PRESIDENTIAL DEBATEOctober 16, 1996
JIM LEHRER: All right, the next question if for Senator Dole. Yes, ma'am, right there.
QUESTION: I'm a third-year student at UC San Diego. And I just want to say that it's a great honor representing the voices of America.
My question is concerning you, Mr. Dole. All the controversy regarding your age, how to you feel you can respond to the young voices of America today and tomorrow?
MR. DOLE: Well, I think age is very - you know, wisdom comes from age, experience and intelligence. And if you have some of each, and have some age, some experience and some intelligence - that adds up to wisdom.
I think it also is a strength, it's an advantage. And I have a lot of young people who work in my office, work in my campaign. This is about America. This is about, somebody said earlier, one of the first questions, that we're together as one America, one nation.
I'm looking at our economic plan because I'm concerned about the future for young people. I'm looking about drugs. The president's been AWOL for four years. I'm looking about crime. He'll claim credit now for crime going down, but it happened because mayors and governors and others have brought crime down. Rudy Giuliani, the mayor of New York, brought crime down 25 percent just in New York City, but, of course, the president will take credit for that.
My view is we want to find jobs and opportunities and education. This year the Republican Congress, as far as student loans, went from $24 billion to $36 billion over the next six years - a 50-percent increase; the highest appropriation ever, $6 billion for Pell grants. Very, very important. And we also raised the amount of each Pell grant. In our economic plan, the $500 child credit can be used for young people. Rolled over and over and over - of course, not this age, but if you have a child two years old, 7-percent interest, it would be worth about $18,000 by the time that child was ready for college.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I can only tell you that I don't think Senator Dole is too old to be president. It's the age of his ideas that I question. You're almost not old enough to remember this, but we've tried this before, promising people an election-year tax cut that's not paid for -
MR. DOLE: We tried it last time you ran.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: - telling you you can have everything you got - and let me just say this. Did you hear him say the Congress just voted to increase student loans and scholarships? They did, after he left. The last budget he led cut Pell Grants, cut student loans. I vetoed it when they shut the government down.
My plan would give students a dollar-for-dollar reduction for the cost of the typical community college tuition, a $10,000 deduction a year for the cost of college tuition; would let families save in an IRA and withdraw tax-free to pay for the cost of education. And it's all paid for.
My whole administration is about your future, it's about what the 21st century is going to be like for you. And I hope you'll look at the ideas in it. Thank you.
MR. DOLE: Well, when you don't have any ideas, I guess you say the other person's ideas are old. As I said earlier, they don't have any ideas. Their idea is to raise taxes and spend more money. That's the liberal philosophy. If that's what you like, you've got a perfect candidate.
President Clinton came to California in 1992 and said, "The centerpiece in my first four years is going to be a middle-class tax cut." Now, to all you who got that tax cut, congratulations, because you got a big tax increase. You got a $265 billion tax increase. And he stands here and says politicians who make promises like that ought to be ignored. Well, he made the promise.
I keep my word, and you'll have a tax cut. It will help you in whatever you're going to do in the next few years. Thank you.