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Senator Dole's Response to the President's Radio Address

October 26, 1996

As I travel the country and hear the concerns of women who speak to me about their values and the dreams they have for their children, it is so clear that my husband, Bob, understands what American families are facing today.

That's especially true when it comes to Medicare. Medicare is not only an issue on the minds of American seniors, it's something that concerns every American who wants to make sure that there is a safety net for their parents.

No one understands that better than Bob Dole. His mother would say to him, "Now Bob, all I have is my Social Security and my Medicare." And you can trust Bob to protect and preserve Medicare for your parents just as he did for his parents.

Of course, that's not what you hear from the Clinton campaign. For months, they've been running an ad campaign, spending tens of millions of dollars to try to frighten seniors into believing that Bob's economic plan will threaten Medicare.

That's not true, and the president knows it. Under Bob's plan, Medicare spending will increase 7 percent a year — almost double the rate of inflation.

Mrs. Clinton indicated, when she appeared before a congressional committee, that the administration's target was zero growth in Medicare spending.

I'm not the only one who's concerned about the Democrats' medi-scare attack on Bob's economic plan. Earlier this week, a USA Today editorial accused the Clinton campaign of "demagoguing" Medicare and misleading voters on what needs to be done to fix it.

The Washington Post called the Democrats effort — and again I quote — "a campaign based on distortion and fear." And listen to what the American Association of Retired Persons, the AARP, has to say about Medicare.

In a letter sent to the president a year ago, the executive director of the AARP stated that the Republican plan increased Medicare spending. Bob Dole and the Republican Congress wanted to balance the budget and increase the spending for Medicare.

Bill Clinton responded to both with a veto. Those are the facts.

Earlier this month, the executive director of the AARP sent another letter, this time to both the chairmen of the Democrat and Republican parties.

This letter says essentially what Bob has been telling the president and what his own advisers have been telling him for some time. Medicare is on the path to bankruptcy.

Bob's economic plan solves the problem before it's too late. That's the responsible thing to do. So let me make it clear to any seniors listening or any children of seniors worried about their parents.

Bob's economic plan increases Medicare spending by 7 percent a year. Over the next six years, Medicare benefits will rise from $5,200 to $7,100 — an increase of $1,900 per beneficiary.

Under Bob's plan, we will have lower taxes, a balanced budget and a Medicare program that is strong and reliable.

President Clinton has offered no viable alternative to save Medicare. We must act now. In 1983, Bob was a member of a commission of Democrats and Republicans given the assignment to save the Social Security system from bankruptcy.

Congressman Claude Pepper, a Democrat from Florida known as the champion of senior citizens, wrote Bob a letter on May 11, 1983, when their work was finished stating they could never have accomplished the monumental task of saving Social Security without Bob Dole's skills.

As president, Bob will appoint a similar bipartisan commission to preserve and strengthen the Medicare program because he wants to be known as the president who saved Medicare.

Bob Dole's word is his bond. When he makes a promise, you know it will be kept. Bob's colleagues in the United States Senate continued to put their faith and trust in him, making him the longest serving Republican leader in Senate history — 11 years.

Why? Because they know he's honest, trustworthy, a man of his word. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat senator from California, said — and I quote — "Bob Dole's word is his commitment, and his commitment is a matter of honor. No, we didn't always agree, but even on issues where we disagreed, I always knew where I stood. And I knew I could trust his word."

Trust his word. You have his word. We hope you'll join us and lend your support to a campaign that is dedicated to keeping its promises and making America a better place to live, work and raise a family.

Thank you, and God bless you all.

Robert Dole, Senator Dole's Response to the President's Radio Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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