Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry says President Bush and his Administration have used new police powers to stifle political opponents and created a government that’s “more like the Taliban than Thomas Jefferson.” Kerry, a Massachusetts Senator, voted for the “Patriot Act” which expanded the authority of federal investigators, but Kerry now says Attorney General John Ashcroft has gone too far. Kerry says nobody anticipated that John Ashcroft and his cohorts would be “quite as disrespectful of the Constitution.” Kerry says it’s time to make changes. Kerry says it is possible to fight the war on terror and balance people’s rights at the same time. Kerry says, if elected, he would stop the “indefinite” detention of American citizens and would stop “unreasonable ‘sneak and peek’ searches.” Kerry says federal investigators have gone on “fishing expeditions” by rifling through citizens’ business records and reviewing the materials they’ve checked out of the library. Kerry says the Bush Administration is spying on those who attend antiwar protests, and Kerry says that’s wrong. Kerry says the “war on terror is a defining issue” and “testing us daily.” But Kerry says it’s wrong to dramatically change the ideals on which this nation was founded and he accuses the Bush Administration of stopping at nothing to get dissenters out of the way. Kerry says “obviously, we don’t want to compromise security,” but he says it’s possible to uphold the rights outlined in the Constitution while still pursuing terrorists. Kerry, who delivered a speech on civil liberties last night in Ames, says Americans deserve more than a “campaign of slogans and soundbites” and he promises to offer “substance” in the remaining days of the campaign.
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