Bush Ad Attacks Kerry's Tax Record

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes", March 29, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: The war of the ads continue. Americans in some states got the first look at a new Bush campaign television ad, taking aim at John Kerry's economic record, and here it is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Kerry's economic record? Troubling. Kerry voted to increase taxes on Social Security benefits, and he voted against giving small businesses tax credits to buy health care for employees.

COLMES: So is the ad fair and accurate?

Joining us, Bush campaign adviser Tucker Eskew and Kerry campaign adviser Chad Clanton.

And Chad, good to have you with us.

It seems they do this. They don't tell the whole story whenever they put these ads out.

As a matter of fact, John Kerry today came out with a 5 percent decrease proposal for corporate, for business taxes.

CHAD CLANTON, KERRY CAMPAIGN ADVISER: That's right. Today, John Kerry proposed a plan to create 10 million new jobs over four years. It's an exciting new plan. He introduced it today in Detroit.

And I think these ads are going right to a core issue in this campaign, which is President Bush's credibility gap. This president now has a credibility gap as wide as the Mississippi River and it's because he hasn't told us the truth about the economy, he hasn't told us the truth about job losses, hasn't told us the truth about weapons of mass destruction.

Let me go to Tucker here...

CLANTON: People don't believe him anymore.

COLMES: Tucker, will you support with what John Kerry came out with today, a 5 percent decrease in corporate taxes. I would think that would be right up your alley.

TUCKER ESKEW, BUSH CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Look, it's a shell game, Alan.

COLMES: How is it a shell game?

ESKEW: This is a senator with a record. And he's got to defend his record. Three-hundred and fifty times he's voted for higher taxes.

COLMES: That's not true. That's not true. It's a lie.

CLANTON: That's not true.

ESKEW: It's provable; it's true; it's in the record.

And OK, if it's 198, you may choose a different sect, but there's hundreds of tax votes have raised taxes or voted against tax cuts. In fact, he's voted 29 times against major tax cuts.

So today, what did he do? It's a shell game. He's moved around a few numbers which in effect will hurt small business owners far more than it will help...

CLANTON: That's not true. How about creating 10 million jobs. We've lost three million jobs under this president.

COLMES: I keep hearing this 350 -- 850, whatever the number is, times that Kerry increased taxes. Would you please address that?

ESKEW: That's not what I said, Alan.

COLMES: I've heard that come out of a number of people's mouths in the last...

CLANTON: I will address it. It's confusing me, too. The number gets bigger and bigger every time these guys go out. You know, it's part and parcel of the right wing smear machine. It's what they do. They don't tell the truth. They don't follow the facts.

And I'll tell you the American people are tired of it of and it's why people are saying we want to change the direction of the country. They're tired of it and this November, John Kerry is going to give them that change.

COLMES: Tucker, some of these votes that have been talked about are times that Kerry did not vote for higher taxes. It's been padded.

Votes in favorite of alternative Democratic tax cuts instead of the ones that were proposed by Republicans were not counted. Many of these cases, he had an alternate tax cut plan. So that figure is bogus.

ESKEW: Those were -- those are red herrings, Alan. I'm sorry, those are put up votes to give Democrats a little bit of cover to retain their position as the high-tax party.

John Kerry has been in the Senate for 19 years, Alan. And if this were one vote or two votes, maybe you'd have a point. But he's got a career of voting for higher taxes and against tax cuts.

COLMES: You leave out.

ESKEW: Let's talk about manufacturing. You brought the subject up.

The manufacturers in this country say we want legal reform. We want lower health care costs. We need regulatory cuts. We've got to do something about energy on each of these issues.

And on the issue of making permanent the job-creating, growth- stimulating tax cuts of this president.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Let me jump in here.

ESKEW: John Kerry is on the wrong side of the creating manufacturing jobs. We've started to create jobs in this country. We were handed a country that was going into recession.

CLANTON: George Bush promised tax cuts...

HANNITY: Chad -- Chad, hang on a second, please.

Gentlemen, we're going to go one at a time and we're not going to talk at the same time, so our audience can hear us.

First of all, we've got to put it into perspective, is that the president inherited a recession. And the president had the economic impact of 9/11. And so we have now built it to the greatest quarter of economic growth we've had in 20 years. We've made a lot of progress.

Here's the question I want to ask you, Chad.

I'm reading from The New York Times today, and it says "responding to widespread anxiety about a movement of American jobs overseas, John Kerry will propose Friday a sweeping revision of international corporate taxes intended to prompt companies to invest more money in the United States."

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, John Kerry and his wife own over $4 million in Heinz Company stock. And we now know that 57 of Heinz's 79 factories are located outside of the -- of North America. And 72 percent of their work force is outside of North America.

Shouldn't John Kerry before he's going to lecture corporations in America, shouldn't he institute policies in the companies he's invested in first. Isn't that hypocritical?

CLANTON: Today he said what he's going to do first. He's going to stop our current policies, which encourage the outsourcing of American jobs.

HANNITY: I didn't ask that. Chad...

CLANTON: I understand what you asked. I understand what you asked. And he's going to stop...

HANNITY: Well, then focus. Maybe you'll come up with a real answer to a real question.

CLANTON: You know, if you're going to use the Republican talking points that's what I'm going to say. You know, I mean, it's not true...

HANNITY: Chad, I don't have Republican talking points. I have the facts. And I got it from the Securities and Exchange Commission and also got it from the New York Sun and I got it from Newswire.

And the fact is this company has outsourced 72 percent of their jobs. Before he lectures the rest of corporate America, shouldn't he practice what he preaches in the companies he invests in?

CLANTON: Right. He has no control over Heinz, and that's the bottom line. You know it.

The thing that John Kerry proposed today is that we need to stop outsourcing jobs in the United States. We need to stop shipping these important jobs overseas and we need to start protecting American jobs here. What's the problem with that? Why do you oppose that?

HANNITY: Tucker, let me go to you. The bottom line is this guy is lecturing the rest of corporate America. But his wife's company, where she made her fortune, where he invests his own money, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, they have outsourced almost all of their jobs.

I find it so hypocritical. It's almost laughable. Tucker?

ESKEW: Yes, Sean, I take your point and I'll add something to it, if I might.

Seventy percent of jobs, the new jobs in this country are created by small businesses. That's a recent historical trend. What John Kerry proposes to do in his so-called tax increase on the rich, something he intends to do in his first 100 days -- he's not going to get those 100 days -- but if he were to, he wants to roll back a big part of the tax cut, the jobs and growth recovery plan.

That really a dagger in the heart.

COLMES: Tucker and...

ESKEW: I think we should -- so is the fact that...

COLMES: We're just out of time. I wish we have more time. We thank you both very, very much.

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