By Joanna Gaitanoglou
This week it has become clearer that Massachusetts Senator John Kerry will secure the Democratic presidential nomination. He arrived in Jackson Saturday night and is preparing for Tuesday's primary. Some recent polls show Kerry and President George W. Bush running a close race so far. WLBT takes a look at where they stand on some of our nation's most important issues.
In the last two years, President Bush has visited Mississippi four times. Republicans are looking forward to Senator Kerry's first visit to the Magnolia State.
"I think it's good for Mississippi to get a chance to look at a presidential candidate up close and personal," said state GOP Chairman Jim Herring.
But Herring says Kerry is out of touch with the state's voters and that he lacks the courage to take a stand on issues like gay marriage.
"He says that's up to the states," said Herring. "I think President Bush is showing leadership by saying we need a constitutional amendment outlawing that."
"The President of the United States is a big enough job," said Democratic Party Chairman Rickey Cole. "He doesn't have time to worry about who's coming to the court house to get a marriage license."
Cole says Kerry's philosophy on strengthening the economy should be appealing to voters. He says Kerry favors jobs training, entrepreneurship, and continuing education. Kerry says President Bush's tax cuts have been favorable only to the wealthy.
"The tax cuts are like junk food, they feel good, they get you high, but they're not good for you," said Cole. "What we've got to have is a sustained investment on opportunities for Americans."
But many Republicans say tax cuts stimulate the economy, create wealth, and create jobs.
"The Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board even came out this week and said (tax cuts) should be make permanent," said Herring.
The state GOP leader adds that Kerry also lacks leadership when it comes to Iraq.
"Although he voted this time for the second war in Iraq, he voted to cut off the funds, the 87 million to support the troops," said Herring.
But Cole says Kerry is very concerned about the Bush Administration's proposed exit strategy which he believes will not create stability in Iraq.
"This administration has set this arbitrary June 30th deadline, which basically is a message to our enemies over there to lay low for a few more months and then the whole thing can fall in like a house of cards," said Cole.
No matter which issues become the most important in this year's presidential race, both sides are hoping the voters will do their research and not be swayed by insignificant details. Herring:
"We look forward to debating the issues with Senator Kerry and running a race not based on personality but based on the issues that are before us," said Herring.
"It shouldn't be about who's got the greatest smile or the highest I.Q.," said Cole. "This is the most important job in the world."
Kerry will attend the 11 a.m. Sunday service at Greater Bethlehem Temple Apostolic Faith Church on Robinson Street. At 2:30 p.m., he will attend a rally and town meeting at Tougaloo College's Owens Health and Wellness Center.
Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, and Texas are holding primaries Tuesday. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.