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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

"First in the Nation" special: Steve Forbes transcript

February 3, 1999
Web posted at: 2:25 p.m. EST (1925 GMT)

Lamar Alexander | Bill Bradley | George W. Bush
Steve Forbes | Al Gore | John McCain | Dan Quayle

( Editor's note: This interview with Steve Forbes appeared in a joint CNN-WMUR special, "First in the Nation: The New Hampshire Primary," which aired February 2, 1999. WMUR's Scott Spradling interviewed Forbes.)

SCOTT SPRADLING, WMUR REPORTER: In 1996, articles came out -- pro-lifers came out in public saying, "We can't support Steve Forbes because we, as a group, don't feel like he is a true pro- life candidate." As of recently -- as just a few weeks ago though, many of those same groups and those same people now seem to support your cause, some of your thoughts and opinions on the issue. It's leading some folks to say, "It looks like he's either changed, or he's working more to be a social conservative than his image cast in 1996." How do you respond to that?

STEVE FORBES (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To be blunt, there were certain leaders in 1996, of various organizations, who, perhaps, weren't as enthusiastic about my candidacy as I was. But my views have been absolutely consistent, and even those who may not agree with my views when they look at what I said in 1996 and what I've said recently, it's absolutely a single thread; it has been absolutely consistent.

SPRADLING: Does it bother you at all that people can look at you -- your critics -- and say, "He can just buy this election. He can spend, spend, spend, get his message out there and buy this whole election"?

FORBES: The American people, the American voter is not for sale. What they're looking for in candidates is a sense of who has a sense of where America's at, what America can do, the positive changes that need to be made, and who has the backbone and determination to make those changes and get real things done, doing things instead of just talking about them.

It's not rocket science. We can fix this horrific abominable thing they call the tax code. There's no reason we spend five billion hours filling out tax forms.

We can stop Washington from continuing to mess up our education system. We should have the best in the world. instead of one where our kids are lagging other kids around the world.

We should have a health care system where patients are in charge. They keep talking about it, but nothing gets done about it.

SPRADLING: Why not take the New Hampshire pledge, which would guarantee one week between New Hampshire's primary and all others that would follow?

FORBES: Well, New Hampshire should absolutely be the first primary in the nation; that's critical for the American political process. If I do run, I've made the pledge that I will take my message to all the American people. I don't understand why the Democratic governor of New Hampshire and the Democratic governor of Delaware can't get together and figure out the calenders.

SPRADLING: What do you feel, when the history books are written, will be the legacy of this impeachment process?

FORBES: The president appears to have violated the law -- and let me make it very clear: the issue here is not his personal behavior, reprehensible though it may have been, that is not a matter of constitutional importance. The key is what he did after that alleged behavior. It's the old story: it's not what you originally did, it's what you did in reaction that has got him in the trouble that he's had to date.

Lamar Alexander | Bill Bradley | George W. Bush
Steve Forbes | Al Gore | John McCain | Dan Quayle


New Hampshire sets February 1 primary date (9-28-99)

Arizona governor endorses Bush over McCain (9-28-99)

Bradley unveils $65 billion plan for universal health care (9-28-99)

Gore receives endorsements of Shaquille O'Neal and Bill Cosby (9-28-99)



How much money have the candidates raised? Here are their quarterly reports to the Federal Election Commission.


McCain officially announces Presidential candidacy (9-28-99) video Windows Media: 28K | 80K



The art of being Bradley

How Gore's campaign went off the rails

On the wrong track

Bob Lang: On the wrong track (9-28-99) more

Mike Luckovich: "There's a whine in the air" (9-22-99) more


Democratic Presidential Primary

GOP Presidential Primary

Third Party Candidates


Wednesday, February 3, 1999

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