Bush says he won't answer 'ridiculous rumors' about drug use
GOP front-runner critical of Clinton's China policy
August 14, 1999
Web posted at: 7:14 p.m. EDT (2314 GMT)
AMES, Iowa (CNN) -- GOP presidential front-runner George W. Bush says he does not plan to respond to what he terms "ridiculous rumors" about past drug use raised in recent media reports.
Bush: 'I know how the game works ... and I ain't playing'
"The minute you answer one question, they float another rumor. I know how the game works .. and I ain't playing," Bush said in an interview broadcast Saturday on CNN's "Evans, Novak, Hunt and Shields."
"I understand by refusing to play the Washington, D.C., game of gossip, people may draw certain conclusions about me," he said. "(But) it's time for some politician to stand up and say, 'Enough is enough of this.'"
In his CNN interview, the Texas governor also criticized President Bill Clinton's China policy, saying the United States should view China not as a strategic partner but as a "strategic competitor."
"I think he's sent bad signals to China that says 'Well, if you move aggressively against Taiwan, we won't act necessarily,'" Bush said. "They need to be viewed as a competitor ... and we need to be tough and firm, and we need to be very resolute about our position when it comes to Taiwan."
Backs 'don't ask, don't tell' policy
Bush also said he would personally ask conservative commentator Pat Buchanan, one of his rivals for the GOP nomination, not to bolt the party to make an independent or third party bid for the White House.
And in a break from the far right wing of his party, Bush said he supports the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, imposed by the Clinton administration, under which gay and lesbian people can remain in the military if they don't disclose their sexual orientation.
He also said he supports legislation mandating instant background checks for gun buyers at both gun shops and gun shows.
Asked his view of the National Rifle Association, Bush said, "I don't view them as a great demon. On the other hand, I'm not a member of the NRA."
"I think the NRA provides an outlet for law-abiding citizens to express their opinion, and there's nothing wrong with that. If I agree with them, I will do so. If I don't agree with them, I'll be bold enough to say I don't," he said.
Convince Americans of 'beauty of life'
Bush reiterated his support for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion except in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is in danger. But he said public support for that measure must be built by convincing "the American people of the value of life, not only the born but the unborn."
"I think it is important for a society and a culture to recognize the beauty of life, and I hope public opinion would then follow," he said.
"While society kind of gets polarized over abortion, it's important for us to do everything we can in the meantime to reduce the number of abortions. That's why I support the ban on partial birth abortion. That's why I fought for one of the best parental notification laws in the state of Texas," he said.
Bush also called on Clinton to sign a tax cut bill recently passed by the Republican-controlled Congress. He also said he thinks Clinton ought to reappoint Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to another term.
This report was written by Richard Shumate.