October 29 ,1999
MODERATOR: Good evening, and thank you all very much for joining us
here in New Hampshire tonight. Let's begin with our first question.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN IN AUDIENCE: Should the Republican Party be more
inclusive by encouraging pro-choice voters to support their candidates?
SEN. JOHN McCAIN: I worry a great deal about the unintended consequences of sending a message that we are not an inclusionary party. I am a proud pro-life person. I have a 17-year record on that issue. But I believe that we must begin a dialogue and a discussion on the issue of abortion. Both pro-life and pro-choice people believe very strongly that we need to eliminate abortion. I and my wife, Cindy, are proud adoptive parents.
We need to encourage adoption in America. We need to match up those
children that have no families with those families that have no children.
We need to improve foster care dramatically in America. We can work
together. And my party, which is proud of its pro-life position and
I am proud of it, should send the word, we want you in our party. We
can have respectful disagreements on specific issues and we can work
together on this one. I thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Senator.
MAN IN AUDIENCE: I'd like to hear the Senator's position on Second
Amendment rights, and if elected, what his policy would be toward the
recent wave of litigation facing the firearms industry.
SEN. ORRIN HATCH: Well let me tell you something. When it comes to constitutional... expressed constitutional provisions-- and the second amendment is one of those expressed provisions-- you've got to be very loathe to try and change that provision by mere statute. So I am a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights. I am also a strong criticizer of this administration, because there are people being killed in our society today because they're not enforcing the law. Parents are afraid to have their kids go to school because they don't know whether those kids are going to be safe in schools. They're worried to death about it.
And the reason they are is because 12,000 kids and adults took guns
to school in the last two years in violation of law. Guess how many
prosecutions by this administration? Thirteen. I'll tell you what I'd
do. If you commit a crime with the use of a gun and you have a gun on
you, it's an automatic ten years without parole. If you fire that gun,
it's an automatic 20 years. If you hurt somebody with that gun, it's
an automatic life.
WOMAN IN AUDIENCE: How do you plan to continue with the war on drugs?
ALAN KEYES: When I was born in 1950, we didn't have a huge plethora
of laws dealing with all kinds of drug use and abuse, and yet we also
did not have an enormous drug problem in this country. The reason that
we proliferated the laws is because the fundamental discipline that
was prevailing in our society when I was born has broken down. We have
a crisis that goes to the heart of the question of whether or not we're
a people that still acknowledges that there is a difference between
right and wrong which we must pass on to our children and enforce, even
if it means that we ourselves must accept inconvenience.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Mr. Keyes.
ALAN KEYES: When we face that reality, then we will have solved the
ANOTHER MAN IN AUDIENCE: I would like to know whether you would want
to change the immigration quotas: Increase them, decrease them, leave
them the same?
GARY BAUER: I think back of my time in Newport, Kentucky, when I was growing up. It was a tough, blue-collar town, and I remember in elementary school we would all stand in line to get milk. And then the school bully would come along and get in the front of the line and nobody could do anything about it because he was bigger than anybody else. Well, we have millions of people around the world that are standing in line to get into the United States.
They see it as that shining city on a hill that the Founding Fathers
talked about and that Ronald Reagan reminded us of all the time. They're
playing by the rules, they're abiding by the law, and we allow countless
people to butt into the front of the line, to pour across our borders
and have as their first act as entering our country the violation of
our laws. We must secure our border. A great nation should not have
borders that are unsecured; and I believe if we do that, then we can
make a judgment as a people what the appropriate legal immigration levels
ought to be.
ANOTHER WOMAN IN AUDIENCE: I'd really like to be able to ask this to
the candidate who's not here but I can't do that. Mr. Forbes, as nominee
of the Republican Party or as President, what would you do to keep the
future nominations from being bought?
STEVE FORBES: Like you, I share the frustration that Governor Bush is not here tonight. He didn't come to a debate last week because he had a fund- raiser. A couple of weeks ago, his plane got delayed. He had a choice between a fund-raiser and going to a school in Rhode Island with underprivileged kids. He chose the fund-raiser. So perhaps in the future at a forum like this-- if we call it a fund-raiser-- he might show up. (Laughter)
But seriously, to get to your question, we should have a system in
America where individuals can give as much as they want to a candidate
as long as there is full and prompt disclosure. The establishment loves
these current rules because, unless you are blest like me with independent
resources, they have ways of shutting you out and all 67,000 lobbyists
in Washington -- they have all rallied around Governor Bush; they want
a coronation, not a real contest, and that's fundamentally wrong.
MODERATOR: We want to ask each of you, do you favor a flat tax? If
so, at exactly what rate? And I'm going to begin on the left with Senator
SEN. ORRIN HATCH: Well, naturally, I favor throwing out the current
system and getting rid of this awful IRS Code. In fact, if I had my
way, we'd get rid of the IRS and come up with the most fair, simple,
decent, honorable system we can have. But I'll tell you something, I
worry about a flat tax because I'm on the Senate Finance Committee.
And I can tell you, we spend a lot of time just figuring out where all
these little things go. And it's just a natural propensity in Congress
to see us add more and more to that tax code until we satisfy just about
every citizen in America. And it's killing our country.
SEN. JOHN McCAIN: Sure I'm for a flat tax. I'm for a tax system where average Americans can fill out their taxes on a postcard and send it in, and not have the fear of an audit. But, my dear friends, do you know why the tax code is 44,000 pages long? Do you know why it's a nightmare, a chamber of horrors for average citizens and a cornucopia of good deals for the special interests? The special interests rule in Washington.
The big money, the huge six- and seven-figure contributions that come
in, that every time we pass a tax bill we add another special loophole
and a special deal for the special interests. I'm for reform. I'm for
reform of education, reforming the military, reforming the tax code.
My dear friends, that's not possible. That's not possible when average
Americans are no longer represented in Washington, DC. And I will fight
to the last breath I draw to eliminate the influence of special interests
in the tax code and every other part of America, and I will not rest
until I give the government back to you. Thank you. (Applause)
MODERATOR: Ambassador Keyes.
ALAN KEYES: The income tax is a form of taxation that was advocated by Marx and Lenin because it cedes, in principle, to the government control of every last dollar that is made or earned in the economy. Think about it. And this country was not founded with an income tax.
The founders put in the Constitution provisions that made an income tax unconstitutional -- a direct tax on our people, government dipping directly into our pocket to spend our money before we get a chance to say anything about it. The issue isn't the tax rate and the issue isn't whether it's flat or progressive. The issue is the income tax itself. I am an abolitionist; shouldn't surprise you. (Laughter)
I think that just as we had to get rid of chattel slavery in the last
century, we need to get rid of tax slavery at the end of the 20th century
so our children in the 21st will have control of every last dollar they
earn. And the government won't get a say in what is done with that money
until after they deal with it and then, in the open marketplace, you
put a sales tax on transactions in that marketplace.
MODERATOR: Ambassador Keyes, thank you very much. Mr. Bauer.
GARY BAUER: I grew up in a home where my father was a janitor. I'm used to having bills last till Friday when the paycheck only lasted till Thursday. And so my flat tax proposal recognizes that the real wealth of America is in our families. I have a 16 percent across-the-board rate.
You would be able to keep your mortgage deduction and your charitable
deduction. And everybody would pay the 16 percent: The waitress and
the corporation. Now, Steve has a plan that he'll elaborate on. But
Steve has a major new write-off in his plan for big business. He allows
the big corporations to write off the entire cost of their investments
in the year that they make them.
STEVE FORBES: Well, this is a delightful evening...because when I ran four years ago, virtually every Republican denounced the idea of a flat tax. So education works. (Laughter) Some are slower than others, but they're coming along. (Laughter)
Now, Gary, you are wrong. I give generous deductions and exemptions to each adult and each child. A family of four, a family of four, such as the Daley family in Exeter, New Hampshire, their first $41,000 of income is free of federal income tax; above the $41,000 level for the Daley family, only 17 cents on the dollar above $41,000; no tax on pensions; no tax on capital gains; and no death taxes. You'll be allowed to leave the world unmolested by the IRS (Laughter) sort of a new principle of taxation no taxation without respiration. (Laughter)
And as a businessman, as a businessman, I have incentives for investment.
If you tell a farmer you can't recover the cost of your tractor, you
ruin him. You tell a restaurant owner they can't recover the cost of
the equipment, you ruin them. I provide for jobs. I provide a tax break
for all. And I'm glad they're coming on board.
MODERATOR: Mr. Forbes, thank you very much. (Applause)
MODERATOR: That's it. Thanks to Dartmouth and to all of you.