Hosted by Tom Brokaw of NBC

Brokaw: Good evening. Tonight we present the first public debate between President George W. Bush and Democratic Candidate John Kerry.

Tonightís debate will be of a different format from what weíre used to seeing in the Democrat primary debates in that in this debate, the candidates will actually be debating each other, rather than answering scripted questions from the press.

As the challenger, the first question will go to John Kerry; Mr. Kerry?

Kerry: Yes?

Brokaw: You have the first question.

Kerry: Ok, Iím ready.

Brokaw: Ask your first question.

Kerry: I thought you were going to ask me a question.

Brokaw: No, weíre doing it differently this time. Please ask your first question.

Kerry: Well ok then. On your newscast last night, your poll showed me trailing the President by 5 points. How do you account for those numbers?

Brokaw: No, Mr. Kerry. Please address your question to Mr. Bush.

Kerry: Oh, ok. Mr. Bush, on your newscast last night, your poll showed me trailing the President by 5 points. How do you account for those numbers?

Bush: I donít have a newscast. Iím the president of the United States.

Kerry: Oh, I thought you looked familiar but couldnít remember where Iíd seen you before.

Brokaw: Mr. Kerry, do you have another question for Mr. Bush.

Kerry: Let me put it this way, Tom, I donít ask questions of Mr. Bush. I simply make charges according to the talking points of the Democrat Party. Itís very simple for me, you see, whatever Bushie stands for, I stand for just the opposite. However, Iíll play your game if you wish.

Brokaw: Fine, thank you Mr. Kerry. Perhaps we should toss the first question over to Mr. Bush; Mr. Bush?

Bush: (grinning) Mr. Kerry, what would you say qualifies you most to be President?

Kerry: You see how stupid he is, Tom? Everyone knows Iím a Vietnam War Hero, or they should, Iíve been reminding them every day for months now. What more qualification do I need to be the President? And by the way Mr. Bush, where did you go when you deserted the Texas National Guard?

Bush: In 1972 I transferred from the Texas National Guard to the Alabama National Guard to continue my commitment while campaigning for a family friend running for Congress.

Kerry: But you deserted, or were at least AWOL.

Bush: I missed meetings for three months while on the campaign trail, but made them up in the following year. I received an honorable discharge as proof of satisfactory service. My records were released in full several months ago, didnít you read them, Mr. Kerry?

Kerry: No, my party leaders refused to allow anyone including myself and the press to see them. We have only your word that you did not desert and run in fear of being sent to Vietnam where I was a decorated war hero.

Bush: Other than three Purple Hearts for minor flesh wounds, what were you decorated for, Mr. Kerry?

Kerry: I donít want to talk about it. Oh God, those dead babies, heads and limbs chopped off, telephone wires, dead dogs, and gooks everywhere! I donít want to talk about itÖ I donít want to talk about it!!!

Brokaw: Itís ok Mr. Kerry, now calm down and get a hold of yourself.

Kerry: Iím ok Tom, just one of those combat flashbacks, I guess.

Brokaw: Would you like some water, Mr. Kerry?

Kerry: Oh, God NO!!! Water only reminds me of that day on the Macon Delta when I feel out of my boat, itís was horrible. Fortunately there was a wounded Marine in the water who helped me back into the boat, then my crew pulled him on board too. I got a medal for that one.

Brokaw: Fine, letís continue. Mr. Kerry, I believe itís your turn.

Kerry: During your watch Mr. Bush, 300 million workers have lost their jobs in this country. How do you account for that and what are you doing about it?

Bush: I believe your figures are a bit exaggerated since we have only 280 million people in the entire country. The fact is that some job losses were suffered as a result of the recession I inherited, which is now in the strongest recovery in history. Add to that, the business failures as a direct and indirect result of the events of September 11th, 2001, and corporate fraud that went unchecked during the nineties. Job losses are understandable to anyone who knows anything about how the nationís economy works. The fact is that about two million jobs were lost but most of them were replaced with new jobs and at the present time, our unemployment rate is just about the same as it was throughout the nineties. My economic recovery policies and tax cuts have pulled the economy out of the recession and restored it to itís strongest standing in twenty years. As employers are starting to see more profits, they are creating more jobs everyday now but it will take time.

Kerry: Well, weíll just see how long your tax cuts last when Iím elected, Mr. Dubya. I intend to place the tax burden for supporting this country squarely where it belongs, on the shoulders of the rich.

Bush: Who do you consider ďthe richĒ, Mr. Kerry?

Kerry: Anyone who makes more money than I do. Of course exceptions will be made for Hollywood celebrities and anyone who made their fortune in mustard and ketchup.

Bush: Then what youíre saying is that you want to raise taxes on small business owners and professionals who provide 70% of the jobs in the country and on corporations who provide most of the rest of them, is that right?

Kerry: Yes, yes, yes!!! More taxes for everyone with a decent income, so we can give that money to the poor through our government dependency spending programs. How else do you think the Democrat Party is going to maintain our voter base? Oops, I withdraw that last statement. Tom, can you edit that out?

Brokaw: Iím sorry Mr. Kerry. Weíre live.

Kerry: Ok then, I just want to repeal the Bush tax cuts because I donít believe theyíre good for the economy. How are we ever going to pay off this huge national debt if we donít increase taxes?

Bush: By cutting taxes, more consumer spending is encouraged and more jobs are created because people have more money to spend. That stimulates the economy creating more prosperity and consequently, more tax revenue to the government even though the tax rate is lower.

Kerry: I donít get it.

Bush: I know.

Brokaw: We still have allot to cover so letís move on. Mr. Bush, would you like the next question?

Bush: Yes, thank you Tom. Mr. Kerry, what is your plan for fighting the war on terrorism?

Kerry: We should never have started this war in the first place and shouldnít be fighting it. We need to turn the whole thing over to the United Nations and bring our boys home. Let the UN worry about fighting terrorism.

Bush: You want to put the war on terrorism in the hand of the UN? Are you aware that the many nations of the UN include terrorist, and terrorist supporting countries? Do you understand that is it not in the best interests of the UN to oppose their own members with fighting a war on terrorism?

Kerry: The UN can send inspectors to these countries to make sure they donít have any terrorist weapons. If the countries wonít cooperate with the UN, they can pass resolutions against those countries. National Defense should be left in the hands of the UN diplomats. Our military is full of murders, rapists, and baby killers and is not capable and canít be trusted to protect America. We need the UN for that.

Bush: But in the Senate, you voted to authorize the President to invade Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein by force when the UN refused to do so. You knew the threat that Hussein posed to the free world, and that action by the United States Military was necessary, yet after the major battle was won and the fight against terrorists was continuing, you voted against the funding that our troops were depending on to carry out their mission. How do you explain that, Mr. Kerry?

Kerry: I didnít vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq. I voted only to threaten the use of force. I voted against funding the troops when I found out that I had been duped by the President and that he lied to us about WMD.

Bush: But we never took a vote in Congress to only threaten Saddam Hussein. Could it be that you cast that vote in France? You had been on the Intelligence Committee and were privy to the same information that I gave to Congress and the American people regarding IraqĎs WMD. You know very well that the information came from the CIA, the very agency you were overseeing. Why do you now say I lied about it.

Kerry: Because itís clear that there are no WMD in Iraq now that we have the ability to search for them, therefore you must have lied about it. And since there are no WMD, then this war is unjustified and we shouldnít be there. We know now that the WMD donít exist in Iraq and that proves that you lied. We owe Saddam Hussein an apology.

Bush: Mr. Kerry, if we didnít know the WMD no longer existed in Iraq until our army and inspection teams were there, then how could I have know before then, and lied about it?

Kerry: As the President of the United States youíre supposed to know everything, past, present, and future, and have all the answers to everything that is happening, or ever could happen. Thatís why the people are angry and criticizing you and want you out of office.

Bush: Mr. Kerry, if you are elected to the office of President of the United States, will you be prepared to fill the shoes of God?

Kerry: Who is ďGodĒ?

Bush: Never mind, youíll find out soon enough. Earlier you said that we should never have started this war in the first place and shouldnít be fighting it. We didnít start this war, Mr. Kerry . Have you forgotten about 911?

Kerry: Of course I havenít forgotten about 911. I used it only last week to call for assistance when my limo got a flat tire. Whatís that got to do with anything?

Bush: You called 911 for assistance when you limo got a flat tire? Donít you know that number is only for emergencies?

Kerry: It was an emergency! I had an appointment with my barber and didnĎt want to be late.

Bush: Thatís not the 911 Iím talking about, Mr. Kerry. Iím talking about September eleventh, two thousand and one when the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked by terrorists.

Kerry: They were? Oh yeah, I remember seeing something about that on tv. I thought most Americans had forgotten about that.

Bush: No, not most Americans, Mr. Kerry, only the Democrats. That is why we are fighting a war against terrorism now, so that this sort of thing doesnít happen again.

Kerry: Iím a Vietnam war hero and have the credentials to fight Americaís enemies no matter what jungle theyíre in. Those damn gooks did it again, huh? The gooks, the gooks, theyíre coming for us againÖ. Theyíre going to kill us allÖ. I have to get out of hereÖ I got to get out of hereÖ. whereís my fÖing boat?

Brokaw: Mr. KerryÖ. Mr. Kerry!Ö Youíre not in Vietnam, youíre safe here at home now. Please get a hold of yourself!

Kerry: Just give me a minute Tom, Iíll be ok. Itís just those damn Vietnam flashbacks keep coming back. Iíll be ok as soon as Iím elected President of the United States, I promise I will.

Brokaw: Ok, Iím sure you will Mr. Kerry. Would you like to put the next question to Mr. Bush?

Kerry: Yes, thank you. Mr. Bush, I have some serious questions about your ethics when it comes to special interest money. As evidence, I site a popular tv spot that says you have given a home to special interests in the Whitehouse. Further proof of this was evident in February when you showed up in Daytona with Nascar officials and actually told them to ďstart their enginesĒ. Were you referring to your smear campaign against me when you said that?

Bush: Let me respond to that in this way. First of all, the tv spot you referred to was your own campaign ad taken from your speeches, which was an outright lie. I donít have special interest lobbyists in the Whitehouse, those are your friends. I went to Daytona to enjoy the race and was granted the privilege of opening the racing season and telling the drivers to start their engines. Nascar racing is an American tradition that I have always enjoyed and no special interest money was involved. Funny you should bring up special interest money since a recent study has shown that you have taken more special interest money than anyone else in Congress over the past ten years. What about all that ketchup money you took from your wifeís foundation for your campaign? You have always voted against the ANWR oil pipeline in Alaska, yet when the AFL-CIO offered to contribute to your campaign, you suddenly changed your mind and gave them you full support for the pipeline. How do you respond to that, Mr. Kerry?

Kerry: The Heinz Foundation owed me that money because I married Teresa to get her our of their hair and out of their board room. I mortgaged our house to finance this campaign and they were kind enough to make up for the expenses. I took money from the AFL-CIO because I never had the opportunity to make money in oil the way your family has and this was my big chance. Thatís my right as an American. Isnít it true, Mr. Bush, that you gave 14 billion out of the current federal budget to your friends in the insurance and pharmaceutical companies to pay back campaign favors?

Bush: It would seem, Mr. Kerry, that your understanding of the Medicare Reform Bill is as shallow as your understanding of Senate Bill ďS.J. Res. 45Ē which gave authority to the President to invade Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein, not to just threaten him. The Medicare Reform Bill provides additional medical benefits to seniors that were previously unavailable to them from Medicare. Who do you think is going to pay for all the prescription drugs and motorized scooters for seniors if not the taxpayers through the Federal Government? Did you think the Insurance Companies and Drug Manufacturers were just going to give their products and services away at no cost to anyone? The 14 billion in this years budget goes to pay for the added benefits of the Medicare Reform Bill. I donít have any friends in those industries and wouldnít be giving them taxpayerís money if I did. Your accusations and false charges are an insult, Mr. Kerry. You wouldnít know how to be honest with the public if your life depended on it. You have recently been accusing me of saying one thing and doing another when in fact, it is you who have built your career in the senate on doing exactly that, so often that you donĎt even realize youĎre doing it. Before election day, the public will know exactly who you really are, Mr. Kerry.

Kerry: Donít threaten me Fly Boy, Iím a Vietnam war hero who could take you out with the first shot from my twin 50s.

Bush: Donít be ridiculous Water Boy. My F-4 would have blown your entire boat out of the water before you could ever get your finger on the trigger. I was way above you then, and Iím way above you now. Running a country and serving as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces is allot different than shooting at Vietnam peasants from a boat. You have served in the United States Congress for thirty years and what have you accomplished? Not one bill has passed with your name on it. You have offered nothing but your Vietnam medals to the country, yet youíve opposed every important issue of our time in the Senate including every weapons system currently used by our Military and funding for Foreign Intelligence. If you were to become President, we would have no Foreign Intelligence, no military weapons, few of our own soldiers, and no national defense. Just who in the world ever gave you the idea that you could become President of the United States?

Kerry: My mentor, Ted Kennedy of course. Who did you think put me up to this? Senator Kennedy knows he could never get elected, but this way, he could tell me what to do and I could tell the country. We have it all worked out for the good of the people.

Brokaw: Iím sorry, but weíre out of time for this debate. Iím sure our candidates have lots more to say but weíll have to pick it up again next debate. Thank you for watching and goodnight.