tv 1996 Presidential Candidates First Debate CSPAN August 26, 2016 11:09pm-12:44am EDT
i'm going to bring them together. >> both of you, on this subject, there are other questions that also go to this. skepticism, not necessarily about you, but all people in politics. why is that? >> well, first of all, jim, i would like to respond to what the governor just said. because the trillion dollars that has been promised to young people has also been promised to older people. and you cannot keep both promises. if you're in your mid-40s under the governor's plan, social security will be bankrupt by the time you retire if he takes it out of the social security trust fund. under my plan, solvency will be extended until you're 100. now, that is the difference. and the governor may not want to answer that question. he may want to call it a high school debating trick, but let me tell you this. this election is not about debating tricks. it's about your future.
the reason social security, he says it gets 2%. it's not a bank account. that just pays back money that's invested. it's also used to give your mothers and fathers the social security checks that they live on. if you take a trillion dollars out of that social security trust fund, how are the checks -- how are you going to keep faith with the seniors? let me come directly to your question -- >> we have to go to the closing statements. >> can i answer that? one reason people are skeptical is because people don't answer the questions they have been asked. the trillion dollars comes out of the surplus so you can invest some of your own money. it's a difference of opinion. i want workers to have their own assets. who do you trust? the government or people? >> now we're going to go to closing statements. vice president gore. >> thank you very much, jim. i'll begin by answering your question. your last question. i believe that a lot of people are skeptical about people in politics today because we have
seen a time of great challenge for our country. since the assassination of our best leaders in the '60s, since the vietnam war, since watergate, and because we need campaign finance reform. i would like to tell you something about me. i keep my word. i have kept the faith. i have kept the faith with my country. i volunteered for the army. i served in vietnam. i kept the faith with my family. tipper and i have been married for 30 years. we have devoted ourselves to our children, and now our nearly 1 1/2-year-old grandson. i have kept the faith with our country. nine times i have raised my hand to take an oath to the constitution. and i have never violated that oath. i have not spent the last quarter century in pursuit of personal wealth.
i have spent the last quarter century fighting for middle-class working men and women in the united states of america. i believe very deeply that you have to be willing to stand up and fight no matter what powerful forces might be on the other side. if you want somebody who is willing to fight for you, i am asking for your support and your vote, and yes, your confidence and your willingness to believe that we can do the right thing in america and be the better for it. we have made some progress during the last eight years. we have seen the strongest economy in the history of the united states, lower crime rates for eight years in a row. highest private home ownership ever. but i'll make you one promise here. you ain't seen nothing yet. and i will keep that promise. >> governor bush, two minutes. >> jim, i want to thank you and thank the folks here at washington university and the vice president. appreciate the chance to have a good, honest dialogue about our
differences of opinion, and i think after three debates, good people of this country understand there is a difference of opinion. there's a difference between big federal government and somebody who's coming from outside of washington who will trust individuals. i have an agenda that i want to get done for the country. an agenda that says we're going to reform medicare to make sure seniors have prescription drugs and to give seniors different options which they can choose. so jim, it says we're going to listen to the young voices and social security and think differently about the system and also fulfill the promise to the seniors in america, a promise made will be a promise kept should i be fortunate enough to become your president. i want to rebuild the military to keep the peace. i want to make sure the public school system in america fulfills its promise so not one child is left behind. and after setting priorities, i want to give some of your money back. see, i don't think the surplus is the government's money.
i think it's the people's money. i don't think the surplus exists because of the ingenuity and hard work of the government. it exists because of the ingenuity and hard work of the american people. you ought to have some of the surplus to save and dream and build. i look forward to the final weeks of this campaign. i'm asking for your vote. for those of you for me, thanks for your help. for those of you for my opponent, please only vote once. but for those who have not made up their mind, i would like to conclude with this promise, should i be fortunate to become your president, i will swear to not only uphold the laws of the land, but i will also swear to uphold the honor and dignity of the office to which i have been elected. so help me god. thank you very much. >> closing piece of business before we go. the debate commission wants reaction to the three kinds of formats used in the debates this year, and you may register an opinion at their website,
coming up this weekend, the abraham lincoln library association published musing by ordinary americans celebrating or responding to lincoln's gettysburg address. author of gettysburg replies reads passages from the book. >> his presence still resonates from the words he has written and the artifacts and documents he has left behind for our prosperity. he was a simple, yet deeply
complex man who looked at complex issues plainly. he accepted and spoke the truth. many believe lincoln transcended all other presidents to have served before him and since. his story has reached and continues to reach across borders and oceans, races and religions, politics and party lines. then at 10:00 p.m. on real america, the march in washington. on august 28th, 1963, the u.s. information agency filmed the march on washington for jobs and freedom and produced a documentary for foreign audiences. and sunday this year marks the 40th anniversary of the nasa viking landing on mars. historians discuss the program which landed the first spacecraft on mars on july 20th, 1966. >> the events surrounding the
week were incredibly exciting. when the lander landed, it was almost powered up and the team had programmed in two photographs to be taken so that they could be delivered fairly quickly back to earth for the press to see and for nasa to be able to confirm the landers had in fact landed on mars. then at 8:00 p.m. eastern on the presidency, historians look at president hearty truman's leadership and how he interacted with politicians. then madeleine albright speaks with a historian about harry truman's commitment to public service as vice president and president. >> this is someone who should have gone to a great college, should have gone to graduate school. wanted to do. couldn't do it because of his family's economic circumstances. and if there is one thing he felt strongly was when he became
president he wanted to help others. one of the ways he did that was to strengthen the community college system. for our schedule, do to cspan.org. our features include lectures and history, visits to college classrooms across the country to hear lectures by top history professors. american artifacts takes a look at the treasures of historic sites and archives. real america, the civil war where you hear about the people who shaped the civil war and reconstruction and the presidency focuses on u.s. presidents and first ladies to learn about their politics, policies and legacies. all this month in prime time and
every weekend on american history tv on c-span 3. monday night focusing on the cold war. we'll look at america's refugee policy, radiation experiments on humans and we'll show you a lecture on the origins of the cold war. american history tv on prime time monday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span 3. >> each week during the 2016 election, road to the white house rewind brings you archival coverage of presidential races. next, the 1996 debate between incumbent president bill clinton and former kansas senator bob dole. in hartford, connecticut, the candidates discuss national security, government spending, medicare, and their personal philosophies. president clinton defeated bob dole with 49% of the popular vote to senator dole's 41%. this is just over 90 minutes.
>> good evening from the bushnell theater in hartford, connecticut. welcome to the first of the 1996 presidential debates between president bill clinton, the democratic nominee, and senator bob dole, the republican nominee. this event is sponsored by the commission on presidential debates. it will last 90 minutes following a format and ruled worked out by the two campaigns. there will be two-minute opening and closing statements. in between, a series of questions, each having three parts. a 90-second answer, a 60-second rebuttal and a 30-second response. i will assist the candidates in adhering to the time limits with a help of series of lights visible to both. under their rules, the candidates are not allowed to question each other directly. i will ask the questions. there are no limitations on the subjects. the order for everything tonight
was determined by coin toss. now, to the opening statements and the president clinton. mr. president. >> thank you, jim. and thank you to the people of hartford, our host. i want to begin by saying again how much i respect senator dole and his record of public service. and how hard i will try to make this campaign and this debate one of ideas, not insults. four years ago, i ran for president at a time of high unemployment and rising frustration. i wanted to turn this country around with a program of opportunity for all, responsibility from all, and an american community where everybody has a role to play. i wanted a government that was smaller and less bureaucratic. to help people have the tools to make the most of their own lives. four years ago, you took me on faith. now, there's a record. 10.5 million more jobs, rising incomes, falling crime rates and welfare roles.
a strong america at peace. we are better off than we were four years ago. let's keep it going. we cut the deficit by 60%. now, let's balance the budget and protect medicare, medicaid, education, and the environment. we cut taxes for 15 million working americans. now let's pass the tax cuts for education and child rearing, help with medical emergency and buying a home. we passed family and medical leave. now let's expand it so more people can succeed as parents in the workforce. we passed 100,000 police, the assault weapons ban, the brady bill. now let's keep going by finishing the work and putting the police on the street and tackling juvenile gangs. we passed welfare reform. now let's move a million people from welfare to work, and most importantly, let's make education our highest priority so that every 8-year-old will be able to read, every 12-year-old can logon to the internet, every 18-year-old can go to college. we can build that bridge to the
21st century and i look forward to discussing exactly how we're going to do it. >> senator dole, two minutes. >> thank you. thank you, mr. president for those kind words. i thank the people of hartford, the commission, and all those out here who have made the listening or watching. it's a great honor for me to be here standing here as a republican nominee. i'm very proud to be the republican nominee reaching out to democrats and independents. i have three very special people, my wife elizabeth, my daughter robin who has never let me down, and a fellow named frank, from new york, along with dolly maninan, helped me out in the mountains of italy a few years back. i learned from them that people do have tough times. and sometimes you can't go it alone. and that's what america is all about.
i remember getting my future back from doctors and nurses, a doctor in chicago, and ever since that time, i tried to give something back to my country, to the people who are watching us tonight. america is the greatest place on the face of the earth. now, i know millions of you still have anxieties. you work harder and harder to make ends meet and put food on the table. you worry about the quality and the safety of your children, the quality of education. but even more importantly, you worry about the future and will they have the same opportunities that you and i have had. and jack kemp and i want to share with you some ideas tonight. jack kemp is my running mate, doing an outstanding job. i'm a plain speaking man, and i learned long ago that your word
was your bond. and i promise you tonight that i'll try to address your concerns and not try to exploit them. it's a tall order, but i have been running against the odds for a long time, and again, i'm honored to be here this evening. >> mr. president, first question. there's a major difference in your view of the role of the federal government and that of senator dole. how would you define the difference? >> well, jim, i believe that the federal government should give people the tools and try to establish the conditions in which they can make the most of their own lives. that, to me, is the key. and that leads me to some different conclusions from senator dole. for example, we have reduced the size of the federal government to the smallest size in 30 years. we have reduced more regulations, eliminated more programs than my two republican predecessors, but i have worked hard for things like the family and medical leave law, the brady bill, the assault weapons ban, the program to put 100,000
police on the streets. all of these are programs that senator dole opposed that i supported because i felt they were a legitimate effort to help people make the most of their own lives. i worked hard to help families impart values to their own children. i supported the v-chip so parents can control what their kids watch on television when they're young, along with rating systems for television. i supported strong action against the tobacco companies to stop the marketing, advertising, and sale of tobacco to young people. i supported a big increase in the safe and drug-free schools program. these were areas on which senator dole and i differed, but i believe they were the right areas for america to be acting together as one country to help individuals and families make the most of their own lives and raise their kids with good values and a good future. >> senator dole, one minute. >> i think the basic difference is, and i had some experience in
this. i think the basic difference, i trust the people. the president trusts the government. think back and look at the health care plan he wanted to impose on the american people. one seventh the total economy. 17 new taxes, price control, 35 to 50 new bureaucracies that cost $1.5 trillion. don't forget, that happened in 1993. a tax increase, the tax everybody in america, not just the rich. if you made $25,000, you got your social security taxes increased. we had a btu tax turned into a $35 billion gas tax, a $265 billion tax increase. i guess i rely more on the individual. i carry a card around in my pocket called the tenth amendment, where possible, i want to give power back to the states and back to the people. that's my difference than the president. we'll have specific differences later. he noted a few, but there are others. >> mr. president, 30 seconds.
>> i trust the people. we have done a lot to give the people more powers to make their own decisions over they own lives, but i do think we are right when we try to, for example, give mothers and newborns 48 hours before they can be kicked out of a hospital, ending these drive-by deliveries. i think we were right to pass the kennedy bill that says you can't lose your health insurance just because you change jobs or because someone in your family has been sick. our government is smaller and less bureaucratic and has given more authority to the states than its two predhaves under republican presidents, but i believe we have to help our people get ready to succeed in the 21st century. >> senator dole, the president said in his opening statement, we are better off today than we were four years ago. do you agree? >> well, he's better off than he was four years ago. >> i agree with that. that's right. >> i may be better off four years from now.
but i don't know. i looked at the slowest growth in the century. he inherited a growth of 4.7% to 4.8%. now it's down to 2%. we're going to pass a million bankruptcies this year for the first time in history. we have stagnant wages. in fact, women's wages have dropped 2.2%. men's wages haven't gone up or gone down. we have stagnation. we have the highest foreign debt in history. and it seems to me that if you take a look, are you better off? well, i guess some may be better off. saddam hussein is probably better off than he was four years ago. are the american people? they're working harder and harder and paying more taxes. for the first time in history, you pay about 40% of what you earn. more than you spend for food, clothing, and shelter combined for taxes under this
administration. so some might be better off. they talk about family income being up. that's not true in connecticut. family income is down. it's up in some cases because both parents are working. one works for the family and one works to pay taxes for the government. we're going to give them a tax cut so they can spend more time with their children, maybe even take a vacation. that's what america is all about. >> mr. president, one minute. >> well, let me say first of all, in february, senator dole acknowledged that the american economy was in the best shape it's been in in 30 years. we have 10.5 million more jobs. a faster job growth rate than any republican administration since 1920. wages are going up for the first time in a decade. record numbers of new small businesses. we have the biggest drop in the number of people in poverty in 27 years. all groups of people are growing. we had the biggest drop in income inequality in 27 years in 1995. the average family's income has gone up over $1,600 just since
our economic plan passed. so i think it's clear that we're better off than we were four years ago. now we need to focus on what we need to do to be better off still. how can we help people as we are to get their retirements when they work for small businesses, to be able to afford health insurance, to be able to educate their children. that's what i want to focus on, but we're clearly better off than four years ago as senator dole acknowledged this year. >> senator dole. >> i doubt i acknowledged that this year, but in any event, we just look at the facts. we asked the people who are viewing tonight, are you better off than you were four years ago? not whether we're better off. are you worker harder to get food on the table, drug use has doubled the past 44 month all across america. crime has gone down, but it's because the mayors like rudy giuliani where one third of the drop happened in one city, in new york city. so yes, some may be better off. but to the people listening
tonight, the working families who would benefit from an economic package, they will be better off when bob dole is president and jack kemp is vice president. >> mr. president, senator dole has come close in the last few days accusing you of lying on his position on medicare reform. have you done so? >> absolutely not. let's look at the position. first of all, remember in this campaign season, since senator dole has been a candidate, he has bragged about the fact that he voted against medicare in the beginning, in 1965. one of only 12 members, he said he did the right thing. he knew it wouldn't work at the time. that's what he said. in his budget he passed along with speaker gingrich cut medicare $270 billion. more than was necessary to repair the medicare trust fund. it would have cost seniors more for out of pocket costs as well as premiums because doctors could have charged more. the american hospital association, nurses association, the catholic hospital association said hundreds of
hospitals could close and people would be hurt badly under the dole/gingrich medicare plan i vetoed. and now, with this risky $550 billion tax scheme of senator dole's even his co-chair said they can't possibly pay for it without cutting medicare more and cutting social security as well. according to him. now, my balanced budget plan adds ten years to the life of the medicare trust fund. ten years. and we'll have time to deal with the long-term problems of the baby boomers. but it was simply wrong to finance their last scheme to cut medicare $270 billion to run the risk of it withering on the vine. we always have to reform it over the years, but we need someone who believes in it to reform it. >> senator dole? >> well, i must say i look back at the vote on medicare in 1965, we had a program called elder care that also provided drugs and means tests for people who
needed medical care and received it. i thought it was a good program. i supported medicare ever since. in fact, i used to go home, my mother would tell me, bob, all i've got is my social security and my medicare. don't cut it. i wouldn't violate anything my mother said, in fact, we had a conversation about our mothers one day. a very poignant conversation in the white house. i am concerned about health care. i have had the best health care, government hospitals, army hospitals, and i know its importance. but we have to fix it. it's his trustees, the president's trustees. not mine who say it's going to go broke. he doesn't fix it for ten years. we ought to appoint a commission just like we did for social security in 1983 when we rescued social security, and i was proud to be on that commission. along with bob picker, the champion of senior citizens in florida. we can do it again if we take politics out of it. stop scaring the seniors, mr. president. you have already spent $45 million scaring seniors and tearing me apart.
i think it's time to have a truce. >> mr. president. >> well, let me say, first of all, i would be happy to have a commission deal with this. i appreciate what senator dole did on the '83 security commission, but it won't be possible to do if his tax scheme passes because even his own campaign co-chair says he'll have to cut medicare even more than was cut in the bill that i vetoed. i vetoed that bill because it cut more medicare and basically ran the risk of breaking up the system. my balance budget plan puts ten years on medicare. we ought to do that, then we can have a commission. senator dole's plans are not good for the country. >> senator dole, speaking of your tax plan, do you still think that's a good idea, the 15% across the board tax cut? >> oh, yes, and you'll be eligible. >> me, too? >> so will the former president. >> i need it. >> the people need it. that's the point. this is not a wall street tax
cut. this is a family tax cut. this is a main street tax cut. 15% across. we'll take a family making $35,000 a year. that's $1261. maybe some in this bushnell memorial, a couple kids, a working family, that's four or five months of day care, maybe a personal computer. may be three or four months of mortgage payments. this economic package is about families, but it's a six-point package. first, a balanced budget amendment of the constitution, which president clinton defeated. he twists arms and got democrats to vote the other way. it's balancing the budget by the year 2002. it's a tax cut cutting capital gains 50% so you can create more jobs and more opportunities. it's estate tax relief. a $500 per child tax credit. about litigation reform. the president gets millions of dollar from trial lawyers, he probably doesn't like that provision.
before i hit the ground, i had a call on my cell phone from a trial lawyer saying i think we have a case here. it's also a regulatory reform. these are good taxes and we would like your support. >> here's the problem. it sounds very good, but there's a reason that 500 economists including seven nobel prize winners and business periodicals like business week and even senator dole's friend senator warren rudman from new hampshire says it's not a practical program. it's a $550 billion tax scheme that will cause a big hole in the deficit. which will raise interest rates and slow down the economy and cause people to pay more for home mortgages, car payments, credit card payments, college loans and small business loans. it's not good to raise the deficit. we worked too hard to lower it. it will actually raise taxes on 9 million people, and in addition to that, it will force
bigger cuts than the ones that he and mr. gingrich passed that i vetoed last year. it sounds great, but our targeted tax cut for education, child rearing, health care and home buying which is paid for in my balanced budget plan, something he has not done, certified by the congressional budget office, that's the right way to go. >> senator dole? >> the president wants to increase spending 20%. i want to increase spending 14%. that's how simple it is. i want the government to pinch pennies for a change instead of american families. we're talking about six percentage points over six years. with that money, you give it back to the working people. you also provide opportunities, scholarships for lower income parents who have a better choice in sending their children to school. it will work. when it does, i know you'll congratulate me. >> mr. president, the senator mentioned trial lawyers and that means campaign financing. how do you personally avoid
being unduly influenced by people who give you money or services in your campaigns? >> well, i try to articulate my positions as clearly as possible. tell people what i stand for and let them decide whether they're going to support me or not. the senator mentioned trial lawyers. in the case of the product liability bill, which they passed and i vetoed, i think that's what he's talking about. i wanted to sign that bill and i told the people exactly what the congress exactly what kind of bill i would sign. now, a lot of trial lawyers didn't want me to sign any bill at all, but i thought we should do what we could to cut frivolous lawsuits, but they wouldn't make the changes i thought should be may. i had a person in the oval office who lost a child in a school bus accident where a drunk driver caused the accident directly but there were problems with the school bus. the drunk driver had no money. under the new bill, if i had signed it, a person like that could never have had any recovery. i thought that was wrong. so i gave four or five specific
examples to the congress, and i said, prove to me that these people could recover but we're going to eliminate frivolous lawsuits, i'll sign the bill. but generally, i believe that a president has to be willing to do what he thinks is right. i have done a lot of things that were controversial. my economic plan, my trade position, bosnia, haiti. taking on the nra for the first time, taking on the tobacco companies for the first time. sometimes you just have to do that because you know it's right for the country over the long run. that's what i tried to do and what i will continue to do as president. >> senator dole? >> how does he avoid conflict? well, i don't know in the case of the trial lawyers. i look at the trial lawyers and you run out to hollywood and pick up $2 million to $4 million and organized labor comes to washington, d.c. and puts $35 million in at a pop. if these aren't special interests, i have a lot to learn. i was there for a while before i left on june 11th. the trial lawyers, i don't -- you know, my wife is a lawyer.
we're the only two lawyers in washington who trust each other, but we're lawyers. i like lawyers. i don't dislike trial lawyers. but it seems to me there has to be some end to frivolous lawsuits and some camp on punitive damage. you're putting a lot of business people out of business. small business men and women who pay 70% of your $265 billion tax increase, the largest tax increase in the history of america. i said that one day and one of the democrats said no, on the history of the world. so i modified it. the largest tax increase in the history of the world. it seems to me that there's a problem there, mr. president. and i will address you as mr. president. you didn't do that with president bush in 1992. >> mr. president? >> let me say, first of all, i signed a tort reform bill that dealt with civilian aviation a couple years ago. i proved i will sign reasonable tort reform. secondly, senator dole had some pretty harsh comments about special interest money, but it
wasn't me who opposed what we tried to do to save the lives of children who are subject to tobacco, and then went to the tobacco growers and bragged about standing up for the federal government when we tried to stop the advertising, marketing, and sales of tobacco to children, and it wasn't me who let the polluters come into the halls of congress, into the rooms and rewrite the environmental laws. that's what speaker gingrich and senator dole did, not me. >> that's not true. >> i believe we should take a different approach to this and talk about how we stand on the issues instead of trying to characterize each other's motivations. i think senator dole and i just honestly disagree. >> senator dole, let me ask you the same question. how do you avoid being influenced by people who contribute money and services to your campaign? >> it's very difficult. let's be honest about it. that's why we need campaign finance reform. that's why i reach out to the perot voters. they're looking at the republican record.
whatever it is, whatever the check list was in '92, it's all done with campaign finance reform. i worked with senator mitchell who played me in the debate warmup. we tried six or eight years ago as he appointed three people, i appointed three people to try to get campaign finance reform. we couldn't get it done because it wasn't enforceable. you suggested a commission, newt gingrich did, i did at least three our four years ago. we sent it to congress to vote it up or down. that's how it works. we're never going to fix it by the problems because the democrats want a better veg, we want a better advantage as republicans, and that's not how it's going to work. i want to touch on the tobacco thing. i know the president has been puffing a lot on that. i want to go back to 1965. that is my first vote against tobacco companies. i said we ought to label cigarettes. i had a consistent record since 1965. we passed a bill in 1992 to encourage the states to adopt programs to stop kids from smoking. all 50 states did it. it took three and a half years.
it wasn't an election year, you wouldn't have thought about stopping smoking. what about drugs that increased double in the last 44 months. cocaine up 141%, marijuana. cocaine up 166%. it seems to me nat you have a selective memory. mine doesn't work that way, so i'm going to try to correct it as we go along. >> mr. lehrer, i hope we'll have a chance to discuss drugs later in the program, but let me respond to what he said. i agree too many incumbent politicians in washington in both parties have consistently opposed campaign finance reform. that was certainly the case from the minute i got there. after speaker gingrich and senator dole took over the congress, i went to new hampshire and a man suggested, a gentleman who passed away a few day said ago, suggested we appoint a commission. i shook hands on it, appointed my members, and the commission never met. then senator dole's ardent supporters, senator mccain along
with senator feingold supported -- sponsored a campaign finance reform proposal. i strongly supported it, and members of senator dole's own party in the senate killed it. he was not out there urging them to vote for the mccain/feingold bill. i think the american people, including the perot supporters know i have had a consistent record in favor of campaign finance reform and i will continue to have, and i hope we get it in the next session of congress because we need it badly. >> senator dole, 30 second. >> on campaign reform itself, we'll get it when we have a bipartisan commission, take it out of politics, people who don't have interest in politics but understand the issue. we're not kidding anybody, mr. president. these sophisticated people watching, millions and millions of americans. they know the republican party hasn't done it. they know the democratic party won't do it. somebody else has to do it and we'll vote the up or down. >> the senator mentioned drugs.
he suggested in the past that you bear some responsibility for the rise in drug use of teenagers in the united states. is he right? >> well, jim, i think every american in any position of responsibility should be concerned about what's happened. i am. but let's look at the overall record. overall in america, cocaine use has dropped 30% in the last four years. casual drug use down 13%. the tragedy is that our young people are still increasing their use of drugs. up to about 11% total with marijuana. and i regret it. let me tell you what i tried to do about it. i appointed a four-star general who led our efforts south of the border to keep drugs coming into our country, the most heavily decorated soldier in uniform. we have dramatically increased control and enforcement at the border. we supported a crime bill that had 60 death penalties including the death penalty for drug
kingpins and i supported a big expansion of the safe and drug-free schools program to support things like the d.a.r.e. program because i thought all those things were very important. do i think that i bear some responsibility for the fact that too many of our children still don't understand drugs are wrong, drugs can kill you, even though i have consistently opposed the legalization of drugs my public life and worked hard against them? i think we all do and i think we can do better. i don't think this issue should be politicized because my record is clear. i don't think senator dole supports using drugs. i think we have to continue to work on this until those who think it isn't dangerous and won't kill them and won't destroy their lives get the message and change. >> senator? >> well, again, you're very selective, mr. president. you don't want to politicize drugs, but it's all right to politicize medicare and scare senior citizens and other vulnerable groups, veterans and people who get pell grants. it seems to me that the record is clear.
the record is pretty clear in arkansas when you were governor, drug use doubled. you resisted the appointment of a drug czar there because you thought it might interfere with treatment. here, you cut the drug czar's office 83%. i want to stop it from coming across the border. in my administration, we're going to train the national guard to stop it from coming across the border. this is an invasion of drugs from all over the world. and we have a responsibility. you had a surgeon or before general mccafferty, you had a general who said we ought to legalize drugs. is that the kind of leadership we need? i won't comment on other things that happened in your administration or your past about drugs, but it seems to me if they start it, they ought to stop, and just don't do it. >> mr. president? >> let me say again, we did have a drug czar in arkansas, but he
answered to the governor just like this one answers to the president. that's what i thought we ought to do. secondly, senator dole, you voted against the crime bill, and you voted to cut services to 23 million school children in the safe and drug-free schools act. i don't think that means you're soft on drugs. we just have a different approach. but let me remind you my family has suffered from drug abuse. i know what it's like to see somebody you love nearly lose their lives and i hate drugs, senator. we need to do this together, and we can. >> senator dole, on the government continuing to talk about the government's role, if elected president, would you seek to repeal the brady bill and the ban on assault weapons? >> not if i didn't have a better idea, but i have a better idea. it's something i worked on for 15 years. it's called the automated check or the instant check. it's being used in 17 states right now, states like florida,
colorado, virginia, and other states. you don't buy any guns, you don't get any guns. we have 20 million names on a computer in washington, d.c. of people who should not have guns. we ought to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and there are eight other categories that should not have guns. i have been working on this for a long, long time. you walk in, you put your little card in there. if it says tilt, you don't get any guns. you don't get a handgun, a rifle, a shotgun. you get zippo. if we're going to protect america's children and american families and people who live as prisoners in their own home, we have to stop guns from being dumped on the streets. the administration says they support the instant check. they appropriated about $200 million, only spent about $3 million to get it under way. in our administration, in my administration, we will expedite this. keeps up with technology, it keeps guns out of the hands of people who should not have guns.
that is the bottom line. and i believe it is a good idea, has strong bipartisan support. and perhaps that's another thing we can depoliticize. you talk about the brady bill. there's only been one prosecution under the assault weapon ban and only seven under the brady bill that you talk about all the time. on the assault weapon bans, out of 17 weapons that were banned, only six banned now because 11 have been modified and are back on the street. let's get together on this instant check because that will really make a difference. >> let me say first of all, senator dole has gone back and forth about whether he'd be for repealing the brady bill or repealing the assault weapons ban. i think his present position is that he would not do so. if that's true, i'm grateful for it. but let's look at the facts here. the brady bill has kept at least 60,000 felons, fugitives and stalkers from getting handguns. senator dole led the fight against the brady bill. he tried to keep it from coming
to my desk. he didn't succeed and i signed it and i'm glad i did. then when we had the assault weapons ban in the senate, senator dole fought it bitterly and opposed the entire crime bill and almost brought the entire crime bill down because the national rifle association didn't want the assault weapons ban. just like they didn't want the brady bill. but two years later nobody's lost their handguns -- i mean their rifles. we've expanded the brady bill to cover people who beat up their spouses and their kids. and this is a safer country. so i'm glad i took on that fight and i believe with all respect i was right and he was wrong. >> the president doesn't have it quite right. it seemed to me at the time that the assault weapon ban was not effective, that's history. i told the nra that's history. i'm not going to worry about it anymore. let's do something better. let's stop playing the political game, mr. president, talking about in and this. you add up all the states that
have used the instant check and how many weapons they've kept out of the hands of criminals would far surpass the number you mentioned. in my view if you want to be protected you ought to vote for bob dole and we'll get the instant check passed and we'll keep guns out of the hands of criminals. >> mr. president, senator dole said the other day that you practiced a photo-op foreign policy that has lessened the credibility of the united states throughout the world. is he wrong about that? >> if that's what he said, he's not right about that. look at where we are today. the united states is still the indispensable nation in the aftermath of cold war and on the brink of the 21st century. i have worked to support our country as the world's strongest force for peace and freedom, prosperity and security. we have done the following things. number one, we've managed the aftermath of the cold war, supporting a big drop in nuclear weapons in russia. the removal of russian troops from the baltics.
the integration of central and eastern european democracies into the new partnership with nato, and i might add, with the democratic russia. there are no nuclear missiles pointed at the children of the united states tonight, and have not been in our administration for the first time since the dawn of the nuclear age. we have worked hard for peace and freedom. when i took office, haiti was governed by a dictator that had defied the united states. when i took office, the worst war in europe was waging in bosnia. now there is a democratically elected president in haiti. peace in bosnia. we've just had elections there. we made progress in northern ireland, in the middle east. we've also stood up to the new threats of terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. organized crime. and, we have worked hard to expand america's economic presence around the world with the biggest increase in trade with the largest number of new trade agreements in history. that's one of the reason america's number one in auto
production again. >> well, i have a different. again, i supported the president on bosnia. i think we were told troops would be out in a year. now i understand it has been extended until some time next year. but let's start with somalia where they dragged americans through the streets and 18 americans were killed one day because they didn't have -- they were pinned down for eight hours, rangers, they didn't have the weapons, they didn't have the tanks. they asked for tanks but they didn't get the tanks from this sfrags because we were nation building. it is called mission creep. we turned it over at the united nations. president didn't have much to do about it. haiti we spent about $3 billion. we got an alarm call there two weeks ago, you got to send down more people because the president found out there are death squads on his own property so we need more protection from america. bosnia, northern ireland, there's no cease-fire. in bosnia i still there's still lots of problems in bosnia. we agreed to train and arm the muslims so they could defend
themselves. the policy you had when you ran in 1992 you haven't done that. we're behind which means americans can't come home. >> first of all, i take full responsibility for what happened at somalia. but the american people must remember that those soldiers were under an american commander when that happened. i believe they did the best they could under the circumstances, and let's not forget that hundreds of thousands of lives were saved there. secondly, in haiti political violence is much, much smaller than it was. thirdly, in bosnia, it is a virtual miracle that there has been no return to war and at least there has now been an election and the institutions are beginning to function. in northern ireland and the middle east, we are better off than we were four years ago.
there will always be problems in this old world, but if we're moving in the right direction and america is leading, we're better off. >> senator dole, if elected president, what criteria would you use to decide when to send u.s. troops into harm's way? >> well, after world war i, we had a policy of disengagement. world war ii we had sort of a compulsory engagement policy. now i think we have to have a selective engagement policy. we have it to determine when our interests are involved, not the united nations' interests. many of the things the president talked about he'd turn over to the united nations. they decided. he's deployed more troops than any president in history around the world. it's cost us billions and billions of dollars for peacekeeping operations. these are facts. it seems to me that when you make a decision, the decision is made by the president of the united states, by the commander in chief. he makes that decision when he commits young men or young women who are going to go out and defend our liberty and our freedom.
that would be my position. then i'm going to have a top-down review at the pentagon. not a bottom-up review where we all fight over how much money is there. i want a top-down review to determine where our priorities are and what we should do in defense, and then follow that policy instead of this bottom-up review with all of the services fighting for the money. you know, the president said he was going to cut defense $60 billion. he cut defense $112 billion, devastated states like california and others. i think now we've got a problem. we've got to go back and look. it is just like you said in texas one day, you raise taxes too much, and you did, and you cut defense too much, mr. president, and you did. you may have said that, too. but the bottom line is, we are the strongest nation in the world. we provide the leadership, and we're going to have to continue to provide the leadership. but let's do it on our terms when our interests are involved. and not when somebody blows the whistle at the united nations. >> our military is the strongest military in the world.
it is the strongest, best prepared, best equipped it has ever been. there is very little difference in the budget that i proposed and the republican budget over the next six-year period. we are spending a lot of money to modernize our weapons system. i have proposed a lot of new investments to improve the quality of life for our soldiers. for our men and women in uniform, for their families, for their training. that is my solemn obligation. you ask when do you decide to deploy them?