Making an overture to the GOP’s socially conservative wing, Sen. Phil Gramm pledged Saturday that if elected president he would support restrictions on abortion and reverse President Clinton’s policy allowing gays in the military.
The Texas Republican has been criticized by many conservative leaders for his reluctance to discuss abortion and other cultural issues as part of his presidential campaign, which is anchored on an economic message of lower taxes, less government and a balanced budget.
Hoping to prove his credentials as a social conservative, Gramm delivered the commencement address at Liberty University, the Virginia college founded by former Moral Majority leader Jerry Falwell.
“Is our crisis an economic crisis or a moral crisis?” Gramm asked. “In my opinion, it is both. And both the economic crisis and the moral crisis have their roots in the explosion of a government that taxes and squanders the fruits of our labor and has replaced individual responsibilities with unearned benefits and entitlements.”
Specifically, Gramm said he supports voluntary prayer in schools, and said the United States should reject a United Nations convention on the rights of the child. Conservatives oppose the document because it does not define the fetus as a child deserving protection.
Also, Gramm said, a reformed welfare system should forbid additional payments to recipients who have more children while on welfare, and he declared, “Let’s overturn Bill Clinton’s destructive and unworkable policy on gays in the military.”