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E-mail From Washington

From: CNN
In: Washington
Posted 5-30-97

Subject: Kemp Says He'll Decide Next Year Whether To Run For President In 2000

Former vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp said he will not make his final decision on whether to run for the presidency in 2000 until 1998, but that he's "taking the steps that are necessary" to run.

Appearing on CNN's "Evans and Novak," Kemp predicted that the Democratic nominee will be Al Gore, saying that House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), a probable rival, is engaging in "class warfare."

"I think Dick Gephardt has made a real error in calculating his possibilities for the year 2000 if that's what he's doing," Kemp said, referring to Gephardt's recent attacks on the budget deal and extending most-favored-nation trade status to China.

"I shouldn't totally discount that his motives could be more than just politics, but for him to just go up and oppose cutting tax rates, for him to call China a Stalinist free trade, with all due respect, we should not be making new enemies out of old enemies, we have a chance to bring China into the world," he said. 

Kemp, who has been critical of compromising on tax cuts in the name of balancing the budget, said that he will meet with House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott to talk about the tax bill.

 "I'm going to give the best of intentions to the men and women who wrote that budget if they get the right type of tax bill, and if they do, I'll be out there helping to lead the charge; if they don't, I'm going to have a lot of difficulty supporting something that doesn't deal with the alternative minimum tax, what families in America are up against in terms of the tax burden on them and doesn't, as I said, play a role in removing inflation from the value of an asset that could be taxed by government," Kemp said.

Kemp agrees with the president that Congress should vote again to extend most-favored-nation status to China.

"We have a chance to bring freedom to all of Asia, including China, and we should pursue it with a very positive engagement proposal of trade and strict adherence to human rights," Kemp said.

With regard to campaign finance scandals that have rocked the Democratic Party and touched the Republicans recently too, Kemp said the blame lies with the White House. 

"There's no way you can compare a modest contribution from a so-called Hong Kong businessman with China trying to influence U.S. foreign policy and the sale of the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House," Kemp said. "That is outrageous, the American people know it, and this is the most disingenuous White House that I've seen in my lifetime." 

Kemp also said that although in theory he's against race-based quotas, he is against Rep. Charles Canady's (R-Fla.) proposed bill to end affirmative action programs.

"I don't think it should come up at this moment; I think we should begin a policy of replacing affirmative action based on color, with affirmative action based on need, and if that were the case, then it would be supportable, but not at this moment."

When asked if he would mind "running against his running mate's wife," Elizabeth Dole, who is making a trip to the politically important state of New Hampshire next week, Kemp responded, "Clearly Elizabeth Dole is a very attractive woman and politician and she is highly regarded by the American people and I'm thrilled that she's going to New Hampshire and I have not made my decision, nor do I think Elizabeth has."

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