Dole Fans Flames In Fight Over Abortion Comments


Bob Dole on Tuesday brushed off the advice of some of his closest aides, who had urged him to pacify abortion opponents, and instead took the offensive against one of his most vociferous critics on the Republican right.

According to Dole advisers, some of his senior aides suggested to the all-but-certain Republican nominee on Tuesday that he soften his comments that a plank in the Republican Party platform should contain a “declaration of tolerance” on abortion. The comments Monday had drawn an outcry from conservatives who insisted that any tempering language be included only in the preamble to the platform.

But aides to Dole said he was adamant that his remarks not be diluted. To further drive home the point, Dole went out of his way to express irritation with his critics among Republican conservatives, singling out Gary Bauer, president of the Family Research Council, an anti-abortion group.

“I don’t know where these people come from, you know,” Dole said in an interview with KMBCTV in Kansas City, Mo. “What’s the difference if it’s in the preamble or the platform? I mean this is a moral issue. I don’t know where Gary Bauer’s been all his life, but I’ve always known that we have had pro-choice Republicans and pro-life Republicans.”

Dole went on: “I think Gary Bauer’s tolerant. If he’s not tolerant, then he ought to say so. … We can’t agree on every issue in this party and we ought to respect the views of others. And if he doesn’t want to do that, that’s fine with me.”

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