Sharpening his rhetoric in anticipation of their Sunday night debate, GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole Tuesday denounced President Clinton as “an unalterably committed liberal” with a string of broken promises.
At the same time, he brushed aside skepticism toward his own promise of a broad tax cut, calling himself a public servant who has “spent a lifetime keeping my word.”
Addressing a small but enthusiastic rally at the Lakeland Community College in suburban Kirtland, Dole also offered a satiric “consumer’s guide” to the coming debates. Referring to Clinton, Dole warned: “Buyer beware. What you see is not what you get.”
“I believe the American people are only just beginning to sit up and take notice of this campaign,” Dole said.
“They are only now focusing on the real choice in this election - the choice between an old-style, big-government liberal and a new kind of leadership dedicated to cutting taxes, balancing the budget and trusting the American people.”
While Dole campaigned here, his running mate, Jack Kemp, drew a tougher assignment, wooing the wary women’s vote at a Jewish community center in Tucson, Ariz.
Kemp passed on the football analogies and instead tried to persuade a lukewarm audience that a Dole administration would be family friendly, fiscally sound and compassionate enough to care for the weakest among us.
It was a tough sell.
“I am undecided on whose ticket I will be voting,” April Fenton, mother of three, said to Kemp. “And I would like to know as a woman how will I be better off four years from now voting for you in November than I would be voting for Bill Clinton.”
Fenton’s question alone got a round of applause - almost as much as the candidate’s rambling answer, which came with a whole host of caveats: “I can’t promise you the moon” and “I can’t promise nirvana” and “all of us fall short of our highest ideals.”
“Here’s how you’ll be better off,” he said. “Interests rates will be lower. Tax rates will be lower. Your income after taxes will be higher.
“Your job, your family, your streets, your neighborhood will be safer, cleaner. There will be less drugs. … We’re going to appeal to the highest aspirations of the American people. We’re not going to appeal to their worst fear.”
With exactly five weeks to go until Election Day, Tuesday’s Dole rally marked the candidate’s return to the campaign trail after a long weekend of debate preparations at his seaside condominium in Bal Harbour, Fla. He served notice that he intends not only to promote his own “pro-growth” agenda but also to confront the president with a laundry list of 1992 campaign promises made by Clinton.
Throughout his remarks, Dole repeatedly evoked the theme of trust, vowing to provide leadership “worthy of your trust.”
But Dole’s rally was marred by glitches - not for the first time in recent days. Well before he had concluded his remarks, blasts of confetti were showered upon the crowd. A huge chart - purporting to show an array of hypothetical families and their savings under Dole’s tax-cut proposal - proved difficult to understand, apparently even causing Dole some bewilderment.
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