Second Debate Transcript: Page 12

But I want to remind you, the number of uninsured in America during their watch has increased. And so he can make any excuse that he wants, but the facts are that we’re reducing the number of uninsured as a percentage of our population and as a percentage of the population is increasing nationally.

But somehow the allegation that we don’t care, and we’re going to get money for this interest or that interest, and not for children in the state of Texas, is just totally absurd.

And I — let me just tell you who the jury is: the people of Texas. There’s only been one governor ever elected to back-to-back four year terms and that was me. And I was able to do so with a lot of Democrat votes, nearly 50 percent of the Hispanic vote, about 27 percent of the African-American vote because people know that I’m a conservative person and a compassionate person.

So we can throw all those kinds of numbers around, I’m just telling you, our state comes together to do what’s right.

We come together, both Republicans and Democrats.

LEHRER: Let me put that directly to — to you, Vice President Gore. The reason you brought this up is that — are you suggesting that those numbers and that record will reflect the way Governor Bush will operate in this area of health insurance as president?

GORE: Yes. Yes. But it’s not a statement about his heart. I don’t claim to know his heart. I think — I think he’s a good person. I make no allegations about that. I believe him when he says that — that he has a good heart. I know enough about your story to — to admire a lot of the things that you have done as a person.

But I think it’s about his priorities. And let me tell you exactly why I think that the choice he made to give a tax cut for the oil companies and others before addressing this — I mean, if you were the governor of a state that was dead last in health care for families, and all of a sudden you found yourself with the biggest surplus your state had ever had in its history, wouldn’t you want to maybe use some of it climb from 50th to say 45 or 40 or something, or maybe better? I would.

Now, but here’s why it’s directly relevant, Jim, because by his own budget numbers, his proposals for spending on tax cuts for the wealthiest of the wealthy are more than the new spending proposals that he has made for health care and education and national defense all combined, according to his own numbers. So it’s not a question of his heart, it’s — as far as I know, it’s a — it’s a question of priorities and values.

See, you know …

LEHRER: Let me just ask — let me ask …

BUSH: First of all, that’s simply not true, what he just said, of course. And secondly, I repeat …

LEHRER: What’s not true, Governor?

BUSH: That we spent — the top 1 percent receive $223 as opposed to $445 billion in new spending. The top — let’s talk about my tax plan. The top 1 percent pay — will pay one-third of all the federal income taxes, and in return get one-fifth of the benefits because — benefits, because most of the tax reductions go to the people at the bottom end of the economic ladder.

That stands in stark contrast, by the way, to a man who’s going to leave 50 million — 50 million — Americans out of tax relief.

We just have a different point of view. It’s a totally different point of view. He believes only the right people ought to get tax relief. I believe everybody who pays taxes ought to get tax relief.

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