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Congressman Dick Gephardt

A letter to MoveOn members from Richard Gephardt

Dear Move On Supporter,

On nearly every issue of importance to the country – the economy, health care, education, the environment and energy policy – President Bush is leading the country either down the wrong path or not leading at all. Too many unfulfilled promises and too much empty rhetoric have left us a nation unsure of our own economic security.

As president, my first act will be to ask Congress to repeal all of the Bush tax cuts, the overwhelming majority of which benefit the very wealthiest Americans. His tax cuts and economic policies have only made our economic problems worse.

In place of the tax cuts, I will offer a plan to guarantee health care coverage to every American and get this economy moving again. By compensating every local government and business - the self-employed, large and small - for a large share of their health care costs, we can lessen the burden of spiraling health care costs on businesses and allow them to hire new employees and invest in capital.

I will also fight to ensure that every child receives an excellent education, that we reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and that we treat workers throughout the world with the dignity and respect they deserve.

As president, I will:

Every idea I'm proposing and every solution I'm offering in this campaign come from life experience and are designed to revitalize the economy, create opportunity, and get this country moving again. My campaign for the presidency is centered on bold ideas that are in distinct contrast to the policies President Bush is offering the American people. I believe strongly that when presented with these clear choices, the American people will embrace the ideas and direction I am offering, all rooted in Democratic ideals and principles.

As you may know, my father was a Teamster and milk truck driver, and my mother was a secretary. We didn’t have very much money, and neither of them got through high school. But they worked hard and gave me unlimited opportunities. I will be a President who is not ashamed to say he is on the side of people like my parents, the working men and women of this country.

And I pledge to you today: with your help and support, I will take that crusade to the White House. I will work day and night to lift this lagging economy and build a new American prosperity. I will put hard-working Americans first again and make sure that no one in this country is left out or left behind.

I will close with some words of support from my good friend, Adam Schiff:

In 2000, you helped me defeat a House Impeachment manager. This year, help me elect Dick Gephardt for president. I ran against Impeachment House Manager Jim Rogan because I believed the Republicans were spending more time focused on partisan political bickering than helping hard working Americans. I believed then, as I believe now, that we need to move beyond petty partisan politics and policies that only help the privileged few if we are to make our country great for everyone.

That is why I am supporting Dick Gephardt for President.

Growing up in a modest Midwestern family, Mr. Gephardt understands the challenges facing most families – guaranteed access to health care, creating jobs, and providing for quality education for our children. I know Dick Gephardt will aggressively take on Bush and the extreme Republicans and focus our country back on what truly matters. Please log-on and cast your vote for Dick Gephardt for President.

I urge every American to get involved in this critically important election. I hope I can count on your support. To find out more about me and my ideals, please go to my website:


Richard A. Gephardt
June 17, 2003


Candidate Interview

These seven questions were among the most popular of over 1,800 posted and rated by MoveOn members on a MoveOn ActionForum. You can also read all of the interview responses on a single page.

1. PEACE (see what other candidates said)
The Bush administration has established the pre-emptive war doctrine as a cornerstone of its foreign policy. There is no end in sight to the ways in which this doctrine can be misused -- simply observe the lack of evidence to support the case for war in Iraq. In other words, barring a change in policy, any country can become the target of our military might. Furthermore, pre-emptive war only legitimizes military aggression by other nations as well. Will you repeal Bush's pre-emptive war doctrine? -
--Ricardo Cisternas, Engineer (June 12, 2003; Carlsbad, CA)

The U.S. should not have a pre-emptive war doctrine. I am proud that as Democratic Leader, I pushed President Bush to go to the United Nations before we went to war with Iraq. I helped write the resolution language that said that Bush should go to the U.N. Unfortunately, this administration’s diplomatic efforts have been a dismal failure, and we did not get the U.N. to join us in the most important foreign policy effort our country has made in this new century.

First and foremost, we need to keep our people safe. We can not have a Ryder truck with a nuclear bomb exploding in one of our cities. But we also need to understand that diplomacy can go much further in building coalitions than can be achieved by launching an attack on our enemies. Yet President Bush has sent our country backward in our relationships with the world. He’s refused to join the Kyoto treaty in global warming, he’s refused the establishment of an International Criminal Court, and he ignored the problems in the Middle East for a year and a half – reversing the progress President Clinton had made toward peace in that region.

The United States needs allies to rebuild Iraq – sadly, we have lost support from our friends. This is a failure of foreign policy and a failure of diplomacy that I intend to reverse.

2. FREEDOM (see what other candidates said)
The enactment of Patriot Act I is a dangerous erosion of civil liberties in the United States. The proposed Patriot Act II is even more frightening. The purpose of both pieces of legislations seems to be the stifling of dissent rather than improving security in the U.S. If elected would you revisit the Patriot Act with the view of revising or repealing it? If we cannot speak without fear, we aren't living in a democracy.
--Bonnie Mulligan, Supervisor (June 11, 2003; Lanham, MD)

Even since September 11th, we have found that it is important to strike a balance between liberty and security. The problem is that John Ashcroft, alone, is making decisions about what the law means, and ignoring civil liberties. The administration has put no check on Ashcroft’s power. I oppose Patriot II. This administration needs to show a commitment to striking that balance, rather than over-reaching. We must find a way to protect our people while, at the same time, protecting our freedoms.

3. RELEVANCE (see what other candidates said)
I think many people using are concerned with the disastrous effects of the current administration. However, my sense is that most of mainstream America either does not see the faults or is too scared, for reasons related to Homeland and economic security, to question Bush's authority. How will you, the candidate, frame your message and reach out to mainstream America to show how the upcoming presidential election is relevant to their situation and demonstrate how the actions, policies, corporate influence and diplomatic laissez-faire of Team Bush is unhealthy for our country and our future?
--Karen Zgoda, (June 12, 2003; Brighton, MA)

The Bush administration has been a miserable failure. Over three million private sector jobs have been lost. More than 40 million Americans have no health care. People are losing jobs, losing health care, and they are losing hope.

I have the boldest plan for changing America’s course and putting us back on the right track. From the beginning of my campaign, I have framed a this elections as a stark choice: we can stay with the failed Bush economic plan of tax cuts for the few and the wealthy, or we can have a bold plan to give all Americans health care they can never lose – and create jobs while we’re doing it.

If I know we can not defeat George W. Bush in 2004 by nibbling around the edges. We must be bold, we must stand for something and we must take this fight to the American public.

4. TRUTH (see what other candidates said)
I would like to know when a Democratic candidate will summon the courage to publicly question the honesty and truthfulness of President Bush. The barrage of spin alluding to intelligence failures and misleading advice of Bush's confidants belies the fact that he alone is ultimately responsible for his words and decisions. Will any candidate demand the truth and an end to this conspiracy of deceit?
--John Kowalko, Machinist (June 12, 2003; Newark, De.)

I believe that Congress can and should serve a valuable role by leading an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the war. It is the role of Congress to ask questions and find the truth. Only when we have all the facts can we then decide how best to proceed.

5. SOCIAL PAIN (see what other candidates said)
The present Administration and Congress have enacted huge tax cuts and extreme military spending which may well limit the ability of government to address social needs (health care, education, affordable housing, poverty reduction, etc) for some time to come, as well as entrap future generations in debt. Meanwhile, social ills become more acute. How will you balance fiscal responsibility with the growing needs for health care reform, reinvestment in education and affordable housing, etc?
--Cindy Maxey, organizer, health care justice organization (June 11, 2003; Cleveland, OH)

I have constantly and adamantly called for the full repeal of the Bush tax cuts. I understand what it takes to grow the economy while making investments in people. I led the fight in Congress to pass President Clinton’s 1993 economic plan that was the foundation for the best economy in America in 50 years. We made tough choices – and we did it without a single Republican vote. Republicans said it would be a job-killer – instead, it resulted in 22 million new jobs. Our party does not need any lectures in fiscal discipline or the economy from the Republicans.

6. ENERGY (see what other candidates said)
Without dependence on fossil fuels, the air and water would be cleaner and we could free ourselves from our poisonous and deadly entanglements with Middle-Eastern oil dictators. What is your view? Can you show the imagination, innovation and determination needed to serve our country through serving the environment?
--Hilary Jirka, Merchandiser (June 12, 2003; Chicago, IL)

We can end America’s dangerous addiction to foreign oil once and for all. We can achieve true energy independence over the next 10 years. That’s not some far-fetched claim – it’s a commitment I’ll make from the start of my presidency. And it’s within our grasp right now.

I have outlined a new “Apollo” project to free us from Persian Gulf oil in ten years. We’ll do it by becoming the world’s energy innovator. I have a plan to get 1 million hybrid cars on the road every year by 2010, and 2.5 million hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2020. We’ll give a 30 percent tax credit for renewable energy, so that everyone from large businesses to family farms will work toward reducing fuel consumption, and creating a cleaner environment and a sustainable future.

7. ENVIRONMENT (see what other candidates said)
The Bush administration is engaged in an all out war against the environment. Nothing is safe in this assault - not our national parks, wilderness areas, endangered species, the water we drink or the air we breathe. The administration's energy and land use policies are based on the recommendations of private corporate supporters rather than on government-funded studies, their own appointees in the EPA or on public opinion (in keeping with the general disregard for civil rights, more and more often, public comment is not being taken into consideration - sometimes not even being allowed in environmental disputes). The short-sighted policies of this administration could have devastating effects on our country and our planet. Can the Democratic candidate assure us that he will support progressive environmental policies here at home, and assume a leadership position in the global effort to protect the environment?
--A.L. Zuckerman, Associate Producer (June 12, 2003; New York, NY)

The Bush-Cheney environmental policy is exactly what you would expect from two oil executives. They have refused to enforce the Clean Air Act for factories and plants churning our pollutants, and even sought to allow more arsenic in our drinking water.

I fought many battles like this against Newt Gingrich, and with the grassroots support of the American people, we won them. We stopped the Republicans when they wanted to gut the enforcement budget of the EPA, and when they tried to weaken the Clean Water Act.

But for too long, we’ve had to be on the defensive. We need an advocate for the environment in the White House. I’ll be that advocate, promoting cleaner, renewable energy – a real investment that will slash air pollution. I will continue to fight against oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and protect our national treasures. And I will get the oil industry lobbyists out of the Oval Office.