Forbes re-emphasizes familiar themes
September 9, 1999
Web posted at: 6:36 p.m. EDT (2236 GMT)
TAMPA, Florida (CNN) -- In what was billed as a "who I am" address, Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes linked familiar themes of tax relief, individual opportunity and education reform Thursday in a speech to African-American ministers.
Steve Forbes spoke Thursday to the National Baptist Convention
Forbes spoke Thursday to the National Baptist Convention in Tampa, a convention being attended by an estimated 25,000 African-American ministers. He is by far the candidate with the most personal wealth in the presidential race, but Forbes used the address to emphasize his family's humble beginnings in America.
Forbes' grandfather emigrated to the United States from Scotland and founded the financial magazine that bears his name, becoming rich in the 1920s and losing most of his fortune during the Great Depression. "He never lost faith because he believes that in America, there would always be a new opportunity," Forbes said of his grandfather.
Forbes promised to fight for civil rights if elected president, although he offered few specifics. He also promised to back federal funding for so-called "faith-based," or religious, schools.
If elected president, "I will immediately block-grant funds from the Education Department and send them back to the states and communities with this directive: Let parents select schools that work," Forbes said.
"Let me be blunt: No mother in the United States of America should be forced to send her child to a lousy school," Forbes said.
Noting that African-American families as a group hold considerably fewer assets than white families in America, Forbes suggested a partial privatization of Social Security to help build assets. People should be able to make some of their own choices about investing Social Security funds and should have access to all the funds in individual Social Security accounts after retiring, he said.
And Forbes returned to his favorite topic of his two presidential campaigns: The income tax. "Let's take this monster and kill it, drive a stake through its heart, bury it and hope it never rises again to terrorize the American people," he said of the federal tax code.