Bradley says Gore 'wrong' about loyalty
Several candidates visit Iowa
By David Yepsen/Des Moines Register
October 19, 1999
Web posted at: 6:06 p.m. EDT (2206 GMT)
The 2000 presidential campaign criss-crossed Iowa Saturday as contenders stepped up their efforts in preparation for the Jan. 24 Iowa caucuses.
Former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley fired back at the charges Vice President Al Gore made last weekend at the Iowa Democratic Party's Jefferson Jackson Day Dinner.
On the Republican side, conservative activist Gary Bauer attacked Gov. Tom Vilsack's gay civil-rights order, publisher Steve Forbes said he would take on front-runner George W. Bush in an advertising campaign and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch outlined a health-care plan.
Bradley said in an interview Saturday in Des Moines that Gore's charge that Bradley is not a loyal Democrat "is just wrong."
Bradley said he served in the U.S. Senate for 18 years as a Democrat and "only people inside the Beltway would consider it an abandonment" of the party to retire.
Bradley said he helped elect a Democrat to fill his seat and that flirtation with a third party "was very short. I was thinking about what we could do to revive our democracy. It was a very short consideration. I decided, no, the way to do it is in the Democratic Party. I am a Democrat and always have been a Democrat and will always remain a Democrat."
On Gore's charge that Bradley supported Reaganomics, Bradley said "that's interesting because in 1981, I was the Democrat who was selected by the Democratic Party to go on national television in opposition to Ronald Reagan on the tax bill of 1981." Bradley voted for Reagan's budget cuts and against his tax cuts.
He said, "If everybody in Congress had voted as I voted - against the tax cuts and for the budget cuts - we wouldn't have had the deficits of the last 17 years and we would have had more economic growth and more revenues coming into the government for the programs that were reduced in 1981."
"If you have to go back 20 years" to dig up criticisms "you're really looking."
* Bauer, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, blasted Vilsack for signing an executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in hiring for state agencies.
Bauer was campaigning in Des Moines and released a statement saying "Governor Vilsack has joined the ranks of his friend Bill Clinton by working to impose a set of values without allowing the people or their representatives to decide."
He also objected to Vilsack's holding talks with gay civil-rights groups.
"What should be even more alarming to Iowa families are comments that the governor has been working with these anti-family special interest groups since before he got elected," Bauer said. "If Governor Vilsack truly wanted to represent all the people of Iowa, not just a special interest group, he would let them or their representatives decide this issue."
John Norris, Vilsack's chief of staff, replied Saturday, "That is exactly what I would expect from a far-right conservative, and why I'm confident we did the right thing." Criticism "from the far right won't deter us from doing what we think is right," Norris said.
* Forbes told reporters Saturday that front-runner George W. Bush "has reason to be concerned" about Forbes' pending television ad campaign.
"The fact is, he hasn't put forth real proposals," Forbes said. "What he has put forth simply gives more power to Washington as he's done on education. I've proposed a series of debates with Governor Bush, in depth, several hours each. I've made the offer that if we have these debates, these series of in-depth debates, in my ads I'll only use material from those debates."
The Bush campaign fears an attack similar to the one Forbes unloaded on Bob Dole in the 1996 campaign.
"I only run ads on issues. The ads I've run thus far has been on substance and issues," Forbes said. "This is a campaign of ideas and issues. It has been and that's what it will continue to be. Those who fear this campaign must obviously fear substance."
* Hatch outlined proposals for a health-care system for elderly people. He proposed no change in Medicare benefits for those who are about to retire and said a "national summit of experts, not politicians" should be formed to make changes.
One element of the plan should be "better coverage for prescription drugs," he said.
Hatch also said that the health-care bureaucracies should be trimmed and that incentives for long-term care insurance should be provided.
The senator also called for more money for biomedical research, including an income tax checkoff in which funds are earmarked for research into major death-causing illnesses.
This article provided by Des Moines Register.com