1. Archive

Where the candidates stand

Here are excerpts of what the presidential candidates had to say on selected issues during the debate Sunday night:


Clinton: "The tax increase I have proposed triggers in at family incomes of $200,000 and above. Those are the people who in the 1980s had their incomes go up while their taxes went down.

"Middle-class people, defined as people with incomes of $52,000 and down, had their incomes go down while their taxes went up in the Reagan-Bush years because of six increases in the payroll taxes."

Bush: "In terms of this one on taxes spells out the biggest different between us. I do not believe we need to go back to the Mondale proposals or the Dukakis proposals of tax and spend. Gov. Clinton says $200,000, but he also says he wants to raise $150-billion. But taxing people over $200,000 will not get you $150-billion. And then when you add in his other spending proposals, regrettably you end up socking it to the working man.

". . . I believe the way to get the deficit down is to control the growth of mandatory spending programs and not raise taxes on the American people. We've got a big difference there."

Perot: "We've got to have a growing expanding job base to give us a growing expanding tax base. Right now we have a flat to deteriorating job base. And where it appears to be growing, it's minimum-wage jobs.

"So we've got to really rebuild our job base. That's going to take money for infrastructure investment to do that. Our foreign competitors are doing it. We're not. We cannot pay off the $4-trillion debt, balance the budget and have the industries of the future and the paying jobs in this country without having the revenue."

Putting America back to work

Perot: "Step one, you want to put America back to work, clean up the small business problem. Have one task force at work on that. The second, you've got your big companies that are in trouble, including the defense industries. Have another one on that. Have a third task force on new industries of the future to make sure we nail those for our country and they don't wind up in Europe and Asia.

"Convert from 19th- to 21st-century capitalism. . . .

"Our international competitors that are cleaning our plate have an intelligent relationship between government and business and a supportive relationship."

Clinton: "This country desperately needs a jobs program, and my first priority would be to pass a jobs program . . .

"I live in a state where the manufacturing job growth has far outpaced the nation in the last few years, where we have created more private sector jobs since Mr. Bush has been president than have been created in the entire rest of the country, where Mr. Bush's labor secretary said the job growth has been enormous. We've done it in Arkansas. Give me a chance to create these kind of jobs in America. We can do it."

Bush: "We've got the plan announced for what we can do for small business. I've already put forward things that will get this country working fast, some of which have been echoed here tonight, investment tax allowance, capital gains reduction, more on research and development, a tax credit 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 done in foreign affairs. . . .

"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 gridlock anymore. And so, let's get the program through.' "

U.S. priorities after Cold War

Perot: "We've got to have the money to be able to pay for defense and we've got to manufacture here. . . .

"And you can't convert from potato chips to airplanes in an emergency. See, Willow Run could be converted from cars to airplanes in World War II because it was here. . . .

"Second thing: On priorities, we've got to help Russia succeed in its revolution, and all of its republics. . . .

"Third, we've got all kinds of agreements on 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 right now. It's a very unstable situation. . . .

"We really need to nail down the intercontinental ballistic missiles, the ones that can hit us from Russia."

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 dangerous and uncertain place. We need a new military and a new national security policy equal to the challenges of the post-Cold War era, a smaller permanent military force but one that is more mobile, well-trained, with high-technology equipment.

"We need to continue the negotiations to reduce the nuclear arsenals in the Soviet Union, the former Soviet Union, and the United States. We need to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

"Second, we have to face that in this world, economic security is a whole lot of national security. Our dollar is at an all-time low against some foreign currencies. We're weak in the world.

"We must rebuild America's strength at home. And finally, we ought to be promoting the democratic impulses around the world . . . of our partners that don't go to war with each other; they're reliable friends in the future. National security, economic strength, democracy."

Bush: "The question that says, "Get a new military, get the best in the world' _ we've got it, and they're keeping the peace, and they're respected around the world.

"And we are more respected because of the way we have conducted ourselves. We didn't listen to the nuclear freeze crowd. We said peace through strength, and it worked, and the Cold War is over, and America understands that.

"But we're turned so inward, we don't understand the global picture. And we are helping democracy. Ross, the Freedom Support Act is something that I got through the Congress, and it's a very good thing because it does exactly what you say. And I think you agree with that, to help Russian democracy. And we're going to keep on doing that."

Defense industry conversion

Bush: "When you cut back on defense spending, some people are going to be thrown out of work. If you throw another 50,000 kids on the street because of cutting recklessly on troop levels, you're going to put a lot more out of work. I would say to them, "Look at the job retraining programs that we're proposing.' "

Perot: "Well, your defense industries are going to have to convert to civilian industries. Many of them are. And the sooner they start, the sooner they'll finish, and there will be a significant transition. And it's very important that we not continue to let our industrial base deteriorate. . . .

"So as we phase these industries over, there's a lot of intellectual talent in these industries. A lot of these people in industries can be converted to the industries of tomorrow, and that's where the high-paying jobs are. We need to have a very carefully thought-through phaseover."

Clinton: "I have a transition plan, a plan to convert from a defense to a domestic economy. No other nation would have cut defense as much as we already have without that.

"There are 200,000 people unemployed in California alone because we have cut defense without planning to retrain them and to reinvest in the technologies of the future here at home. That is what I want to do.

". . . I want to take every dollar by which we reduce defense and reinvest it in technologies for the 21st century _ into transportation and communication and environmental cleanup technologies. Let's put the American people to work, and let's build the kind of high-tech, high-wage, high-growth economy that the American people deserve."