TOPICS > Politics

Where They Stand: President Clinton and Senator Bob Dole

October 29, 1996 at 12:00 AM EDT


JIM LEHRER: Now, “Where They Stand,” our series on the candidates’ campaign speeches. Tonight, both President Clinton and Bob Dole. Dole was in California today. He spoke to the World Affairs Council of Orange County this morning.

SEN. BOB DOLE: –President Clinton would tell you in these so-called debates we had, he said, well, I’ve created 11 million jobs. Well, I met a guy the other day that’s got three of them. (laughter among audience and applause) That’s what you have to ask. (applause) You’ve got to have three of them just to pay your bills. Taxes now are about 40 percent, the highest ever, the highest ever, 38.2 percent–we round that up, of course, to 40 percent, very close. That’s more than you pay for food, clothing, and shelter combined. In many families, the wife is being–or the mother is being forced to go back to work. If both parents want to work, that’s fine; that’s their option. But why should they be forced to work, one to pay for the family and one to pay taxes? We don’t believe that should happen. We believe we can have a tax cut. It’s responsible; it’s reasonable. We have a lot of people in California.

We have some Nobel–economic Nobel Prize winners on our side, four, five or six, and a couple other economists. They’re not going to sign off George Shultz, who’s sort of our chairman, he’s not going to sign off on some pie-in-the-sky program. He’s concerned about the economy. He wants the economy–we have the slowest growth in our economy now that we’ve had this century. And the President will look you right in the eye and say the economy’s never been better. Wages are stagnant. Wages for women have actually gone now between 2 and 3 percent. Personal bankruptcies of over a million reached new records. Credit card debt’s never been higher. And then he stands there and tells you that the economy is great. And on the surface, it may look good, but unless we do something, we’re not going to create the opportunities, not going to create the growth. We’re not going to grow in this country and create more jobs and more opportunities because we’re limping along with 2.4, 2.5 percent, and we think the next quarter is going to be down about 1.8 percent growth, 1.8. See what he boasts about that before next Tuesday. So what are we going to do? We’re going to do what you should do, what President Kennedy did, what Ronald Reagan did. You’re going to try to stimulate the economy, create more jobs in the private sector. This is about the private sector, not about the government sector. So it seems to me that in addition to those things we want regulatory reform, regulatory reform that costs the average family in California six to seven thousand dollars a year. Now we need some regulation, no question about it.

We want to protect the environment. We want to protect the air and the water and the food you eat, and all these things. But in my part of the country we have always felt if everything else fails, try a little common sense. And we think a little common sense, look at sound science and other things when you start drafting regulations, would be a big, big help. You know, regulations put a lot of people out of business. It wasn’t a couple of three months ago, I guess, in Colorado Springs, we had one of these Listening to America meetings, and a lady got up and said a year before she had 63 employees. She finally quit and went back to work for somebody else. And one of the primary reasons was filling out all the paper work and all the regulations. There’s just too much stress, took too much time. It cost too much money, and we can do better. We also have litigation reform–litigation reform. I don’t have any quarrel with lawyers; I married one. We’re the only two lawyers in Washington who trust each other but, otherwise–and I like trial lawyers, I think–(laughter among audience)–even though they give millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars to President Clinton. That’s the way it works. So we need to stop some of the frivolous lawsuits that again put small businesspeople out of business. If you’re a small businessman or woman and you have to go out and hire a lawyer to defend yourself somewhere, it doesn’t take long to eat up all the profit and all the equity you have. So we need to put a cap on punitive damages and make some other reasonable changes, reasonable changes. We’re not going to do it with Bill Clinton in the White House because you know where he is. He’s in their pocket.

And all these tax cuts which I tried to raise this at the San Diego debate, they all expire the year–the first year it’s phased in so you never really get the full benefit, and then they expire at the end of the year 2000 but the tax increases to pay for the tax cut, do you think they expire? Not with this outfit, no way. They go on forever and ever and ever. That’s how they pay for it. They look you in the eye and say we’re going to give you targeted tax cuts if you keep your room clean and eat your vegetables and do all the other things the government wants you to do. And if you eat your vegetables, you can live as long as Sen. Thurman, who’s going to be reelected without any problem. I used to follow him around. When he ate a banana, I ate a banana, whatever works. (laughter among audience and applause) I even thought about him as a running mate to give the ticket a little balance because I was so young. (laughter among audience)

JIM LEHRER: Bob Dole speaking in Irvine, California, today. President Clinton spoke at a rally at Ohio State University in Columbus this morning.

PRESIDENT CLINTON: Thank you very much. Here’s what I think should be done in the future, and what I will work for. No. 1, as we have been trying to do for years, the states of this country must set high national standards based on international standards of excellence for students, for teachers, and for schools. The only way to get excellence in education for everyone is to define it, to expect it, to demand it, and then to measure it. I believe all children can learn, but we have to have high expectations, and people need to understand that 90 percent of what we need to know is not a function of IQ; it is a function of sustained effort. And we have to have it measured against high standards. (applause) That’s why I believe that students should pass to move from one level in school to another, and the diploma ought to mean something, and we ought to know that. We ought to measure it, but these standardized tests shouldn’t be just measuring your test-taking ability. Everybody should know on the front end what it is. You need to know to meet world-class standards, and that is what should be tested. So you can have a lot of tests that don’t mean anything. If we’re going to have the tests, they must be tied to what is defined as an excellent education. That is what I favor, and everybody in every state is entitled to it. (applause and cheering among audience)

No. 2, we should continue to support grassroots reforms that Sec. Riley has to give parents and teachers and principals and students the capacity to achieve their highest level in every school in America. Every parent should have the freedom to choose their child’s public school. Our balanced budget plan contains funds to create 3,000 new schools, charter schools, schools that are free to innovate, to demand high standards, schools that survive only if they produce results. The states already have money to begin that, and I urge them to do it. But before parents can exercise the right sort of choice they have to have enough information. So today, again, let me say I challenge the states and the school districts of America to publish report cards on every school and to put them on the Internet. Parents should be able to compare class size, reading scores, safety record with all the schools in their district, all the schools in their state, and with schools across the country. We need to know how our schools are doing and the schools should have a report card accessible to every parent in the United States, in every state and every community. (cheers and applause)

No. 3, we should do, as Pat Strickland says, in our balanced budget plan we have a plan that will lower the interest rates on borrowing for school districts that are desperate to build cafeterias, new facilities, remodel facilities. There are almost 52 million children in school this year, which is the first year when there have been more children in our school systems across America than were there during the baby boom years, the first year. I have been to school after school after school where people are running out of the classrooms, where the conditions are broken down, the schools don’t have the money to fix them, where beautiful old buildings are surrounded by trailers taking up the extra students. We have to do this together now. No. 4, we ought to work hard to make our schools, all our schools places of values and learning, not violence. We have supported zero tolerance for guns in schools. We’ve encouraged schools to adopt school uniform policies. We’ve helped communities to enforce truancy laws and curfews. We’ve fought hard to protect the safe and drug-free schools program from slashing cuts because all of our children early in life need to see one of those DARE officers or other role models up in their classroom saying these drugs can kill you. They’re not just illegal. They’re wrong. They can kill you. We need to do that, and we should support it. (applause) I have also challenged all of our schools to a broad national goal. Every child in America should be able to read independently by the third grade. 40 percent of our children still cannot do that. I want to send 30,000 reading specialists and National Service Corps, AmeriCorps volunteers around the country to form an army of one million people to make sure that by the year 2000 all of our third graders can read independently. In the budget I signed last month we increased the number of work-study jobs for college students by a third, by 200,000, that many more work-study slots. (cheers) Now, I want to ask you something. I have recommended that at least 100,000 of those new work-study slots be allocated to young people who are willing to work to teach children to read. Would you help do that? Will you support that goal? Will you help us?

JIM LEHRER: President Clinton speaking in Columbus, Ohio, today.