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Volume 69, Issue 135, Friday, April 23, 2004


Kerry hits Bush's environmental record

President's education, war policies also in the crosshairs during visit to the University

by Barrett Goldsmith
The Daily Cougar

The Bush administration's financial coffers have steered U.S. policy toward an assault on the environment and an unnecessary war, Massachusetts Sen. and Democratic presidential frontrunner John Kerry said Thursday at a rally in Lynn Eusan Park.

"America doesn't need a president who allows companies to write legislation and who gives tax breaks to polluters in exchange for campaign contributions," Kerry said to a crowd of about 2,000 gathered in the early afternoon sun.

Kerry was the main attraction at an Earth Day presentation organized by the UH Young Democrats and sponsored by the Department of Political Science. He spoke for about 25 minutes.

"I have to give (President Bush) credit. He's actually proving himself good at recycling," Kerry said. "Recycling the deficit, bad economic policies and bad foreign policies. And in November, we plan to recycle him back to Crawford."

A group of between 20 and 30 protestors led by the UH College Republicans and UH Students for Bush patrolled the fringe of the park. Many demonstrators wore flip-flop sandals as a jab at what critics call Kerry's tendency to change his position on issues.

"It was just more of the same -- lots of accusations, but no plans to fix any of the problems," UH Students for Bush director Steven Chiara said. "It's great to get this kind of exposure for the campus and to have big names visit UH, but this is still Bush country and will be in November."

Kerry capitalized on the opportunity to address college students by attacking Bush's record on education, specifically his failure to make good on a promise to increase Pell Grants and other forms of federal financial aid.

"Under this administration, more than 200,000 people who would have qualified for aid in the past have been priced out of an education," Kerry said. "No American should have to downsize their dreams."

Kerry also criticized the president for an alleged meeting between Bush and Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia. Reports have indicated the president asked Bandar to urge the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to increase production, which Kerry said would drive gas prices down during the election season.

"I don't know if it was a deal. I don't know if it was a secret pledge. I don't know if it was just a friendly conversation among friends," Kerry said. "The fact remains that whatever it was, the American people are getting a bad deal today. No person in uniform should be held hostage for America's dependence on foreign oil."

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