This is a transcript of the first presidential debate of 1992. The debatewas held on October 11th in St.Louis, Missouri. The format is explainedby Jim Lehrer in his opening remarks.
The transcript is approximately 25 pages long.
JIM LEHRER: Good evening, and welcome to the first of 3 debates amongthe major candidates for president of the US, sponsored by the Commissionon Presidential Debates. The candidates are: independent candidate RossPerot, Governor Bill Clinton, the Democratic nominee, and President GeorgeBush, the Republican nominee. I am Jim Lehrer of the MacNeil-LehrerNewshour on PBS, and I will be the moderator for this 90-minute event,which is taking place before an audience in the athletic complex on thecampus of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Three journalists will be asking questions tonight. They are JohnMashek of The Boston Globe, Ann Compton of ABC News, and Sander Vanocur, afreelance journalist. We will follow a format agreed to by representatives of the Clinton andBush campaigns. That agreement contains no restrictions on the content orsubject matter of the questions. Each candidate will have up to 2 minutesfor a closing statement. The order of those, as well as the questioning,was determined by a drawing. The first question goes to Mr. Perot. He will have 2 minutes toanswer, to be followed by rebuttals of one minute each from GovernorClinton and then President Bush. Gentlemen, good evening.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Good evening, Jim.
PRESIDENT BUSH/MR. PEROT: Good evening.
MR. LEHRER: The first topic tonight is what separates each of you fromthe other. Mr. Perot, what do you believe tonight is the single most importantseparating issue of this campaign?
PEROT: I think the principal issue that separates me is that 5 and a halfmillion people came together on their own and put me on the ballot. I wasnot put on the ballot by either of the 2 parties; I was not put on theballot by any PAC money, by any foreign lobbyist money, by any specialinterest money. This is a movement that came from the people. This is theway the framers of the Constitution intended our government to be, agovernment that comes from the people. Over time we have developed a government that comes at the people, thatcomes from the top down, where the people are more or less treated asobjects to be programmed during the campaign with commercials and mediaevents and fear messages and personal attacks and things of that nature. The thing that separates my candidacy and makes it unique is that thiscame from millions of people in 50 states all over this country who wanteda candidate that worked and belonged to nobody but them. I go into thisrace as their servant, and I belong to them. So this comes from thepeople.
MR. LEHRER: Governor Clinton, a one minute response.
CLINTON: The most important distinction in this campaign is that I representreal hope for change, a departure from trickle-down economics, a departurefrom tax and spend economics, to invest in growth. But before I can do that,I must challenge the American people to change, and they must decide. TonightI have to say to the President: Mr. Bush, for 12 years you've had it yourway. You've had your chance and it didn't work. It's time to change. I wantto bring that change to the American people. But we must all decide firstwe have the courage to change for hope and a better tomorrow.
MR. LEHRER: President Bush, one minute response, sir.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, I think one thing that distinguishes is experience.I think we've dramatically changed the world. I'll talk about that a littlebit later, but the changes are mind-boggling for world peace. Kids go tobed at night without the same fear of nuclear war. And change for changesake isn't enough. We saw that message in the late 70s when heard a lotabout change, and what happened, that misery index went right through theroof. But my economic program is the kind of change we want. And the waywe're going to get it done is we're going to have a brand new Congress.A lot of them are thrown out because of all the scandals. I'll sit downwith them, Democrats and Republicans alike, and work for my agenda for Americanrenewal, which represents real change. But I'd say, if you had to separateout, I think it's experience at this level.
MR.LEHRER: Governor Clinton, how do you respond to the President on the-- you have two minutes -- on the question of experience? He says that iswhat distinguishes him from the other two of you.
CLINTON: I believe experience counts, but it's not everything. Values,judgment, and the record that I have amassed in my state also should countfor something. I've worked hard to create good jobs and to educate people.My state now ranks first in the country in job growth this year, fourthin income growth, fourth in reduction of poverty, third in overall economicperformance, according to a major news magazine. That's because we believein investing in education and in jobs. And we have to change in this country.You know, my wife, Hillary, gave me a book about a year ago in which theauthor defined insanity as just doing the same old thing over and over againand expecting a different result. We have got to have the courage to change.Experience is important, yes. I've gotten a lot of good experience in dealingwith ordinary people over the last year and month. I've touched more people'slives and seen more heartbreak and hope, more pain and more promise, thananybody else who's run for president this year. I think the American peopledeserve better than they're getting. We have gone from first to thirteenthin the world in the last twelve years, since Mr. Bush and Mr. Reagan havebeen in. Personal income has dropped while people have worked harder. Inthe last four years, there have been twice as many bankruptcies as new jobscreated. We need a new approach. The same old experience is not relevant.We're living in a new world after the Cold War, and what works in this newworld is not trickle down, not government for the benefit of the privilegedfew, not tax and spend, but a commitment to invest in American jobs andAmerican education, controlling American health care costs, and bringingthe American people together. That is what works. And you can have the rightkind of experience and the wrong kind of experience. Mine is rooted in thereal lives of real people, and it will bring real results if we have thecourage to change.
MR. LEHRER: President Bush, one minute to respond.
BUSH: I just thought of another -- another big difference here betweenme. I don't believe Mr. Perot feels this way, but I know Governor Clintondid because I want to accurately quote him. He thinks, I think he said,that the country is coming apart at the seams. Now, I know that the onlyway he can win is to make everybody believe the economy's worse than itis. But this country is not coming apart at the seams, for heaven's sakes.We're the United States of America. In spite of the economic problems, we'rethe most respected economy around the world. Many would trade for it. We'vebeen caught up in a global slowdown. We can do much, much better, but weought not try to convince the American people that America is a countrythat's coming apart at the seams. I would hate to be running for presidentand think that the only way I could win would be to convince everybody howhorrible things are. Yes, there are big problems, and yes, people are hurting.But I believe that this Agenda for American renewal I have is the answerto do it, and I believe we can get it done now, whereas we didn't in thepast, because you're going to have a whole brand new bunch of people inthe Congress that are going to have to listen to the same American peopleI'm listening to.
MR. LEHRER: Mr. Perot, a minute response, sir.
PEROT: Well, they've got a point. I don't have any experience in runningup a $4 trillion debt. (Laughter.) I don't have any experience in gridlockgovernment where nobody takes responsibility for anything and everybodyblames everybody else. I don't have any experience in creating the worstpublic school system in the industrialized world, but I do have a lot ofexperience in getting things done. So, if we're at a point in history wherewe want to stop talking about it and do it, I've got a lot of experiencein figuring out how to solve problems, making the solutions work, and thenmoving on to the next one. I've got a lot of experience in not taking 10years to solve a 10-minute problem. So, if it's time for action, I thinkI have experience that counts. If there's more time for gridlock and talkand finger pointing, I'm the wrong man.
MR. LEHRER: President Bush, the question goes to you. you have two minutes.And the question is this: Are there important issues of character separatingyou from these other two men?
BUSH: I think the American people should be the judge of that. I thinkcharacter is a very important question. I said something the other day whereI was accused of being like Joe McCarthy because I questioned -- I put itthis way; I think it's wrong to demonstrate against your own country ororganize demonstrations against yout own country in foreign soil. I justthink it's wrong. I -- well, maybe they say, "Well, it was a youthfulindiscretion." I was 19 or 20 flying off an aircraft carrier and thatshaped me to be Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and I'm sorry, butdemonstrating -- it's not a question of patriotism. It's a question of characterand judgment. They get on me -- Bill's gotten on me about, "read mylips." When I make a mistake I'll admit it. But he has made -- notadmitted a mistake and I just find it impossible to understand how an Americancan demonstrate against his own country in a foreign land -- organziingdemonstrations against it when young men are held prisoner in Hanoi or kidsout of the ghetto were drafted. Some say, "well, you're a little oldfashioned." Maybe I am, but I just don't think that's right. Now, whetherit's character or judgment -- whatever it is -- I have a big differencehere on this issue and so we'll just have to see how it plays out. But I-- I couldn't do that. And I don't think most Americans could do that. Andthey all say, "Well, it was a long time ago." Well, let's admitit then. Say, "I made a terrible mistake." How could you be Commander-in-Chiefof the armed forces and have some kid say -- when you have to make a toughdecision, as I did in Panama or Kuwait and then have some kid jump up andsay, "Well, I'm not going to go. The Commander-in-Chief was organizingdemonstrations halfway around the world during another era. So there aredifferences but that's about the main area where I think we have a difference.I don't know about -- we'll talk about that a little with Ross here in abit.
MR. LEHRER: Mr. Perot, you have one minute.
PEROT: I think the American people will make their own decisions on characterand at a time when we have work to do and we need action I think they needto clearly understand the backgrounds of each person. I think the presscan play a huge roll in making sure that the backgrounds are clearly presentedin an objective way. Then, make a decision. Certainly anyone in the WhiteHouse should have the character to be there. But, I think it's very importantto measure when and where things occurred. Did they occur when you werea young person, in your formative years? Or did they occur while you werea senior official in the federal government? If you make it as a young man,time passes. So I would say just, you know, look at all three of us. Decidewho you think will do the job. Pick that person in November because believeme, as I've said before, "The party's over and it's time for the clean-upcrew." And we do have to have change and people who never take responsibilityfor anything when it happens on their watch and people who are in charge--
MR. LEHRER: Your time is up.
PEROT: The time is up. (Laughter).
MR. LEHRER: The time is up.
PEROT: More Later.
MR. LEHRER: Governot Clinton, you have one minute.
CLINTON: Ross gave a good answer but I've got to respond directly tomr. Bush. You have questioned my patriotism.
CLINTON: You even brought some right-wing congressman into the WhiteHouse to plot how to attack me for going to Russia in 1969-70, when over50,000 other Americans did. Now, I honor your service in World War II, Ihonor Mr. Perot's service in uniform and the service of every man and womanwho ever served, including Admiral Crowe, who was your Chairman of the jointChiefs and who's supporting me. But when Joe McCarthy went around this countryattacking people's patriotism he was wrong. He was wrong. And a senatorfrom Connecticut stood up to him named Prescott Bush. Your father was rightto stand up to Joe McCarthy, you were wrong to attack my patriotism. I wasopposed to the war but I loved my country and we need a president who willbring this country together, not divide it. We've had enough division. Iwant to lead a unified country. (Applause.)
MR. LEHRER: We move now to the subject of taxes and spending. The questiongoes to Governor Clinton for a two minutes answer. It will be asked by AnnCompton.
ANN COMPTON: Governor Clinton, can you lock in a level here tonight onwhere middle-income families can be guaranteed a tax cut or, at the veryleast, at what income level they can be guaranteed no tax increase?
GOVERNOR CLINTON: The tax increase I have proposed triggers in atfamily incomes of $200,000 and above. Those are the people who in the1980s had their incomes go up while their taxes went down. Middle-classpeople, defined as people with incomes of $52,000 and down, had theirincomes go down while their taxes went up in the Reagan-Bush years becauseof 6 increases in the payroll taxes. So that is where my income limitwould trigger.
COMPTON: There will be no tax increases--
CLINTON3: Right. My plan--
COMPTON: --below 200,000--
CLINTON: --notwithstanding my opponent's ad, my plan triggersin at gross incomes, family incomes of $200,000 and above. Then we want togive modest middle-class tax relief to restore some fairness, especially tomiddle- class people with families with incomes of under $60,000. In addition to that, the money that I raise from upper-income peopleand from asking foreign corporations just to pay the same income on theirincome earned in America that American corporations do will be used to giveincentives back to upper-income people. I want to give people permanentincentives on investment tax credit, like President Kennedy and theCongress inaugurated in the early '60s to get industry moving again; aresearch and development tax credit; a low-income housing tax credit; along-term capital gains proposal for new business and business expansions. We've got to have no more trickle down. We don't need across-the-boardtax cuts for the wealthy for nothing. We need to say here's your taxincentive: f you create American jobs, the old-fashioned way. I'd like tocreate more millionaires than were created under Mr. Bush and Mr. Reagan,but I don't want to have 4 years where we have no growth in the privatesector, and that's what's happened in the last 4 years. We're down 35,000jobs in the private sector. We need to invest and grow, and that's what Iwant to do.
LEHRER: President Bush, one minute, sir.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, let me--I have to correct one thing. I didn'tquestion the man's patriotism. I questioned his judgment and hischaracter. What he did in Moscow, that's fine. Let him explain it. Hedid. I accept that. What I don't accept is demonstrating and organizingdemonstrations in a foreign country when your country's at war. I'm sorry.I cannot accept it. In terms of this one on taxes spells out the biggest different betweenus. I do not believe we need to go back to the Mondale proposals or theDukakis proposals of tax and spend. Governor Clinton says $200,000 but healso says he wants to raise $150 billion. Taxing people over $200,000 willnot get you $150 billion. And then when you add in his other spendingproposals, regrettably you end up socking it to the working man. That old adage they use--we're going to soak the rich- -we're going tosoak the rich--it always ends up being the poor cab driver or the workingman that ends up paying the bill. And so I just have a different approach.I believe the way to get the deficit down is to control the growth ofmandatory spending programs, and not raise taxes on the American people.We've got a big difference there.
LEHRER: Mr. Perot, one minute. (Applause)
PEROT: We've got to have a growing, expanding job base to give us agrowing, expanding tax base. Right now we have a flat to deteriorating jobbase and where it appears to be growing, it's minimum-wage jobs. So we'vegot to really rebuild our job base. That's going to take money forinfrastructure and investment to do that. Our foreign competitors aredoing it; we're not. We cannot pay off the $4 trillion debt, balance the budget and have theindustries of the future and the high- paying jobs in this country withouthaving the revenue. We're going to go through a period of sharedsacrifice. There's one challenge. It's got to be fair. We've created a mess, don't have much to show for it and we have got tofix it. And that's about all I can say in a minute. (Applause)
LEHRER: Okay. Next question goes to President Bush for a 2-minute answer, and it willbe asked by Sandy Vanocur.
SANDER VANOCUR: Mr. President, this past week your secretary of theArmy, Michael Stone, said he had no plans to abide by a congressionalmandate to cut US forces in Europe from 150 to 100 thousand by the end ofSeptember 1996. Now, why, almost 50 years after the end of World War II,and with the total collapse of the Soviet Union, should American taxpayersbe taxed to support armies in Europe when the Europeans have plenty ofmoney to do it for themselves?
BUSH: Well, Sander, that's a good question, and the answeris: for 40-some years we kept the peace. If you look at the cost of notkeeping the peace in Europe, it would be exorbitant. We have reduced thenumber of troops that are deployed and going to be deployed. I have cutdefense spending. And the reason we could do that is because of ourfantastic success in winning the Cold War. We never would have got thereif we had gone for the nuclear freeze crowd; we never would have got thereif we had listened to those that wanted to cut defense spending. I think it is important that the US stay in Europe and continue toguarantee the peace. We simply cannot pull back. Now, when anybody has a spending program they want to spend money on athome, they say, well, let's cut money out of the Defense Dept. I willaccept and have accepted the recommendations of 2 proven leaders, GeneralColin Powell and Secretary Dick Cheney. They feel that the levels we'reoperating at and the reductions that I have proposed are proper. And so I simply do not think we should go back to the isolation daysand starting blaming foreigners. We are the sole remaining superpower, andwe should be that. And we have a certain disproportionate responsibility.But I would ask the American people to understand that if we make imprudentcuts, if we go too far, we risk the peace. And I don't want to do that.I've seen what it is like to see a war, to see the burdens of a war, and Idon't want to see us make reckless cuts. Because of our programs we have been able to significantly cut defensespending. But let's not cut into the muscle, and let's not cut down ourinsurance policy, which is participation of American forces in NATO, thegreatest peace- keeping organization ever made. Today you've got problemsin Europe, still bubbling along even though Europe's gone democracy'sroute. But we are there, and I think this insurance policy is necessary.I think it goes with world leadership, and I think the levels we've come upwith are just about right.
LEHRER: Mr. Perot, one minute, sir.
PEROT: If I'm poor and you're rich, and I can get you to defend me,that's good. But when the tables get turned, I ought to do my share.Right now we spend about $300 billion a year on defense, the Japanese spendaround $30 billion in Asia, the Germans spend around $30 billion in Europe.For example, Germany will spend a trillion dollars building infrastructureover the next 10 years. It's kind of easy to do if you only have to pickup a $30-billion tab to defend your country. The European Community is in a position to pay a lot more than theyhave in the past. I agree with the president: when they couldn't, weshould have; now that they can, they should. We sort of seem to have adesire to try to stay over there and control it. They don't want us tocontrol it, very candidly. So it I think is very important for us to letthem assume more and more of the burden and for us to bring that money backhere and rebuild our infrastructure, because we can only be a superpower ifwe are an economic superpower; and we can only be an economic superpower ifwe have a growing, expanding job base. (Applause)
LEHRER: Governor Clinton, one minute, sir.
CLINTON: I agree with the general statement Mr. Bush made.I disagree that we need 150,000 troops to fulfill our role in Europe. Wecertainly must maintain an engagement there. There are certainly dangersthere, there are certainly other trouble spots in the world which arecloser to Europe than to the US. But 2 former defense secretaries recently issued a report saying that100,000 or slightly fewer troops would be enough, including PresidentReagan's former defense secretary, Mr. Carlucci. Many of the military experts whom I consulted on this agreed. We'regoing to have to spend more money in the future on military technology andon greater mobility, greater airlift, greater sealift, the B-22 airplane.We're going to have to do some things that are quite costly. And I simplydon't believe we can afford nor do we need to keep 150,000 troops in Europegiven how much the Red Army, now under the control of Russia, has been cut,the arms control agreement concluded between Mr. Bush and Mr. Yeltsin,something I have applauded. I don't think we need 150,000 troops. Let me make one other point. Mr. Bush talked about taxes. He didn'ttell you that he vetoed a middle class tax cut because it would be paid forby raising taxes on the wealthy and vetoed an investment tax credit paidfor by raising taxes on the wealthy.
LEHRER: All right. We go now to Mr Perot for a 2-minute question, andit will be asked by John Mashek.
MASHEK: Mr Perot, you talked aboutfairness just a minute ago and sharing the pain. As part of your plan toreduce the ballooning federal deficit, you've suggested that we raisegasoline taxes 50 cents a gallon over 5 years. Why punish the middle class
consumer to such a degree?
PEROT: It's 10 cents a year cumulative. It finally gets to 50 centsat the end of the 5th year. I think "punish" is the wrong word. Again,see, I didn't create this problem. We're trying to solve it. Now, if you study our international competitors, some of ourinternational competitors collect up to $3.50 a gallon in taxes, and theyuse that money to build infrastructure and to create jobs. We collect 35cents, and we don't have it to spend. I know it's not popular, and I understand the nature of your question.But the people who will be helped the most by it are the working people whowill get the jobs created because of this tax. Why do we have to do it? Because we have so mismanaged our countryover the years, and it is now time to pay the fiddler. And if we don't, wewill be spending our children's money. We have spent $4 trillion worth.An incredible number of young people are active in supporting my effortbecause they are deeply concerned that we have taken the American dreamfrom them. I think it's fitting that we're on the campus of a universitytonight. These young people, when they get out of this wonderfuluniversity, will have difficulty finding a job. We've got to clean this mess up, leave this country in good shape, andpass on the American dream to them. We've got to collect the taxes to doit. If there's a fair way, I'm all ears (laughter) --aah. (Laughter and applause) But--but--see, let me make it very clear. If people don't have thestomach to fix these problems, I think it's a good time to face it,November. If they do, then they will have heard the harsh reality of whatwe have to do. I'm not playing Lawrence Welk music tonight.
LEHRER: All right, Governor Clinton, you have a minute, sir.
CLINTON: I think Mr. Perot has confronted this deficitissue, but I think it's important to point out that we really have 2deficits in America, not one. We have a budget deficit in the federalgovernment, but we also have an investment, a jobs, an income deficit.People are working harder for less money than they were making 10 yearsago, 2- 3rds of our people--a $1600 drop in average income in just the last2 years. The problem I have with the Perot prescription is that almost alleconomists who've looked at it say that if you cut the deficit this muchthis quick it will increase unemployment, it will slow down the economy.That's why I think we shouldn't do it that quickly. We have a disciplinedreduction in the deficit of 50 % over the next 4 years, but first getincentives to invest in this economy, put the American people back to work.We've got to invest and grow. 9 Nobel Prize-winning economists and 500 others, including numerousRepublican and Democratic business executives, have endorsed this approachbecause it offers the best hope to put America back to work and get ourincomes rising instead of falling.
LEHRER: President Bush, one minute, sir.
BUSH: Your question was on fairness. I just disagree withMr. Perot. I don't believe it is fair to slap a 50-cent-a-gallon tax overwhatever many years on the people that have to drive for a living, peoplethat go long distances. I don't think we need to do it. You see, I have a fundamental difference. I agree with what he'stalking about in trying to get this spending down and the discipline,although I think we ought to totally exempt Social Security. But he'stalking tough medicine, and I think that's good. I disagree with the tax-and-spend philosophy. You see, I don't thinkwe need to tax more and spend more, and then say that's going to make theproblem better. And I'm afraid that's what I think I'm hearing fromGovernor Clinton. I believe what you need to do is some of what Ross is talking about:control the growth of mandatory spending and get taxes down. He'smentioned some ways to do it--and I agree with those. I've been talkingabout getting a capital gains cut forever, and his friends in Congress havebeen telling me that's a tax break for the rich. It would stimulateinvestment. I'm for an investment tax allowance; I'm for a tax break forfirst- time homebuyers. And with this new Congress coming in, gridlockwill be gone, and I'll sit down with them and say let's get this done. But I do not want to go the tax-and-spend route.
LEHRER: All right, let's move on now to the subject of jobs. Thefirst question goes to President Bush for 2 minutes, and John will ask thatquestion.
MASHEK: Mr. President, last month you came to St. Louis to announcea very lucrative contract for McDonnell Douglas to build F-15s for SaudiArabia. In today's Post- Dispatch, a retired saleswoman, a 75-year-oldwoman named Marjorie Roberts, asked if she could ask a question of thecandidates. She said she wanted to register her concern about the lack ofa plan to convert our defense-oriented industries into other purposes. How would you answer her.
BUSH: I assume she was supportive of the decision onMcDonnell Douglas, I assume she was supporting me on the decision to sellthose airplanes. I think it's a good decision--took a little heat for it,but I think it was the correct decision to do. And we worked it out, andindeed we're moving forward all around the world in a much more peacefulway. So that one we came away with in creating jobs for the Americanpeople. I would simply say to her, look, take a look at what the president hasproposed on job retraining. When you cut back on defense spending, somepeople are going to be thrown out of work. If you throw another 50,000kids on the street because of cutting recklessly in troop levels, you'regoing to put a lot more out of work. I would say to them, look at the jobretraining programs that we're proposing. Therein is the best answer toher. And another one is: stimulate investment and savings. I mean, we'vegot big economic problems, but we are not coming apart at the seams; we'reready for a recovery. With interest rates down and inflation down, thecruelest tax of all, caught up in a global slowdown right now, that thatwill change if you go with the programs I've talked about and if you helpwith job retraining and education. I am a firm believe that our America 2000 education problem is theanswer--a little longer run; it's going to take awhile to educate. But itis a good program. So her best help for short term is job retraining, if she was thrownout of work at a defense plant. But tell her it's not all that gloomy;we're the US, we faced tough problems before. Look at the misery indexwhen the Democrats had both the White House and the Congress. It was justright through the roof. Now, we can do better. And the way to do better is not to tax andspend but to retrain, get that control of the mandatory spending programs.I'm much more optimistic about this country than some. (Applause)
LEHRER: Mr. Perot? Mr. Perot, you have one minute, sir.
PEROT: Defense industries are going to have to convert to civilianindustries. Many of them are. And the sooner they start, the soonerthey'll finish. And there will be a significant transition. And it's veryimportant that we not continue to let our industrial base deteriorate. We had someone who I'm sure regrets said it in the president's staffsaid he didn't care whether we made potato chips or computer chips. Well,anybody that thinks about it cares a great deal. Number one, you make moremaking computer chips than potato chips; and, number 2, 19 out of 20computer chips that we have in this country now come from Japan. We'vegiven away whole industries. So as we phase these industries over, there's a whole of intellectualtalent in these industries. A lot of these people in industries can beconverted to the industries of tomorrow, and that's where the high-payingjobs are. We need to have a very carefully thought through phase-over. Now, see, we practice 19th century capitalism. The rest of the worldpractices 21st century capitalism. I can't handle that in a minute, but Ihope we can get back into it later. In the rest of the world, thecountries and the businesses would be working together to make thistransition in an intelligent way.
LEHRER: Governor Clinton, you have one minute, sir.
CLINTON: We must have a transition plan to plan to convertfrom a defense to a domestic economy. No other nation would have cutdefense as much as we already have without that. There are 200,000 peopleunemployed in California alone because we have cut defense without planningto retrain them and to reinvest in the technologies of the future here athome. That is what I want to do. This administration may say they have a plan, but the truth is theyhave not even released all the money, the paltry sum of money, thatCongress appropriated. I want to take very dollar by which we reducedefense and reinvest it in technologies for the 21st century--in newtransportation, in communication, in environmental clean-up technologies.Let's put the American people to work, and let's build the kind ofhigh-tech, high-wage, high-growth economy that the American people deserve.
LEHRER: All right. The next question goes to Mr. Perot for a2-minute answer. It will be asked by Ann. Ann?
COMPTON: Mr. Perot, you talked a minute ago about rebuilding the jobbase. But is it true what Governor Clinton just said, that that means thatunemployment will increase, that it will slow the economy? And how wouldyou specifically use the powers of the presidency to get more people backinto good jobs immediately?
PEROT: Step one, the American people send me up there, the day afterelection, I'll get with congressional--we won't even wait tillinauguration, and I'll ask the president to help and I'll ask his staff tohelp me. And we will start putting together teams to put together--to takeall the plans that exist and do something with them. Please understand. There are great plans lying all over Washingtonnobody ever executes. It's like having a blueprint for a house you neverbuilt. You don't have anywhere to sleep. Now our challenge is to take these things, do something with them.Step one, we want to put America back to work, clean up the small businessproblem, have one task force at work on that. The second, you've got yourbig companies that are in trouble, including the defense industries--haveanother one on that. Have a 3rd task force on new industries of the futureto make sure we nail those for our country and they don't wind up in Europeand Asia. Convert from 19th to 21st century capitalism. See, we have an adversarial relationship between government andbusiness. Our international competitors that are cleaning our plate havean intelligent relationship between government and business, and asupportive relationship. Then have another task force on crime because, next to jobs, our peopleare concerned about their safety. Health care, schools--one on the debtand deficit. And finally in that 90- day period before the inauguration,put together the framework for the town hall and give the American people aChristmas present. Show them by Christmas the first cut at these plans.By the time Congress comes into session to go to work, have those plansready to go in front of Congress. Then get off to a flying start in '93 toexecute these plans. Now, there are people in this room and people on this stage who've beenin meetings when I would sit there and say, "Is this the one we're going totalk about or do something about?" Well, obviously, my orientation is let'sgo do it. Now, put together your plans by Christmas, be ready to go whenCongress goes, nail these things. Small business--you've got to havecapital, you've got to credit, and many of them need mentors or coaches.And we can create more jobs there in a hurry than any other place.
LEHRER: Governor Clinton, one minute
CLINTON: This country desperately needs a jobs program, andmy first priority would be to pass a jobs program, to introduce it on thefirst day I was inaugurated. I would meet with the leaders of theCongress, with all the newly elected members of the Congress and as manyothers with whom I could meet between the time of the election and theinauguration, and we would present a jobs program. Then we would present a plan to control health care costs and phase inhealth care coverage for all Americans. Until we control health carecosts, we're not going to control the deficit. It is the number oneculprit. But first we must have an aggressive jobs program. I live in a state where manufacturing job growth has far outpaced thenation in the last few years, where we have created more private sectorjobs since Mr. Bush has been president than have been created in theentire rest of the country, where Mr. Bush's labor secretary the jobgrowth has been enormous. We've done it in Arkansas. Give me a chance to create these kind ofjobs in America. We can do it. I know we can. (Applause)
LEHRER: President Bush, one minute.
BUSH: We've got the plan announced for what we can do forsmall business. I've already put forward things that'll get this countryworking fast, some of which have been echoed here tonight--investment taxallowance, capital gains reduction, more on research and development, taxcredit for first-time home buyers. What I'm going to do is say to Jim Baker when this campaign is over,all right, let's sit down now, you do in domestic affairs what you've donein foreign affairs, be kind of the economic coordinator of all the domesticside of the House, and that includes all the economic side, all thetraining side, and bring this program together. We're going to have a new Congress, and we're going to say to them,you've listened to the voters the way we have. Nobody wants gridlockanymore, and so let's get the program through. And I believe it'll work because, as Ross said, we got the plans. Theplans are all over Washington. And I've put ours together in somethingcalled the agenda for American renewal, and it makes sense, it's sensible,it creates jobs, it gets to the base of the kind of jobs we need. And soI'll just be asking for support to get that put into effect.
LEHRER: All right. The next question goes to Governor Clinton for 2minutes. It will be asked by Sandy.
VANOCUR: Governor Clinton, when a president running for the first timegets into the office and wants to do something about the economy, he findsin Washington there's a person who has much more power over the economythan he does: the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, accountable to noone. That being the case, would you go along with proposals made by TreasurySecretary James Brady and Congressman Lee Hamilton to make the FederalReserve Board chairman somehow more accountable to elected officials?
CLINTON: Well, let me say that I think that we might ought toreview the terms, the way it works. But frankly, I don't think that's theproblem today. We have low interest rates today. At least we have lowinterest rates that the Fed can control. Our long-term interest rates arestill pretty high because of our deficit and because of our economicperformance. And there was a terrible reaction internationally to Mr.Bush saying he was going to give us 4 more years of trickle-downeconomics--another across-the- board tax cut and most of it going to thewealthy, with no real guarantee of investment. But I think the important thing--the important thing-- is to use thepowers the president does have on the assumption that, given the conditionof this economy, we're going to keep interest rates down if we have thediscipline to increase investment and reduce the debt at the same time.That is my commitment.
That is my commitment. I think the American people are ready for action.I think Congress is hungry for someone who will work with them instead ofmanipulate them. Someone who will not veto a bill that has an investmenttax credit, middle class tax relief, research and development tax creditsas Mr. Bush has done. Give me a chance to do that. I don't have to worryin the near term about the Federal Reserve. Their policies so far, it seemsto me, are pretty sound.
LEHRER: President Bush you have one minute.
BUSH: I don't think the Fed ought to be put under the Executive Branch.There is a separation there. I think that's fine. Alan Greenspan is respected.I've had some arguments with him about the speed in which we have loweredinterest rates, but Governor Clinton, he talks about the reaction to themarkets. There was a momentary fear that he might win and that the marketswent phwee, down like that. So I don't think we can judge on, the stockmarket has been strong. It's been very strong since I've been president.And they recognize we got great difficulties, but they're also much moreoptimistic than the pessimists we have up here tonight. In terms of vetoingtax bills, you're darn right. I am going to protect the American taxpayeragainst the spend and tax Congress. And I'm going to keep on vetoing them,because I don't think we're taxed too little. I think the government's spendingtoo much. So Governor Clinton can label it tax for the rich or anythinghe wants. I'm going to protect the working man by continuing to veto, andto threaten to veto until we get this new Congress, and then we're goingto move forward on our plan.
LEHRER: Mr. Perot, one minute.
PEROT: Keep the Federal Reserve independent, but let's live in a worldof reality. We live in a global economy, not a national economy. These interestrates we have now don't make any sense. We have a four trillion dollar debt,and only in America would you finance seventy percent of it five years orless. So seventy percent of our debt is five years or less. It's very interestsensitive. We have a four percent gap between what we pay for treasuries,and what Germany pays for one to five year treasuries. That gap is goingto close, because the Arabs, the Japanese and folks in this country aregoing to start buying German treasuries because they can get more money.Every time our interest rates go up one percent, that adds 28 billion dollarsto the deficit or to the debt. Whichever place you put it. We are sittingon a ticking time bomb folks, because we have totally mismanaged our country,and we had better get it back under control. Just think in your own business,if you had all of your long term problems financed short term. You'd gobroke in a hurry.
LEHRER: We're going to move to foreign affairs. The first question goesto Mr. Perot for a two minute answer, and Sandy will ask.
VANOCUR: Mr Perot, in the postwar coldwar environment, what should bethe overriding U.S. national interest? And what can the United States do,and what can it afford to do, to defend the national interest?
PEROT: Again, if you're not rich, you're not a superpower. So we havetwo that I'd put as number one. I have number 1 and 1A. One is we've gotto have the money to be able to pay for defense, and we've got to manufacturehere. Believe it or not folks, you can't ship it all overseas, you've gotto make it here. And you can't convert from potato chips to airplanes inan emergency. See, Willow Run could be converted from cars to airpalnesin World War II because it was here. We've got to make things here. Youcan't ship them overseas anymore. I hope we can talk more about that. Secondthing, on priorities. We've got to help Russia succeed in its revolutionand all of its republics. When we think of Russia, remember we're thinkingof many countries, now. We've got to help them. That's pennies on the dollarcompared to renewing the cold war. Third, we've got all kinds of agreementson paper, and some that are being executed on getting rid of nuclear warheads.Russia and its republics are out of control or at best in weak control rightnow. It's a very unstable situation. You've got every rich Middle Easterncountry over there trying to buy nuclear weapons. As you well know. Andthat will lead to another five star migraince headache down the road. Wereally need to nail down the intercontinental ballistic missles, the onesthat can hit us from Russia. And we've focused on the tactical. We've madereal progress there. We've got some agreement on the nuclear, but we don'thave those things put away yet. The sooner the better. So, in terms of priorities,we've got to be financially strong. Number two, we've got to take care ofthis missle situation and try to get the nuclear war behind us and givethis thing very high priroity. And number three, we need to help and supportRussia and the republics in every possible way to become democratic capitalisticsocieties, and not just sit back and let those countries continue in turmoil.Because they could go back worse than things used to be. And believe methere are a lot of old boys in the K.G.B. and the military that liked itbetter the way it used to be.
LEHRER: Governor Clinton, one minute.
CLINTON: In order to keep America the strongest nation in the world,we need some continuity and some change. There are three fundamental challenges.First of all, the world is still a dangerouos and uncertain place. We needa new military and a new national security policy equal to the challengesof a post cold war era, a smaller permanent military force, but one thatis more mobile, well trained with high technology equipment. We need tocontinue the negotiations to reduce the nuclear arsenals in the Soviet Union,the former Soviet Union, and the United States. We need to stop this proliferationof weapons of mass destruction. Second, we have to face that in this world,economic security is a whole lot of national security. Our dollar's at anall time low against some foreign currencies. We're weak in the world. Wemust rebuild America's strength at home. And finally, we ought to be promotingthe democratic impulses around the world. Democracies are our partners.They don't go to war with each other. They're reliable friends in the future.National security, economic strength, democracy.
LEHRER: One minute, Mr. Perot.
PEROT: All right, so here's China, so here's your country, broken intomany provinces. It has some very elderly leaders that will not be aroundtoo much longer. Capitalism is growing and thriving across big portions ofChina. Asia will be our largest trading partner in the future. It will bea growing and a closer relationship. We have a delicate, tight-wire walkthat we must go through at the present time to make sure that we do notcozy up to tyrants, to make sure that they don't get the impression thatthey can suppress their people. But time is our friend there, because their leaders will change in nottoo many years, worst case, and their country is making great progress. One last point on the missiles. I don't want the American people to beconfused. We have written agreements and we have some missiles that havebeen destroyed, but we have a huge number of intercontinental ballisticmissiles that are still in place in Russia. The fact that you have anagreement is one thing. Till they're destroyed, some crazy person caneither sell them or use them.
LEHRER: All right. The next question goes to President Bush for a2-minute answer, and Ann will ask it.
COMPTON: Mr. President, how can you watch the killing in Bosniaand the ethnic cleansing, or the starvation and anarchy in Somalia, and notwant to use America's might, if not America's military, to try to end thatkind of suffering?
BUSH: Ann, both of them are very complicated situations.And I vowed something because I learned something from Vietnam. I am notgoing to commit US forces until I know what the mission is, till themilitary tell me that it can be completed, and till I know how they cancome out. We are helping. American airplanes are helping today on humanitarianrelief for Sarajevo. It is America that's in the lead in helping withhumanitarian relief for Somalia. But when you go to put somebody else's son or daughter into war, Ithink you got to be a little bit careful and you have to be sure thatthere's a military plan that can do this. You have ancient ethnicrivalries that have cropped up as Yugoslavia's dissolved or gettingdissolved, and it isn't going to be solved by sending in the 82nd Airborne,and I'm not going to do that as commander-in-chief. I am going to stand by and use the moral persuasion of the US to getsatisfaction in terms of prison camps, and we're making some progressthere, and in terms of getting humanitarian relief in there. And rightnow, as you know, the US took the lead in a no-fly operation up there in--no- fly order up in the United Nations. We're working through theinternational organizations. That's one thing I learned by forging that tremendous andgreatly--highly successful coalition against Saddam Hussein, the dictator.Use--work internationally to do it. I am very concerned about it. I am concerned about ethnic cleansing.I am concerned about a tax on Muslims, for example, over there. But I muststop short of using American force until I know how those young men andwomen are going to get out of there as well as get in, know what themission is, and define it. And I think I'm on the right track.
COMPTON: Are you designing a mission--
LEHRER: Ms.--Ann, sorry, sorry. Time is up. We have to go to Mr.Perot for a one-minute response.
PEROT: I think if we learned anything in Vietnam is you first committhis nation before you commit the troops to the battlefield. We cannotsend our people all over the world to solve every problem that comes up. This is basically a problem that is a primary concern to the EuropeanCommunity. Certainly we care about the people, we care about the children,we care about the tragedy. But it is inappropriate for us, just becausethere's a problem somewhere around the world, to take the sons anddaughters of working people--and make no mistake about it, our all-volunteer armed force is not made up of the sons and daughters of thebeautiful people; it's the working folks who send their sons and daughtersto war, with a few exceptions. It's very unlike World War II, when FDR'ssons flew missions. Everybody went. It's a different world now. It's very important that we not just, without thinking it through, justrush to every problem in the world and have our people torn to pieces.
LEHRER: Governor Clinton, one minute.
CLINTON: I agree that we cannot commit ground forces tobecome involved in the quagmire of Bosnia or in the tribal wars of Somalia.But I think that it's important to recognize that there are things that canbe done short of that, and that we do have interests there. There are,after all, 2 million refugees now because of the problems in what wasYugoslavia, the largest number since World War II, and there may behundreds of thousands of people who will starve or freeze to death in thiswinter. The US should try to work with its allies and stop it. I urgedthe president to support this air cover, and he did--and I applaud that. Iapplaud the no-fly zone, and I know that he's going back to the UnitedNations to try to get authority to enforce it. I think we should stiffenthe embargo on the Belgrade government, and I think we have to considerwhether or not we should lift the arms embargo now on the Bosnians, sincethey are in no way in a fair fight with a heavily armed opponent bent on"ethnic cleansing." We can't involved in the quagmire, but we must do what we can.
LEHRER: All right, moving on now to divisions in our country, thefirst question goes to Governor Clinton for 2 minutes, and Ann will ask it.
COMPTON: Governor Clinton, can you tell us what your definition of theword "family" is?
CLINTON: A family involves at least one parent, whethernatural or adoptive or foster, and children. A good family is a placewhere love and discipline and good values are transmuted (sic) from theelders to the children, a place where people turn for refuge, and wherethey know they're the most important people in the world. America has alot of families that are in trouble today. There's been a lot of talkabout family values in this campaign. I know a lot about that. I was bornto a widowed mother who gave me family values, and grandparents. I've seenthe family values of my people in Arkansas. I've seen the family values ofall these people in America who are out there killing themselves workingharder for less in a country that's had the worst economic years in 50years and the first decline in industrial production ever. I think the president owes it to family values to show that he valuesAmerica's families, whether they're people on welfare you're trying to movefrom welfare to work, the working poor whom I think deserve a tax break tolift them above poverty if they've got a child in the house and working 40hours a week, working families who deserve a fair tax system and theopportunity for constant retraining; they deserve a strong economy. And Ithink they deserve a family and medical leave act. 7ty-two other nationshave been able to do it. Mr. Bush vetoed it twice because he says wecan't do something 72 other countries do, even though there was a smallbusiness exemption. So with all the talk about family values, I know about family values--Iwouldn't be here without them. The best expression of my family values isthat tonight's my 17th wedding anniversary, and I'd like to close myquestion by just wishing my wife a happy anniversary, and thank you, mydaughter, for being there. (Applause)
LEHRER: President Bush, one minute.
BUSH: Well, I would say that one meeting that made aprofound impression on me was when the mayors of the big cities, includingthe mayor of Los Angeles, a Democrat, came to see me, and they unanimouslysaid the decline in urban America stems from the decline in the Americanfamily. So I do think we need to strengthen family. When Barbara holds anAIDS baby, she's showing a certain compassion for family; when she reads tochildren, the same thing. I believe that discipline and respect for the law--all of these thingsshould be taught to children, not in our schools, but families have to dothat. I'm appalled at the highest outrageous numbers of divorces--ithappens in families, it's happened in ours. But it's gotten too much. AndI just think that we ought to do everything we can to respect the Americanfamily. It can be a single-parent family. Those mothers need help. Andone way to do it is to get these deadbeat fathers to pay their obligationsto these mothers--that will help strengthen the American family. Andthere's a whole bunch of other things that I can't click off in this shortperiod of time.
LEHRER: All right, Mr. Perot, you have one minute.
PEROT: If I had to solve all the problems that face this country and Icould be granted one wish as we started down the trail to rebuild the jobbase, the schools and so on and so forth, I would say a strong family unitin every home, where every child is loved, nurtured, and encouraged. Alittle child before they're 18 months learns to think well of himself orherself or poorly. They develop a positive or negative self- image. At avery early age they learn how to learn. If we have children who are notsurrounded with love and affection--you see, I look at my grandchildren andwonder if they'll ever learn to walk because they're always in someone'sarms. And I think, my gosh, wouldn't it be wonderful if every child hadthat love and support. But they don't. We will not be a great country unless we have a strong family unit inevery home. And I think you can use the White House as a bully pulpit tostress the importance of these little children, particularly in their youngand formative years, to mold these little precious pieces of clay so thatthey, too, can live rich full lives when they're grown. (Applause)
LEHRER: New question, 2-minute answer, goes to President Bush. Sandywill ask it.
VANOCUR: Mr. President, there's been a lot of talk about Harry Trumanin this campaign, so much so that I think tomorrow I'll wake up and see himnamed as the next commissioner of baseball. (Laughter) The thing that Mr. Truman didn't have to deal with is drugs.Americans are increasingly alarmed about drug-related crimes in cities andsuburbs. And your administration is not the first to have grappled with this. And are you at all of a mind that maybe it ought to go to anotherlevel, if not to what's advocated by William F. Buckley, Jr. and MiltonFriedman, legalization, somewhere between there and where we are now?
BUSH: No, I don't think that's the right answer. I don'tbelieve legalizing narcotics is the answer. I just don't believe that'sthe answer. I do believe that there's some fairly good news out there.The use of cocaine, for example, by teenagers is dramatically down. Butwe've got to keep fighting on this war against drugs. We're doing a littlebetter in interdiction. Many of the countries below that used to say,well, this is the US' problem--if you'd get the demand down, then wewouldn't have the problem--are working cooperatively with the DEA and themilitary. We're using the military more now in terms of interdiction. Ourfunding for recovery is up, recovering the addicts. Where we're not making the progress, Sander, is in-- we're making it inteenagers, and thank God, because I thought what Ross said was mostappropriate about these families and these children. But where we're notmaking it is with the confirmed addicts. And I'll tell you one placethat's working well, and that is the private sector--Jim Burke and thistask force that he has, you may know about it. I'll tell the Americanpeople, but this man said I'll get you a million dollars a day in pro bonoadvertising, something that's very hard for the government to do. And hewent out and he did it. And people are beginning to educate through thisprogram, teaching these kids you shouldn't use drugs. So we're still in the fight. But I must tell you, I think legalizationof narcotics, or something of that nature, in the face of the medicalevidence, would be totally counterproductive. And I oppose it, and I'mgoing to stand up and continue to oppose it. (Applause)
LEHRER: Mr. Perot, one minute.
PEROT: Anytime you think you want to legalize drugs, go to a neonatalunit--if you can get in. They're between 100 and 200 % capacity up anddown the East Coast. And the reason is crack babies being born, babies inthe hospital 42 days. Typical cost to you and me is $125,000. Again andagain and again, the mother disappears in 3 days, and the child becomes award of the state because he's permanently and genetically damaged. Just look at those little children, and if anybody can even think aboutlegalizing drugs, they've lost me. Now, let's look at priorities. You know, we went on the Libyanraid--do you remember that one?--because we were worried to death thatGaddafi might be building up chemical weapons. We've got chemical warfarebeing conducted against our children on the streets in this country all dayevery day, and we don't have the will to stamp it out. Now, again, if I get up there, if you send me, we're going to have someblunt talks about this, and we're really going to get down in the trenchesand say, is this one you want to talk about or fix, because talk won't doit, folks. There are guys that couldn't get a job 3rd shift in a DairyQueen driving BMWs and Mercedes selling drugs. And these old boys are notgoing to quit easy. (Applause)
LEHRER: Governor Clinton, one minute.
CLINTON: Like Mr. Perot, I have held crack babies in myarms. But I know more about this, I think, than anybody else up herebecause I have a brother who's a recovering drug addict. I'm very proud of him. But I can tell you this. If drugs were legal, I don't think he'd bealive today. I am adamantly opposed to legalizing drugs. He is alivetoday because of the criminal justice system. That's a mistake. What should we do? First, we ought to prevent moreof this on the street. Thirty years ago, there were 3 policemen for everycrime. Now there are 3 crimes for every policeman. We need a hundredthousand more police on the street. I have a plan for that. Secondly, we ought to have treatment on demand. 3rdly, we ought to have boot camps for first-time nonviolent offendersso they can get discipline and treatment and education and get reconnectedto the community before they're severed and sent to prison, where they canlearn how to be first class criminals. There is a crime bill that, lamentably, was blocked from passage onceagain, mostly by Republicans in the US Senate, which would have addressedsome of these problems. That crime bill is going to be one of my highestpriorities next January if I become president. (Applause)
LEHRER: Next question is to you, Mr. Perot. You have 2 minutes toanswer it and John will ask it.
MASHEK: Mr. Perot, racial division continues to tear apart our greatcities, the last episode being this spring in Los Angeles. Why is thisstill happening in America, and what would you do to end it?
PEROT: This is a relevant question here tonight. The first thing I'ddo is, during political campaigns, I would urge everybody to stop trying tosplit this country into fragments and appeal to the differences between usand then wonder why the melting pot is all broken to pieces after Novemberthe 3rd. (Applause) We are all in this together. We ought to love one another becauseunited teams win and divided teams lose. And if we can't love one another,we ought to get along with one another. And if you can't get there, justrecognize we're all stuck with one another because nobody's going anywhere,right? (Laughter) Now, that ought to get everybody back up to let's get along togetherand make it work. Our diversity is a strength. We've turned it into aweakness. Now again, the White House is a bully pulpit. I think whoever is inthe White House should just make it absolutely unconscionable andinexcusable, and if anybody's in the middle of a speech at, you know, oneof these conventions, I would expect the candidate to go out and lift himoff the stage if he starts preaching hate--because we don't have time forit. See, our differences are our strengths. We have got to pull together.In athletics, we know it. See, divided teams lose; united teams win. We have got to unite and pull together, and there's nothing we can'tdo. But if we sit around blowing all this energy out the window on racialstrife and hatred, we are stuck with a sure loser because we have been amelting pot. We're becoming more and more of a melting pot. Let's make ita strength, not a weakness. (Applause)
LEHRER: Governor Clinton, one minute.
CLINTON: I grew up in the segregated South, thankfully raisedby a grandfather with almost no formal education but with a heart of goldwho taught me early that all people were equal in the eyes of God. I saw the winds of hatred divide people and keep the people of my statepoorer than they would have been, spiritually and economically. And I'vedone everything I could in my public life to overcome racial divisions. We don't have a person to waste in this country. We are being murderedeconomically because we have too many drop- outs, we have too many lowbirthweight babies, we have too many drug addicts as kids, we have too muchviolence, we are too divided by race, by income, by region. And I havedevoted a major portion of this campaign to going across this country andlooking for opportunities to go to white groups and African American groupsand Latino groups and Asian American groups and say the same thing. If the American people cannot be brought together, we can't turn thiscountry around. If we can come together, nothing can stop us. (Applause)
LEHRER: Mr. President, one minute.
BUSH: Well, I think Governor Clinton is committed. I dothink it's fair to note--he can rebut it-- but Arkansas is one of the fewstates that doesn't have any civil rights legislation. I've tried to use the White House as a bully pulpit, speaking outagainst discrimination. We passed 2 very forward-looking civil rightsbills. It's not going to be all done by legislation. But I do think thatyou need to make an appeal every time you can to eliminate racial divisionsand discrimination, and I'll keep on doing that and pointing to somelegislative accomplishment to back it up. I have to take ten seconds here at the end--the red light isn't onyet--to say to Ross Perot, please don't say to the DEA agents on the streetthat we don't have the will to fight drugs. Please. I have watched thesepeople--the same for our local law enforcement people. We're backing up atevery way we possibly can. But maybe you meant that some in the countrydon't have the will to fight it, but those that are out there on the frontline, as you know--you've been a strong backer of lawenforcement--really--I just want to clear that up--have the will to fightit, and, frankly, some of them are giving their lives.
LEHRER: Time, Mr. President. All right. Let's go now to anothersubject, the subject of health. The first question for 2 minutes is toPresident Bush, and John will ask it.
MASHEK: Mr. President, yesterday tens of thousands of people paradedpast the White House to demonstrate their concern about the disease AIDS.A celebrated member of your commission, Magic Johnson, quit saying thatthere was too much inaction. Where is this widespread feeling coming from that your administrationis not doing enough about AIDS?
BUSH: Coming from the political process. We have increasedfunding for AIDS. We've doubled it on research and on every other aspectof it. My request for this year was $4.9 billion for AIDS--ten times asmuch per AIDS victim as per cancer victim. I think that we're showing the proper compassion and concern. So Ican't tell you where it's coming from, but I am very much concerned aboutAIDS and I believe that we've got the best researchers in the world outthere at NIH working the problem. We're funding them--I wish there wasmore money--but we're funding them far more than any time in the past, andwe're going to keep on doing that. I don't know. I was a little disappointed in Magic because he came tome and I said, "Now if you see something we're not doing, get ahold of me.Call me, let me know." He went to one meeting, and then we heard that hewas stepping down. So he's replaced by Mary Fisher who electrified theRepublican Convention by talking about the compassion and the concern thatwe feel. It was a beautiful moment and I think she'll do a first-class jobon that commission. So I think the appeal is yes, we care. And the other thing is part ofAIDS--it's one of the few diseases where behavior matters. And I oncecalled on somebody, "Well, change your behavior. Is the behavior you'reusing prone to cause AIDS? Change the behavior." Next thing I know, one ofthese ACT UP groups is out saying, "Bush ought to change his behavior." You can't talk about it rationally. The extremes are hurting the AIDScause. To go into a Catholic mass in a beautiful cathedral in New Yorkunder the cause of helping in AIDS and start throwing condoms around in themass, I'm sorry, I think it sets back the cause. We cannot move to the extreme. We've got to care. We've got tocontinue everything we can at the federal and the local level. Barbara Ithink is doing a superb job in destroying the myth about AIDS. And all ofus are in this fight together, all of us care. Do not go to the extreme. (Applause)
LEHRER: One minute, Mr. Perot.
PEROT: First, I think Mary Fisher was a great choice. We're lucky tohave her heading the commission. Secondly, I think one thing that if Iwere sent to do the job, I would sit down with FDA, look at exactly wherewe are. Then I would really focus on let's get these things out. Ifyou're going to die, you don't have to go through this ten-year cycle thatFDA goes through on new drugs. Believe me, people with AIDS are more than willing to take that risk.And we could be moving out to the human population a whole lot faster thanwe are on some of these new drugs. So I would think we can expedite theproblem there. Let me go back a minute to racial divisiveness. The all- time low inour country was the Judge Thomas-Anita Hill hearings, and those senatorsought to be hanging their heads in shame for what they did there. (Applause) 2nd thing, there are not many times in your life when you get to talk toa whole country. But let me just say to all of America: if you hatepeople, I don't want your vote. That's how strongly I feel about it. (Applause)
LEHRER: Governor Clinton, one minute.
CLINTON: Over 150,000 Americans have died of AIDS. Well overa million and a quarter Americans are HIV- positive. We need to put oneperson in charge of the battle against AIDS to cut across all the agenciesthat deal with it. We need to accelerate the drug approval process. Weneed to fully fund the act named for that wonderful boy Ryan White to makesure we're doing everything we can on research and treatment. And the president should lead a national effort to change behavior, tokeep our children alive in the schools, responsible behavior to keep peoplealive. This is a matter of life and death. I have worked in my state toreduce teen pregnancy and illness among children. I know it's tough. The reason Magic Johnson resigned from the AIDS Commission is becausethe statement you heard tonight from Mr. Bush is the longest and beststatement he's made about it in public. I am proud of what we did at the Democratic Convention, putting 2HIV-positive people on the platform, and I am proud of the leadership thatI'm going to bring to this country in dealing with the AIDS crisis. (Applause)
LEHRER: New question for Mr. Perot. You have 2 minutes to answer,and Ann will ask it.
COMPTON: Mr. Perot, even if you've got what people say are the gutsto take on changes in the most popular, the most sacred of theentitlements, Medicare, people say you haven't a prayer of actually gettinganything passed in Washington. Since a president isn't a lone ranger, how in the world can you makesome of those unpopular changes?
PEROT: 2 ways. Number one, if I get there, it will be a very unusualand historical event-- (Laughter) --because the people, not the special interests, put me there. I willhave a unique mandate. I have said again and again, and this really upsetsthe establishment in Washington, that we're going to inform the people indetail on the issues through an electronic town hall so that they reallyknow what's going on. They will want to do what's good for our country. Now, all these fellows with thousand-dollar suits and alligator shoesrunning up and down the halls of Congress that make policy now--thelobbyists, the PAC guys, the foreign lobbyists, and what-have-you, they'llbe over there in the Smithsonian, you know-- (Laughter) --because we're going to get rid of them, and the Congress will belistening to the people. And the American people are willing to have fair,shared sacrifice. They're not as stupid as Washington thinks they are.The American people are bright, intelligent, caring, loving people who wanta great country for their children and grandchildren. And they will makethose sacrifices. So I welcome that challenge, and just watch-- (Applause) --because if the American people send me there, we'll get it done. Now, everybody will faint in Washington. They've never seen anythinghappen in that town. (Laughter) This is a town where the White House says, Congress did it; Congresssays, the White House did it. And I'm sitting there and saying, well, whoelse could be around, you know? Then when they get off by themselves, theysay nobody did it. (Laughter) And yet the cash register's empty and it used to have our money, thetaxpayers' money, in it, and we didn't get the results. No, we'll get it done. (Applause)
LEHRER: Governor, one minute.
CLINTON: Ross, that's a great speech, but it's not quite that simple. (Laughter) I mean, look at the facts. Both parties in Washington, the presidentand the Congress, have cut Medicare. The average senior citizen isspending a higher percentage of income on health care today than they werein 1965, before Medicare came in. The president's got another proposal to require them to pay $400 a yearmore for the next 5 years. But if you don't have the guts to control costs by changing theinsurance system and taking on the bureaucracies and the regulation ofhealth care in the private and public sector, you can't fix this problem.Costs will continue to spiral. And just remember this, folks. A lot of folks on Medicare are outthere every day making the choice between food and medicine; not poorenough for Medicare--Medicaid, not wealthy enough to buy their medicine.I've met them, people like Mary Annie and Edward Davis in Nashua, NewHampshire. All over this country, they cannot even buy medicine. So let's be careful. When we talk about cutting health care costs,let's start with the insurance companies and the people that are making akilling instead of making our people healthy. (Applause)
LEHRER: One minute, President Bush.
BUSH: Well, first place, I'd like to clear up somethingbecause every 4 years, the Democrats go around and say, Republicans aregoing to cut Social Security and Medicare. They started it again. I'm the president that stood up and said, don't mess with SocialSecurity, and I'm not going to and we haven't and we are not going to goafter the Social Security recipient. I have one difference with Mr. Perot on that because I don't think weneed to touch Social Security. What we do need to do, though, is control the growth of these mandatoryprograms. And Ross properly says, okay, there's some pain in that. ButGovernor Clinton refuses to touch that, simply refuses. So what we've gotto do is control it, let it grow for inflation, let it grow for the amountof new people added, population, and then hold the line. And I believe that is the way you get the deficit down, not by thetax-and-spend program that we hear every 4 years, whether it's Mondale,Dukakis, whoever else it is. I just don't believe we ought to do that. Sohold the line on Social Security and put a cap on the growth of themandatory program.
LEHRER: New question, it is for Governor Clinton, 2 -minute answer.Sandy will ask it.
VANOCUR: Governor Clinton, Ann Compton has brought up Medicare. Iremember in 1965, when Wilbur Mills of Arkansas, the chairman of Ways andMeans, was pushing it through the Congress. The charge against it was it'ssocialized medicine.
CLINTON: Mr. Bush made that charge.
VANOCUR: Well, he served with him 2 years later, in 1967, where Ifirst met him. The 2nd point, though, is that it is now skyrocketing out ofcontrol. People want it. We say it's going bonkers. Is not the Oregon plan applied to Medicaid rationing the proper way togo even though the federal government last August ruled that it violatedthe Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990?
CLINTON: I thought the Oregon plan should at least have beenallowed to be tried because at least the people in Oregon were trying to dosomething. Let me go back to the main point, Sandy. Mr. Bush is trying to run against Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter andeverybody in the world but me in this race. I have proposed a managedcompetition plan for health care. I will say again: you cannot controlhealth care costs simply by cutting Medicare. Look what's happened. Thefederal government has cut Medicare and Medicaid in the last few years,states have cut Medicaid--we've done it in Arkansas under budget pressures.But what happens? More and more people get on the rolls as povertyincreases. If you don't control the health care costs of the entiresystem, you cannot get control of it. Look at our program. We set up a national ceiling on health care coststied to inflation and population growth set by health care providers, notby the government. We provide for managed competition, not governmentmodels, in every states. And we control private and public health carecosts. Now, just a few days ago a bipartisan commission of Republicans andDemocrats--more Republicans than Democrats-- said my plan will save theaverage family $1200 a year more than the Bush plan will by the year 2000,$2.2 trillion in the next 12 years, $400 billion a year by the end of thisdecade. I've got a plan to control health care costs. But you can't justdo it by cutting Medicare; you have to take on the insurance companies, thebureaucracies. And you have to have cost controls, yes. But keep in mind we are spending 30 % more on health care than anycountry in the world, any country, and yet we have 35 million peopleuninsured, we have no preventing and primary care. The Oregon plan is agood start if the federal government is going to continue to abandon itsresponsibilities. I say if Germany can cover everybody and keep costsunder inflation, if Hawaii can cover 98 % of their people at lower healthcare costs than the rest of us, if Rochester, New York, can do it with2-3rds of the cost of the rest of it, America can do it, too. I'm tired ofbeing told we can't. I say we can. We can do better, and we must. (Applause)
LEHRER: President Bush, one minute.
BUSH: Well, I don't have time in 30 seconds, or whatever--aminute--to talk about our health care reform plan. The Oregon plan madesome good sense, but it's easy to dismiss the concerns of the disabled. Aspresident I have to be sure that those waivers, which we're approving allover the place, are covered under the law. Maybe we can work it out. Butthe Americans with Disabilities Act, speaking about sound and sensiblecivil rights legislation, was the most foremost piece of legislation passedin modern times, and so we do have something more than a technical problem. Governor Clinton clicked off the things--he's going to take oninsurance companies and bureaucracies. He failed to take on somebodyelse--the malpractice suit people, those that bring these lawsuitsagainst--these frivolous trial lawyers' lawsuits that are running the costsof medical care up 25 to 50 billion. And he refuses to put anything,controls, on these crazy lawsuits. If you want to help somebody, don't run the costs up by making doctorshave to have 5 or 6 tests where one would do for fear of being sued, orhave somebody along the highway not stop to pick up a guy and help himbecause he's afraid a trial lawyer will come along and sue him. We'resuing each other too much and caring for each other too little. (Applause)
LEHRER: Mr. Perot, one minute.
PEROT: We got the most expensive health care system in the world; itranks behind 15 other nations when we come to life expectancy, and 22 othernations when we come to infant mortality. So we don't have the best. Pretty simple, folks--if you're paying more and you don't have thebest, if all else fails go copy the people who have the best who spendless, right? Well, we can do better than that. Again, we've got plans lying allover the place in Washington. Nobody ever implements them. Now I'm backto square one. If you want to stop talking about it and do it, then I'llbe glad to go up there and we'll get it done. But if you just want to keepthe music going, just stay traditional this next time around, and 4 yearsfrom now you'll have everybody blaming everybody else for a bad health caresystem. Talk is cheap; words are plentiful, deeds are precious. Let's get onwith it. (Applause)
LEHRER: And that's exactly what we're going to do. That was, in fact,the final question and answer. We're now going to move to closingstatements. Each candidate will have up to 2 minutes. The order,remember, was determined by drawing, and Mr. Perot, you are first.
PEROT: Well, it's been a privilege to be able to talk to the Americanpeople tonight. I make no bones about it. I love this country. I lovethe principle it's founded on. I love the people here. I don't like tosee the country's principles violated. I don't like to see the people in adeteriorating economy in a deteriorating country because our government haslost touch with the people. The people in Washington are good people. We just have a bad system.We've got to change the system. It's time to do it because we have run upso much debt that time is no longer our friend. We've got to put our housein order. When you go to bed tonight, look at your children. Think of theirdreams. Think of your dreams as a child and ask yourself, isn't it time tostop talking about it? Isn't it time to stop creating images? Isn't ittime to do it? Aren't you sick of being treated like an unprogrammedrobot? Every 4 years, they send you all kinds of messages to tell you howto vote and then go back to business as usual. They told you at the tax and budget summit that if you agreed to a taxincrease, we could balance the budget. They didn't tell you that that sameyear they increased spending $1.83 for every dollar we increased taxes.That's Washington in a nutshell right there. In the final analysis, I'm doing this for your children when you lookat them tonight. There's another group that I feel very close to, and these at the menand women who fought on the battlefield, the children--the families--of theones who died and the people who left parts of their bodies over there.I'd never ask you to do anything for me, but I owe you this, and I'm doingit for you. And I can't tell you what it means to me at these rallies whenI see you and you come up and the look in your eyes--and I know how youfeel and you know how I feel. And then I think of the older people who areretired. They grew up in the Depression. They fought and won World WarII. We owe you a debt we can never repay you. And the greatest repaymentI can ever give is to recreate the American dream for your children andgrandchildren. I'll give you everything I have, if you want me to do it. (Applause)
LEHRER: Governor Clinton, your closing statement.
CLINTON: I'd like to thank the people of St. Louis andWashington University, the Presidential Debate Commission and all those whomade this night possible. And I'd like to thank those of you who arewatching. Most of all, I'd like to thank all of you who have touched me in someway over this last year, all the thousands of you whom I've seen. I'd liketo thank the computer executives and the electronics executives in SiliconValley, 2/3rds of whom are Republicans who said they wanted to sign on to achange in America. I'd like to thank the hundreds of executives who cameto Chicago, a 3rd of them Republicans, who said they wanted to change. I'dlike to thank the people who've started with Mr. Perot who've come on tohelp our campaign. I'd like to thank all the folks around America that no one ever knowsabout--the woman that was holding the AIDS baby she adopted in CedarRapids, Iowa who asked me to do something more for adoption; the woman whostopped along the road in Wisconsin and wept because her husband had losthis job after 27 years; all the people who are having a tough time and thepeople who are winning but who know how desperately we need to change. This debate tonight has made crystal clear a challenge that is old asAmerica--the choice between hope and fear, change or more of the same, thecourage to move into a new tomorrow or to listen to the crowd who saysthings could be worse. Mr. Bush has said some very compelling things tonight that don't quitesquare with the record. He was president for 3 years before he proposed ahealth care plan that still hasn't been sent to Congress in total; 3 yearsbefore an economic plan, and he still didn't say tonight that that tax billhe vetoed raised taxes only on the rich and gave the rest of you abreak--but he vetoed it anyway. I offer a new direction. Invest in American jobs, American education,control health care costs, bring this country together again. I want thefuture of this country to be as bright and brilliant as its past, and itcan be if we have the courage to change. (Applause)
LEHRER: President Bush, your opposing statement.
BUSH: Let me tell you a little what it's like to bepresident. In the Oval Office, you can't predict what kind of crisis isgoing to come up. You have to make tough calls. You can't be on one handthis way and one hand another. You can't take different positions on thesedifficult issues. And then you need a philosophical--I'd call it aphilosophical underpinning. Mine for foreign affairs is democracy andfreedom, and look at the dramatic changes around the world. The Cold Waris over. The Soviet Union is no more and we're working with a democraticcountry. Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, the Baltics are free. Take a look at the Middle East. We had to stand up against a tyrant.The US came together as we haven't in many, many years. And we kicked thisman out of Kuwait. And in the process, as a result of that will and thatdecision and that toughness, we now have ancient enemies talking peace inthe Middle East. Nobody would have dreamed it possible. And I think the biggest dividend of making these tough calls is thefact that we are less afraid of nuclear war. Every parent out there hasmuch less worry that their kids are going to be faced with nuclearholocaust. All this is good. On the domestic side, what we must do is have change that empowerspeople--not change for the sake of change, tax and spend. We don't need todo that any more. What we need to do is empower people. We need to investand save. We need to do better in education. We need to do better in jobretraining. We need to expand our exports, and they're going very, verywell, indeed. And we need to strengthen the American family. I hope as president that I've earned your trust. I've admitted it whenI make a mistake, but then I go on and help, try to solve the problems. Ihope I've earned your trust because a lot of being president is about trustand character. And I ask for your support for 4 more years to finish thisjob. Thank you very, very much. (Applause) LEHRER: Don't go away yet. I just want to thank the 3panelists and thank the 3 candidates for participating-- President Bush,Governor Clinton and Mr. Perot. They will appear again together onOctober the 15th and again on October 19th, and next Tuesday there will bea debate among the 3 candidates for vice president. And for now, from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, I'mJim Lehrer. Thank you, and good night. (Applause)