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Oregon Editors Say:

Kerry questions give nod to Bush

McMinnville paper decides strengths outweigh the president's weaknesses

The (McMinnville) News-Register

For whom do you vote if you disagree with a number of George W. Bush positions, yet John Kerry offers no convincing evidence that his new administration could solve our international and domestic crises? Certainly not for Ralph Nader.

Our answer, after prolonged and contentious discussions on the strengths and weakness of each candidate, is to support George Bush.

The president's stance on Iraq and terrorism is steadfast; his leadership continues to increase security at home. Since 9/11 our country has suffered no attacks on our soil while terrorists have targeted other nations.

Increased insurgent activity against our troops in Iraq is hard to bear, and it slows reconstruction. But Kerry offers no credible alternative plan. On the domestic front, our economy has improved.

Bush inherited a stock market that started staggering toward the end of the Clinton years, and saw those economic woes multiplied by the terrible events of September 2001.

— Impressive gains since then have replaced most, but not all, of those jobs.

Kerry, a font of statistics, plays loose with them on this point. He does the same in hammering the Bush tax cut initiatives at every opportunity, although those cuts haven't been as productive as Bush claims. The growing deficit is worrisome. Implementation of all the campaign promises flung around would speed its rise, and irrespective of the election outcome, Congress must restrain its urge to be all things to all people.

Increasing cost of health care is an equal concern. In many cases, the lack of insurance coverage stems from loss of jobs. Senior drug cards help, more so starting in 2006. More must be done.

Bush recognizes the responsibility to address the looming deficit in Social Security, understanding that national demographics demand change. Kerry says there's no problem.

On education, Bush is solid. Kerry's voting record and campaign statements reinforce the conviction that he stands far left of the mainstream. On the other hand, Bush was elected in 2000 as a compassionate conservative. He should emphasize the first word and downplay the second during his second term.

There is a strong drumbeat for defeat of Bush that divides the country. But there also is a nation whose security depends on a steady continuation of our fight against forces of terror that have disrupted the world for decades.

George Bush understands that need, and should be re-elected.