Delivered as the Democrats' official response to President Bush's weekly radio address, 6-29-03


(The following was broadcast nationwide on Saturday, June 28th, as the official Democratic response to President Bush's weekly radio address. In response, the Flyer publsihed an editorial, which is appended.) Good morning. This is Congressman Harold Ford of Tennessee. This week the Supreme Court reaffirmed our commitment to diversity and progress. Because of this enduring commitment, our military is more cohesive and effective. Our businesses are more dynamic and competitive. And our colleges and universities are educating and enriching more people. In short, the American family is stronger today than it was a generation ago. All of this is good. In the majority opinion in the Michigan case, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor expressed her hope that 25 years from now affirmative action would not be needed. We all look forward to that day. Our vision is an America where all children can grow up truly believing they can achieve whatever they want -- an America where the only thing that determines how far you go is your ambition and hard work. This week, Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle and the Congressional Black Caucus welcomed hundreds of business, political and academic leaders to Washington to chart a course for a better America. You know, part of the American tradition is for each generation to make life better for the next. So the question is, how do we make it better for our children? Let's be honest, there are challenges and opportunities ahead of us that must be met with leadership that inspires and invests in America's future. We must realize that our future will only be as bright as the decisions we make today allow it to be. As optimistic as I am about the future, we can't be afraid to try new approaches. We can't have the same response to every economic challenge. Over the past three years, 3 million jobs have been lost. One million more people don't have health insurance. And states are shutting down things and raising taxes just to balance their books. Some people in Washington spend a lot of energy complaining about politics. That same energy could be better spent fully funding the Leave No Child Behind Act, so when school starts back in the Fall, principals, teachers, and parents can all do their jobs better. Anyone who has been in a school knows teachers have it hard enough as it is. We can also do better when it comes to national security. Instead of complaining about politics, people in Washington could spend their time better by reforming and strengthening our intelligence gathering. I voted for the use of force in Iraq. We are safer without Saddam in power. But our continued security depends on our intelligence being accurate and trusted. We must ensure that it is. We can also do better by our seniors. The prescription drug bill that the House of Representatives passed this week will privatize Medicare before the end of the decade. The better plan would not force seniors to leave Medicare to get prescription drug coverage. That is the plan my party supports. This week we celebrate the Fourth of July. We mark the occasion by saluting the veterans and patriots who have defended our freedom. Their courage made America better for us. And it's now time for this generation to make it better for the next. This is Congressman Harold Ford. Thank you again for listening.

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