President Bush -- in the final presidential debate before the general election -- said Wednesday night that his Democratic opponent, John Kerry, is "out of the mainstream" on economic and social issues.
Mr. Bush said Mr. Kerry's rhetoric does not match his record on fiscal discipline and balancing the budget, saying he has voted time and time again during his 20 years in the Senate to raise taxes. He said there is a mainstream in American politics, and Mr. Kerry, in his words "sits on the left bank."
Mr. Kerry said President Bush has taken a 5.6 trillion dollar budget surplus and turned it into "deficits as far as the eye can see."
Mr. Bush also accused Mr. Kerry of being out of the mainstream on the issue of abortion, saying he voted against the ban on a late-term procedure referred to as partial birth abortion.
Mr. Kerry has said he supports the constitutional protection of abortion rights in the United States, and that he believes the choice on having a child is between a woman, God and her doctor.
President Bush, a Republican, and Senator Kerry, a Democrat, entered the debate in Tempe, Arizona statistically tied in most public opinion polls.
Tens of millions of voters were expected to watch the 90-minute televised debate, which focused jobs, health care, and other domestic issues. The first two debates focused heavily on Iraq.