-Time
Record High. The Dow is up 8.6 percent this year and closed yesterday at a
six-year high.

GDP Grew At A Strong 4.8 Percent Annual Rate In The First Quarter. This
follows our economic growth of 3.5 percent in 2005 - the fastest rate of
any major industrialized nation.

At $52 Trillion, Household Total Net Worth (Assets Minus Liabilities) Is At
An All-Time High And Has Increased 8 Percent Over The Past Year And 33
Percent Over The Past Three Years. The growth is due to both real estate
and other financial investments (i.e. it's not just a result of rising
housing prices). Household financial net worth (which excludes housing and
other tangible assets) is also at an all-time high.

The Conference Board Index Of Consumer Confidence Increased In April To Its
Highest Level In Almost Four Years.

Productivity Increased At A Strong Annual Rate Of 3.2 Percent In The First
Quarter.

Real Consumer Spending (Which Adjusts For The Price Of Gasoline) Grew At A
5.5 Percent Annual Rate In The First Quarter And 3.4 Percent Over The Past
Four Quarters.

The President's Tax Relief Has Helped Spur America's Economic Momentum

The President Worked With Congress To Reduce Income Taxes For Every
American Who Pays Income Taxes. The Administration and Congress doubled the
child tax credit, reduced the marriage penalty, cut taxes on capital gains
and dividends, created incentives for small businesses to purchase new
equipment and hire new workers, and put the death tax on the path to
extinction. Altogether, this tax relief left $880 billion in the hands of
American workers and businesses.

The Wall Street Journal: President Bush's Tax Relief Is Responsible For
Economic Growth. "Critics continue to complain that President Bush's tax
policies have only benefited the super-wealthy, but that would come as news
to the five million Americans who were jobless before the 2003 tax cuts,
and thus had no income, but now have a weekly paycheck." (Editorial, "Help
[Very Much] Wanted," The Wall Street Journal, 4/10/06)

Yesterday, Congressional Leaders Agreed To A Tax Relief Extension Package
That Will Help Millions Of Middle Class Families. "Republican congressional
leaders agreed Tuesday on a $70 billion measure to extend tax breaks for
investors and prevent 15 million middle-income families from being hit by
the alternative minimum tax, which was intended to affect only the
wealthy." (Jim Drinkard, "$70B Measure Would Extend Tax Breaks," USA Today,
5/10/06)

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May 10, 2006

Setting the Record Straight: CBS News' Misleading Medicare Report

CBS News Misleadingly Reports That Only 8 Million Seniors Have Signed Up
For Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage. JIM AXELROD: "Hoping to nail down
at least one clear success story for Republicans to run on this fall, Mr.
Bush wants to add another million seniors to the 8 million already signed
up." (CBS' "Evening News," 5/9/06)

But 37 Million Seniors Have Coverage. Of the more than 42 million people
eligible for Medicare, more than 31 million people with Medicare now have
Part D-related prescription drug coverage and hundreds of thousands more
are enrolling now. Nearly 6 million more eligible beneficiaries have an
alternative source of coverage (i.e., they are covered by VA, Indian
Health, or they are still working).

Many People May Be Assisted By The Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit But
Do Not Realize It. There are 11 million seniors continuing their retiree
coverage, and that retiree coverage is now partially subsidized by Medicare
to make it more secure. In addition, about 6 million seniors with Medicare
and Medicaid were auto-enrolled.

Today, HHS Announced That 9 Million Beneficiaries Have Signed Up On Their
Own For "Stand Alone" Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage. Over 1 million
more people enrolled in prescription drug coverage between late April and
May 6, bringing the total number of beneficiaries to about 9 million
individual enrollees in "stand alone" prescription drug plans. In
addition, during the open enrollment period for drug coverage, over 1
million people have newly enrolled in Medicare Advantage health plans to
get coverage.

CBS News Cites Poll Showing "Less Than 40 Percent Of Seniors Have Enrolled
In The Program." (CBS' "Evening News," 5/9/06)

But 37 Million Beneficiaries With Coverage Means Almost 90 Percent Of All
Eligible Beneficiaries Now Are Either Enrolled In Medicare Drug Plans Or
Have Other Sources Of Coverage.

CBS News Claims There Are "Still Some 7 Million Eligible Seniors Without
Drug Coverage." (CBS' "Evening News," 5/9/06)

But There Are Only About 5.7 Million Seniors Who Still Need To Be Enrolled.
Of the 5.7 million people remaining, most (about 3 million) qualify for the
low-income subsidy and therefore can enroll after the May 15 deadline.

CBS News Says Enrolling "Can Be A Confusing Process." (CBS' "Evening News,"
5/9/06)

But There Are Just Three Simple Steps To Getting Drug Coverage Now:

Eligible Beneficiaries Should Make A List Of Their Prescriptions Or Just
Gather Their Pill Bottles.

Eligible Beneficiaries Should Make Sure They Have Their Red, White, And
Blue Medicare Card Handy To Get Personalized Help.

Eligible Beneficiaries Should Call 1-800-MEDICARE, Go To www.medicare.gov,
Or Visit One Of The Many Sources Of Help Available. On the Medicare
website, it takes most seniors about one hour to sign up once they have
their information about their healthcare needs.

There Are Many Local And Community Resources To Help Seniors And Their
Family Members Find The Best Plan To Meet The Specific Needs Of Each
Beneficiary. Medicare has built an unprecedented effort along with
thousands of national and local partner organizations. More than 1,000
enrollment seminars are held each week.

CBS News/New York Times Poll Shows 81 Percent Of Seniors Think The Medicare
Enrollment Deadline Should Be Extended. (CBS' "Evening News," 5/9/06)

But Almost 90 Percent Of All Eligible Beneficiaries Now Are Either Enrolled
In Medicare Drug Plans Or Have Other Sources Of Coverage.

Eligible Beneficiaries Have Had Almost Six Months To Utilize Resources From
Medicare And In Their Community To Help Them Enroll In A Coverage Plan.
Even if eligible beneficiaries are uncertain about which plan is best for
them, they should enroll in a plan now to avoid the late enrollment penalty
and start saving money on their prescriptions. Beneficiaries wishing to
change plans can do so without penalty starting November 15.

USA Today Editorial: "There's Plenty Of Help Available To Make A Decision
Now." "The deadline is forcing seniors â?" and their adult children â?" to
act. Note that one in eight taxpayers file in the week before April 15.
Also, there's plenty of help available to make a decision now. Social
service agencies, state insurance departments and pharmacies are helping
seniors navigate the system. More than 1,000 enrollment seminars are held
each week." (Editorial, "Views Of Medicare Plan Shift," USA Today,
4/17/06)

# # #

 

 

 

May 11, 2006

Setting the Record Straight: President Bush's Tax Relief Benefits All
Taxpayers

Washington Post Editorial Headline: "The Formula Hasn't Changed: A Windfall
For The Rich, And A Hole In The Federal Budget." "Budgetary dishonesty,
distributional unfairness, fiscal irresponsibility - by now the words are
so familiar, it can be hard to appreciate how damaging this fiscal course
will be. ... This Congress and administration are putting the nation deeper
and deeper in debt to benefit a sliver of the population that doesn't need
the help." (Editorial, "Tax Cuts, Again; The Formula Hasn't Changed: A
Windfall For The Rich, And A Hole In The Federal Budget," The Washington
Post, 5/11/06)

But According To A News Headline In The Same Day's Washington Post: "Voting
On Party Lines, Lawmakers Extend Benefits To Middle Class." (Jonathan
Weisman, "House Passes $70 Billion Tax Package; Voting On Party Lines,
Lawmakers Extend Benefits To Middle Class," The Washington Post, 5/11/06)

The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Patch Contained In The Tax Relief Package
Benefits Millions Of Taxpayers

The Temporary Patch Contained In The Tax Relief Package Enables About 18.2
Million Taxpayers To Avoid Facing Higher Taxes. In 2005, about 4 million
taxpayers were affected by the AMT. Without extending the AMT relief
through the temporary patch in the tax relief package, this number would
rise to 22.2 million taxpayers in 2006.

Extending The President's Capital Gains And Dividend Tax Relief Will
Continue To Encourage Investment, Employment, And Wage Growth

Investment Tax Relief Benefits 57 Million American Families Who Directly Or
Indirectly Own Stocks.

Dividend Tax Relief Benefits More Than 35 Million Americans, Including Many
Seniors, Who Rely On Dividend Income.

The President's Tax Relief Is Fueling America's Economic Growth

More Than 5.2 Million Jobs Have Been Created Since August 2003, And 138,000
Jobs Were Created In April. The unemployment rate is 4.7 percent.

GDP Grew At A Strong 4.8 Percent Annual Rate In The First Quarter. This
follows our economic growth of 3.5 percent in 2005 - the fastest rate of
any major industrialized nation.

Average Hourly Earnings Have Risen 3.8 Percent Over The Past 12 Months,
Their Largest Increase In Nearly Five Years. Hourly compensation rose at a
5.7 percent rate in the first quarter. Personal income rose 0.5 percent in
March.

America's Strong And Growing Economy Is Increasing Government Revenue

For This Fiscal Year, The Treasury Department Is Reporting The Highest
Annual Tax Receipts In History. To date, tax revenues have increased by 11
percent for FY 2006. Total tax receipts in April 2006 were the second
highest in history for a one month period.

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May 11, 2006

Setting the Record Straight: AP's Misleading Military Recruiting Article

Fact sheet In Focus: Defense
Fact sheet Setting the Record Straight

The Associated Press: "Army Guard, Reserve Fall Short Of April Recruiting Goals." (Lolita C. Baldor, "Army Guard, Reserve Fall Short Of April Recruiting Goals," The Associated Press, 5/10/06)

But The Army National Guard, Air Force Reserve, And Marine Corps Reserve All Have Exceeded Or Achieved Their Year-To-Date Recruitment Goals.

* The Army National Guard Has Recruited 103 Percent Of Its Year-To-Date Goal.

* The Air Force Reserve Has Recruited 105 Percent Of Its Year-To-Date Goal.

* The Marine Corps Reserve Has Recruited 100 Percent Of Its Year-To-Date Goal. (Department Of Defense, "DoD Announces Recruiting And Retention Numbers For April," Press Release, 5/10/06)

For Active Duty Recruiting, All Services Exceeded Their Recruiting Goals In April For The 11th Consecutive Month And Remain Ahead Of Their Year-To-Date Goals. All services are also projected to meet their retention goals for the current fiscal year. (Department Of Defense, "DoD Announces Recruiting And Retention Numbers For April," Press Release, 5/10/06)

The Army Reserve, Air National Guard, And Navy Reserve Fell Short Of Their April Goals Partially Because Of High Active-Duty Retention. "Former active servicemembers have long been the biggest source of reserve-component recruits and a valuable resource, [Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen] Krenke said." (Donna Miles, "Active-Duty Recruiting Tops Goals For 11th Straight Month," American Forces Press Service, 5/10/06)

In April, The Marine Corps Reserve Exceeded Its Recruiting Goal By 1 Percent, And The Air Force Reserve Met Its Goal. (Department Of Defense, "DoD Announces Recruiting And Retention Numbers For April," Press Release, 5/10/06)

Reserve Forces Retention Is High. For April, Army National Guard retention was 110 percent of its cumulative goal, and Air National Guard retention was 102 percent of its cumulative goal. (Department Of Defense, "DoD Announces Recruiting And Retention Numbers For April," Press Release, 5/10/06)

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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 10, 2006

Setting the Record Straight: More Than 2,500 National Guard Troops Are Supporting Operation Jump Start In The Border States

Fact sheet Setting the Record Straight

NBC Reports There Are "Fewer Than 1,000" National Guard Troops Along The Border. NBC's HODA KOTBE: "Well back here on the ground, there are reports of a snag in the President's border patrol plan. Instead of growing to 6,000 National Guard troops along the border, there are fewer than 1,000, with many states reluctant to send more." (NBC's "Nightly News," 7/9/06)

CBS Reports There Are "Less Than 900 Guards Actually On The Border Right Now." CBS' TRISH REGAN: "But Operation Jump Start, to strengthen the Border Patrol with National Guard troops, seems to have stalled. There are less than 900 guards actually on the border right now." (CBS' "Evening News," 7/9/06)

The National Guard Has Met And Exceeded Its Goal

The National Guard Has Met And Exceeded Its Goal Of Deploying 2,500 Soldiers And Airmen To The Four Southwest Border States. WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN BLAIN RETHMEIER: "As defined by the operation, the National Guard has met and exceeded its goal of deploying 2,500 soldiers and airmen to the four Southwest border states. … Progress to date is real and the Guard’s efforts are making a positive difference in this national effort." (Aaron C. Davis, "Guard: 2,500 Troops At Border States; 483 In Position," The Associated Press, 7/3/06)

As Of Today, 2,834 National Guard Troops Are Deployed To The Southwest Border States In One Of Three Categories:

1. Forward Deployed. Troops are physically deployed within the Border Patrol sector, fulfilling Customs and Border Protection (CBP) assigned duties in direct support of the Border Patrol. To support CBP's efforts to deter and apprehend illegal aliens from crossing the border, these troops are filling critical border security missions, including identifying and locating people attempting to enter illegally, maintaining fences and vehicles, and performing administrative duties to help get Border Patrol agents back to the front lines.

2. At Joint Task Force Headquarters. Troops are assigned and currently in the National Guard Joint Task Force area of operations, where they perform command and control functions and training. These Headquarters are located in Vista, California; Phoenix, Arizona; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Austin, Texas.

3. In Training/Transition. Troops are within the border States and are engaged in preparatory training in areas including rules for use of force, cultural awareness, desert survival, and specific training to perform their border security duties assigned by CBP. As with any mission, training is a critical component to ensure the National Guard troops are fully prepared to perform their duties.

The National Guard's Border Efforts Are Already Having An Impact. "As evidence, [White House spokesman Blain Rethmeier] said the early arrival of troops had allowed the Border Patrol to send 125 agents 'back to the front lines,' and helped the Border Patrol catch nearly 200 illegal immigrants, seize 123 pounds of marijuana, 18 pounds of cocaine and seven vehicles. Through initial pay requests filed with the Air Guard and orders filed with the Army Guard, the Guard bureau verified 2,547 troops were in the four border states for the mission, said Daniel Donohue, a spokesman for the National Guard Bureau." (Aaron C. Davis, "Guard: 2,500 Troops At Border States; 483 In Position," The Associated Press, 7/3/06)

* Houston Chronicle: "Del Rio Border Influx Drops; Immigrant Jail Policy, Guard Presence Are Given Credit For Fewer Arrests." "Nearly 5,000 immigrants were arrested in June 2005 trying to enter the United States illegally through this area. But this June, only about 2,000 people were nabbed after crossing the perilous Rio Grande into the stark and punishing brush country of southwest Texas. Long overwhelmed by immigrants and smugglers, U.S. Border Patrol officials last week said traffic into the region has plummeted because of increased law enforcement, deployment of the National Guard and an experiment with expedited hearings to curtail the 'catch-and-release' phenomenon. 'Everything together has just stopped the traffic,' supervisory patrol agent Hilario Leal Jr. said." (John W. Gonzalez, "Del Rio Border Influx Drops," Houston Chronicle, 7/2/06)

* The Associated Press: "National Guard Troops Scare Would-Be Migrants Away From Border." "The arrival of U.S. National Guard troops in Arizona has scared off illegal Mexican migrants along the border, significantly reducing crossings, according to U.S. and Mexican officials. U.S. authorities said Monday that detentions along the U.S.-Mexico border decreased by 21 percent, to 26,994, in the first 10 days of June, compared with 34,077 for the same period a year ago. Along the Arizona border, once the busiest crossing spot, detentions have dropped 23 percent, according to the U.S. Border Patrol. Detentions dropped 31 percent, to 8,308 from 11,977, along the Texas and New Mexico border. The desert region's blistering June temperatures typically drive down the number of migrants, but not so drastically, said Mario Martinez, a spokesman with the U.S. Border Patrol in Washington. … The soldiers aren't allowed to detain migrants and have been limited to projects like extending border fences and repairing roads, but the military's presence is keeping would-be crossers away from the area, migrant rights activists said." (Olga R. Rodriguez, "National Guard Troops Scare Would-Be Migrants Away From Border," The Associated Press, 6/13/06)

President Bush Is Committed To Dramatic Improvements In Manpower And Technology At The Border. Since the President took office, the Administration has increased funding for border security by 66 percent, and expanded the Border Patrol from about 9,000 to 12,000 agents. By the end of 2008, the Administration will increase the number of Border Patrol officers by an additional 6,000 – doubling the size of the Border Patrol since the President took office. At the same time, the Administration will construct high-tech fences in urban corridors and build new patrol roads and barriers in rural areas. The Administration will create a virtual fence that employs motion sensors, infrared cameras, and unmanned aerial vehicles to detect and prevent illegal crossings.

# # #

 

 

July 11, 2006

Setting the Record Straight: The President's Policies Are Increasing Tax Revenues and Growing Our Economy

Fact sheet Setting the Record Straight

The New York Times : "Earlier This Year, The Administration Conveniently Projected A Highly Inflated Deficit Of $423 Billion." (Editorial, "Another Mission 'Accomplished,'" The New York Times, 7/11/06)

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow: "In other words, the thesis of these skeptics is that the Administration is going to put out a forecast that's going to make us look bad for six months so we can get one day's good publicity? That's insane. I mean, that's politically insane. … If you're looking for a time when you want to get a hit, the summer vacation season is probably not prime time for trying to win the big political points." (Tony Snow, Press Gaggle, Washington, DC, 7/11/06)

In 11 Of The Past 15 Years, Revenue Forecasts Have Increased From February To The End-Of-Year Actual Figures, Leading To Reductions In The Deficit.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) And Other Forecasters Also Under-Estimated Revenue Growth. CBO initially estimated receipts would grow by 7 percent. However, in their most recent monthly report, they acknowledged that receipt growth has been much stronger: "Revenues continue to grow strongly, up by about 13 percent over receipts at the same time last year." ("Monthly Budget Review," Congressional Budget Office, 7/7/06)

In Previous Years, The Administration Was Criticized For Overly Optimistic Projections. The Washington Post: "Over three years, the administration has repeatedly and significantly overstated the government's fiscal health and the number of jobs the economy would create, but economists and politicians disagree about why. … But in February 2002 – after the recession was declared, the terrorist attacks had occurred and war had begun in Afghanistan – the administration continued to have upbeat predictions. Although it forecast a $106 billion deficit in 2002, it saw the deficit shrinking to $80 billion in 2003, $14 billion in 2004, and becoming a surplus of $61 billion in 2005. Those figures, too, quickly became seen as overly optimistic, as tax receipts continued to come in lower than expected." (Dana Milbank, "White House Forecasts Often Miss The Mark," The Washington Post, 2/24/04)

The New York Times: Additional Tax Revenue Is Still Less Than Projected In 2001. "In fact, [revenue] is $100 billion less than the $2.5 trillion revenue estimate the administration touted when it set out in 2001 to sell its policy of never-ending tax cuts." (Editorial, "Another Mission 'Accomplished,'" The New York Times, 7/11/06)

Stock Market Decline, Recession, And War Contributed To Decreased Revenue. The 9/11 attacks and War on Terror, as well as the collapse of the stock market bubble, 2001 recession, and corporate scandals, caused revenues to decline in 2001, 2002, and 2003. With recent economic growth sparked by the President's tax cuts, tax revenue is growing at double-digit rates (receipts grew by $274 billion or 14.5 percent last year and are projected to grow by $247 billion or 11.4% this year).

Tax Revenue As A Share of Gross Domestic Product Is Projected To Exceed The Historical Average. Federal revenues as a percentage of GDP are now expected to reach 18.3 percent in 2006, above the 40-year historical average of 18.2 percent.

The New York Times: Revenue Increases Are The Result Of Growing Income Inequality. "A growing number of economists, most prominently from the Congressional Budget Office, point out that upsurges in revenue are also the result of growing income inequality in the United States, an observation that is consistent with mounting evidence of a rapidly widening gap between the rich and everyone else. As corporations and high-income Americans claim ever more of the economic pie, revenues rise, even if there’s no increase in overall economic growth." (Editorial, "Another Mission 'Accomplished,'" The New York Times, 7/11/06)

There Has Been An Increase In Overall Economic Growth – Real GDP Grew At An Annual Rate Of 5.6 Percent For The First Quarter Of This Year. This is the fastest growth in two-and-a-half years and even stronger than previous estimates. It follows economic growth of 3.5 percent in 2005 – the fastest rate of any major industrialized nation.

More Than 5.4 Million Jobs Have Been Created Since August 2003 – Including 121,000 Jobs Created In June. The economy has created about 1.85 million jobs over the past 12 months and the unemployment rate is 4.6 percent – lower than the average of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

By Several Measures, The Long-Run Growth In Inequality Has Slowed In Recent Years. For example, the Gini measure of overall inequality in household income was flat from 2001-2004, but increased by 2.7 percent from 1995 to 2000. Similarly, the share of income going to the top 5 percent of households fell 2.7 percent over 2001 to 2004, but increased by 5.2 percent from 1995 to 2000.

New Jobs Are Being Added In High-Compensation Occupations. The average compensation in growing occupations is $30.14 per hour, compared with $21.24 in shrinking ones.

Income Inequality Is A Long-Term Trend Largely Due To The Economy Placing Increasing Value On Education And Skills. For the last 25 years, the reward to investing in skills has grown: workers who get more training or more education are seeing their wages rise. As a result, there have been greater income gains for more-skilled workers.

President Bush's Tax Cuts Have Made The Tax Code More Progressive. The share of taxes paid by the top 5 percent of taxpayers will be 53.3 percent, and would have been 51.6 percent without the cuts. The share of taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers will be 3.4 percent, and would have been 4.0 percent without the cuts.

Los Angeles Times: Focus On The Mid-Session Review Distracts Attention From The Long-Term Deficit. "And the focus on this year's budget will distract attention from the real budget crisis, which will begin in two years as the eldest of the baby boom generation become eligible for Social Security benefits.'" (Joel Havemann, "Deficit's Good News Less Than Meets The Eye," Los Angeles Times, 7/11/06)

The Mid-Session Review Highlights The Unsustainable Growth In Entitlement Spending And Restates The President's Call For Entitlement Reform. THE MID-SESSION REVIEW: "As the President noted in his 2007 Budget released in February, in the long term the biggest challenge to the Nation’s fiscal outlook comes from the unsustainable growth in entitlement spending. As currently structured, entitlement spending in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid is growing faster than the economy and the Nation’s ability to pay for this spending. … The reforms in Medicare proposed in the President’s Budget will bring the program’s financing needs more in line with available resources in the near term, but both Medicare and Medicaid need additional reforms to ensure their long-term health. In addition, the President has called for reforming Social Security in a manner that preserves benefits for those already in or near retirement and puts the program’s finances on a sustainable footing for future generations." ("Fiscal Year 2007 Mid-Session Review," White House Office Of Management And Budget, 7/11/06)

The President Has Persistently Called For Bipartisan Legislative Action To Address The Long-Range Financial Shortfalls Of Entitlement Programs And Is Firmly Dedicated To Reining-In Runaway Entitlement Spending:

* The President proposed slowing the growth of Medicaid and Medicare spending in his FY2006 Budget;
* Congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act which the President signed into law in February, saving almost $40 billion over the next five years;
* The President followed up with proposals in his FY2007 Budget to slow the growth of entitlement programs, including Medicare, by $65 billion over five years; and
* The President will continue to work with Congress on entitlement reform, including reforming Social Security to preserve and strengthen it for future generations of Americans.

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For Immediate Release
July 11, 2006

Setting the Record Straight: President Bush's Strong Record of Addressing Climate Change

Fact sheet Setting the Record Straight

The Washington Post: "The Administration Has Not Taken The Steps Necessary To Limit Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Barring Some Miraculous Technological Breakthrough." "Aside from modestly raising fuel economy standards, it has not created a regulatory climate favorable to carbon reductions either in vehicles or in power plants." (Editorial, "A Sorry Record," The Washington Post, 7/11/06)

The Administration Is On Track To Meet President Bush's 2002 Commitment To Cut Our Nation's Greenhouse Gas Intensity By 18 Percent By 2012. U.S. greenhouse gas intensity – the amount emitted per unit of economic activity – declined by 2.0 percent in 2003 and by 2.5 percent in 2004.

From 2001 To The End Of 2006, The Federal Government Will Have Devoted Over $29 Billion To Climate Programs, More Than Any Other Nation. The President’s 2007 Budget proposes $6.5 billion for climate change activities.

Not Waiting For A "Miraculous" Breakthrough, The Administration Has Implemented More Than 60 Voluntary, Incentive-Based, And Mandatory Programs To Deploy Cleaner, More Efficient Energy Technologies At Home And Around The World.

In His State Of The Union Address, President Bush Announced The Advanced Energy Initiative (AEI), Which Proposes A 22 Percent Increase In Funding For Clean Energy Technology Research At The Department Of Energy.

*

The AEI Supports New Biofuels Such As Cellulosic Ethanol And Bio-Diesel. These fuels could help reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil and lead to substantial reductions in future air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
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The AEI Increases Investments In Zero-Emission Coal-Fired Plants, Revolutionary Solar And Wind Technologies, And Clean, Safe Nuclear Energy. It will also improve batteries for hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles and accelerate the development of zero-emission cars that run on hydrogen.

President Bush Is Helping Expand America's Use Of Zero-Emission Nuclear Power. Without nuclear energy, carbon dioxide emissions would have been 28 percent greater in the electricity industry in 2004, and America would have an additional 700 million tons a year of carbon dioxide.

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The Energy Bill Signed By The President In August 2005 Provides Loan Incentives, Production Tax Credits, And Federal Risk Insurance For Builders Of New Nuclear Plants.
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The Bush Administration Has Launched The Nuclear Power 2010 Initiative – A $1.1 Billion Partnership Between The U.S. Government And Industry To Facilitate New Plant Orders.

Under The President's Coal Research Initiative, The President Is Fulfilling His 2000 Pledge To Commit $2 Billion Over 10 Years To Advance Clean Coal Technology.

The U.S. Is Leading The Global Effort To Promote Clean Development, Enhance Energy Security, And Reduce Harmful Air Pollution Worldwide. Multilaterally, the U.S. provides the most funding of any country for activities under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

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In June 2005, The President Announced The Asia-Pacific Partnership On Clean Development And Climate, A U.S.-Led Partnership With China, India, South Korea, Australia, And Japan. The President’s 2007 Budget request includes $52 million for this partnership.
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In July 2004, The U.S. And Major International Partners Formed The Methane To Markets Partnership. The U.S. will commit up to $53 million to this Partnership through 2009 to work with the private sector to share and expand the use of profitable technologies to capture methane emissions that are now wasted in the course of industrial processes and use them as a new energy source.

The Washington Post: The Administration "Has Resisted Mandatory Limits On Carbon Emissions" And "Ambitious Fuel Economy Standards."

Since 2003, The Bush Administration Has Finalized Two Sets Of Regulations Requiring A Combined 15 Percent Increase In The Fuel Economy Of Large SUVs And Light Trucks. These increases were the first in over a decade and for the first time ever require large Sport Utility Vehicles to meet the standards. President Bush has asked Congress for the authority to take similar action for passenger cars.

In 2005, The President Signed The Energy Bill, Which Includes 16 New Appliance Efficiency Mandates And A 7 Billion Gallon Renewable Fuel Requirement. The Administration has also supported mandatory measures more appropriately taken at the State level, such as renewable portfolio standards and building codes.

The Washington Post: The Administration "Has Resisted Taxing Carbon Use, Preferring Instead To Provide Incentives For Oil And Gas Extraction."

The Administration Has Opposed Tax Incentives For Oil And Gas Extraction. In his 2007 Budget and again in April 2006, President Bush called for the elimination of about $2 billion in tax incentives for oil and gas that were included in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

The Washington Post: "Investment [In New Technologies] Is More Likely To Pay Off If Government Creates Incentives And Then Lets The Market Choose The Most Promising Technologies."

The Energy Bill Signed By The President In 2005 Provides New Performance-Based Tax Credits Of Up To $3,400 For The Most Highly Fuel Efficient Vehicles. Tax credits are extended to vehicles such as hybrids and clean diesel without preference for a particular technology.

The Energy Bill, In Combination With Existing Law, Provides $5 Billion Over Five Years In Tax Incentives To Encourage Investments In Energy Efficiency And Alternative Renewable Energy Sources.

The Farm Bill Signed By The President In May 2002 Provides Nearly $40 Billion In Funding Over Ten Years For Conservation On Working Lands. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide targeted incentives to encourage wider use of land management practices that remove carbon from the atmosphere or reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

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July 17, 2006

Setting the Record Straight: President Bush's Stem Cell Policy Is Working

Fact sheet Setting the Record Straight

TIME Magazine: "The 'presidential lines' were of limited value; there were not nearly as many as scientists initially thought would be available - more like 21 than 62, and they were old, in some cases damaged and most likely contaminated with the mouse feeder cells and calf serum used to grow them." (Nancy Gibbs, Alice Park, Mike Allen, and Massimo Calabresi, "What A Bush Veto Would Mean For Stem Cells," TIME, 7/24/06)

The Washington Post: "When Mr. Bush announced that he would permit the use of existing stem cell lines almost five years ago, that compromise made sense. But instead of the 78 lines originally foreseen by the administration, only 22 are available, and some of those are deteriorating or contaminated." (Editorial, "Stem Cell Showdown," The Washington Post, 7/17/06)

President Bush's Stem Cell Policy Is Significantly Advancing Research In An Ethical Way

President Bush Is The First President To Ever Fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research. Over $90 million in Federal funding has been devoted to research on approved lines since 2001.

President Bush's Stem Cell Policy Has Made Federally Funded Stem Cell Lines Widely Available To Scientists. The NIH has sent more than 700 shipments of cells to researchers, and has thousands more available upon request.

85 Percent Of All The Human Embryonic Stem Cell Science Done In The World Has Been Done With The Lines Now Approved For Funding By The NIH. (Jason Owen-Smith and Jennifer McCormick, "An International Gap In Human ES Cell Research," Nature Biotechnology, April 2006)

* The Vast Majority Of This Work Has Been In The Past Five Years.

The Eligible Lines Are Not Contaminated, And Are Very Widely Used By Researchers. The use of mouse cells is standard scientific practice. As the FDA has indicated, the resulting stem cell lines can be carefully screened to ensure they are safe for use in any future clinical trials. Drug and biological products are routinely co-cultured with animal cells with no adverse consequences for the millions of people who have benefited from them. The FDA has proven itself time and again to be fully capable of ensuring the safety and efficacy of such products.

* Tom Okarma, CEO Of The Stem Cell Company Geron: "So the stuff you hear published that all of those lines are irrevocably contaminated with mouse materials and could never be used in people - hogwash. If you know how to grow them, they're fine." (Steven Edwards, "Scrutinizing A Stem Cell Trial," Wired News, 3/29/06)

Several Scientific Publications Have Now Demonstrated Techniques For Removing All Animal Materials From The Existing Cell Cultures. This helps further alleviate concerns about animal material issues. (James Thomson et al., "Derivation Of Human Embryonic Stem Cells In Defined Conditions," Nature Biotechnology, February 2006)

Even TIME Magazine Says The "Science Has Outrun The Politics" And Adult Stem Cells May Be More Valuable Than Previously Thought. "The good news for all sides is that over the course of this long argument, researchers have learned more about how stem cells work, and the science has outrun the politics. Adult cells, such as those found in bone marrow, were thought to be less valuable than embryonic cells, which are 'pluripotent' master cells that can turn into anything from a brain cell to a toenail. But adult cells may be more elastic than scientists thought, and could offer shortcuts to treatment that embryonic cells can't match." (Nancy Gibbs, Alice Park, Mike Allen, and Massimo Calabresi, "What A Bush Veto Would Mean For Stem Cells," TIME, 7/24/06)

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July 21, 2006

Setting the Record Straight: President Bush's Foreign Policy Is Succeeding

Fact sheet Setting the Record Straight

NBC's David Gregory: "Crisis After Crisis Has Undermined The Bush Doctrine." (NBC's "Today," 7/21/06)

A Consensus Is Building Behind The President's Foreign Policy Approach

* The United States Is Rallying The World Behind North Korea. "The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Saturday condemning North Korea's recent missile tests and demanding that the reclusive communist nation suspend its ballistic missile program." (Edith M. Lederer, "Security Council Unanimously Adopts North Korea Resolution," The Associated Press, 7/15/06)
* The United States Is Rallying The World Behind Its Policy Toward Iran. "World powers rebuked Iran last week by seeking possible punishment from the Security Council, saying Iran had not signaled an intent to negotiate seriously over its disputed nuclear program. … 'Iran has a serious choice to make and we invited it to make the right decision to react positively to the concrete proposals presented to it,' the [G8] leaders said in their statement." (Jeannine Aversa, "Leaders Press North Korea On Missile Tests, Urge Iran To Accept Nuclear Energy Offer," The Associated Press, 7/18/06)
* The United States Is Rallying The World Behind Its Policy Toward Iraq. "We will support the newly constitutionally elected government of Iraq and call upon it to continue the policies of inclusiveness as a means to overcome divisions within Iraq. We will continue to assist in building an independent, stable, secure, democratic, prosperous and united Iraq at peace with its neighbours and the international community." ("U.S.-EU Summit Declaration: Promoting Peace, Human Rights And Democracy Worldwide," 6/21/06)
* The United States Is Rallying The World Behind Its Policy Toward The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. "We will continue to promote a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of the Roadmap in order to advance a just, viable and lasting two-state solution and we call on both parties to avoid unilateral measures that prejudice final status issues." ("U.S.-EU Summit Declaration: Promoting Peace, Human Rights And Democracy Worldwide," 6/21/06)

Gregory: The Administration Has Exercised "Diplomatic Disengagement From The Israeli Conflict In Favor Of A Wait And See Approach." (NBC's "Today," 7/21/06)

The Administration Is Continuing Its Active Engagement

* The Associated Press: "Rice Outlines Plan For Mideast Solution." "Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, heading for a weekend trip to the troubled Middle East, said Friday she would work with allies in the region to help create conditions for 'stability and lasting peace.'" (Anne Gearan, "Rice Outlines Plan For Mideast Solution," The Associated Press, 7/21/06)
* The President Has A b Record Of Personal Engagement In The Middle East Peace Process. Since taking office, President Bush has met with Prime Minister Olmert once since Olmert became Prime Minister, President Bush has met with Prime Minister Sharon 12 times, and President Bush has met with President Abbas five times. This includes President Bush's 2003 meeting with Prime Minister Sharon and President Abbas together in Sharm el Sheikh. In 2002, President Bush outlined his vision for Middle East peace, including a two-state solution.

Gregory: President Bush's Foreign Policy "Has Yet To Produce The Promised Results." (NBC's "Today," 7/21/06)

Foreign Policy Problems Did Not Arise Overnight, And They Will Not Be Solved Overnight

* President Bush, 9/20/01: "I ask … for your patience in what will be a long struggle." (President Bush, Address To A Joint Session Of Congress And The American People, Washington, DC, 9/20/01)
* President Bush's Second Term National Security Strategy: "The United States is in the early years of a long struggle, similar to what our country faced in the early years of the Cold War." ("National Security Strategy," 3/16/06)
* President Bush, 7/7/06: "So we're now working the diplomacy, and you're watching the diplomacy work, not only in North Korea, but in Iran. It's kind of painful in a way for some to watch because it takes a while to get people on the same page. … Things just don't happen overnight." (President Bush, Press Conference, Chicago, IL, 7/7/06)
* Completing The Formation Of The New Iraqi Government And Killing The Terrorist Leader Zarqawi Are Two Significant Steps Toward Denying Terrorists Safe Haven In Iraq And Safeguarding The People Of The United States.

Gregory: Comments From Conservatives Such As Max Boot Show That Conservatives Are Questioning "The President's Nerve." GREGORY: "Even the President's conservative allies say the world has become more unstable. Where, they now ask, is the President's nerve?" MAX BOOT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: "We should be more aggressive in trying to make clear to Iran and Syria that their aggressive actions will have consequences." (NBC's "Today," 7/21/06)

Conservatives Stand Behind The President's Policies

On Wednesday, Max Boot Wrote: "Our Best Response Is Exactly What Bush Has Done So Far – Reject Premature Calls For A Cease-Fire And Let Israel Finish The Job." (Max Boot, "It's Time To Let The Israelis Take Off The Gloves," Los Angeles Times, 7/19/06)

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September 6, 2006

Setting the Record Straight: Detainees Will Not Receive POW Status

Fact sheet Setting the Record Straight

Some Reports Claim "High-Value Detainees Will Be Given Prisoner-Of-War Status."

But Neither The President's Proposed Legislation Nor The Detainees' Transfer To Guantanamo Gives The Detainees POW Status

* The President's Legislation Specifically Authorizes The Creation Of Military Commissions To Try These Suspected Terrorists For War Crimes. The Bill ensures that these commissions are established in a way that protects our national security and ensures a full and fair trial for the accused.

* Detainees Have Been Transferred To The Custody Of The Department Of Defense, At The U.S. Naval Base At Guantanamo Bay.

* Neither The President's Proposed Legislation Nor The Detainees' Transfer To Guantanamo Gives The Detainees POW Status.

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September 15, 2006

Setting the Record Straight: JAG Leaders Say Common Article 3 Provisions Would Be "Helpful"

Fact sheet Setting the Record Straight

The New York Times Reports That JAG Leaders "Would Agree Only To Say That They Could Not Find Anything Illegal About The Specific Issue Of Amending Common Article 3." (Kate Zernike, "Rebuff For Bush On Terror Trials In A Senate Test," The New York Times, 9/15/06)

JAG Leaders Affirmatively Say The Administration's Common Article 3 Provisions Would Be "Helpful"

* According To The JAG Lawyers' Letter: "Indeed, We Think These Provisions Would Be Helpful To Our Fighting Men And Women At War On Behalf Of Our Country." TEXT OF LETTER: "We do not object to section 6 of the Administration proposal, which would clarify the obligations of the United States under common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, and section 7 of the Administration proposal, which would address crimes under the War Crimes Act. Indeed, we think these provisions would be helpful to our fighting men and women at war on behalf of our Country." (Major General Scott Black, U.S. Army, Judge Advocate General, Major General Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., U.S. Air Force, Deputy Judge Advocate General, Rear Admiral Bruce Macdonald, U.S. Navy, Judge Advocate General, Brigadier General James C. Walker, Staff Judge Advocate To The U.S. Marine Corps, Colonel Ronald M. Reed, U.S. Air Force, Legal Counsel To The Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff, Letter To Sen. John Warner And Rep. Duncan Hunter, 9/13/06)

* In August 2 Hearing, Military JAGs Support Bringing Definition To Common Article 3. SEN. FEINSTEIN: "Admiral MacDonald and Admiral Black - excuse me, General Black - you both speak about Common Article 3 in your written comments, the prohibition - Admiral MacDonald - you say 'Common Article 3's prohibition upon "outrages (up)on personal dignity" is not well defined.' How would you suggest we define it?" GEN. BLACK: "In its current formulation, it's entirely too vague, and it puts - as you mentioned before - our service members at risk, our own service members at risk." (Committee On The Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 8/2/06)

o Gen. Rives Welcomes "Congressional Efforts To Better Define" Common Article 3. GEN. RIVES: "We welcome congressional efforts to better define which 'outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment,' amount to serious breaches worthy [of] classification as felonies. Such efforts would serve our men and women fighting the global war on terrorism by providing clearly delineated limits. ... Congressional efforts to better define these terms for Common Article 3 purposes will provide needed clarity to the rules of conduct for our military forces." (Committee On The Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 8/2/06)

* In August 2 Hearing, Military JAG Lawyers Note They Have Been "Consulted Fairly Extensively" About Common Article 3. SEN. GRAHAM: "To the judge advocates, have you been consulted fairly extensively about military commissions and Common Article 3 by the administration?" GEN.: "Yes, sir, we have." GEN.: "Particularly of late, sir." GEN.: "Yes, sir." (Committee On The Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 8/2/06)

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For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary April 3, 2008

Setting the Record Straight: The New York Times Mistakes Its Own Blindness for Presidential "Invisibility" Apologist For Democrat-Led Congress’ Inaction, Paper Criticizes President Bush For Public Unawareness Of Housing Event Old “Gray Lady” Forgot She Failed To Cover ***

White House News

Today, the New York Times criticized President Bush for failing to generate headlines for his visit to Novadebt counseling center in Freehold, N.J. to meet with mortgage counselors and discuss the housing market, asserting “the papers were awash with the news that Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania had endorsed Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for president.” The “newspaper of record” further claims “Mr. Bush has sometimes seemed invisible during the housing and credit crunch.” (Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “In Economic Drama, Bush Is Largely Offstage,” The New York Times, 4/3/08)

The New York Times neglects to mention that it failed to send a reporter to cover the President’s housing event in Freehold, N.J. – a town inside its own circulation area.

The New York Times also criticizes President Bush for attending the NATO Summit this week, saying “now Mr. Bush is in Eastern Europe, one of eight foreign trips he is taking this year.”

President Bush is overseas on an important mission to advance critical issues at the NATO Summit, such as missile defense, increased troop presence in Afghanistan, and enlarging NATO’s membership to include new democracies in Europe.

The New York Times inaccurately accuses President Bush of being out of touch with the economy, while “Senate Democrats and Republicans were holed up in the Capitol, scrambling to produce a bill to help struggling homeowners.”

Since August 2007, President Bush has appeared at public events where he has discussed issues pertaining to the economy or housing at least 28 times. In the meantime, since the start of 2008, Congress has been on recess almost as many days as they have been in session.

President Bush first sent Congress an FHA Modernization bill in April 2006. Two years later, Congress still has not passed it. The President’s proposed bill would increase access to FHA-insured loans and expand FHA’s authority to price insurance fairly, with risk-based premiums.

In August 2007, President Bush launched FHASecure, which expands the FHA’s ability to offer refinancing to homeowners who have good credit but cannot afford current payments. Since FHASecure was announced, FHA has helped more than 140,000 families stay in their homes by refinancing about $20 billion worth of mortgages. By the year’s end, this program is expected to have helped a total of nearly 300,000 homeowners.

In October 2007, President Bush and his Administration helped facilitate the formation of the private-sector HOPE NOW Alliance – a group of lenders, investors, and mortgage counselors working to help Americans keep their homes.

In December 2007, President Bush signed the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, which helps homeowners avoid foreclosure by protecting them from higher taxes when they refinance. This creates a three-year window for homeowners to refinance and pay no Federal taxes on any debt forgiveness.

In January, the President called for an economic growth package and identified clear principles that would give a booster-shot to the economy and help Americans who may be hurt by an economic slowdown. President Bush recognized the initial signs of slowdown and acted decisively. Congress responded to the President’s call for action, and in February the President signed a bipartisan economic growth package that puts more than $150 billion back in the hands of families and businesses.

Also in January, President Bush created the Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, which brought together business experts and faith-based and non-profit organizations to develop recommendations to better educate Americans about matters pertaining to their finances and their future.

President Bush has continued to press Congress to pass responsible legislation to help struggling homeowners and criticized legislative proposals to bail out lenders.

The President has repeatedly called on Congress to pass legislation that helps at-risk homeowners by permitting cities and States to issue tax-exempt bonds for refinancing existing home loans and by increasing existing bond caps. Under current law, tax-exempt bonds are only for first-time homebuyers and cannot be issued for refinancing.

The President has repeatedly called on Congress to pass legislation to reform the regulation of Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Congress needs to pass legislation that strengthens the independent regulator of the GSEs and ensures their focus on the housing mission.

President Bush has repeatedly called on Congress to ensure the long-term health of our economy by making the tax relief that is now in place permanent. If Congress allows the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts to expire, 116 million taxpayers will see their taxes go up by $1,800 on average, and we will see an end to many of the measures that have helped our economy grow – including the 10 percent individual income tax bracket, reductions in the marriage penalty, the expansion of the child tax credit, and reduced rates on regular income, capital gains, and dividends.

According to a study by John Lott and Kevin Hassett, “American newspapers tend to give more positive news coverage to the same economic news when Democrats are in the Presidency than for Republicans.” The study went on to say that “among the Associated Press and the top 10 papers, the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Associated Press, and New York Times tend to be the least likely to report positive news during Republican administrations.” (John R. Lott and Kevin A. Hassett, “Is Newspaper Coverage Of Economic Events Politically Biased?” 10/19/04)

The New York Times apparently missed last week’s White House Fact Sheet listing the many actions President Bush and his Administration have taken to keep the economy growing and assist homeowners.

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