|The American Presidency Project|
|• Presidential Candidates Debates|
|Republican Presidential Candidates Debate in Des Monies, Iowa|
|December 13, 1999|
Governor George W. Bush (TX);
Senator Orrin Hatch (UT);
Former Ambassador Alan Keyes;
Senator John McCain (AZ)
BROKAW: Good evening from Des Moines. In just six weeks in the balmy closing days of January, out here in the nation's heartland, the good people of Iowa, hundreds of thousands of them, will gather in caucuses across this state — Democrats and Republicans alike. They will gather in city halls and in churches and in school buildings, also in kitchens. They'll discuss politics and they will decide who they'd like to have be their next president of the United States.
And tonight, on this stage for the first time in Iowa in this electoral season, we have all six of the Republican presidential candidates for what we know will be a spirited 90 minutes. John.
BACHMAN: Well the Iowa Caucuses are a unique part of the American political process, and in more than 21 precincts — 2,100 precincts across our state, neighbors will gather to conduct party business. And as Tom said, to express their presidential preference. And because these are the first in the nation caucuses, their influence extends well beyond the Iowa borders, Tom.
BROKAW: And we're going to try to do something a little different tonight to engage all of you in this process, and with the cooperation of the candidates as well, will not have any bells or buzzers to signal the end of their time. We have asked them to confine their questions — their answers to one minute, and any follow-up response to about 30 seconds. Now, there are no trapdoors beneath their seats so if they go over that we're going to have find a way to cut them off and move on. And we're going to move through this tonight by not going just in auto-rotation. We will have questions for the various candidates. Everyone will get a fair shake this evening, but we're not going to go in rote step.
BACHMAN: We have some questions from viewers and we will work them in throughout the course of the evening. The candidates will be able to ask one question of another candidate and each candidate will have 60 seconds for a closing statement. And in the audience tonight are guests of the Iowa Republican Party, and also guests of WHO-TV.
BROKAW: John, let's begin by introducing the people that we've all come here to hear tonight. Beginning at my left, Steve Forbes, a well-known publisher who is running for a second time here in Iowa; Alan Keyes, former assistant secretary of state and ambassador; George W. Bush, the governor of the state of Texas.
BACHMAN: Next to him, the senior U.S. senator from Utah, Orrin Hatch. Also with us, the senior U.S. senator from Arizona, John McCain; and former Reagan administration official, Gary Bauer. Tom.
BROKAW: Gentlemen let's begin. Today Time magazine, the newspapers and television and radio were filled with the blood-chilling accounts of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and the videotapes that they left behind before they engaged in that cold-blooded massacre at Columbine High School. In those videotapes, they invoke guns and video games and movies. Now if past patterns are any guide, all three of those industries will disclaim any responsibility for what happened at Littleton High School.
Senator McCain, first of all, welcome to Iowa.
MCCAIN: Nice to be back. [Laughter]
BROKAW: Do you think that the gun industry, the video game industry and Hollywood have any role in what happened at Columbine High?
MCCAIN: Absolutely. And there's one other group of Americans and that is families — families and communities and neighborhoods — because that's where the responsibility begins and ends.
But I've been saying for a long time, Tom, that it's not just the availability of guns, although obviously it existing laws have to be enforced and we have to do other things such as pursue technology that only allows the owner of a gun to fire it.
But we've all known that there's very pernicious influences that are being felt by our children. In this tapes you were describing they talk about a specific video game and a specific character in that game. That should chill us all. We parents should know what arechildren are seeing. When Cindy and I come home, our kids are in their rooms on the Internet. I can't tell you I always know why my children are watching. I can't tell you exactly what they're seeing when they go to the mall. It's my responsibility.
But I believe that when we're wiring every school and library in America to the Internet, that each of those schools and libraries should have filtering software to filter out that stuff. About a year ago there was a young boy in the Phoenix library that was watching pornography at the Phoenix library on the Internet. He walked out and molested a 4-year-old boy.
There is an influence. We need to know what it is, and we need to know why we're robbing our children of the most precious treasure and that's their innocence.
BROKAW: Governor Bush, when your father became president, he promised the nation that he would try to have a kinder, gentler nation, and despite his best efforts, things are a lot worse off now than they were when he took office. Is there anything specifically that a president of the United States can do to interrupt what seems to be an evolving cultural violence and rage in America?
BUSH: You know, one of the interesting parts of the question is that there's so much focus on the Dow Jones industrial average today, and that's fine. I mean, if you listen to folks in Washington they think everything is great.
There is a problem with heart in America. One of the great frustrations is being a governor is I wish I knew of the law that'd make people love another, because I'd sign it.
But I do know that we can institute programs of faith and goodwill, that our society ought to welcome the mentoring programs and after-school programs — people whose whole mission is in life to change hearts, to love a neighbor in need, people who hear the universal call that I'm going to love a neighbor just like I want to be loved myself.
And so while there's a lot of focus on the economy, and that's fine, the next president of the United States must tap into the great strength of America, which are the hearts and souls of decent Americans. You see, that's where the greatness of America lies, it doesn't lie in the halls of government.
BROKAW: Ambassador, specifically, however, besides engaging in that kind of discussion and invoking those kinds of mottos, what do you think a president can do these days that would make a real difference in interrupting this culture of violence that is so prevalent in so many communities?
KEYES: I think the first thing we have to do is restore this country's allegiance to its basic moral principles. We express great shock and outrage that we are bloodying the hallways of our schools with the blood of our children. What about the blood of our children killed in the womb on the basis of a doctrine that completely rejects the basic principles on which this nation was founded?
If our rights come from God, then we ought to shape our children's consciences in the fear of God. And I think that what we're seeing in our schools is the direct result of our failure to respect that heritage and to pass it on.
So the first thing I would want to do is, is get us back to that road, with a human life amendment that respects life and restores our respect for the will of God. Then let's turn those schools back over to responsible parents so that we can put faith and prayer back in the classroom. And the shaping of the conscience and the fear of God will then become once again the everyday business of our schools. I think we can clear up the void only by filling that void once again with the faith this country was founded on.
BROKAW: Senator Hatch, do you think that there's a direct connection between Roe vs. Wade and the violence that we see in schools these days?
HATCH: Sure do. There's an insensitivity to the — to the — to life in our society today. When you have 40 million babies that have been aborted since Roe vs. Wade, there comes an insensitivity that affects all of us. But I'll tell you what I'd do. I think the first thing the president of the United States ought to do in order to try and change things is not expect from the American people something that he, himself is not willing to do. I think the president of the United States ought to set a moral tone in this country, and ought to do what's right. He ought to be a person of integrity and decency. When he goes to the movie industry — a person like this. And that's what I'd try to bring.
And I go to the movie industry, and I go the video tape industry, and I go the music industry, I'll have a moral power to talk to those people and say, "Look, let's get together. There's too much obscenity, pornography, violence, and crime in our society today, and it's about time you people started living up to your responsibilities as well.
These young kids that have committed these murders — let me tell you something, one in particular mentioned that it was the videotape "Doom" — video game "Doom" that he was playing — the kid in West Paducah, Kentucky. He had never shot a gun before, to my knowledge. He went in there and knew exactly what to do, because he'd been playing these video games. They learn how to rape. They learn to murder. They learn how to treat other human beings wrongfully. And I'll tell you, I'd set an example. I think that's the first thing that the President can do and should do. And I think the American people will follow suit.
BACHMAN: Thank you, Mr. Hatch.
Mr. Bauer, you have talked about reshaping the morals of this nation. When Iowans think about morality, they turn to their churches and their synagogues for guidance. And here in Iowa, the main-line churches have talked about tighter gun control restrictions than you — than really any of the six here. The top three churches in Iowa — the denominations — Roman Catholic, ELCA, and Methodist all have statements on this. And the United Methodists calling for a ban on the possession, and manufacture, and sale ofhandguns. Are you asking to reshape the morals of the churches?
BAUER: Well, I think the churches should leave to politicians, discussions about the regulation of various industries.
The churches ought to be talking about the human heart, about the soul of America. And I think part of the problem is that some so-called, as you put it, main-line churches are passing resolutions about gun control instead of asking the questions about what's happened in American society since that time so many years ago when the founding fathers said we were a shining city on a hill, that our liberty came from God.
You had the reference to Time magazine. Eric and Dylan were coming to school every day, and they were giving each other the Nazi salute in the hallway. The teachers thought that was part of their free speech to do that. But if a teacher at Columbine had come up to those kids and said, you know what Eric, I know you're going through some problems, but God loves you. He has a place in the world for you, that teacher would have been in trouble.
A president — let me just say one thing — a president can do something about this. He can put judges on the court that understand that our liberty comes from God, that he's the author of it. And that only a virtuous people can remain free. And that ultimately will be a lot more important than passing another gun law.
BACHMAN: Are you saying to the churches, though, that gun control is not a moral issue?
BAUER: No, I think gun control — who in America wants Eric and Dylan to have a gun? They violated 17 gun laws that day. The deeper question is why did two American boys do to fellow human beings what it would be impossible to imagine an American child doing to cats or dogs. What did we do in America to so undermine the sanctity of life that we could raise a couple of kids with empty hearts? And I think that part of it is that we undermine the sanctity of life by telling our children that they've got a Constitutional right to take innocent human life if it's in their way.
BACHMAN: Governor Bush, you are in favor of some gun controls. Do you hear the concerns of the churches on relating gun control to...
BUSH: I'm in favor of keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them, like felons and juveniles. But I'm for enforcing the laws on the books. I think the churchmen here in Iowa ought to hear that if we enforce the laws on the books, if we send a clear signal to people that we're going to hold you accountable for breaking the law, that they'll realize society'll be safer.
In my state of Texas, we've done just that. We've — we've armed DA's with extra money to prosecute people who break the law. There's a lot of laws on the books around the states and in the federal government. And we need to send a signal to people.
Don't be illegally selling guns and don't be illegally using guns. I think the best accountability for somebody who breaks the law with a gun is called jail — certain jail.
But I also know we need to have laws that keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them. I mean, that's why I'm for instant background checks. I think that's a system that when properly employed will work, and work well. And that's the kind of law and that's the kind of president I'm going to be if I win the vote.
BACHMAN: Mr. Forbes, I want to give you the opportunity to speak on both of these questions — go all the way back to Tom and your response.
FORBES: Well, obviously it does begin with us as parents, as neighbors, as citizens — teaching our young people a strong sense of right and wrong. It also means giving parents choice to choose schools that they think are best for their children, so they don't have to worry that what they're trying to teach at home is being undermined in school in terms of morals and values. And so that is a critical part of it, too.
And enforcement sends a very strong message. The Clinton-Gore administration's been full of pious palaver about the need, about doing more about guns. But look what they've done. Prosecutions for crimes committed with firearms — federal crimes — way down. What message does that send? Felons who try to get guns — they won't let them buy the gun, but they don't prosecute them for trying to get the gun. So prosecutions are way down. You bring a gun to a school, John, and there is only one chance in a thousand you're going to be prosecuted. What message does that send?
So it also, as Gary and others have indicated, and very forcefully said, it also gets back to life. And not just life in the womb, not just life as adolescents, but also life in the older years for the elderly and the infirm. And as a father of five daughters, my wife Sabina and I have been worried sick over the years of what the culture is doing and undermining what we're trying to teach at home. So it all combines together.
BACHMAN: But you're saying to the mainline churches here in Iowa that they're wrong in this.
FORBES: I'm saying to the mainline churches: You have a critical task in making sure — not making sure, but trying to inculcate with us a strong sense of right and wrong, that life is indeed a God-endowed right. If you believe that life is a state-created right or state-endowed right, then what you're saying is those who have the power determine who lives and who doesn't.
And we've seen in this century the bloody consequences of not realizing there's a higher authority, that there is God, and that life emanates from God and God only.
BROKAW: Senator McCain, let's move on to health care if we can. Medicare. Do you think it's broken?
BROKAW: And what would you do about it?
MCCAIN: Well, there's so many facets of the Medicare problem, including the demographics of an aging baby-boomer generation. We've got to have a place to start, and I think a great place to start would have been the commission that John Breaux and Senate Congressman Thomas headed that had the best minds of America in — together. And they had a good blueprint for a way that we could begin to address this multifaceted issue. It would take — we could have this town hall meeting just about those.
Let me talk to you about one issue that's come up in town hall meeting after town hall meeting that I've had, and that's prescription drugs for senior citizens. We're asking senior citizens now to make a choice between their health and their income. They make too much money to be on Medicare, and not enough to obviously pay for these drugs. We've got to devise a program that when a senior spends a certain part of their income on these prescription drugs that we'll have a state and federal match for it. We can't do that to our senior citizens.
Another serious issue is 11 million children that are without health insurance, that we've got to expand the children's health insurance program. There's a variety of areas that we have to work on, Tom, because Medicare is probably the most difficult challenge that we face in the next century because it has a lot to do with other things besides money. And I'll tell you what — I have the guts to take the money where it shouldn't be spent in Washington and put it where it should be spent, including10 percent of the surplus.
BROKAW: Senator Hatch, why not have means testing for Medicare? Why should someone who earns my kind of income, for example, pay and get the same kind of coverage as a school teacher or someone who works on a farm here in Iowa? Take an investment banker and put him up against a cop. Why can't people who earn more money help make it possible for older Americans who have real need to get prescription drugs under their coverage?
HATCH: Well first of all, I don't think you're going to ask for Medicare with the amount of money you make. [Laughter] In fact, I think you could take care of all of us right up here on the dais with what you make, and maybe everybody in the audience as well. You never know.
Let me just say this. There are 40 million people on Medicare. By 2035, there will be 80 million people on Medicare. Medicare's in trouble. This president had a chance to change it. He had a chance to solve it. We would have passed the Breaux-Thomas recommendations. They wouldn't have solved it all. It's got to be much more well thought out than that. And every possible consideration has to be placed on the table.
What I would do as president, I would get together the very best people in the industry — the actuaries, the accountants, the doctors, the lawyers, the experts that really understand the system — get all the facts together. And then I would lead the political types to try and come up with some solution that'll help us to resolve these problems.
But it's clear that we cannot continue to go with the current system, because by 2011 when all the baby boomers start coming into existence — I've got to tell you, by that time Medicare's going to start to go bankrupt. It's gone from $3 billion in 1965 to $232 billion in 1998. It will be $450 billion by 2008. We have to deal with it. And the next president of the United States has to have common sense conservatism guts to get it done. And you're looking at the guy that's worked in this area all the way through, and I'll get it done for you.
BROKAW: Mr. Keyes, let me ask you a question about what Governor Bush did down in Texas. They've got a lot of kids down there who don't get health insurance. So Democrats in the legislature said, look, there's a lot of federal money that's available. We can get it up to twice the poverty level and we can put them under a program called CHIPs. He didn't want to go quite as far as the Democrats did in Texas, but eventually they did get the CHIPs program done. The governor wanted to have more private agencies and churches and other people fill in. Do you think that that's a wise approach that we should have? More of a combination of government and the compassion agencies, if you will, churches and philanthropic organizations?
KEYES: Well, I think that the first thing we need to do is remember that the best way to regulate these matters and the best way to achieve results is not just to concentrate on how you pay for everything, but to concentrate on how you keep the costs down.
I think one of the major problems that we have with this entire system, were we've shifted the burden of decision making, trying to police the relationship between price and value in the medical industry, trying to do that with bureaucracies, whether it's private bureaucracies in the insurance companies or government bureaucracies. It's not going to work.
We need an approach that will put the consumer of medical services in the driver's seat. And that will not just help to pay for things. If the costs keep skyrocketing, what good is it to keep throwing money after those higher costs? We need a system that will bring those costs down.
And the system that brings the cost down in every other area of our lives is a consumer policed system of competition, where people have the right to make their own choices. And given that right, can then carry the dollars that they're going to use in a way that achieves the best results for them. That's what we need. And that means that wherever we're going to spend this money, we ought to voucherize it and let people make their own choices as to their medical care so they can decide where the most effective service and the best prices are.
BACHMAN: We need to turn to foreign policy. I'm going to let you do that in just a second. But I want to get one last question in here on domestic policy, Tom. I want to ask Senator McCain.
You have said that one — one best way to pay for family tax relief is the cut in pork barrel spending that you've advocated. And yet, when you look at the pork list here in Iowa, you have said that there should be some $2 million cut in the fight against methamphetamines. And that is a huge priority here in Iowa. That doesn't seem like pork barrel to us.
MCCAIN: It may not to you. But the fact is that many of these programs may have great virtue, but we'll never know, because they're never placed in competition with any other program. There may be a program in Arizona that should have been considered. Instead, some powerful member of Congress or powerful special interest, thanks to huge $100,000 checks or multi-$100,000 checks got snuck in in the middle of the night in a conference without any of us knowing a program.
I don't think you quite get it. The fact is, it's not the virtue of the program, it's the way that it's inserted. Every program in America should have the same right to compete with this program here in Iowa for those tax dollars, because those tax dollars come from the citizens of my state, as well as Iowa.
And on that subject, I'm here to tell you that I'm going to tell you the things that you don't want to hear, as well as the things you want to hear. And one of those is ethanol. Ethanol is not worth it. It does not help the consumer. Those ethanol subsidies should be phased out. And everybody here on this stage, if it wasn't for the fact that Iowa is the first caucus state, would share my view that we don't need ethanol subsidies. It doesn't help anybody.
HATCH: That's not true.
BACHMAN: Senator Hatch?
[Laughter, Applause, Boo's]
HATCH: Listen, Chuck Grassley came to me early. And I was in the Senate before he came. But he was in the Congress before I came to the Senate. He was one of the few people I went to, when I ran for the Senate, to see what I should do. And Chuck Grassley convinced me that here is a renewable resource that helps farmers, that literally might help us when we have another energy crisis, like we did in the late-'70s. I went through that. I saw it. And I can tell you it's crazy for us to not do everything we can to develop renewable resources that help farmers, and that help everybody. Now it's too expensive right now... [Applause]
BACHMAN: Mr. Bauer? Very quickly, very quickly.
\BAUER: Look John, this is Iowa. We're leaving domestic policy. And you guys haven't given us a question on probably the biggest crisis facing this state. You've touched on it with ethanol. The family farm in this state is being destroyed. It's being destroyed across the Midwest.
BACHMAN: We will get to that.
BAUER: OK, good enough. I don't want to leave this stage, until we've had a chance to talk about that.
BACHMAN: I guarantee you, we will get to that. [Applause]
BAUER: OK, there are broken hearts in this state, and we need to address that tonight.
BACHMAN: Thank you. Tom?
BROKAW: Well, I — we shouldn't leave that now. Let's just stay with this. I mean, I want to ask Mr. Forbes, a publisher and a man who pays a lot of attention to markets and what happens. Ethanol's been around for a long time. It's primarily of interest to people in Iowa and a few other states in the corn belt, but primarily of interest to here. Do you think that it's had a fair test in the marketplace? And does there come a time when you say, we've invested a lot of money in that; it hasn't made it?
FORBES: I think the answer is of course. And that's why I've supported having a few years of a fair test, and in the year 2007, when this current program expires, if it can't stand on its own two feet, then it ought to go.
In this day and age when you think of high technology, and you can get literally write whole worlds on grains of sand — the whole information revolution, silicon — I don't see why with research, getting rid of the capital gains tax so you have risk-taking, that we can't find imaginative ways to use foreign products.
So I think what we have here is bankruptcy, in a sense, of finding new uses for agricultural products. And I think with a little investment and imagination, we will find fantastic productive uses that will pay very rich dividends. And Gary is absolutely right in terms you mentioned markets. What is happening to farmers today in markets, with their low commodity prices, is not a result of just supply and demand. It's also huge mistakes from Washington, D.C. — everything from high interest rates, the same thing they did in the mid-80s, they're doing today — depressing farm prices; to opening up foreign markets; to not hurting our existing customers through the crazy economic policies of the International Monetary Fund, which has already cost us over $30 billion of exports. It all ties together.
So yes, we'll let ethanol have its run to 2007. If it doesn't work, cut it out. But I think there are a lot of uses for agricultural products and we should do the research to find what they are.
BROKAW: Governor Bush, as so much of the American economy is moving to the economy of scale these days — we used to mom-and-pop shoe stores and men's clothing stores on main streets and little drug stores, now we've got Costco and Wal-Mart and all the other big stores — why should the family farm — and before anyone believes that I'm picking on them, my family grew up in that tradition — why should the family farm be any more protected than the corner drug store, or the mom-and-pop shoe store, or the little grocery store that we used to find on Main Street?
BUSH: Yes, I think if you asked the family farmer here in Iowa they don't feel protected. People are hurting in this state. Family farmers all across this state are wondering: How come we don't open more markets for my corn and my hogs? And that's exactly what I'm going to do as president; I'm going to open up markets.
I support ethanol, and I support ethanol strongly, John. And I'd have supported ethanol whether I was here in Iowa or not. And the reason I do... [Applause]
BROKAW: Just a reminder to the audience, you only take away from the time that the candidates have when you do that. I know that it's so tempting.
BUSH: I was — I was just warming up.
BROKAW: Right. [Laughter]
BUSH: I support ethanol because it's good for our air. It's good for the air, it's good for the quality of the air. It also reduces our dependency upon foreign oil. And if I become the president I'm going to spend money on research and development to find additional uses for agricultural products. This is a fantastic renewable resource. It's not only here in Iowa, it's all across the Midwest. In the state of Texas. Forbes is right, Steve's right on that. We ought to spend money.
BUSH: We ought to spend...
BUSH: We ought to — no, we ought to spend money on finding out how to — on better and more uses for agricultural products. Who knows, maybe someday we will be driving automobiles with — with 100 percent corn product. And guess what? We can grow it right here in Iowa.
BROKAW: Wouldn't we have more markets for Iowa farm products if we allowed China to come into the WTO and opened up a 1.5 billion people to the Iowa grain products and hogs?
KEYES: I want to address the question that you asked to Governor Bush there because I — I was reading The New York Times the other day, where they were declaring the family farm dead. And I think it was then repeated on one of the major news shows. And folks look at the family farming system like the only thing we get from family farms is the food.
It has actually been the case since the republic was founded, that the family farm, from Jefferson all the way forward, has been understood as one of the bedrock sources of the moral character of this nation, of the sense of the combination of individuality and commitment to community; the ability to shoulder hard work, at the same that you value the achievements of individuals in the context of their contribution to family and community.
That sense of individualism that also knows how to dedicate itself to the good of others, has been born and has been nurtured and has been sustained in America's family farming sector. We lose the family farm, and we lose the nursery of America's moral character. We can't afford that. And I think we therefore have a stake that goes beyond money. It goes beyond food. It is vital to the future of this country.
Where did we get the young men and women who were willing to sacrifice themselves in battle, rise to the extraordinary tests of war every time we asked them to, have the courage that used to be supposedly restricted only to aristocrats? We found them in the fields of America, behind the plow, nurtured in the family farms of this country.
We cannot let that die anymore than we can let America's heart and individuality and courage die, because it's not just a question of money. It's a question of America's moral decency.
BACHMAN: Mr. Bauer, I have to get you back to farming, as well. [Applause]. The Freedom to Farm Act 1996, removed restrictions on the production of major crops.
BACHMAN: And since then we have had a huge increase in the production of those crops. We have had a plummeting of prices. And we've had a falling off of exports. Now you have said that perhaps it should be reviewed, the Farm Act.
BAUER: Yes, absolutely. Look, the politicians in Washington pulled another fast one. They came to Iowa, they went to farmers all over this great country and they said: Look, here's the deal. We're going to put you more at risk in the international marketplace. We know that's going to be tougher for you. But in exchange for that, we're going to fight to open up markets around the world. And they did not keep their end of the bargain. We let our European allies keep our beef out with this excuse about growth hormones. We let them keep Iowa corn out because of genetic engineering. All that is excuses because European governments fight to protect their farmers. We need a government in Washington that will fight to protectAmerican farmers. I will do that as president of the United States. And by the way, Governor Bush, I will stop allowing China to play us for suckers. We've given them most favored nation status 10 years in a row. They dump their goods here. And Iowa farmers are selling less to China now than they did 10 years ago. The time of them playing us for suckers will end in my presidency.
BACHMAN: Governor Bush and then Senator Hatch, I need to ask you...
BUSH: I'm glad you brought it up. I'm glad you brought it up. You're not for China getting into the WTO.
BUSH: I'm not asking you a question, it's a rhetorical here.
BAUER: Oh, it's hard to tell with you sometimes, Governor.
BUSH: I am. I am. And let me tell you something — let me tell you something. The amount of corn that'll be moved if China gets in the WTO will rise from 250,000 — yes — metric tons to 7.2 million metric tons.
BUSH: Opening up Chinese markets is good for our farmers — yes, sir. It is good for our farmers.
BAUER: Governor, here's your fallacy. You believe the Chinese government will keep their agreements. They haven't kept their agreements for 20 years.
BUSH: That's why we let them in the WTO. That's part of agreement-keeping. That brings China into the ...
BAUER: That just gives them another agreement to break, governor.
BUSH: Yes, well.
BACHMAN: Let me take you quickly back to the Freedom to Farm Act, because I ...
BUSH: If you want to isolate the farmer ...
BACHMAN: ... I don't want to drop that because Senator Hatch, you voted for the Freedom to Farm Act.
HATCH: That's right. And it was the right thing to do. If farmers want to make better profits off of their farm commodities, the only way to get there is to get into the free market. But having said that, we have not done a good job in helping in the transition. This has been a tough time for farmers. In this country, we only spend nine percent for food in this country — the lowest in the world. And farmers are on the bottom of the totem pole as far as getting recompense for their work.
We had 22 million family farms in 1990. Today, we have five million. Some of that happens because of death taxes. The family farm has to be sold to pay the 55 percent death tax. That's ridiculous. I think everybody up here is against that, and I'll lead the fight to get rid of it. and then doing so, along with Chuck Grassley on the Finance Committee.
With regard to WTO, I was in China in the late '70s, and early '80s, the late '80s, the early '90s and the late '90s. The difference between the late '70s and the late '90s because of market and economics, and Hong Kong, is so stark. The best way to undermine that police state is to not isolate China and have them withdraw, but bring them into the WTO where they've got to live up to norms of conduct like the rest of the world. And that will help Iowa farmers. It'll help farmers all over this land.
One other thing — it's pathetic in this country ...
BROKAW: Senator ...
HATCH: ... I'll finish with this — it's pathetic in this country that state-inspected meat cannot be sold outside of the state, while we take foreign meat in here and sell it all over the country.
We're going to change that, and I'm in the process of doing that now.
BROKAW: I've been reading the Iowa Republican Party platform.
We're here in the state of Iowa.
BROKAW: And I have for each of you some questions that arise out of the very graphic language in that platform.
If I could begin with you, Mr. Forbes. It calls for the elimination of the minimum wage — the Iowa Republican Party platform. Do you think that's a good idea?
FORBES: On a national level, on a state level, if they have a state minimum wage, and I don't know if they do, if they want to get rid of it, fine. But they are under federal law, we have a minimum wage, and there's no way they can opt out of that.
But in terms of minimum wage, Tom, I think the best way to raise wages in this country is not through government decree. The Europeans have tried that and the result is massive unemployment among young people. The way to do it is remove barriers to people getting ahead, have investment incentives, get more growth than we have today, which we're capable of doing in productivity.
In my part of the world, Tom, you can't hire people for less than $6 or $6.50. That's the way to bring it up, not through fiat. The Europeans tried it, doesn't work.
BROKAW: Senator McCain, in the Iowa Republican Party platform they call for the prohibition of women in any combat role. No one on this stage or almost in America has more combat experience than you do. Do you think that's a good idea — prohibit women from combat?
MCCAIN: No, I don't. And it's already been proven in the Persian Gulf War that women performed extraordinarily, with heroism and skill and courage, including in a POW experience.
I want to go back to ethanol. It was a program...
It was a program — it was a program at the height of the energy crisis that was brought in, was supposed to be phased out, and obviously 2007 is quite a while — 35 years.
But the fact is, we know why farmers have been hurting so much, it's because the Asian markets went down and they were unable to export. And the fact is, now we will be able to export.
I agree with George Bush that China will absorb these exports. Every nation in the world should be open to our best products. The best and most productive farmer in the world is the farmer of Iowa. And the people in Beijing and Bangkok and Paris will be eating Iowa pork and they'll love every minute of it when I'm president of the United States.
BROKAW: If I could get back to the Iowa party platform. Mr. Bauer, it says that creationism is a science, and evolution is a theory, and they ought to be taught equitably in the schools. Do you agree with the entire premise of that statement in the Iowa Republican Party platform?
BAUER: Well, here's what I agree with, Tom, that the majority of the American people believe that God had a hand in the creation of life on earth.
BROKAW: Do you think one's a science, and one's a theory, though?
BAUER: I think that certainly evolution is a theory, and yet it's taught in our schools as if it cannot be questioned. If you ask the American people what they want about this, they want their children exposed to both of those ideas. That's what an education ought to be about — presenting to young people a variety of choices, and let them make the decision. And by the way, as I sense a follow-up, let me just say, if you want to read a wacko platform, you ought to try reading the Iowa Democratic Party platform.
BROKAW: I get the impression we have some Iowa Republicans in the hall, here.
Senator Hatch, continuing with the Iowa GOP platform. They call for the elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency. Do you think that's a good idea?
HATCH: No, I don't. I mean, I don't agree with environmental extremism, that would make us uncompetitive with the rest of the world. One of the first things I said I would do — I listed yesterday for everybody, seven things I'd do the first day I was in office. And one of them is, I would revoke the Kyoto Accords. The Kyoto Accords place environmental extreme requirements on the United States, but nobody else. And in the final analysis, there's no real reason — scientific or otherwise — why that should occur. It would cost the average family $30,000 more. It would cost our senior citizens — Iowa senior citizens, and you have of senior citizens in this state — it would cost them $1,500 to $3,000 more for fuel costs alone, every year. Can you imagine? And that's why we would revert — revoke that, because it's environmental extremism at its worst.
Now I think the — but having said that, all of us believe in clean air, clean water, in a better quality of life.
HATCH: And the Environmental Protection Agency, properly run by a Hatch administration, would do a job likes never been done before and I think everybody in Iowa will be darn glad about it.
BROKAW: Governor Bush, I have a kind of two-part question. I just want to clarify one thing. The platform also calls for the elimination and the phasing out of Medicare and Medicaid and privatize those programs entirely.
BROKAW: Bad idea?
BUSH: I think it is. I think Medicare is the responsibility of the federal government. It's a commitment we've got to keep. The problem with Medicare is it's run by 135,000, more or less, page document where all — where the government decides everything. They decide how the patient chooses things and how the doctors perform.
I think we need to give patients more choice and doctors more flexibility. I — and so I think it's a bad idea.
BROKAW: You told my colleague and friend, Tim Russert, on "Meet the Press," that you think that patients should have the right to sue their HMO.
BUSH: I do.
BROKAW: And then I looked at your Web site and it has a caveat, "federally approved HMOs." Did you mean for it to have that caveat? Or does everyone who belongs to an HMO have the right to sue?
BUSH: Well, what I — let me tell you what I told Mr. Russert. I talked about a piece of law that — that we enacted in Texas. And here's — here's the law. It says if you've got a complaint with your HMO, you the patient, you can take your complaint to what's called an independent review organization, an IRO. It's a group of objective-minded people that hear your claim, that hear your cause.
If they decide — if the objective folks decide that the HMO is wrong, and the HMO ignores the finding, that then becomes a cause of action. And I'm not exactly sure of the wording on the web site, but I am sure it's talking about making sure federal law does not preempt the good piece of legislation we have in the state of Texas.
You see, I believe — I believe in — I believe states should run most of their business. I believe — I believe strongly that the government closest to the people is that which governs best.
BROKAW: Though as I read the web site, and as others have read it, said "federally approved HMOs."
BUSH: Well because — that's because we covered state — non-federally approved HMO's in my state of Texas.
BROKAW: But you would make this the national standard? You would have — you would have a national review board and make that possible for everyone?
BUSH: Yes, I would.
BROKAW: Alan Keyes.
BACHMAN: If I could quickly — a related question on Medicare that a lot of our viewers asked about, and we want to try to get one of those questions in. We'll ask Mr. Keyes — Medicare payments to hospitals and insurers and doctors are so inequitable when you look at various states. That's what we received in many mails to us. Because here in Iowa, the payment per enrollee is under $3,500 and the national average is above $5,000. And this strains hospitals. Some hospitals are closing. Can it be made more equitable?
KEYES: I think one of the problems you're faced with there is that you're making determinations in bureaucracies that ought to, in fact, to be made in the marketplace. Costs are different in different parts of the country. They would be reflected in the marketplace if people have the opportunity to make the choices I think that they ought to have the opportunity to make, rather than having those limits imposed upon them by bureaucratic determination and fiat.
There are differences. You can't site a national average and then say we should have uniform payments everywhere. It would make no sense. But at the same time, bureaucracies may not come up with the best answer. I want to try one thing, because I have to draw a contrast here on the trade issue between myself and I guess everybody else who's sitting up here, because they're busy arguing about whether China should be in the World Trade Organization or out of the World Trade Organization. And I look at it an organization that is unrepresentative, elected by no one, where dictators and tyrants have the same right to send representatives to make substantive decisions that the representatives of this free people have — making decisions that will affect our jobs and our livelihood in a fashion totally contrary to our Constitution.
I don't think the question is whether China should belong to the World Trade Organization. I think the question is whether the United States should belong to an organization that violates every constitutional principle.
BACHMAN: Mr. Forbes — very briefly — you believe that we should be a part of the WTO.
FORBES: The what?
BACHMAN: The WTO.
FORBES: I believe we should, but I have no illusions about it. I have compared the WTO, John, to a Woolly Mammoth without the charm.
It is so big — it is so big that this next round of negotiations that they wanted to kick off in Seattle — the last one the Uruguay round, took 13 years. This one's going to take probably 25 or 30 years. I think we should take action on our own. And that's why I proposed, for example, doing a North Atlantic free trade agreement with Ireland and Britain, bringing on the Pacific side, Australia, New Zealand and other nations. Do it ourselves. We can't wait for the WTO. It's useless.
BROKAW: Mr. Forbes, thank you very much. Now we come to that portion of the program, tonight, in which by drawing, the candidates get to ask each other questions. And for the second time tonight, Gary Bauer gets to begin by asking Governor Bush a question.
BUSH: It's becoming a habit.
BAUER: Yes it is. Governor Bush, I believe strongly that the big civil rights challenge going into the next century, will be whether or not we can set another place at the table for America's unborn children. America's always been about welcoming other people to the table.
You've said you don't want to leave one child behind, but 1.5 million children a year are being left behind. My judges will be pro-life. I want Roe vs. Wade to be overturned.
I want to ask you a simple yes or no question. Will you commit tonight to having a pro-life running mate? I'm willing to say that Governor Christie Todd Whitman of New Jersey, the pro-abortion Republican governor, doesn't need to stick close to her phone. I won't be calling her to be my running mate. Are you willing to make a similar commitment for a pro-life running mate?
BUSH: I think it's incredibly presumptive for someone who has yet to earn his party's nomination to be picking vice presidents. I'll tell you what I will do. I'll name somebody — I'll name somebody who can be the president. That ought to be the main criteria for any one of us who has the opportunity to pick a vice president, Gary. It's going to be can that person serve as president of the United States?
I also am going to ask the question, will the person be loyal? There's nothing that can be worse than have a vice president be disloyal to the president. And of course I would expect that person to share my conservative views.
BAUER: Governor, I — we get a follow-up as I understand. Governor, I...
BUSH: You do?
BAUER: Well, that was my understanding.
BAUER: We don't?
BUSH: But you can if you want.
BAUER: He wants me to give him a follow-up. (LAUGHTER)
BACHMAN: No follow-up, no. In fact, Mr. Forbes, you now ask a question of Mr. Bauer.
So you will receive.
FORBES: Well, Gary...
BAUER: Yes, Steve?
FORBES: ... one of the great destructive forces in the world today, I think, is the International Monetary Fund and the disastrous prescriptions they give to countries, raising taxes, devaluing their money, wreaking havoc. Their prescriptions, with — along with our Treasury Department, have cost farmers $30 billion in agricultural exports. They've brought about a huge disaster in Mexico. Would you agree with me that the International Monetary Fund should go to the political equivalent of "Jurassic Park," and we have true free enterprise, free market economic prescriptions for these countries, instead of this unnecessary austerity and devastation?
BAUER: Steve, I think there's a whole group of these international organizations, like the WTO, that Alan referred to, the International Monetary Fund, a lot of the things, quite frankly, that the United Nations has been engaged in. I think we need to review all of those things.
We're sacrificing too much of America's sovereignty. We're being plagued by suckers, by international bureaucrats. And the good taxpayers of this state are having their hard earned money to not only subsidize the politicians in Washington, D.C., but a lot of bureaucrats in these international organizations that they can't touch through the election process. So, yes, I would review it, and I would reform it or get rid of it.
FORBES: I hope you get rid — I hope we make a pledge to get rid of it, because I think it's beyond repair, and the farmers would agree.
BAUER: Now, that was a follow-up.
BROKAW: No provisions, as I remember, for a colloquy. But we, you know, we like to have them.
Alan Keyes, you get to ask the next question. And as you — as you know, you get to ask the next question of Senator Hatch.
KEYES: Senator Hatch, I heard with some curiosity I think in the last debate that you were defending the decision of the judge in the Microsoft case.
KEYES: And I have to confess that decision worries me. Because I think it's a little bit of a departure to start defining the ownership of a product that has been produced by one's own ingenuity, as a monopoly. Of course you have a monopoly on products that you make yourself. And it has always been understood that part of making a profit is to take advantage of that monopoly to get the best deal you can, when you bring that product to the marketplace. Aren't we just punishing Microsoft, because, in fact, it is a successful product which the government now wants to step in and take over in the most socialist fashion imaginable?
HATCH: Not according to one of the best federal judges in the country, who wrote an exhaustive opinion, showing how Microsoft is not just a monopoly, but Microsoft has been using its monopoly power to stifle innovation, and creativity, and opportunity for others. At least this what this judge seems to be finding.
And I have to say that we had literally hundreds, if not thousands of people complaining to me, as chairman of the Judiciary Committee to look into this, because they felt that they were being snuffed out of business by Microsoft. One in particular, testified that Microsoft put a bug in their operating platform that they had to — that he had to be on in order to be successful. And he happens to be the most successful business in the streaming industry to begin with. The fact of the matter is, they've put a bug in it, so his program would be incompatible. That was testimony before our committee. That's the type of stuff that this judge is finding.
You can be a monopoly, and you can fight as hard as you can to increase your monopoly power. But you don't have the right to trample on the little guy. You don't have the right to use your monopoly power, owning the underlying operating platform, to insist that all the OEMs, the original equipment operators — manufacturers, have to take only your program, to the exclusion of everybody else's, which is also one of the allegations.
Now, to be honest with you, that's why the Endercrass laws are in existence.
BACHMAN: Governor Bush, you're directing a question to Senator McCain.
BUSH: You've been talking a lot about pork in Washington and I appreciate that. Here's my view: If you want to get rid of pork in Washington, stop feeding the hog. That's why I have proposed a $450 billion-plus tax plan — tax cut plan, which you called excessive.
One of the features in my plan, John, says to the single mom with two children making $40,000 a year, you get a 53 percent tax cut. For single moms with children who make less than $40,000 a year get — get bigger tax cuts. My question to you is, in reviewing of your plan, that single mom with children — two children, making $40,000 — get no tax cut. And I'm wondering why.
MCCAIN: Well, I think it's something — it's worthy of consideration, but I also believe that if you raise the 15 percent tax bracket to singles or couples who make $70,000 a year, that would go a long way in that direction. It's funny you mention about pork, because really what the American people need is their money back.
And they're not going to get it back until we get it out of the hands of the special interests — these huge six- and seven-figure donations; the $100,000 checks; the $200,000 checks that have basically taken the government away from the people and put it into the hands of the special interests. And it's made all these young people so cynical and even alienated.
I'll tell you what, in all due respect to my friends here, you and I can stop that tonight. We can commit as nominees of the party that we will have nothing to do with soft money with these huge $100,000 checks. We can stop it now. We commit to that, and we can get the special interest money out of American politics. We can give the government back to the people. I hope you'll make that commitment right here tonight in Iowa.
BUSH: I'll be glad to talk about it.
BROKAW: Want to talk about it any more right now? Or do you want to wait (inaudible).
BROKAW: We're doing all right. We've got time, governor.
BUSH: I'd love to talk about it. Here's my worry with your plan: It's going to hurt the Republican Party, John, and I'm worried for this reason.
BUSH: Let me finish — let me ...
MCCAIN: How did Ronald Reagan get elected in 1980?
BUSH: May I finish? Let me finish.
MCCAIN: There was no such thing as soft money back then.
BUSH: May I finish?
The Democrat Party is really the Democrat Party and the labor unions in America. And my worry is, is that you do nothing about what's called paycheck protection. We do nothing about saying to the labor, you can't take a laboring man's money and spend it the way you see fit.
There's a lot of laboring people who are Republicans and conservatives. And yet under the vision you've got or — I guess you've got — or people in Washington have, it's OK that they just take their money and spend it the way they want to spend it. I don't think it's fair. And I think that's unilateral disarmament.
I agree with you, we ought not to have corporate soft money and labor soft money. But there better be pay-check protection. Otherwise our Republican Party and our conservative values don't have a shot.
MCCAIN: I don't know how...
MCCAIN: I still don't know how we won in 1980 in the Senate and the presidency of the United States.
BROKAW: May I? May I...
BROKAW: May I — May I futilely try to get control here for just a moment. We're going to get to you. You get a question coming up in a few moments, then you can promise Al you get a chance to talk.
KEYES: One brief remark, though. Because if we're going to have a colloquy, we ought to have all options on the table. These folks actually deal with irrelevant things. The government does not have the right to restrict our freedom of association, which should include the right to associate our money with they causes we believe in.
And I think that this whole idea — the whole idea that everybody here subscribes here that there should be regulated contributions. It's very simple. No dollar vote without a ballot vote.
KEYES: And publicity for all contributions. We don't need the rest of it. We can regulate the system through our ballot if we have the freedom to do what we should as individual voters with our money.
BROKAW: Senator Hatch, as I was saying — I'm in total control here, as you can tell. And it's your question now to Mr. Forbes.
HATCH: Well, I'm going to colloquize for a minute first.
John's seems — John seems to think that every problem in America is going to be solved by the McCain-Feingold bill, an unconstitutional bill that basically penalizes Republicans.
HATCH: Have any of you ever wondered why all the Democrats support it and hardly any Republicans in the Congress?
Just think about it.
Now, let me ask Steve a question. And I'm going to give you a home run ball, Steve. Look...
FORBES: That usually means hold your wallet.
HATCH: Steve, I couldn't even lift your wallet is all I can say.
FORBES: Senator, with...
HATCH: I'm running a skinny cat campaign...
HATCH: ... OrrinHatch.com. Go there and help me out. Now, Steve...
FORBES: Senator, with a flat tax — with a flat tax you'll have a better wallet, and with my Social Security reform you'll have a secure retirement and not have that pension system of the United States Senate, which rips off the taxpayers.
HATCH: Well, Steve, and with my experience of 23 years, I'm the one that can get it through, and I'll do it as president. Let me tell you.
HATCH: Now, let me ask you — let me ask you a question — let me...
FORBES: And I'll be relying on you when I'm in the White House to get these things through.
HATCH: Let me ask you a question.
HATCH: You know, we're talking about a lack of values in this country. We all know it's there. We know our kids don't have the right examples. We know that there are a lot of things that are denigrating to our children and our people, in Iowa and throughout the country.
My only brother was killed in the Second World War. The most valuable thing I own is the flag that draped his coffin when they brought him back. I'm the author of the anti-flag desecration constitutional amendment. And what I want to do is get two-thirds of the Congress to pass that amendment, and then go out to those 50 states and create a debate on values like we've never had before. Will you join me?
FORBES: Senator, absolutely. I support the constitutional amendment concerning the desecration of the flag. And I think that's...
HATCH: Thanks. I knew you would.
FORBES: That's why, too, I vigorously support now, not three years from now...
FORBES: Not as a gift from the federal government, but right now, giving parents choice on choosing the schools they think best. So, again get morals and values back in the schools through parents, and not have to rely on top-down bureaucracies.
But then there's also — you talk about values. In my home state of New Jersey, there's a proposal to read the Declaration of Independence, those opening sentences, that we're endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among these life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
You know there's controversy about that because it mentions the word "creator"...
HATCH: Mr. Forbes, the...
FORBES: ... and our governor Christie Whitman, says she may not like it because it takes too much time out of the day.
HATCH: That's pathetic...
FORBES: She's — she's about to endorse Governor Bush. I think we need to get back to basics.
But to bring — Senator, you bring up — you bring up something very, very — you bring up something very valid.
When people can question the constitutionality of reading the Declaration of Independence in our schools, have the kids read it each day, you know there's something fundamentally wrong. And that's why I think you sense in America the beginnings of a spiritual and moral renewal.
HATCH: I told you it would be a softball stage, right. I told you it would be a softball, but if...
BACHMAN: Senator McCain, the final candidate question to Ambassador Keyes.
MCCAIN: Alan, there's a terrible thing going on in the world right now. And it's genocide and it's creating hundreds of thousands of refugees. It's destabilizing the region. And a tragic commentary on our time is that because it's not in our living rooms, on television, a lot of people are not aware of it. I'm speaking, obviously, of Chechnya.
The Russians have threatened mass bombings, have already carried out artillery attacks. It's destabilizing to the region. We know that the oil and gas reserves that are in the region are important to the future of our energy supply. We know that the Russian military is asserting itself in a way that they've not since the end of the breakup of the Soviet Union. And there's a lot of other implications associated with what's going on in Chechnya now.
It offends our Judeo-Christian values and principles.
MCCAIN: It also can, over time, offend our national interest. Mr. Yeltsin the other day mentioned something about we forget that Russia has nuclear weapons. No, we don't forget that. But let's address this issue. Let's get the attention of the American people on this issue. The president of the United States is neglecting it, and I want to know what your prescription is as to what you, as president of the United States, would do.
KEYES: Yes, it's interesting because when you started off with that description, I thought sure you were going to ask me about Sudan.
And of course, the reason I mention that is not — no, I'm not going the obvious place. I'm not going to point out that we have allowed the carnage in Sudan to take place totally oblivious to a death toll that now rises over two million; regularly hundreds of thousands every year. I am not going to suggest that we take no interest in that because the people who are dying are black. That would, in fact, probably not be true.
I will suggest, however, that I find it very strange — and you were one of those folks out there shilling for this Kosovo business — I think it rather undercut the position of NATO and the Europeans, who are now on their high horse because the Soviets are threatening to bomb civilians. We forget that several months ago we were in that same position, and the attacks that were taking place in Kosovo were not attacks on American soil; were not attacks on American targets by terrorists who are terrorizing our population. In fact, we had intervened in an internal conflict in another country.
So I think we better be careful. If we had been careful then, we'd have more moral authority now. I do, because I opposed that surrender of our moral position — have them the moral authority to say what I'm about to say. And that is that I think that even though the Russians right now are dealing with a problem technically internal to their country, I don't believe we should be committing aggression in order to deal with it, but I do...
KEYES: And I think we ought to do so now, sternly and clearly, in a way that the Clinton administration doesn't have the prudence or the courage to do.
BROKAW: Thank you, Mr. Keyes.
That's the appropriate transition to talk some about foreign policy. Governor Bush, you have said that you supported the idea of rejecting the test ban treaty, and you want to build a missile defense system. If you were the president — if you were President Jiang Zemin in China, or you were President Boris Yeltsin in Russia, wouldn't you be saying to your military personnel, and to your scientists, "They want to start it up again. We've got to do everything that we can to go on a hair trigger. And we've got to expand our own nuclear arsenal"?
BUSH: No, they'd be hearing a different message. They'd be hearing a message that the United States is a peaceful nation — that we intend to keep the peace. But we're not going to sit by and allow rogue nations to hold any of our friends hostage. That we're not going to allow for accidental launches. And we've got the technology necessary to keep the peace.
Mr. Yeltsin will here from President Bush that, "I intend to give you a chance to join us in the development of theater-based, and national anti-ballistic missile systems. But after a short period of time, if you choose not to, we'll withdraw from the treaty." Because, we're a peaceful nation. But we're not going to miss an opportunity, Tom, if I'm the president, to say to our friends an allies, "We're going to provide a shield so you won't be blackmailed." We're going to say to our friends, the Israelis, "We'll provide you a shield and work with you, so you won't become blackmailed by Iranians or Iraqis."
No, our country must not retreat. We must not worry about what the Russians and Chinese think. What we need to do is lead the world to peace. And that's exactly the kind of president I intend to be.
BROKAW: Would you give that shield...
... would you give that shield to Taiwan, Senator McCain? And would you say to the Russians, simultaneously, "Let's jump to START III and get it down to 1,000 nuclear warheads," at the same time?
MCCAIN: Well, you...
BROKAW: Operate on several fronts?
MCCAIN: You ask several questions. No, I would not go to SALT III, because that would be dismantling one leg of the triad. And I'm not prepared to do that yet — START III. I would not give the Taiwanese a ballistic missile defense system.
MCCAIN: I would develop myself, have it sea-borne, and I would move it into the area, if necessary in international waters. I would achieve the same goal. But I would also help the Taiwanese acquire weapons systems if necessary.
They are a democratic, free government. The one-China policy is based on the fundamental principal of peaceful reunification of China. It will be China that violates the one-China policy if they commit aggression. And the fact is, that these are not the bloody butchers of Beijing, as candidate Clinton described them in 1992. And they are not our strategic partners as he described them in 1998 when he put his arm around the Chinese leadership. They are ruthless people hell bent on hanging on to power. They look over their shoulder at the collapse of the Soviet Union and the loss of power of the leadership there. But we can convince them that it is in their interest to enter the world as a superpower, which they will, in a peaceful, contributory fashion.
And I would go back to our old alliances, the strategic partner, which is the Japanese. And this part of the world is very, very critical, not only to our global economy but to the farmers right here in Iowa. It's a major place where they can export their products.
BROKAW: President Lee of Taiwan says that it's "pernicious fiction," his phrase, to think that the Chinese have any claim on Taiwan, that they will only negotiate as a sovereign state. Does that mean that we just eliminate the idea of one China?
HATCH: Well, that was unfortunate language. But let me just say — am I on?
BROKAW: You're on.
HATCH: OK. Let me just say this, that I was one of the authors of the Taiwan Relations Act, which means that we're going to give Taiwan support because as a free country, we don't want them walked all over.
But I also met with Jiang Zemin — President Jiang Zemin, two years ago in Shanghai. A half-hour courtesy call turned into an hour and a half call because I said, I was one of the authors of the Taiwan Relations Act, and isn't it wonderful what has resulted from that?
And he went, oh. And I said — and you could see he was very upset. And I said: Well, just think about it, before that act, you didn't have any intercourse with Taiwan.
HATCH: You didn't have exchange students. You didn't have business going back and forth. You weren't even in the game to get Hong Kong. He leaned back in his chair and he went, ah. And then all of a sudden that half-hour conversation turned into an hour-and-a-half conversation. The American ambassador said, I've never seen anything like it.
But let me tell you, we owe an obligation to Taiwan. We have it in writing. It's in a formal act. And I've got to tell you, when we make an obligation and a commitment we ought to keep it. And I'm for keeping those obligations.
And I think China, we can, through good diplomacy and toughness, we can get China to back off on those type of activities.
BROKAW: Mr. Bauer, can I move you to the Middle East? Would you...
BAUER: I'd rather not leave China. But let me just say one quick thing. I'm glad to hear Senator Hatch say what he just said. But I have to say, in all due respect to my colleagues, that I'm hearing a naivete up here about the leaders in Beijing that is breathtaking.
Does anybody in this arena think that if today in China thousands of Chinese citizens gathered for the basic human rights that we take for granted — the right to vote for another political party other than the Communists, the right to have a child without government permission — that anything different would happen today than happened 10 years ago when Chinese students waved copies — as Steve mentioned a little earlier — of the Declaration of Independence in the face of the People's Liberation Army?
Gentlemen, we cannot trade ourselves out of this challenge. That nation intends to replace the United States in the Pacific as the leading world power. And to deal with it we're going to have to do more than trade. We're going to have to have a Reaganesque foreign policy that's willing to speak the truth to evil. That's what will make the people of China a free people, and worthy to be trade partners.
BACHMAN: Tom, I will pick up on your Mideast question.
FORBES: Tom, what all of this underscores is we don't have a foreign policy today. What we have is appeasement and confusion. And with China, we need to let the Chinese know what the rules of engagement are.
FORBES: So if they want a prosperous relationship, they want to evolve towards democracy like Taiwan did, we'll be able — we'll deal with them. But we have to make it clear to them, among other things, we will not let them push us out of Asia. We will not let them take over Taiwan. And also, we have to make very clear that we will criticize them each step of the way for their human rights abuses in every international forum possible. And in terms of trade, it has to be two-ways. They have to reduce barriers, and they have to keep agreements which they haven't done in the past.
If you lay down firm rules, I think you can have a relationship. But if you go and drifting what we have done now, it's going to lead to disaster in the future.
BACHMAN: Mr. Forbes, you criticize the Clinton administration's foreign policy, and yet, tonight, the prospects for peace in the Mideast are looking much brighter — talks have resumed now, this week, between Israel and Syria; talks resuming between Israel and Yasser Arafat. In the past, you've been very critical, saying that this administration has dictated peace terms to Israel, has supported a Palestinian state. What — isn't this working?
FORBES: Well, the real answer to that, John, is if they get an agreement that stands the test of time. And one of the dangers that Israel faces today is with a president who wants to leave a legacy, and is going to push Israel to make concessions they shouldn't make.
For example, you can't live with a neighbor who's preaching hatred against you. You look at Palestinian textbooks today. They're full of vitriol about Jews, the Protocols of Zion — stuff that we saw in Nazi Germany in the '30s. And that's what's in the schools today; that blood libel Mrs. Arafat did about the Israelis causing cancer in water. That is common stuff there. So you cannot have peace preaching that kind of hatred. It's got to be both ways. The Israelis are willing to make an agreement, but Arafat is not willing to make the fundamental shift that's going to make a lasting peace possible. And as president, I'm not going to twist Israeli arms to get a false peace.
BACHMAN: Mr. Bauer, you have spoken of...
... the State Department's neutrality in the Middle East conflict.
BACHMAN: Pick it up.
BAUER: Well, look, we need an American desk at the State Department. You know, we've got bureaucrats there who are worried about every other country in the world, except our vital interests. And our vital interests in the Middle East are served by a safe and democratic Israel. They have been our most reliable ally in the region. They're surrounded by hostile territory. And it is the height of arrogance for State Department bureaucrats in the current administration to be pressuring that country to give up more land for peace and security.
We wouldn't allow somebody to pressure us under similar circumstances.
BACHMAN: You don't think the prospects tonight are good, though, with the resumption of talks?
BAUER: Look, the thing that will preserve Israel is a strong military and a reliable ally in the United States. If their enemies ever think that our commitment to them is wavering, Israel will be in the deepest trouble it's been in its existence.
We are friends, we are allies. They have stood with us, and as president I will be sure we stand with them.
BROKAW: I have a question then for John McCain. John, my friend (ph), something that's in the news. You've said that Elian Gonzalez, the young Cuban boy ought not to be sent back to Havana. Everybody on this panel believes in the primary place of family, and yet, based on what I'm reading, the state knows better than his own father, and his own grandparents in this case.
MCCAIN: Well, I'm not Tom. I'm saying that his mother knows better. His mother gave up her life in an attempt to give her son the freedom and democracy, which this country is blessed, and which he never could have had if he remained in Cuba. That's what's left out of this equation.
BROKAW: Do you leave his father out of this altogether? This is the blood father of the son. He has no claim...
MCCAIN: No, like practically everyone here I would be glad if his father came to the United States or a neutral country, and then declared his allegiance.
By the way, I have never seen a spontaneous demonstration in any communist country.
Could I return — return one moment — one moment to the Middle East. I will give — I would like to give the Clinton administration credit. I would like to give President Carter credit.
MCCAIN: I'd like to give a lot of people credit who worked for a long time on peace in the Middle East. And I think it's important and we're on the threshold.
There's a number of factors, but a major factor was the end of the Cold War, which Ronald Reagan won, which no longer allowed for this divisions along Cold War lines where these Middle East countries were client states. Finally, Mr. Assad is growing old, he wants his son to take over, not his brother.
But there's a fundamental principle that we have to reach here, and that is free and democratically elected countries in the Middle East, besides Israel, if you want a lasting peace.
BROKAW: I'm surprised that we've gotten to this point in the debate, and we haven't talked at all about Social Security or some of the tax cuts. You said as the front-runner you do have an obligation not to just throw numbers around. You've talked about a $483 billion tax cut, about an enormous amount of money for military readiness and for increasing pay in the military. The Congressional Budget Office says that just is not going to add up downstream, five years out, you're going to eat up all the surpluses just with your tax cut. Are you willing to say tonight that if it gets to that point, you don't want to be in the position that your father was where he had to raise taxes when he promised he wouldn't?
BUSH: It's not going to get to that point. We took a very conservative approach. We took all the Social Security money and left it for one thing: Social Security. We took the budget additions that I think are important, particularly strengthening the military, andput that in the budget. And we had $100 billion left over and $100 billion in unspent money.
It's important to cut the taxes, Tom, otherwise government's going to spend it. And it's important to cut the taxes to keep the economy growing. And when we cut the taxes it's important to remember, there's a lot of folks who are struggling on what I call the outskirts of poverty. I mentioned it to John in the question, that the single mom with kids — which, by the way, in my judgment's the toughest job in America.
It's important for the Republicans to hear their call too. It's important that when we make the tax code fair — we hear people at the bottom of the economic ladder, as well as the top. And so my plan says if you're a mom making $22,000 a year and you're heading to the middle class, we're going to tear down the toll booth so you can get to the middle class.
No, this is a responsible plan. The only way — the only way to get rid of the so-called surpluses in the short term is to put Al Gore or Bill Bradley as president of the United States, and they'll spend it all.
BROKAW: John Bachman, you have a question from the good folks of Iowa.
BACHMAN: Well, I do. We have tried to take viewers' questions tonight and point them in the direction of some of these issues we've been talking about. But I'd like to run the table quickly with one individual question. What political philosopher or thinker, Mr. Forbes, do you most identify with and why? Which gives the remaining five time to think — I'm sorry.
FORBES: Well, I won't say I'm reading a book by a philosopher, and I'm not reading a book on Dean Acheson. But seriously — sorry — but seriously, the philosopher that I think has had the most impact or profound impact on this country is John Locke. Even though there are some flaws, I think he set the stage for what became a revolution. And then, after that, Thomas Jefferson with what he wrote in the Declaration of Independence. James...
BACHMAN: We just (inaudible) for one.
FORBES: OK. OK — Got Locke and then Jefferson is B.
BACHMAN: Thank you. Mr. Keyes?
KEYES: Well, I think overall the most influential thinker, and there are many in my mind, but particularly on the issues we face as Americans right now would be the founders of this country, who not only had interesting thoughts, they actually translated them capably into functioning instruments of government that have preserved our liberty now for over 200 years. And I think we ought to get back to their thinking and not fiddle with this income tax system, but return to the original Constitution they gave us — abolish the income tax, fund the federal government with tariffs, duties, and excise taxes so the people of this country get back control of every dollar that they earn, instead of having to depend on nice politicians like Mr. Bush, or bad politicians like Bill Clinton to decide how much of their own money they should keep.
BUSH: At least he called me "nice."
BACHMAN: Governor Bush — a philosopher-thinker and why.
BUSH: Christ, because he changed my heart.
BACHMAN: I think the viewer would like to know more on how he's changed your heart.
BUSH: Well, if they don't know, it's going to be hard to explain. When you turn your heart and your life over to Christ, when you accept Christ as the savior, it changes your heart. It changes your life. And that's what happened to me.
BACHMAN: Senator Hatch. Senator Hatch.
HATCH: I agree with that. But I think that goes without saying — no question in my mind.
But I'll tell you. There are two that I really believe have had a profound lasting imprint on America, among many. And of course, Abraham Lincoln is one of them, who fought for equality and freedom for everybody. And the other one was Ronald Reagan, who ignored the
State Department, knocking out the Evil Empire in every speech until he got a speech where it was knocked out. It got back and forth, and back and forth. And he said it anyway. And it was one of the most profound statements, philosophically, that was said in our generation.
And those two people have really made a difference in all of our lives. But I bear witness to Christ, too. I really know him to be the savior of the world. And that means more to me than almost anything else I know.
BACHMAN: Senator McCain.
MCCAIN: Obviously all of our founding fathers were probably the most remarkable group of men ever assembled in history, in Philadelphia. But my modern-day role model and hero is Theodore Roosevelt. Theodore Roosevelt was larger than life. Theodore Roosevelt believed in reform. He took the politics of America out of the hands of the robber barons, and gave it back to the people. He put the United States of America on the world's stage, in the international arena, which made way for our ever-expanding role in the world. He established our national parks system. He was an activist. He was a reformer. And he was a man of great vision. He was larger than life. And he was a truly wonderful father and family man as well, who happened by the way, to lose a son in World War I.
But Theodore Roosevelt, I think, is a modern-day role model for me, and many other people who hold dear, conservative principles, and yet believe there's a role for government in our society.
BACHMAN: And finally, Mr. Bauer.
BAUER: I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed me. Christ, with those words, taught all of us about our obligations to each other, to the unborn child, to those living in poverty, the need for us to be together regardless of the color of our skin.
There is no figure in human history who, through his life, his death and his resurrection has changed the world for millions, billions, countless of people. If America's in trouble in the next century, it will be because we forgot what he taught us, Tom.
BROKAW: Tell me — we have time for — what? — one more question, one more answer. One more question.
Governor Bush, Bill Buckley, an old bleeding heart liberal, commenting on the law and order attitude of all of you, says that in 47 states possession of marijuana is illegal. If you believe in the aggressive pursuit of people for violating the gun laws, why not have the aggressive pursuit of violation of marijuana — marijuana laws?
Do you think that we ought to be far more aggressive, in the state of Texas and across this country, in pursuing those people who possess marijuana?
BUSH: I think we ought to be far more aggressive at interdicting drugs before they come in our country. And I think we need to be very aggressive as saying to children, drugs will ruin your life. If you abuse drugs, it's going to ruin your life. If you abuse alcohol, it's going to ruin your life. Baby boomer generation needs to hear the call of responsibility. And part of that is to say to our kids: Don't be using drugs. Don't be using drugs.
Mr. Buckley actually believes we ought to — I think he believes we ought to legalize marijuana. I don't. I think that'd be a big mistake.
BROKAW: I don't think he says legalization of it. I think what he does say...
BUSH: I think he does.
BROKAW: I think what he does say is not put everyone in jail who is merely possessing marijuana.
BUSH: Well we don't do that in the state of Texas. We put the dealers and the big users in jail. You know, we give people second chances. We say to people: You've made a mistake. The judges in our state have got a lot of discretion. And that's the way it should be. But the universal message from our society's got to be to our kids: Don't be using drugs. Drugs will ruin your life.
BROKAW: Governor Bush, thank you very much. We're going to begin now the final round of the closing statements. My how time flies when you're having fun. (Laughter).
We begin with you, Mr. Forbes.
FORBES: Well, thank all of you very much here at WHO. This is where Ronald Reagan got his start decades ago in his career.
Tonight, and with these other forums, you're beginning to get an opportunity to find out what each of us believes; what we think America's opportunities are; and what the problems are. I'm an independent outsider. I believe in the conservative philosophy that comes from the Declaration of Independence, and I have deep convictions about what can be done to realize America's full potential going into this new century and this new millennium. And I believe that means putting power back in the hands of thepeople, and not going along with politics as usual. Politics as usual says we have to keep the current tax code. I think the American people should say it's realistic to get rid of it, and allow you to keep far, far more of what you earn with something that is simple, honest and fair.
I believe a new birth of freedom means that you should be able to choose your own schools for your own children; that you should be able to choose your own doctors and not have to go through HMOs and other bureaucracies. It all ties together, but I need your support; I need your vote. Thank you very much.
BACHMAN: Please hold your applause so we can get the final statements in — the closing statement now from Mr. Bauer.
BAUER: Thank you very much. The Republican Party was born in an argument about whether black men and women, slaves, were citizens to be protected under the law. It is a proud history of our party — the party of Abraham Lincoln and of Ronald Reagan.
We are facing an issue today that is comparable, and that is whether our unborn children — rich or poor, black or white — deserve a place at the table; whether they're part of the American family.
For 25 years, I've worked on this issue. I've raised money for crisis pregnancy centers while my friend Steve Forbes was raising money for Christie Todd Whitman.
BAUER: This issue's important; we can't play any more games about it. I will not leave any child behind. My running mate, Governor Bush, will be pro-life. I'm sorry you were not willing to make that commitment. My judges will be pro-life.
And I want to make the most important promise I can make to you about my presidency. In my presidency abortion on demand will end. I will not sacrifice one American child for political gain. You can count on it.
BROKAW: Senator Hatch.
HATCH: I'm a person of very deep conviction, and my 23 years in the Congress of the United States and the Senate proves that. As I've gone around Iowa, I've found a great deal of similarity and companionship and Iowa values compared to our Utah values. We're very much alike. I've got to tell you, I wasn't born in wealth. We lost our home right after I was born. As a matter of fact, I raised chickens as a young man, sold eggs door to door. When I went to college I worked as a janitor. When Ted Kennedy found that out, he said, Orrin, you should have stuck with it. (Laughter). I learned a trade. I learned a skilled trade and worked for 10 years in construction (inaudible) and I was a darn good worker, the best. And I want you to know that I've approached government that way as well. I've been married to the same woman for 43 years, we have six children and 19 grandchildren. I'm concerned about them and you...
BACHMAN: Senator Hatch...
HATCH: ... and I'll do my best if I'm elected president.
BACHMAN: Governor Bush.
BUSH: I want to thank my friends here in Iowa. I'm honored to have your support. I appreciate all the work you're doing on my behalf. I come to your state not from Washington, but from outside — a state called Texas. I've got a record not of rhetoric, but a record of results. In my state I led our state to the two biggest tax cuts in the state's history. Our test scores for our students are up. I've got fewer people on welfare. Texas is entrepreneurial heaven.
BUSH: It's a great place to take risks. My policies and my programs have been conservative with compassionate results, and that's the kind of president I'm going to be. I want to keep our economy growing by cutting the taxes. I want to be a free trade president so that Iowa farmers can sell their products all across the world. I want to strengthen and save Social Security. I want every child to be educated and not one single child be left behind in this great country.
I'm running because I want the American dream to touch every willing heart for people that work hard for it. I don't want people to feel left behind in our country as we head into the 21st century.
I'm asking for your vote. God bless you all.
BROKAW: Thank you. Ambassador Keyes.
KEYES: Well, I guess — I guess I really do sometimes become impatient with the euphemisms that we use in this society. Because the truth of the matter is, my friends, we're not leaving unborn children behind, we are killing them. And we are killing them in total contravention of the most fundamental principle of this nation's life, that our rights come from God and not from human choice.
You can talk if you like about budgets and Social Security and every other issue under the sun, but if we don't restore our allegiance to the basic moral principles that this country was founded on, we are going to lose our liberty.
And the thing I most dearly want to do is make sure that my children and my grandchildren grow up in a country where they will be free human beings instead of the slaves my ancestors were. And yet in so many ways, because of our lack of moral confidence, we are surrendering the liberties, the Second Amendment rights, the First Amendment rights, the right to make our own choices and decisions in schools and in our own futures — we are surrendering those rights today because we no longer believe that we are the kind of people who morally are capable of sustaining the weight of our rights. We must restore the principles that will give us that confidence and then we will restore our country to its right path.
BACHMAN: Senator McCain.
MCCAIN: It's great to be back here in Iowa. I will be on the ballot. I hope that a hearty brand of — band of brave souls will go out and vote for me. I would appreciate your support.
I'm running for president of the United States because I want to reform government.
MCCAIN: I want to reform the education system. I want to reform the military. And I want to reform the tax code. I want to get us in tune with this information technology revolution. I can't do that when we have a flawed campaign finance system — the hundreds of thousands of dollar checks that have taken away free speech, that have given the megaphone to the big-money people, and made you whisper in Washington.
The cynicism which borders on alienation amongst young Americans disturbs me. I need to reform this system. We need to give the government back to the people. And then I can inspire a generation to commit themselves to causes greater than their self interests. I am prepared to be president of the United States. Please join me in this great crusade.
BACHMAN: Our thanks to all of the candidates. And our thanks to all of the viewers on MSNBC. And a special thanks to our viewers across the state of Iowa. We hope that tonight's discussion has helped you, as you prepare for the caucuses now just six weeks away. And a final thanks to Tom Brokaw for coming back to Iowa.
BROKAW: Thank you very much, John. Thank you.
Let me just say something that you need — you need to hear this from a reporter. Let me just say that it takes a lot of courage, and it takes a lot of energy to run for president of the United States. We all owe all of these men a great debt, as well as the Democrats who are running.
It's a personal privilege for me to share this stage, not only in Iowa, but across the country, because there are few more important things that we'll do in our lifetime than pull the lever for the president of the United States, especially as we enter a new century. There's no piece of software that will do that for us. It requires our personal commitment with our mind and our heart. Your presence here tonight is a great tribute to your commitment as citizens to this process as well. Thank you all very much.
|Citation: Presidential Candidates Debates: "Republican Presidential Candidates Debate in Des Monies, Iowa", December 13, 1999. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=76120.|
© 1999-2011 - Gerhard Peters - The American Presidency Project