October 4, 2000

Presidential Debate Watch 2000 Part II

 

LATE TERM ABORTIONS
GORE RHETORIC

"First of all on issue of partial birth or so-called late term abortion, I would sign a law banning that procedure, provided that doctors have the ability to save a woman's life or to act if her health is severely at risk. And that is not the main issue, the main issue is whether or not the Roe v. Wade decision is going to be overturned. I support a woman's right to choose."

GORE REALITY
Gore Supported Clinton's 1996 and 1997 Vetoes of the Partial-Birth Abortion Bans. "Thank you for contacting me about legislation related to 'late-term abortions.'. . . In this case, we have opposed substituting political decision-making for medical decision-making; such decisions must be made on the basis of the woman's health. . . . [t]he legislation set forth by Congress did not provide for consideration of the need to preserve the life and health of the woman, consistent with Roe v. Wade. Thus, the President and I were not able to support it."
(H.R. 1833, vetoed April 15, 1996; H.R. 1122, vetoed October 10, 1997; Al Gore Jr., Letter to a Constituent, July 30, 1996 (emphasis added)

Gore Opposes Banning Partial Birth Abortions. "I stayed and fought against the ideologues when they attempted to deny women the opportunity to choose, when they tried to ban late-term abortions. . . ."
(Mike Allen and Ceci Connolly quoting Gore, "Bradley Assails Gore On Fund-Raising," The Washington Post, February 12, 2000)

  • Over 30 States Have Passed Laws Banning Partial-Birth Abortion. Although many state laws are being questioned as a result of the Supreme Court's most recent decision on partial-birth abortion, over 30 states passed laws banning partial-birth abortion. (NARAL, Who Chooses, 2000)
  • 79% Of Americans Oppose Allowing Abortions In The Third Trimester, And
  • 66% Of Americans Oppose Allowing Abortions In The Second Trimester. (Carey Goldberg reporting a poll by The New York Times/CBS, "Public Still Backs Abortion, But Wants Limits, Poll Says," The New York Times, January 16, 1998)

LITMUS TESTS
GORE RHETORIC

"I don't favor litmus tests but I know that there are ways to assess how a [sic] potential justice interprets the constitution in my view. . ."

GORE REALITY
It Depends What The Meaning Of "Litmus" Is-Gore Denies Litmus Test In Name, But Promises It In Fact. On "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" March 14, 2000, Gore assured Lehrer that he would not have a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees, but that he could guarantee the philosophy of his nominees would be pro-abortion.

Q: And just so we understand it straight on, you will not appoint anybody to the Supreme Court who would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade? 

GORE: I'm not going to have a litmus test for a Supreme Court nomination if I have the privilege of making appointments to the Supreme Court, but I will insist upon Justices who have an interpretation of the Constitution that's in keeping with the general philosophical approach that I share.

Q: As a practical matter, Mr. Vice President, how in the world can you assure any voter that Roe v. Wade is going to be okay under a Gore administration if you're not going to even ask potential nominees what their position is on abortion? 

GORE: It'll be okay. In a Gore administration it'll be okay

Q: It'll be okay. All right. Okay. 

GORE: I guarantee it.
(The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, March 14, 2000)

Gore Promises Pro-Abortion Judges, Despite No-Litmus Test Pledge. "I would look for Justices of the Supreme Court who understand that our Constitution is a living and breathing document, that it was intended by our founders to be interpreted in the light of the constantly evolving experience of the American people. The right of privacy, just to take one example, was found by Justice Blackmun in the Constitution, even though the precise words are not there. . . . And I noticed that Kate Michelman, the head of NARAL, is in the audience here in Los Angeles. And NARAL has pointed out that both the Republican candidates have pledged to overturn Roe v. Wade, and Governor Bush went into a private meeting with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, and when they came out, both patted him on the back and said, well, we heard everything that we wanted to hear. Both Governor Bush and Senator McCain are as anti-choice as you can get. So I think it's awfully important that we have a president who will appoint Justices to the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution in keeping with America's tradition."
(Al Gore, Democratic Debate, March 1, 2000) (emphasis added)


GORE FOR HIGHER GAS TAXES
GORE RHETORIC

"I'm for doing something both on the supply side and production side, and on the consumption side. Let me say that I found one thing in Governor Bush's answer that we certainly agree on, and that's the low-income heating assistance program. I commend you for supporting that."

GORE REALITY
AL GORE CAST THE TIE BREAKING VOTE TO RAISE THE GAS TAX


Al Gore Cast The Tie-Breaking Vote And Was The Leading Advocate To Increase The Gas Tax By 4.3 Cents Per Gallon. Included in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, the largest tax increase in history, was a 4.3 cents per gallon gas tax increase that raised the total gas tax rate to 18.4 cents. Al Gore cast the tie-breaking vote to increase the gas tax on June 25, 1993 and on August 6, 1993.
(H.R. 2264, CQ Vote #190: Passed 50-49: R 0-43; D 49-6, June 25, 1993, Gore cast tie-breaking vote, YEA; H.R. 2264, CQ Vote #247: Adopted 51-50: R 0-44; D 50-6, August 6, 1993, Gore cast tie-breaking vote, YEA; "Clinton Wins Budget Vote By A Hair; Gore Breaks A Tie After Sen. Kerrey Goes Along To 'Save' The Presidency," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 7, 1993) Not only did Al Gore cast the tie-breaking vote on this $241 billion tax increase, he was also the leading advocate in the Administration to increase gas taxes. According to author Bob Woodward: "The meeting quickly turned to the gasoline tax. Vice President Gore, a strong environmentalist who advocated energy taxes as a way to reduce pollution, argued that the tax should be retained. President Clinton could be attacked on character if he dropped the gasoline tax now, Gore said emphatically and emotionally." (Bob Woodward, "The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House, Part 3 of 4," The Washington Post, June 7, 1994)

In An Interview With PBS's Jim Lehrer, Gore Boasted That He Is "Proud" Of Casting The Tie Breaking Vote In 1993 To Raise Gas Taxes 4.3 Cents Per Gallon. When Jim Lehrer questioned Gore about his tie-breaking vote in 1993 to increase the gasoline tax by 4.3 cents, Gore stated, "Well, first of all, I'm very proud of that vote. That vote was the tie-breaking vote. . . So I'm very, very proud of that vote . . ."
(PBS' "The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer," March 14, 2000)(emphasis added)

UNDER CLINTON/GORE, GAS PRICES HAVE INCREASED OVER THE PAST 8 YEARS

Under Clinton/Gore, The Price Of Gas Has Seen A Tremendous Increase, Particularly In The Heartland. Since 1993, Americans have seen the price of gas increase from a national average of $1.12 per gallon in January of 1993 to a national average of $1.66 today. The Midwest has been hit particularly hard by this increase in gas prices. For example, since 1993, the average price of gas in Michigan has increased by 94 cents, in Missouri by 77 cents, in Illinois by 83 cents, and in Indiana by 77 cents.
(American Automobile Association, "AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report," January 19, 1993; American Automobile Association Website, "Daily Fuel Gauge Report," June 22, 2000) 

Al Gore Surrogate And Energy Secretary Bill Richardson Admitted That The Administration Was "Caught Napping" And "Unprepared" For The Enormous Increase In The Price Of Gas. Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson admitted that the Administration has been snoozing while the nation suffered unprecedented gas increases. Acknowledging the Administration's lack of a coherent energy policy, Richardson confessed, "It is obvious the federal government was unprepared. We were caught napping."
(J.M. Lawrence, "Energy Boss: We Blew It on Oil Crisis," The Boston Herald, February 17, 2000)(emphasis added)

Bradley Alleged Clinton And Gore Deliberately Allowed Gas Prices To Rise To Benefit Russia. In the March 1, 2000 CNN/L.A. Times debate, Bill Bradley alleged that the Clinton/Gore Administration asked OPEC to raise oil prices: "In 1991 we did fight the Persian Gulf War, we did win. And now gas prices are very high, highest they have been. And I think the reason they're high now is because we, more or less, asked OPEC to raise oil prices in hopes of helping Russia be able to sell its oil on the international market, make more foreign exchange, and be able to develop its economy."
(CNN/L.A. Times Democratic Presidential Debate, March 1, 2000) (emphasis added) 

AL GORE HAS A LONG HISTORY OF SUPPORTING HIGHER GAS PRICES

Al Gore Has Endorsed Plans To Raise Gas Prices To $3 Per Gallon. Al Gore's unqualified endorsement of Paul Ehrlich's The Population Explosion indicates his willingness to support a massive increase in gas prices. In his endorsement of that book, Al Gore wrote, "The time for action is due, and past due. Ehrlich has written the prescription."
(Timothy W. Maier, "What Simon Said Was Right," Insight on the News, December 20, 1999) The Population Explosion advocates raising taxes on gasoline until gas is priced at $2.50 to $3.00 per gallon, so as to bring gas prices in the United States in line with gas prices in Europe and Japan. (Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich, The Population Explosion, 1990, pp. 219-220) 

Al Gore Proposed Higher Gas Taxes In Earth In The Balance.

  • "Higher taxes on fossil fuels. . . is one of the logical first steps in changing our policies in a manner consistent with a more responsible approach to the environment." (Al Gore, Earth in the Balance, 1993, p. 173) (emphasis added) 

  • "Currently, we tax work and we subsidize the depletion of natural resources -- and both policies have contributed to high unemployment and the waste of natural resources. What if we lowered the tax on work and simultaneously raised it on the burning of fossil fuels?" (Al Gore, Earth in the Balance, 1993, p. 348) (emphasis added)

  • Gore also proposed raising the price of gasoline even higher through his "CO2 Tax." According to Gore, "[p]roduction of gasoline, heating oil and other oil-based fuels, coal, natural gas, and electricity generated from fossil fuels would trigger incremental payments of the CO2 tax according to the carbon content of the fuels produced." (Al Gore, Earth in the Balance, 1993, p. 349)

In A 1994 Memo, EPA Head And Former Gore Legislative Director Carol Browner Proposed A Laundry List Of New Taxes That Would Raise The Price Of Gasoline. In a 1994 memo first made public in 1996, Gore's former Legislative Director Carol Browner proposed a "Climate Change Action Plan," which included such plans as raising gas taxes by a full fifty cents (costing motorists an additional $47 billion per year), adding a "greenhouse gas tax," a "carbon tax," a "BTU tax," an "at-the-source ad valorem tax" on the value of the fuel at the source of extraction, an "end-use ad valorem tax" on the value of the fuel at the point of sale, a "motor fuels tax" on the retail price of gasoline and diesel, and an "oil import fee." The memo also recommends a new federal fee on vehicle emissions tests of $40 per person to "shift the cost of vehicle inspection from the state to the vehicle owner." (Pranay Gupte and Bonner R. Cohen, "Carol Browner, Master of Mission Creep," Forbes, October 20, 1997)

Al Gore Was The Chief Advocate Of The Proposed 1993 BTU Tax, Which Would Have Raised Gas Prices By Six Percent. According to George Stephanopoulos, "Gore was the chief advocate of the energy tax, arguing that it was good for both the economy and the environment."
(George Stephanopoulos, All Too Human: A Political Education, 1999, p. 206) This energy tax was more commonly known as the "BTU Tax" because the tax was based on the heat producing capacity of fuel as measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). The Administration estimated the cost of the BTU tax to the average consumer to be over $320 a year, while other groups estimated the cost to be as high as $500 per year. ("Federal Budget Issue: Do We Need an Energy Tax?" National Center for Policy Analysis, June 4, 1993, p. 2) These estimates were only the beginning because the BTU tax would have also raised the price of gasoline by six percent. (Philip K. Verlger, Jr., Institute for International Economics, Testimony before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, February 24, 1993, p. 13) As a result, had the Gore BTU tax been enacted the average consumer who buys 14 gallons of gas per week would now be paying an additional $73 per year at today's average price of $1.66 per gallon. (American Automobile Association, "AAA Fuel Gauge Report," January 19, 1993)

Al Gore Has Been A "Driving Force" Behind The Increased Regulation Of Gasoline, Which Has Resulted In An Increase In Gas Prices. Al Gore has been a "driving force" behind the stricter regulation of gasoline, which has "pushed up production prices and created a patchwork of contradictory gasoline formulas in various parts of the country."
(Bill Sammon, "Gore's Strategy Is To Vilify Oil Firms," The Washington Times, June 22, 2000) A recent study by the bipartisan Congressional Research Service cited these factors as contributing to the massive increase in gas prices in the Midwest. (Lawrence Kumins, "Midwest Gasoline Price Increases," Congressional Research Service, June 16, 2000)


COLLEGE TAX CREDITS
GORE RHETORIC

"And we ought to make college tuition tax deductible, up to 10,000 dollars a year." 

GORE REALITY
Once Again, Al Gore Is Not Telling The Whole Truth About His College Tax Credit. "Al Gore really isn't telling the whole story about his tuition deduction. He makes it sound a lot better than it is. The fact is parents already get a tax break on college tuition. Gore would just increase it -- modestly. And Gore fails to mention that millions of families and students would be ineligible."
(Brooks Jackson, Inside Politics, CNN, September 27, 2000) (emphasis added)

Al Gore's New College Tax Credit Is Not New And Not All College Students Will Be Beneficiaries. Gore claims that he will give a 28% tuition tax credit up to $2800 per year. However, Al Gore misrepresents his plan by not specifying that $2,000 of his proposed "tax credit would come from an already existing program or that the new tax credit, worth $800, wasn't refundable." In addition, Al Gore conveniently omits the fact that only one child per family is eligible for this credit at a time.
(Pamela Yip, "Gore's Economic Proposals Get Mixed Reviews From Experts," The Dallas Morning News, August 22, 2000; "Interview with Mark Fabiani," Fox News Sunday, August 27, 2000; Bob Davis and John D. McKinnon, "Basics of Campaign Math: Promise High, Budget Low," The Wall Street Journal, August 31, 2000)

Al Gore Will Not Help Families And Students Pay For All College Expenses. Gore's college tax credit plan only applies to tuition and provides no tax credit for college expenses such as room and board, which on average cost $4,792 per year, and books, supplies, or travel. The average 4-year public college tuition for an in-state student is only $3,226 per year. So if you send your child to a public school, the maximum tax credit a family could receive is $903.28.
(Gore 2000 Website, August 29, 2000; Brooks Jackson, Inside Politics, CNN, September 27, 2000; Digest of Education Statistics, 1999, www.nces.ed.gov, August 29, 2000;)

No Students Or Families Receiving Financial Aid Or College Loans Will Benefit Under Al Gore's Tax Plan. This tax credit starts to phase out if the family's combined income is $100,000. "Gore's college tuition tax credit wouldn't apply to some students who receive other government-backed financial aid" and no family with a college loan qualifies for this tax credit.
(Daniel LeDuc, "Gore Pitches Tuition Tax Credit," The Washington Post, August 24, 2000; James Barnes, "Making the Case for Tax Cuts," National Journal, September 16, 2000; Glenn Kessler, "In Tax Plans, Truth Is Closely Budgeted," The Washington Post, August 23, 2000) (emphasis added)

Al Gore's College Tax Credit Will Not Help Those Families and Students With Low Incomes. According to a CNN analysis, millions of families "won't see a dime of benefit, including most students who are working their way through college, like these United Parcel Service part-time package sorters. The reason is they don't make enough money to pay any federal income taxes, so Gore's expanded deduction does them no good. In fact, about 30 million low-income households would get no benefit. Gore excludes affluent families, too. No couple making over $120,000 a year would get any benefit under Gore's plan. An estimated 5 million upper-income families would be ineligible." (Brooks Jackson, Inside Politics, CNN, September 27, 2000)

Governor Bush Will Make It Easier For Parents To Save Early For College By Granting Complete Tax Exemption To All Qualified Pre-Paid And Tuition Savings Plans. Governor Bush will expand the "Education Savings Accounts" by increasing the annual contributions limit from $500 to $5,000, and allowing funds to be withdrawn tax free to pay for expenses from kindergarten through college. In addition, Governor Bush will establish a $1.5 billion "College Challenge" grant to cover one-third of state costs to establish a merit scholarship program for students who take an advanced or recommended curriculum.
(George W. Bush For President Website, www.georgewbush.com, October 3, 2000)


EDUCATION SPENDING 
GORE RHETORIC

"This is a funding crisis, all around the country."

GORE REALITY
Spending For Education Has Dramatically Increased. The Department of Education estimates a record $324.3 billion was spent on elementary and secondary education in 1997-98, an increase of almost 88 percent since 1987-88. (Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 1998) Between 1998 and 1999, federal education spending has increased by $783 million dollars.
(FY 2000 and FY 2001 Budgets)

YET, THE U.S. STILL TRAILS THE REST OF THE WORLD IN MATH AND SCIENCES

The U.S. Is Last In Math. In December 1999, Al Gore highlighted the failure of American education: "We rank 18th out of 18 nations surveyed in 12th grade math, Tim [Russert]. We now have 60 percent of the businesses in America with good paying jobs they cannot fill because they can't find enough people with education."
(Al Gore, Democratic Presidential Debate, NBC's "Meet the Press," December 19, 1999) Click Here To See Al Gore Describe The Education Recession.(Real Player required)

The U.S. Is Last In Physics. Internationally, in physics we are dead last, 16th out of 16 nations.
(U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Highlights from TIMSS")

The U.S. Is 16 Out Of 21 Countries In Science. In science, fourth-graders do well, ranking third only to Korea and Japan. However, by eighth-grade they fall to 17th out of 41 and by twelfth-grade they are back at the bottom of the pack at 16th out of 21.
(U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Highlights from TIMSS")


MILITARY READINESS
GORE RHETORIC

"Let me tell you what I will do first of all, I want to make it clear, our military is the strongest best trained best equipped best led fighting force in the world and in the history of the world. Nobody should have any doubt about that. Least of our adversaries or potential adversaries, I if you entrust me with the presidency I will do whatever is necessary in order to make sure our forces stay the strongest in the world. In fact, in my 10-year budget proposal, I have set aside more than twice as much for this purpose. As Governor Bush has, in his proposal."

GORE REALITY
Under the Clinton/Gore Administration, the U.S. Military Has Undergone a Precipitous Decline in Its Capabilities, Readiness, and Morale. The Clinton/Gore Administration has cut the defense budget by 40 percent, reducing it to its lowest percentage of the Gross National Product (GNP) since prior to World War II. As a result, U.S. military forces have been deprived of adequate resources, with a highly negative impact on readiness, troop morale, and the ability to fulfill U.S. commitments worldwide.

Al Gore Has Even Bragged About His Role In Shrinking The Pentagon:

"I've presided over the so-called reinventing government program to down size our federal bureaucracy, including, more than any other, the Pentagon and the Defense Department."
(Democratic Presidential Primary Debate, Johnstown, Iowa, January 8, 2000)

Yet even as the military has been relentlessly squeezed, it has been forced into an increasing number of interventions, further straining its limited reserves.

Recent Studies Warn Of A Clinton/Gore "Train Wreck" 

The U.S. armed forces bequeathed by Presidents Reagan and Bush to the Clinton/Gore Administration were the world's best equipped, best trained, and best prepared fighting force. Over the past seven years, however, these forces have been progressively weakened by severe under funding, over deployment, and increasing morale problems.

According to a recent study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the U.S. is facing a "train wreck" regarding its armed forces, one that is "principally the result of a failure by the [Clinton/Gore] administration to provide the funds necessary to pay for the kinds of military force and tempo of operations dictated by its foreign policy." The military has been so starved of resources by the Clinton/Gore Administration that increasing shortfalls have already begun to significantly erode the military's ability to carry out its missions, a shortfall that "could well be measured in American lives." If the inadequate Clinton/Gore funding levels continue, the U.S. will soon confront one or more of several disturbing possibilities, including:

  • a significantly reduced military force, possibly only 1/3 its present size;
  • a largely obsolescent inventory of weapons and equipment; and
  • a general U.S. retreat from the world. 

Defense Budget "Death Spiral." The Clinton/Gore reductions in the defense budget have reached such dangerous levels that officials still serving in the Administration have begun to sound the alarm. Commenting on the impact of years of under funding, rapidly aging equipment, and the increased tempo of operations, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology Jacques S. Gansler stated "We are trapped in a 'death spiral.'" (Daniel Goure and Jeffrey M. Ranney, Averting the Defense Train Wreck in the New Millennium, Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1999, pp xii, xv, 5. CSIS is currently headed by John J. Hamre, formerly the Clinton/Gore Administration's Deputy Secretary of Defense)

Undermining Readiness by Starving the Military. Both parties spoke of a "peace dividend" after the end of the Cold War, but the modest defense cuts initiated by President Bush were dramatically accelerated and deepened from the first days of the Clinton/Gore Administration. These Clinton/Gore cuts have irresponsibly endangered America's security by shrinking the U.S. military by 40 percent while simultaneously increasing the number of deployments by 2 times. Clinton and Gore have demanded America's servicemen and women do 250 percent more work with only 60 percent of the resources.

  • The Army's ranks have been reduced by more than 630,000 soldiers and civilians since the end of the Gulf War, with the number of Army divisions shrinking from 18 in 1992 to 10 today;
  • The Navy is down to 324 ships from 586, with the Clinton/Gore Administration proposing to reduce the number further to 305;
  • The average age of the B-52H bombers, used extensively in the Balkans, is 37 years old;
  • The average age of the Marine Corps' Amphibious Assault Vehicles is 26 years old;
  • The CH-46 helicopter, a Marine Corps mainstay, is 40 years old;
  • Since 1990, the Air Force has shrunk from 36 fighter wings (active and reserve) to 20;
  • More than half the B1-Bs at Ellsworth Air Force Base are not mission capable because they lack critical spare parts; (House Republican Conference, "U.S. Military Resources Have Been Depleted by Years of Clinton/Gore Neglect," Press Release, April 22, 1999)
  • More than 40 percent of the Army's helicopter fleet either cannot safely perform its wartime mission; (Sean D. Naylor, "Army Aviation 'Headed In The Wrong Direction'/Composite Squadrons, More Cockpit Time Part Of Planned Fixes," Army Times, April 17, 2000)

Threat to U.S. Commitments. The decline in American military strength under the Clinton/Gore Administration has been such that, if Saddam Hussein were once again to attempt to occupy Kuwait or threaten Saudi Arabia, it would require 90 percent of our active Army, two-thirds of our fighter wings and aircraft carriers, and every Marine in uniform to assemble the force President Bush used to expel Iraqi forces the first time. (John Hillen, "Military Blues; America's Shrinking Armed Forces Face Even Larger Challenges in the Post-Cold War Era," The San Diego Union-Tribune, April 26, 1998

Plummeting Troop Morale. Under the Clinton/Gore Administration, low morale has led to greatly reduced reenlistment rates among active-duty personnel, as well as recruitment problems for the armed services. This is caused in part by declining living standards for active-duty personnel, in combination with the much higher operations tempo required by the Clinton/Gore Administration's interventionist agenda. In addition, the gap between military and civilian pay increased to 13.5 percent in 1999; and two-thirds of military family housing is characterized by the Defense Science Board as substandard. Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN), Chairman of the House Family Caucus, estimates that 28,000 military families are eligible for food stamps.
(Representative John Hostettler, "Hostettler, Family Caucus Spotlight Needs of Military Families," Press Release, March 25, 1999)


THE GULF WAR
GORE RHETORIC

"When I was in the United States Senate I worked with former President Bush, your father, was one of only a few Democrats in the senate to support the Persian Gulf War."

GORE REALITY
Gore's Gulf War Vote Was No "Profile In Courage." Gore's Description Of His January 12, 1991 Senate Vote In Favor Of Authorizing The Use Of Military Force In The Persian Gulf Is Another Al Gore Reinvention:

"I was one of only a handful of senators in the Democratic Caucus in the Senate when Saddam Hussein was in Kuwait. And the argument was made that sanctions would suffice to push him out of Kuwait and get rid of that threat that he was posing to virtually all of the Middle East. And I voted to authorize the use of force. And it felt like a lonely vote at the time. And it was tough. But I was glad that I did it. And I think, in retrospect, it definitely turned out to be the right thing."
("Democratic Presidential Debate, University of New Hampshire," Federal News Service, January 5, 2000) 

"[B]efore the mission in the Persian Gulf, opinion was sharply divided in the country. There was very strong opposition to it. I remember as one of the Democrats who supported that mission that it was a very unpopular thing to do."
(PBS' "The Newshour with Jim Lehrer," December 13, 1995) 

Gore Shopped His Vote, According To Then-Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole:

"As late as the night before the vote, Gore was shopping around for the best deal for his vote. Gore" came to me and said, 'If I vote with you, how much time will you give me tomorrow morning?' This was late in the evening he came to me. Then he went to [Senate Majority Leader George] Mitchell to see how much time he could get if he voted against it. . ."

"He said 'I'm anguishing over this. I've got to decide in the morning, and I don't know whether to vote with the President or against the President, can you give me 20 minutes of prime time?' Now, if that's commitment, it's a new kind of commitment. . ."

"He was shopping. He was seeing where he could get the most prime time on television if he voted for or against the Gulf. He ended up voting for it. I mean that's kind of the inside joke around the Senate, the way he played it."
(CNN's "Evans and Novak," July 24, 1992)

Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY) Was An Eyewitness To This Interaction And Confirmed Senator Dole's Account:

"That was the most troubling thing I had ever seen with any colleague. . . [Gore] came to the cloakroom, and Dole and I were sitting there. We'd agreed on two hours on each side. And [Gore] said 'Bob, how much time will you give me if I support the President on this vote.' And [Dole] said, 'How much time did they give you on the other side?' And Al said, 'they said 7 minutes.' And Bob said, 'we'll give you 15.' And then I said, 'maybe we can get you another five, so you'd have 20 minutes, Al.'"

"And then [Gore] said, 'Well, I'll think about it all night.' And he went back to his office, and we sent word over there that he could speak during the news cycle in the debate because we on our side of the aisle called him 'Prime Time Al.'"

"And then he called the Secretary of the Senate that night, Howard Green, and said, 'I want to know if expletive deleted [sic] that if I don't get 20 minutes, I'm going to vote the other way.'"

"The next day. . . he said, 'if I've got 20 minutes, I'm going to go with the President.' And that's what he did. I always felt he might have had two speeches written."
(CNBC's "Hardball," February 1, 2000) 

Gore's "Shopping" Of His Vote Was Widely Known Among His Colleagues:

"Everybody in the Senate knows he sold his vote for TV time," former Vice President Dan Quayle is quoted as saying. "George Mitchell doesn't deny it. He went to Bob Dole and said 'If I vote with the Republicans, how much of your allotted time will you give me on C-Span?' and he went to Mitchell and said, 'If I vote with the majority, how much time will you give me?"

"Dole gave him 20 minutes, and Mitchell gave him 10 minutes, which got his vote."
(Stan Slusher, "The Ombudsman's Report," The Louisville Courier-Journal, November 18, 1992) 

Marla Romash, Spokesperson For Gore, Confirmed That Gore Did Not Make Up His Mind Until The Night Before The Vote And Defended His Approach To Dole And Mitchell, Saying:

"It's standard procedure for people who are undecided to the last moment to ask both sides whether any floor time might be available."
(B. Drummond Ayres Jr., "The 1992 Campaign: The Candidates; Dole Asserts Gore Traded War Vote," The New York Times, July 25, 1992) 

Gore's Own Statements At The Time Reveal A Surprising Indecision About His Position:

"When I went to bed last night [before the vote to authorize the use of military force against Iraq] I felt in my heart that this was the right vote. But I wanted to sleep on it. I didn't know if I had the courage to cast it."
(James W. Brosnan, "Gore Joins Mid-South Majority in Backing War," The Commercial Appeal, January 13, 1991) 

Flip-Flop On Intervention: Prior To The Vote, Gore Had Opposed Military Intervention:

Local Tennessee papers captured Gore's position: "Sen. Albert Gore, Jr. (D-TN). . . favors waiting for economic sanctions to work instead of a military strike."
(James W. Brosnan, "War Fear, Recession Mean Uncertainty for New Congress, The Commercial Appeal, December 31, 1990) 

On January 30, 1991, on the Senate floor, Gore addressed U.S. goals toward Iraq, urging caution and limited objectives, especially regarding the Iraqi opposition:

"When will the fighting stop?. . . We are not seeking the surrender of Iraq. . . No one in a position of responsibility is talking about the conquest of Iraq. . . It is doubtful that the conquest of Iraq is anything that this Nation would ever want to seek. Even if it were adopting that as a stated goal, it would be a terrible mistake, for reasons we can all certainly see clearly. Any effort to expand our objectives so as to include the military conquest of Iraq would certainly blow apart the core of international consensus upon which all else depends. Arab public opinion would be inflamed to a point endangering not only the ability of moderate Arab governments to cooperate with us, but also their ability to survive. That much seems clear and accepted. . ." 

"Let me be clear then about what we want. The removal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait is enough to warrant a suspension of combat operations. . . " 

"Doubtless, among the exiled Iraqis, one can find survivors who are people of virtue and wisdom, but it is hard to see how these individuals might come to power unless we were to install them, and that would require the conquest and occupation of Iraq, which is not in prospect and should not be in prospect."
(Al Gore, Congressional Record, January 30, 1991) 

But Gore Later Criticized President Bush For Failing To Take Additional Military Action Against Iraq In Order To Remove Saddam Hussein From Power And For Not Supporting Iraqi Groups Trying To Overthrow The Regime:

"I don't think we should have left Saddam's regime in place . . . I think we made a tragic mistake in the days right after the war in deciding that the best way to maintain stability in Iraq was to leave the Ba'athist regime in power there. And when the Kurds rose up we encouraged them to do it. When the Shi'ites in the south rose up, we let his helicopters fly. We let him brutally suppress the people who were trying to overthrow Saddam's regime. 

Now, I think that was a calculated decision and you can understand why in one way. They didn't want the country to fly apart and break up. But I think it was a serious miscalculation. We should have bent every policy - and we should do it now - to overthrow that regime and make sure that Saddam Hussein is removed from power."
(CNN's "Larry King Live," September 19, 1991) (emphasis added.)

Saddam Outlasts Clinton/Gore. Despite this demand, after seven years of the Clinton/Gore Administration, Saddam Hussein remains in power, and Gore's insistence that the Iraqi dictator be removed immediately has been greatly modified. Conceding that Saddam had "been in power for much longer than we would like," Gore skirts the issue of how he would go about overthrowing Saddam, declining to specify any concrete measures:

"[S]ome of what is now underway with respect to Iraq in this administration is not something we can talk about in the public arena."

He adds that "sanctions are important" in that effort, as well as "our efforts to support [the] resistance movements," the very policies for which he criticized the Bush Administration.
(CNN's "Late Edition," April 30, 2000)





 

 

 

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