VICE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATEOctober 9, 1996
JIM LEHRER: Some supporters of Senator Dole have expressed disappointment over his unwillingness in Hartford Sunday night to draw personal and ethical differences between him and President Clinton. How do you feel about it?
MR. KEMP: Wow! In 90 seconds? I can't clear my throat in 90 seconds.
Jim, Bob Dole and myself do not see Al Gore and Bill Clinton as our enemy, we see them as our opponents.
This is the greatest democracy in the world. People are watching not only throughout this country but all over the world as to how this democracy can function with civility and respect and decency and integrity.
Bob Dole is one of those men who served the United States Senate. His public life is a public record. He fought on the battlefield. He has worked with Democrats and Republicans. In my opinion, it is beneath Bob Dole to go after anyone personally. Clearly, Abraham Lincoln put it best when he said you serve your party best by serving the nation first. And I can't think of a better way of serving this nation in 1996 than by electing Bob Dole the President of the United States of America.
These issues are fully capable of being understood and reflected upon by the American people. This is a democracy in which we have the freest press and the greatest First Amendment rights in the history of mankind. And Bob and I respect that. These issues will be aired, but they'll be aired with dignity and respect, and ultimately leave it to the American people to make up their minds about who should be the leader of this country into the 21st century.
JIM LEHRER: Mr. Vice President?
VICE PRESIDENT GORE: Thank you, Mr. Lehrer. And I'd like to thank the people of St. Petersburg for being such wonderful hosts.
My family and I are very glad to be here. And I would like to thank Jack Kemp for the answer that he just gave. I think we have an opportunity tonight to have a positive debate about this country's future. I'd like to start by offering you a deal, Jack. If you won't use any football stories, I won't tell any of my warm and humorous stories about chlorofluorocarbon abatement.
MR. KEMP: It's a deal. I can't even pronounce it.
VICE PRESIDENT GORE: What I do want to talk about tonight is Bill Clinton's positive plan for America's future. We have a plan to balance the budget while protecting Medicare, Medicaid, education and the environment, creating millions of new jobs, including one million new jobs in America's inner cities. I'm exited about the chance to talk about this plan and even more excited about the chance to work on it if you, the people of this country will give Bill Clinton and me the privilege of doing so for four more years.
JIM LEHRER: Mr. Kemp?
MR. KEMP: I've really only got two differences with Bill Clinton - President Clinton and Vice President Gore - foreign policy and domestic policy.
Our foreign policy is ambivalent, confusing. It is sending strong signals to the wrong people. And we have learned over the years that weakness is provocative. The domestic economy is not doing what it can do. This president believes we're at our capacity. Bob Dole and I believe we can do a lot better. It's about the potential of the American people to lift themselves up and not have their lives controlled by the United States government in Washington.