New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 29, 1987, New Braunfels, Texas
Herald-Ze/fung New Braunfels Texas
Thursday. October 29. 1987The GOP Debate What they said...
It started off slow, even boring, but the Republican presidential candidates managed to criticize one another with the seeming intent of establishing a clear front runner...but did they?
HOUSTON (AP) — Republican presidential contenders emerged from their first debate with their differences highlighted by sharp exchanges questioning George Bush’s leadership qualities and denouncing Pete du Pont’s "nutty idea” of a private alternative to Social Security.
While each of the candidates and their supporters were quick to claim victory after Wednesday night’s forum, backers of Vice President George Bush were clearly pleased that he gave as good as he got in exchanges with his rivals.
"Someone needed to beat George Bush and no one did,” said I>ee Atwater, the vice president’s campaign manager.
During a brief appearance before cheering supporters at a nearby hotel. Bush said the debate "gave me a chance to make a few points that I wanted to make about leadership.”
For two hours, Bush, Senate GOP leader Bob Dole of Kansas, Rep. Jack Kemp of New York, former Gov Pete du Pont of Delaware, former Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. and evangelist Pat Robertson laid out their views under questioning from conservative columnist William F. Buckley Jr. and former Democratic Party chairman Robert Strauss.
"This is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to face off with the vice president and the other candidates," said Kemp after the forum. “I think we all gamed on the vice president.”
The first hour was gentlemanlv to the point of being dull.
Then du Pont took out after Bush.
"The question is in a Bush presidency where would he lead America," said du Pont, who was sitting on Bush's right on the stage. “So far we haven’t seen any vision, any principles, any policy. We really haven't had it spelled out very successfully.”
Many in the audience booed at this point.
Du Pont called the pending U.S.-Soviet treaty to eliminate medium range nuclear missiles "a great example of that. We're waiting for details and we’re hearing generalities.”
Bush has urged his GGP rivals to support the treaty which is in the final stages of negotiations.
Du Pont, Kemp. Haig and Robertson all have expressed varying degrees of opposition to the agreement
Bush turned to du Pont and said, "Pierre — the former governor’s full name is Pierre S. du Pont IV — let me help you on some of this. First, I think it’s a nutty idea to fool around with the Social Security system and run the risk of the people who’ve been saving all their lives, we made this Social Security trust fund solvent and it’s solvent. So that may be a new idea but it’s a dumb one.
On the question of the INF treaty, I told you all these European leaders are for it, il’m for it, the president is for it, the joint chiefs are for it and I don’t see why you can’t say, hey, it’s a good idea to get rid of 1,600 warheads from the Soviet Union for 400 of ours.”
Haig was sitting on the other side of Bush and when his turn came he said he had talked to European leaders who were privately opposed to the agreement.
"You supported it in the spring of 1982,” said Bush.
“I fought it like the bloody death,” retorted Haig, who was then secretary of state, "and we never heard a wimp out of you.”
"This debate is beginning to liven up a little," quipped Dole.
Irater in the debate, Kemp also criticized du Font s position on Social Security.
"Frankly, Pete, we don’t know exactly which libertarian or market-oriented solution you’re going to come up with next,” said the New York congressman
After the debate, du Font said, "I made distinctions between Pete du Pont and George Bush and Pete du Pout and Jack Kemp. I thought all of the distinctions were good ones. They were on the merits, they were on the INF treaty and Social Security and education."
Robertson emphasized his campaign theme that there is "a serious moral crisis in America.”
Dole said the Republicans "have a problem with sensitivity. We’re perceived as not caring about people.”
Dole left the hall immediately after the debate but Secretary of I-abor William Brock, who is leaving the Cabinet Nov. I to run the Kansas senator's presidential campaign, was quick to declare his candidate the w inner
"What he accomplished was to let people see what s inside the man,” said Brock. "He sat there in the most intense pressure cooker you can possibly endure and maintained his sense of humor ”
A former national party chairman. Brin k said said confrontation between Bush and du Font was "the moment of nervousness. That's where something could begin to deteriorate I think the fact Bob Dole came in fairly quickly with a sense of humor saved the moment
HOUSTON (AP) — Here are some quotes of note from the Republican presidential candidates’ debate:
"You need somebody in that hot seat with a cool hand on the stick. I’ve been co-pilot for seven years and I know how to land the plane in a storm.”
"It’s fine when you’re outside, carping, criticizing your president. It’s very different when you’re in there having to make the tough call.”
"As president I will not raise taxes.”
"I want to be the education president. That’s what I want to be remembered for on the domestic side.”
"Our party has a problem with sensitivity. We’re perceived as not caring about people ... We’re going to correct that. We’re going to do a lot of other things in a Dole ad-rrunistration.”
"We’ve got a problem i with the deficit! ... We’re not going to grow out of this problem ... by cutting taxes.”
"This debate’s starting to liven up a little bit. I thought it was going to die on the vine.”
PETE DU PONT
"Social Security works toda>. it s right, it s just, but ifs not going to work tomorrow when that huge generation retires.”
"My friend George Bush says we ought to be for that INF < intermediate nuclear force! treat) even before it s written Read before you sign. George.”
"The question is. in a Bush presidency, where would he lead America So far we haven't seen any vision, arn principal, any policy We really haven't had it spelled out very successfully ”
"I question whether nuclear deterrence is truly immoral We’ve had 50 vears of peace based
HOUSTON (API - The six Republican presidential candidates got their first signal today of voter reaction to their contentious debate from a survey that said Vice President George Bush was the
winner of the confrontation.
The two-hour debate was marked by sharp exchanges questioning Bush's leadership and denouncing
former Delaware Gov. Pete du
Pont’s “nutty idea” of a private alternative to Social Security.
Immediately after the debate, SRI Research Center Inc., of lincoln, Neb., called 400 Republican voters in New Hampshire, Iowa and ll
Southern states to ask for their reaction.
When asked. * All in all. w ho do you think won this evening’s debate that is. who do you think did the best job?” 84 percent named Bush Former TV evangelist Fat Robertson was named by 15 percent; Senate GOF leader Bob Dole and Hep Jack Kemp by 14 percent each; du Font and former Secretary of State .Alexander M Haig Jr by 6 percent each
Gale D. Muller of SRI Research told a news conference the interv iew s were conducted with people in Iowa. New Hampshire, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia. Kentucky, louisiana. Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia The portion of the sample from each state was comparable to that state's delegation to the GGP nominating convention.
On the question of which candidate had done the most to improve his position or had done better than expected, Robertson was named by 31 percent, followed by Kemp with 18 percent.
On which did worse than expected, the highest number, 35 percent, named du Pont Muller said his firm interviewed 800 GOP voters before the debate and asked if they intended to watch the forum and then called 400 back to get their reaction The survey had a margin of error of 5 percent.
In both interviews the voters were asked their preference for the nomination. Bush's standing changed very little He was preferred by 42 percent before the debate and 43 percent after it.
Dole’s support dropped from 23 percent before to 18 percent after, while Robertson went from 12 percent before to 16 percent after Kemp’s standing went from 5 percent to 7 percent; du Pont’s from 2 percent to 5 percent, Haig’s from 2 percent to 4 percent. The percentage of undecided voters dropped from 15 percent to 8 percent.
The candidates and their supporters were quick to claim victory after Wednesday night s forum, but backers of the vice president were clearly pleased that he gave as good as he got in exchanges with his rivals.
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basically on nuclear deterrence.” “It’s important for us to recognize mistakes have been made. ... We have some serious questions to answer today to the American people: the question of our deficit, the question of our relationships with the Soviet Union ...”
"This is first and foremost a crisis of confidence (on Wall Street). The centerpiece of that crisis is this nundless deficit.” Eisenhower "never brutalized his secretary of state.”
"Frankly Pete, we don’t know exactly which libertarian or market-oriented solution you’re going to come up with next.”
"I think the president ought to veto any tax bill coming out of this Congress.”
"I think George Bush is as fine a
vice president as we have had in this century, and I would love to have him as vice president with me.”
“I think we have a serious moral crisis in America.”
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