GORE: The fighting has stopped in Bosnia. President Clinton showed tremendous courage, vision, wisdom, and leadership in having our country take the lead in rallying our allies, bringing the warring factions together in Dayton, Ohio, and hammering out a peace agreement that has ended the war in Bosnia. We hope that it will stay over with. Elections having just been held. There is great progress towards peace and reconciliation in Bosnia. We ought to be very proud of our soldiers who have played such a critical role in bringing about this peace in Bosnia. It's not the only case where Bill Clinton has provided such leadership. We have restored democracy to Haiti, with scarcely a shot being fired. We have seen movement towards reconciliation in Northern Ireland and in the Middle East. The Bible says there will always be wars and rumors of wars. As the President said the other night, there will always be troubles in this ol' world, but the United States of America can be counted on to provide the vision that the world looks for from the United States of America. Bill Clinton, as President, has provided that kind of leadership. We are more secure and stronger today because of Bill Clinton's handling of foreign policy.
KEMP: Bob Dole supported the deployment of troops in Bosnia, but the problem with the foreign policy in this administration, there is none. It is ambiguous, it is contradictory. It is precipitous to go into Iraq with bombing before we had even consulted with our allies. To think that Sam Nunn of Georgia or Colin Powell helped put together the coalition in the Persian Gulf were not even consulted. It was not only precipitous, it was a sign, not of strength, but of weakness. What's worse, they declared victory. They've declared victory in every deployment. We've had more deployments in four years than any previous four years I can think of, and I'm 61 years of age. It's unbelievable that ambiguity can be called foreign policy. Let me say what a friend told me, and I believed it for my whole career, weakness is provocative and our message should be clear. And that's what our message would be to the world under Bob Dole as Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America.
GORE: We did, of course, consult with our allies before we bombed Saddam Hussein, but sometimes the United States has to take unilateral action when our interests are at stake. General Schwarzkopf is in the audience tonight. We're awfully proud of the way he led our coalition, organized under former President Bush. When the United States toward the repulsing of Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, three times as he's tried to get out of that box, Saddam Hussein has felt the sting of a swift, certain response from the United States of America under President Bill Clinton.
LEHRER: Mr. Kemp, Senator Dole has criticized the President on Haiti, that he handled that wrong. What did he do wrong?
KEMP: Well, it was Bob Dole that suggested that there be a fact-finding commission. President Carter was on it. Colin Powell was on it. You cannot say, in our opinion, that Haiti is a great success. Clearly, uh it was maybe the right thing to do, but we did not go in with enough information. We caused problems in the first place by denying Caribbean countries and third-world countries a chance to trade freely in the United States. It causes economic problems and turmoil, and then we turn around, as we did in Mexico, having to bail them out. We caused the problem in the first place, and it cost us 20 to 50 billion to bail them out. Haiti is very ambiguous at best. We pray that democracy comes to Haiti, but so far, the message from Haiti is quite ambiguous, notwithstanding the declaration of victory by this administration.
GORE: Well, I didn't hear anything wrong. The fact is, we restored democracy to Haiti. When I say "restored" actually, it's the first real democracy that Haiti has ever had. And it happened with scarcely any shots being fired. I was in the Oval Office the night when President Clinton dispatched our troops from Ft. Bragg. It was a tense moment. The planes were in the air and our negotiators were talking with the dictator down there. And when that dictator got the news from his spies outside the gate that all these planes were taking off, he said, let's get out of here. That's how it was done. It was one of the most defense uses of diplomacy and military force in combination that you will find anywhere in the annals of the history of this country. I was so proud of our President in the way he handled that, and the result, so far, is excellent. And we hope and pray that it will remain that way.
KEMP: Many more results like Bosnia and Haiti and Mexico, and the Middle East, and we won't have much success. One of the most serious -- one of the most serious problems was the tremendous effort by this administration to force on Mexico a devaluation of their peso. The economy has dropped by almost 40 to 50 percent. Then we go in and bail them out. We cause the problem, then we have to bail them out. We should have a foreign policy that's predicated upon trade, on spreading democracy, by giving people opportunities to trade freely with us, and making sure that everybody recognizes a rule of the Golden Rule, "To do unto others to have them do unto you." Diplomacy first, and don't bomb before breakfast.
LEHRER: Mr. Vice President, Mexico, we caused the problem, then had to go in and bail them out?
GORE: No, that's not right. When Mr. Kemp started talking about the Golden Rule, I thought he was going to talk about the gold standard again. That used to be an integral part of this so-called "Supply Side Economics," but it may be something else that he now agrees with Bob Dole on, because Bob Dole voted to take us off the gold standard, a wise vote in my opinion. Most -- all economists say if we did that, it would throw us into a deep recession or depression and put millions out of work, but let me come directly to this question. No, when there was a crisis involving the Mexican peso, again, President Bill Clinton showed bold and dynamic leadership. I want to hasten to add that Senator Bob Dole gave critical bipartisan support at the time. He agreed with the President. He supported the President. He said this is a wise move. He could not get a majority in the Senate, and Speaker Gingrich could not get a majority in the house to go on record in support of it. So, the President, as presidents often have to do, went alone and did the right thing. You know, people said it was a big risk at that time. We've ended up making a $500 million profit. All of the loans have been paid back. We're using that $500 million to further reduce the deficit. It's come down 60 percent already. It's going down even more toward a balanced budget, and this is helping.
KEMP: It's unbelievable that we could cause a drop in the standard of living of a friendly country like Mexico by nearly 40 to 50 percent. Unemployment goes up, we send U.S. tax dollars and IMF monies to Mexico, and we make a profit. At that level, that is -- gives new meaning to the word "profitability" for U.S. foreign policy. The pain, the suffering, the unemployment, the bankruptcies, the loss of the standard of living, the people who have had to come across the border of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas if that's our foreign policy for the third-world or Latin America, I believe more than ever, we have to elect a president who understands trade, who understands honest money, who understands private enterprise, who understands democratic capitalism, not socialism caused by the IMF and the Clinton administration.
GORE: Well, I fail to understand the basis of the charge that we caused the monetary crisis in Mexico. They managed their own monetary policy. Years ago, we used to hear this phrase in American politics, the "Blame America First" crowd. I never liked that phrase, but if it was going to be applied today, it would have to be applied to this statement. The United States of America shouldn't be blamed for the management of Mexico's monetary policy. We helped our neighbor in an hour of need, and they survived. They're stronger. They're coming back. They paid us back, and we got a dividend in the process.
LEHRER: Mr. Kemp, Senator Dole the other night criticized President Clinton for cutting defense spending and, thus, cutting jobs in California. Is that how defense spending should be seen, as a jobs program as well?
KEMP: I don't think, Jim, that Bob Dole was suggesting that the defense of our country is a jobs or a socioeconomic program, but it's clear that the defense budget of this administration has taken defense as a percent of our national economy to a lower level than it was prior to Pearl Harbor. That's dangerous and it's provocative. And the mixed message, the ambiguities of U.S. foreign policy, uh are -- I believe, and Bob Dole believes, is causing not only problems for this country throughout the world, but particularly here at home. And the type of changes that were made overnight in California caused very severe dislocations. And then, of course, the President ran out to California and announced, well, maybe we'll have another B-1or B-2 Bomber. But that is not the way policy should be made. It should be predicated upon the defense needs, the security needs, the strategic needs of the United States of America, and that's how they'll be made under Bob Dole as president.
GORE: Well, first of all, there are virtually no large differences in the defense budgets put forward by President Clinton and put forward by the majority in the Congress in the last two years. They're very, very similar. There is a huge difference in our economic plan. This risky $550-billion tax scheme that I talked about earlier is said by the Concord Coalition, including Republicans like Pete Peterson and Warren Rudman, to pose a threat to our nation's ability to have a sensible defense budget in the future. They've gone on record as saying that this tax scheme would not only raise taxes on 9 million hard-working American families, but would also lead, almost inevitably, to deep cuts in Medicare and in defense. We have a balanced budget plan that protects the defense budget, also Medicare, Medicaid, education, the environment, and give tax -- gives tax cuts to middle-income families.
KEMP: Jim, Al has to hear one more time. Every time in this century we've lowered the tax rates across-the-board on employment, on saving, investment, and risk-taking in this economy, revenues went up, not down. Now, if the purpose of the tax code is to raise revenue. We ought to think, as John F. Kennedy did, about lowering the rates. We can't go to zero. They can't go too low, because there's not enough revenue, but President Clinton apologized in Houston for saying, whoops, I raised your taxes and they're too high. President Bush apologized for raising taxes. Bob Dole knows that the rates have to come down across-the-board and then we'll get to the most important part, to repeal this code and go to a new system for the 21st Century.
LEHRER: Mr. Vice President, some Democrats have charged that the environment would be in jeopardy if Mr. Kemp and Senator Dole are elected. Do you share that fear?
GORE: I certainly do. In citing John F. Kennedy's tax cut in the 1960s, I want to also remind you that, Mr. Kemp, pointed out in the past, Bob Dole was in the Congress then. He was one of those who voted against John F. Kennedy's tax cut. The environment faces dire threats from the kind of legislation that Senator Dole and Speaker Newt Gingrich tried to pass by shutting down the government and attempting to force President Clinton to accept it. They invited the lobbyists for the biggest polluters in America to come into the Congress and literally rewrite the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. President Clinton stopped them dead in their tracks. We have a positive agenda on the environment because we believe very deeply that it's about our children and our future. Clean air and clean water, cleaning up toxic waste sites, when millions of children live within one mile of them. That's important. We have a plan to clean up two-thirds of the toxic waste sites in America over the next four years. We've already cleaned up more in the last three years than the previous two administrations did in 12. The President just set aside the Utah National Monument. He is protecting the Everglades here in Florida. Bob Dole is opposed to that plan. President Bill Clinton will protect our environment and prevent the kind of attacks on it that we saw in the last Congress and are included in the Republican platform.
KEMP: And so will Bob Dole. I mean, Al, get real. Franklin Roosevelt said in 1932 that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. The only thing, Jim, they have to offer is fear. Fear of the environment, fear of the climate, fear of Medicare, fear of Newt, fear of Republicans, fear of Bob, and probably fear of cutting tax rates. They ain't seen nothing yet. Look, we recognize that this country has to live in balance with our environment. Every one of us who have children and grandchildren recognize how we have to reach a balance. It is not jobs versus our environment. Both are important. This is the most overregulated, overly litigated economy in our nation's history. And to call a businessman or woman who sits down and has a chance to express his or her interest in how to make these laws work and call them a polluter is just outrageous. It is typical of the anti-capitalistic mentality of this administration. That will change, because we believe in democratic capitalism for everybody.
GORE: There are lots of jobs to be created in cleaning up the environment. All around the world we're seeing problems that people want to solve because they love their children. They want them to be able to drink clean water and breathe clean air. They don't want them to live next to toxic waste sites. When the United States of America takes the lead in protecting the environment, we do right by our children, and we also create new business opportunities, new jobs, new sources of prosperity for the United States of America, and we're going about it in a common sense way.
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