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Dole Condemns Federal Housing Agency

By Bruce Morton/CNN


WASHINGTON (April 29) -- Sen. Robert Dole, in another in a series of speeches designed to contrast his views with President Bill Clinton's, today called for the abolition of public housing (160K WAV sound).

It should be replaced, Dole said, by vouchers so poor people could choose where to live. "Public housing is one of the last bastions of socialism in the world," he told the annual National Association of Realtors conference today. "Imagine, the U.S. government owns the housing where an entire class of citizens permanently live. We are the landlords of misery.

"Let me be clear. I believe the government has an obligation to maintain a safety net. But these programs have failed. They have not alleviated poverty. ...They have deepened it, not alleviated it. Housing vouchers, in my view, would enable poor Americans to choose where to live, just like we do," he said (224K WAV sound).

In response, Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros issued a statement saying the Clinton Administration wants vouchers too. "I don't know where Senator Dole was," Cisneros said, "while members of his own party gutted the administration's voucher proposal and were undermining what he called for today."

[Dole and Peres]

The rest of Dole's day reflected his double job these days: Senate leader and presidential candidate. He met with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, something a candidate or a Senate leader might do, and on the Senate floor, attacked the administration over the trade deficit with Japan and crime.

But it's in these issue speeches that Dole seems to want to highlight his differences with the president. Today's on housing was the second; the first dealt with crime and permissive judges and more are on the way.

This story originally appeared on Inside Politics.

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