PRESIDENTIAL DEBATEOctober 16, 1996
JIM LEHRER: All right, next question from this section, and it is for Senator Dole. Back in the back. Yes, sir, right there. Yes, sir.
OSCAR DELGADO: Senator Dole, Oscar Delgado.
MR. DOLE: Oscar.
OSCAR DELGADO: Ex-smoker for 30 years. About 30 years ago I was a pack-plus-a-day man, okay? You mentioned in a statement, you said some time ago that you didn't think nicotine was addictive. Would you care to -- are you still -- hold to that statement or do you wish to recant, or explain yourself?
MR. DOLE: Oh, that -- that's very easy. My record going back to 1965 in the Congress, the first vote we had was whether or not you should put a little notice on cigarettes. They may be -- I voted -- I voted for everything since that time.
In fact, in 1992 we had a bill come before us that all the states had to comply or they're going to lose certain money. We sent it to the Clinton administration for implementation. They waited three and a half years. And during that period about 3,000 young kids every day started smoking. So you add it up. That's about 3 million. Not until again 1996. I don't want anybody to smoke. My brother probably died partly because of cigarettes.
I was asked a technical question -- are they addictive? Maybe they -- they probably are addictive. I don't know, I'm not a doctor. You shouldn't smoke, you ought to be glad you quit, Oscar -- 30 years? Yes. And it seems to me that what we need to do is to talk about not only tobacco, but drugs, because drug use in 12- to 17-year-olds has doubled in this administration, the last 44 months. Marijuana use is up 141 percent; cocaine use, up 160 percent. They're your kids. It's all happened in this administration because they cut funding and they cut interdiction.
When I'm president of the United States, we're going to use the National Guard and whatever sources we need to stop some of the drugs coming into America. If you stop the drugs, nobody is going to use the drugs. So don't smoke, don't drink, don't use drugs. Just don't do it.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Oscar, the question of what the federal government should do to limit the access to tobacco to young people is one of the biggest differences between Senator Dole and me. We did propose a regulation six months after I became president under the law he mentioned.
It simply says all these states -- it made it illegal for kids to smoke. Now they have to try harder if they want to keep getting federal funds. Then we took comments, as we always do, and there were tens of thousands of comments about how we ought to do it. That's what drug it out.
Meanwhile, we started, also in '93, to look into whether cigarettes were addictive enough for the federal Food and Drug Administration to ban the ability of cigarette companies to advertise, market and distribute tobacco products to our kids. No president had ever taken on the tobacco lobby before. I did. Senator Dole opposed me. He went down and made a speech to people who were on his side, saying that I did the wrong thing. I think I did the right thing.
On drugs, I have repeatedly said drugs were wrong and illegal and can kill you. We have strengthened enforcement. And everybody in San Diego knows we've strengthened control of the border. We've done a lot more. I hope we get a chance to talk about it.
MR. DOLE: Well, they also know, if they live in San Diego, Mr. President, if you're caught with 125 pounds of marijuana or less you go back to Mexico, you're not prosecuted. You have a U.S. attorney here that sends them back home. So I think that's pretty important. That's a lot of marijuana. That's a big supply.
But don't -- you know, don't get into this smokescreen here, Oscar. The president, in the election year, decided, ``Well, I ought to do something. I haven't done anything on drugs. I've been AWOL for 44 months. So let's take on smoking.'' But see, they haven't even done it. They haven't said what's going to happen, whether they're going to have it declared addictive, it's going to apply just to -- once it's a drug, does it apply only to teenagers or to everybody in America?
Nobody should smoke, young or old. But, particularly, young people should not smoke. And my record is there. It's been there. I've voted eight, 10 times since 1965.