Excerpts cast religion, taxes in spotlight

By Federal Document Clearing House, 1/7/2000

Following are excerpts from the debate last night in New Hampshire among Republican presidential candidates Gary Bauer, George W. Bush, Steve Forbes, Orrin Hatch, Alan Keyes, and John McCain. The moderator was Tim Russert a t NBC.


Here are the particulars of tonight's Republican presidential candidates debate.
PARTICIPANTS: Texas Gov. George W. Bush, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Steve Forbes, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Alan Keyes and Gary Bauer
TIME: 7-8 p.m.
PLACE: Johnson Theatren Paul Creative Arts Center, the University of New Hampshire
MODERATOR: NBC's Tim Russert
SPONSORS: New England Cable News, Manchester Union Leader, New Hampshire Public Television.
PANEL: Alison King of New England Cable News, John DiStaso of The Union Leader, Jenny Attiyeh of New Hampshire Public Television.


Bush, McCain dominate GOP debate
In N.H. living room, few minds made up
Excerpts cast religion, taxes in spotlight
Contenders romp in a colloquial exchange
Truth Squad: Confusion over surplus and taxes in GOP debate
Here we go again: A Bush pledges 'no new taxes'


Q:... The question is whether your antitax position is one of convenience rather than conviction. What if the economy really turns sour - would you do more than slow down your proposed tax cuts? Is the next fallback position perhaps a tax hike?

BUSH: If there is a recession it's important to cut the taxes to make sure our economy grows. It's also important to cut the taxes when there's apparent times of plenty as an insurance policy against an economic slowdown. And it's important to cut the taxes to make sure Washington, D.C., does not spend the surplus.

Q: So, Governor, is this, ''No new taxes, so help me God?''

BUSH: This is not only no new taxes, this is tax cuts, so help me God.

Q: Mr. Bauer, you have said that if you are president you will only support Supreme Court justices who will vote against Roe v. Wade. If you would choose justices based on the abortion issue, do you feel voters should choose their president based on the abortion issue?

BAUER:... What I have said is that I will put no justice on the court that does not understand the clear, moral idea found in the Declaration of Independence that is the basis of this country. And that idea says that: ''We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.'' ... And the first right it lists is the right to life. So, yes, all of my judges will believe that. All of my judges will want to welcome every child into the world, give them a place at the table. I will put no bigots on the court. And I will not put anybody on the court that would sacrifice even one American child.

Q: Should voters use that as a litmus test as well?

BAUER: If voters want to make a serious decision about who should sit in the Oval Office, this is the only issue that we will debate that involves life and death.

Q: Mr. McCain, you've made cleaning up Washington the keynote of your presidential campaign, and yet, yesterday we learned that you pressed the FCC to take action on a matter that ultimately benefited Paxon Communications, whose executives have been major contributors to your campaign. You say you did nothing wrong. But to others, your actions and words can seem hypocritical. Would you agree that you've exercised poor judgment?

McCAIN: You know, the reason why I've worked so hard for campaign finance reform - because all this money washing around Washington, and all these uncontrolled contributions taint all of us. No matter what we do, we are under a cloud of suspicion. And I am one of those as well. And that's why I have fought so hard, and will continue to fight so hard to clean up this mess, and return the government back to the people of this country, which they've clearly lost. ...

Q: Fifteen million atheists in this country, five million Jews, five million Muslims, millions more Buddhists and Hindus. Should they feel excluded from George W. Bush because of his allegiance to Jesus?

BUSH: No. I was asked what influenced my life, and I gave the answer the way - an honest, unvarnished answer. It doesn't make me better than you or make me better than anybody else, but it's a foundation for how I live my life. Some may accept the answer and some may not. But Tim, I really don't care. It's me. It's what I'm all about. It's how I live my life.

KEYES:... If we accept the radical homosexual agenda, be it in the military, or in marriage, or in other areas of our lives, we are utterly destroying the concepts of family and sexual responsibility without which the traditional family cannot survive. We must oppose it in the military. We must oppose it in marriage. We must oppose it if the fundamental institution of our civilization is to survive.