QUARLES: Vice President Bush, the last three Republican administrations, Eisenhower, Nixon, and Ford, none of them soft on communism, met with the Soviets and got agreements on arms control. The Soviets haven't changed that much. Can you tell us why President Reagan has not met with the Soviet ministers at all and only met with Prime Minister Gromyko less than a month ago?
BUSH: Yes, I can. The, you mentioned the Gromyko meeting, those were broken off under the Carter-Mondale days. There had been three separate Soviet leaders. Mr. Brezhnev, Mr. Andropov, and now Chernenko. During their, that, in three and a half years, three separate leaders. The Soviets have not been willing to talk. We are the ones that went to the table in INF. We had a good proposal, a moral proposal. Ban an entire generation of intermediate nuclear force weapons and if you won't do that, don't leave your allies in Europe in a monopoly position. The Soviets with 1,200 of these things, and the alliance with none. We didn't think that's the way to deter aggression and keep the peace. The president went, the first thing he did when he came into office was make a proposal on the most destabilizing weapons of all, START. And when the the strategic weapon and when the Soviets said, well, we don't like that proposal, we said all right, we'll be more flexible. I at the urging of the president went to Geneva and laid on the table a treaty to ban all chemical weapons. We don't want them to have a monopoly. We said look, let's come together. You come over here and see what we're doing; we'll go over there and see what you're doing. But let's save the kids of this world from chemical weapons. A brilliant proposal to get rid of all of them. And the Soviets nyet, nyet nyet. In the mutual balance force reduction to reduce conventional forces, they're not even willing to tell us the base. Mrs. Ferraro knows that, and how many troops they have. There's four sessions. We have had an agreement with them on the hot line. But Carter-Monad made an agreement, the Salt II agreement, but the Democratic Senate, they were a Democratic administration, the Democratic Senate wouldn't even ratify that agreement. It was flawed, it was unverifiable and it was not good. Our president wants to reduce, not just to stop, he wants to reduce dramatically nuclear weapons. And when the Soviets know they're going to have this strong president to deal with, and when this new administration, Mr. Chernenko, given more than a few months in office can solidify its position, then they'll talk. But if they think the opposition, before they sit down, are going to give up the MX, give up the B-l, go for a freeze that locks in inferiority in Europe, all of these things, unilaterally, before they're willing to talk, they may just sweat it out for four more weeks. Who knows.
QUARLES: You were once quoted as saying that a nuclear war is winnable. Is that still your belief, and if not, under what circumstances would you use nuclear weapons if you were president?
BUSH: No, I don't think it's winnable. I was quoted wrong, obviously, 'cause I never thought that. The Soviet planning, I did learn that when I was director of Central Intelligence, and I don't think there'd be any disagreement, is based on that ugly concept. But I agree with the president: It should never be fought. Nuclear weapons should never be fought with, and that's our approach. So, therefore, let's encourage the Soviets to come to the table as we did at the Gromyko meeting. I wish everybody could have seen that one - the President, giving the facts to Gromyko in all of these nuclear meetings - excellent, right on top of that subject matter. And I'll bet you that Gromyko went back to the Soviet Union saying, "Hey, listen, this president is calling the shots; we'd better move." But do you know why I think we'll get an agreement? Because I think it is in the interest of the Soviet Union to make it, just as it is in the United States. They're not deterred by rhetoric. I listened to the rhetoric for two years at the United Nations. I've lived in a Communist country. It's not rhetoric that decides agreements, it's self-interest of those countries.
QUARLES: Congresswoman Ferraro, you and Mr. Mondale are for a verifiable nuclear freeze. Some Democrats have said that verification may not be possible. How would you verify such an agreement and make sure that the Soviets are not cheating?
FERRARO: Let me say first of all that I don't think there is any issue that is more important in this campaign, in this election, than the issue of war and peace. And since today is Eleanor Roosevelt's 100th birthday, let me quote her. She said, "It is not enough to want peace, you must believe in it. And it is not enough to believe in it, you must work for it." This administration's policies have indicated quite the opposite. The last time I heard Vice President Bush blame the fact that they didn't meet with the Soviet leader, and this is the first president in forty years not to meet with a Soviet counterpart. He said the reason was because there are three Soviet leaders in the past three and a half years. I went and got a computer printout. It's five pages of the leaders, world leaders, that the Soviet leaders have met with, and they're not little people. They're people like Mitterrand of France and Kohl of Germany and President Kiprianou of Cyprus - you go down the list, five pages of people that the Soviet leaders have managed to meet with and somehow they couldn't meet with the president of the United States. In addition to not meeting with his Soviet counterpart, this is the first president - and you're right - since the start of negotiating arms control agreements who have not negotiated an arms control agreement, But not only has he not negotiated one, he's been opposed to every single one that every other president has negotiated, including Eisenhower, including Ford, and including Nixon. Now, let me just say that with reference to the vice-president's comments about the intent and the desire of the United Sites and this administration, the Soviet Union did walk out of the talks. I agree. But it seems to me in 1982, when the administration presented its Start proposal, that it wasn't a realistic proposal. And that is the comment that was made by Secretary Haig after he left office, because what it dealt with was that it dealt just with land-based nuclear missiles, which is where the Soviets had the bulk of their missiles. But that aside, in 1982, I believe it was, their own negotiator, Nitze, came out with a proposal called the "walk-in-the-woods proposal" which would have limited the number of nuclear arms in Europe. That proposal was turned down by the administration - a proposal presented by its own administrator. Now I'm delighted that they met with Mr. Gromyko, but they could have had that opportunity to meet with him in 1981 when he came to the U.N., which he had done with every other president before, and in 1982 as well. I guess my -
VANOCUR: Congresswoman, I'm sorry. Speaking of limits, I have to impose a limit on you, Vice President Bush?
BUSH: Well, I think there's quite a difference between Mr. Kyprianou in Cyprus and the leader of the free world, Ronald Reagan, in terms of meeting. And the Soviet Union - the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union will meet with a lot of different people. We've been in very close touch with Mr. Mitterrand, Mr. Kohl, and others that have met with the leaders of the Soviet Union. But that's quite different than meeting with the president of the United States. The Soviets say we'll have a meeting when we think there can be progress and yet they left those talks. I'd like to correct my opponent on the walk in the woods. It was the Soviet Union that was unwilling to discuss the walk in the woods. They were the ones that gunned it down first and the record is very, very clear on that. Miss Ferraro mentioned the inflexibility of our position on strategic arms. Yes, we offered first to get rid of all those - we tried to reduce the SS-18's and those weapons. But then we said if that's not good enough, there is flexibility, let's talk about the bombers and planes. So that's a very important point in terms of negotiation.
VANOCUR: Congresswoman, he that taketh away has to give back. I robbed you of your rebuttal. Therefore, you will have two minutes to rebut. Forgive me.
FERRARO: I - You robbed me of my follow-up, that's what you robbed me, so why don't I let her give me the follow-up.
VANOCUR: All right, and then give your rebuttal.
QUARLES: Congresswoman Ferraro, most polls show that the American - Americans feel that the Republicans, more than the Democrats are better able to keep the United States out of war. We've had four years of relative peace under President Reagan. How can you convince the American public that the world would be a safer place under Carter-Mondale? [sic]
FERRARO: I think first of all, you have to take a look at the current situation. We now have 50,000 nuclear warheads; we are building at the rate of five or six a day between us and we have been doing that since this administration came into office. I think what you can do is look at what they've done and recognize that they're not going to do very much in the future. And so, since they've done nothing, do we continue to build because an arms race doesn't lead to anything, it leads to another arms race and that's that. Vice President Monad has indicated that what he would do, first of all, as soon as he. gets into office, is contact his Soviet counterpart and set up an annual summit meeting. That's number one. I don't think you can start negotiating until you start talking. Secondly, he would issue a challenge, and the challenge would be in the nature of temporary, mutual, verifiable, moratoria to halt testing in the air, in the atmosphere, that would respond with a challenge from the Soviet Union, we hope, to sit down and negotiate a treaty. That was done in 1960. I don't know what your lights are doing, Sander.
VANOCUR: You have another minute.
FERRARO: Okay. I'm watching them blinking. So I have another minute. What that would do is it would give us the opportunity to sit down and negotiate a treaty. That was done in 1960 by President Kennedy - in 1963. What he did was he issued a challenge to the Soviet Union. He said we will not test in space - in the atmosphere, if you will not. They did not. In two months they sat down and they negotiated a treaty. We do not now have to worry about that type of testing. It can be done; it will be done, if only you have the will to do it. Again, remember it is mutual; it is verifiable and it is a challenge that once that challenge is not met, if testing were to resume, then we would continue testing as well.
VANOCUR: Our last series of questions on foreign affairs from Mr. Boyd.
BOYD: Congresswoman Ferraro, you have had little or no experience with military matters and yet you might someday find yourself commander-in-chief of the armed forces. How can you convince the American people and the potential enemy that you would know what to do to protect this nation's security, and do you think in any way that the Soviets might be tempted to try to take advantage of you simply because you are a woman?
FERRARO: Are you saying that I would have to have fought in the war in order to love peace?
BOYD: I'm not saying that, I'm asking you - you know what I asked.
FERRARO: All right. I think what happens is when you try to equate whether or not I have had military experience, that's the natural conclusion. It's about as valid as saying that you would have to be black in order to despise racism, that you'd have to be female in order to be terribly offended by sexism. And that's just not so. I think if you take a look at where I've been, both in the Congress and where I intend to go, the type of person I am - I think that the people of this country can rely upon the fact that I will be a lender. I don't think the Soviet Union for one minute can sit down and make determination on what I will do if I'm ever in a position to have to do something with reference to the Soviet Union. Quite frankly I'm prepared to do whatever is necessary in order to secure this country and make sure that security is maintained. Secondly, if the Soviet Union were to ever believe that they could challenge the United States with any sort of nuclear forces or otherwise, if I were in a position of leadership in this country, they would be assured that they would be met with swift, concise and certain retaliation. Let me just say one other thing now. The most important thing, though I think as a leader that what one has to do is get to the point where you're not put into that position. And the way you to that position of rnoving away from having to make a decision - armed force or anything else - is by moving toward arms control. And that's not what's been done over the past four years. I think that if you were to take a look at the failures of this administration that would have to be number one. I will not put myself in that position as a leader in this country. I will move immediately toward arms control negotiations.
BOYD: For my follow, I'm going to borrow a leaf from the Sunday night debate between your principals and ask you what is the single question you would most like to ask your opponent here on foreign policy?
FERRARO: Oh, I don't have a single-most question. I guess the concern that I have is a concern not only as a vice-presidential candidate but as a citizen in this country. My concern is that we are not doing anything to stop the arms race, and if seems to me that if we keep talking about military inferiority - which we do not have, we are at a comparable level with the Soviet Union; our Joint Chiefs of Staff have said they'd never exchange our military power for theirs. I guess the thing that I'd want is a commitment that pretty soon they're going to do something about making this a safer world for all of us.
BOYD: Vice-President Bush, four years ago President Reagan insisted that a military buildup would bring the Soviets to negotiate seriously. Since then, we have spent almost a trillion dollars on defense but the Soviets are still building their military forces as rapidly as we are, and there are no negotiations. Was the president's original premise, his whole strategy, wrong?
BUSH: No, I think his strategy not only was correct but is correct. You've got to go back where we were. Clearly, when we came into office, the American people recognized that we had slipped into positions of inferiority on various things. Some of our planes, as the president points out, were older than the pilots; ships that couldn't go out to sea. And you had a major problem with the military. Actually, the morale wasn't very good either. So we have had to strengthen the military and we're well on the way to getting that job done. America is back in terms of military strength, in terms of our ability to deter aggression and keep the peace. At the same time, however, we have made proposals and proposals and proposals - sound proposals - on reducing nuclear weapons. The Strategic Arms Reduction Talks were good proposals, and it's the Soviets who left the table. The Intermediate Nuclear Force Talks were sound talks, and I wish the Soviet Union had continued them. The chemical weapon treaty to ban all chemical weapons, it was our initiative, not the Soviets. And we wish they would think anew and move forward to verification so everybody would know whether the other side was keeping its word. But, much more important, you'd reduce the level of terror. Similarly, we're reducing - trying to talk to them, and are talking to them, in Vienna, about conventional force reduction. We've talked to them about human rights. I've met with Mr. Andropov and Mr. Chernenko, and we mention and we try to do something about the human rights question. The suppression of Soviet Jews is absolutely intolerable and so we have to keep pushing forward on the moral grounds as well as on the arms reduction ground. But it is my view that because this president has been strong, and because we've addressed the imbalances - and I think we're very close to getting that job done - the Soviets are more likely to make a deal. The Soviets made an ABM treaty when they felt we were going to deploy an ABM system. So I am optimistic for the future, once they realize that they will have this strong, principled president to negotiate with, strong leadership, and yet with demonstrable flexibility on arms control.
BOYD: And now, I'll give you a chance, Mr. Vice-President, to ask the question you'd most like to ask your opponent.
BUSH: I have none I'd like to ask of her, but I'd sure like to use the time to talk about the World Series or something of that nature. Let me put it this way - I don't have any questions, but we are so different from - the Reagan-Bush administration is so different from the Carter-Mondale [sic] administration that the American people are going to have the clearest choice. It's a question of going back to the failed ideas of the past, where we came in - 21% percent on those interest rates, inflation, despair, malaise, no leadership, blaming the American people for failed leadership. Or another option - keep this recovery going until it benefits absolutely everybody. Peace at home - peace abroad - prosperity - opportunity. I'd like to hear her talk on those things, but I think the yellow light is flashing and so we'll leave it there.
BOYD: Nothing on the World Series? Congresswoman Ferraro?
FERRARO: I think the vice-president's comment about the Carter-Mondale administration really typifies this administration. It's an administration that looks backwards, not forwards and into the future. I must say that I'm also tickled by their comments on human rights. The Soviet Union in 1979 allowed 51,000 people to emigrate, because, in large measure, this administration's policies over the past four years, 1,313 people got out of the Soviet Union in 1983 and 1984. That's not a great record on human rights and certainly not a record on human rights achievements. This administration spent a trillion dollars on defense, but it hasn't gotten a trillion dollars on national security.
VANOCUR: Vice-President Bush, your rebuttal?
BUSH: No rebuttal.
VANOCUR: Well, we then can go to the closing statements. Each statement will be four minutes in length and we'll begin with the vice-president.
BUSH: Well, in a couple of weeks, you, the American people, will be faced, three weeks, with a choice. It's the clearest choice in some fifty years. And the choice is, do we move forward with strength and with prosperity or do we go back to weakness, despair, disrespect. Ronald Reagan and I have put our trust in the American people. We've moved some of the power away from Washington, D.C., and put it back with the people. We're pulling together. The neighborhoods are safer 'cause crime is going down. Your sons and daughters are doing better in school. Test scores are going up. There's a new opportunity lying out there in the future. Science, technology and space offering opportunity that, to everybody, all the young ones coming up. And abroad there's new leadership and respect. And Ronald Reagan is clearly the strong leader of the free world. And I'll be honest with you. It's a joy to serve with a president who does not apologize for the United States of America. Mr. Mondale, on the other hand, has one idea. Go out and tax the American people. And then he wants to repeal indexing, to wipe out the one protection that those at the lowest end of the economic scale have protecting them against being rammed into higher and higher tax brackets. We just owe our country too much to go back to that kind of an approach. I'd like to say something to the young people. I started a business. I know what it is to have a dream and have a job and work hard to employ others and really to participate in the American dream. Some of you out there are finishing high school or college and some of you are starting out in the working place. And we want for you America's greatest gift. And that is opportunity. And then, peace. Yes, I did serve in combat. I was shot down when I was a young kid, scared to death. And all that did, saw friends die, but that heightened my convictions about peace. It is absolutely essential that we guarantee the young people that they will not know the agony of war. America's gift, opportunity and peace. Now we do have some unfinished business. We must continue to go ahead. The world is too complex to go back to vacillation and weakness. We've too much going on to go back to the failed policies of the past. The future is too bright not to give it our best shot. Together we can go forward and lift America up to meet her greatest dreams. Thank you very much.
VANOCUR: Thank you very much. I must say now in matters of equity you will be allowed applause at the end of your closing statement, so if you begin now, please.
FERRARO: I hope somebody wants to applaud. Being the candidate for vice-president of my party is the greatest honor I have ever had. But it's not only a personal achievement for Geraldine Ferraro - and certainly not only the bond that I feel as I go across this country with women throughout the country. I wouldn't be standing here if Fritz Mondale didn't have the courage and my party didn't stand for the values that it does - the values of fairness and equal opportunity. Those values make our country strong and the future of this country and how strong it will be is what this election is all about. Over the last two months I've been traveling all over the country talking to the people about the future. I was in Kentucky and I spoke to the Dyhouse family. He works for a car dealer and he's worried about the deficits and how high interest rates are going to affect his job. Every place I go I see young parents with their children and they say to me what are we going to do to stop this nuclear arms race. I was in Dayton, Ohio, a week and a half ago and I sat with the Allen family who live next door to a toxic dump and they're very, very concerned about the fact that those toxics are seeping into the water that they and their neighbors drink. Now those people love this country and they're patriotic. But it's not the patriotism that you're seeing in the commercials as you watch television these days. Their patriotism is not only a pride in the country as it is, but a pride in this country that is strong enough to meet the challenges of the future. Do you know when we find jobs for the eight and a half million people who are unemployed in this country, you know we'll make our economy stronger and that will be a patriotic act. When we reduce the deficits and we cut interest rates, and I know the president doesn't believe that, but it's so - we cut those interest rates young people can buy houses, that's pro-family and that will be a patriotic act. When we educate our children - good Lord, they're going to be able to compete in a world economy and that makes us stronger and that's a patriotic act. When we stop the arms race, we make this a safer, saner world, and that's a patriotic act, and when we keep the peace young men don't die, and that's a patriotic act. Those are the keys to the future and who can be the leader for the future? When Walter Mondale was attorney general of Minnesota, he led the fight for a man who could not afford to get justice because he couldn't afford a lawyer; when he was in the Senate he fought for child nutrition programs, he wrote the Fair Housing Act, he even investigated the concerns and the abuses of migrant workers. And why did he do that? Those weren't popular causes. You know, no one had ever heard of Clarence Gideon, the man without a lawyer. Children don't vote and migrant workers exactly a powerful lobby in this country, but he did it because it was right. Fritz Mondale has said that he would rather lose a battle for decency than win one over self-interest. Now I agree with him. This campaign is not over. For our country, for our future, for the principles we believe in Walter Mondale and I have just begun to fight.
VANOCUR: Thank you very much. I'd like to thank Vice-President Bush, Congresswoman Ferraro, the members of our panel for joining us in this League of Women Voters debate. I'd like to join you in thanking them, the city of Philadelphia and the League of Women Voters. The League of Women Voters' next debate, the presidential debate, will take place in Kansas City on October 21. The subject will be foreign affairs award it will begin at 8 P. M., Eastern time. Again our thanks. We hope you'll join us on the twenty-first.
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