The following is a transcript of the Democratic response by Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean to President Bush's radio address:
Good morning. I'm Governor Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. I want to start by joining all Americans in offering my thoughts and prayers to the people of California devastated by the wildfires this week. And our thanks to the firefighters, the National Guard, local agencies, and neighbors for their extraordinary work. You serve as a reminder that when we work together, Americans can accomplish anything.
We need more of that spirit of cooperation in Washington, DC today. Despite significant bipartisan support for the country's health insurance program for our children or "S-CHIP," every single Republican running for president sided with President Bush in keeping our kids from getting the health care that they need.
Turning our backs on our children is not the way to lead our country. It's bad policy, but it's also politics at its worst. Just weeks after vetoing S-CHIP, the Bush Republicans wanted to borrow a total of $196 billion to continue the wars in Iraq and then Afghanistan, but they wouldn't spend $7 billion for the health of our children. The Republican leaders have made their choice. They want to stay in Iraq and deny our kids health care. It is wrong for the Bush Republicans to stand in the way of legislation needed to protect the wellbeing of our kids.
This week, Democrats in Congress re-crafted the legislation to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program and provide health care for 10 million uninsured children. It is time for Republicans to join the Democrats in overriding President Bush's veto and to reauthorize this program. Eighty-one percent of the American people and governors of both parties from states all across the country support our effort to cover these 10 million uninsured children.
Again, all of the republican candidates for president support President Bush's veto on health care for our uninsured children. And every one of them supports spending a total of $196 billion to send brave Americans to fight in a civil war in Iraq. America can not afford four more years of a president who borrows for the war and denies health insurance for our kids.
It's a time for a return to American values — and a return to the era of fiscal responsibility we saw during the last Democratic administration. It's time we restore America to its position of moral leadership throughout the world. And, it's time we fulfill our moral obligation to care for our nation's children.
I know it can be done. In my home state of Vermont, 99 percent of all children under the age of 18 were eligible for health insurance when I left office. If we can do that in a small state like Vermont, we can do it in the greatest country in the world.
The contrast in the presidential race is so clear. Democrats want to end the war in Iraq, the Republicans would continue President Bush's failed strategy. While Democrats will ensure our kids have health care, the Republicans will deny our kids. The Democrats want to end the culture of corruption, the Republicans support the pardoning of corrupt officials.
And while Democrats will balance the budget and restore fiscal discipline, the Republicans will borrow against our children's future. The choice is clear in 2008. If you believe in supporting our kids, making our economy stronger, creating jobs, and ending the war in Iraq, please vote for a Democrat in 2008.
I'm Governor Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Thanks so much for listening.