Created: 2000-02-21
Last Modified: 2000-02-26
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J. Bradford DeLong

March 2000

No one can replace J. Danforth Quayle. But George W. Bush is not bad...

"I don't have to accept their tenants. I was trying to convince those college students to accept my tenants. And I reject any labeling me because I happened to go to the university."-Today, Feb. 23, 2000

"I understand small business growth. I was one."-New York Daily News, Feb. 19, 2000

"The senator has got to understand if he's going to have-he can't have it both ways. He can't take the high horse and then claim the low road."-To reporters in Florence, S.C., Feb. 17, 2000

"I don't want to win? If that were the case why the heck am I on the bus 16 hours a day, shaking thousands of hands, giving hundreds of speeches, getting pillared in the press and cartoons and still staying on message to win?"-Newsweek, Feb. 28, 2000

"If you're sick and tired of the politics of cynicism and polls and principles, come and join this campaign."-Hilton Head, S.C., Feb. 16, 2000

"How do you know if you don't measure if you have a system that simply suckles kids through?"-Explaining the need for educational accountability in Beaufort, S.C., Feb. 16, 2000

"We ought to make the pie higher."-South Carolina Republican Debate, Feb. 15, 2000

"I do not agree with this notion that somehow if I go to try to attract votes and to lead people toward a better tomorrow somehow I get subscribed to some-some doctrine gets subscribed to me."-Meet The Press, Feb. 13, 2000

"I've changed my style somewhat, as you know. I'm less-I pontificate less, although it may be hard to tell it from this show. And I'm more interacting with people."-ibid

"I think we need not only to eliminate the tollbooth to the middle class, I think we should knock down the tollbooth."-Nashua, N.H., as quoted by Gail Collins in the New York Times, Feb. 1, 2000

"The most important job is not to be governor, or first lady in my case."-Pella, Iowa, as quoted by the San Antonio Express-News, Jan. 30, 2000

"Will the highways on the Internet become more few?"-Concord, N.H., Jan. 29, 2000

"This is Preservation Month. I appreciate preservation. It's what you do when you run for president. You gotta preserve."-Speaking during "Perseverance Month" at Fairgrounds Elementary School in Nashua, N.H. As quoted in the Los Angeles Times, Jan. 28, 2000

"I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family."-Greater Nashua, N.H., Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 27, 2000

"What I am against is quotas. I am against hard quotas, quotas they basically delineate based upon whatever. However they delineate, quotas, I think vulcanize society. So I don't know how that fits into what everybody else is saying, their relative positions, but that's my position.''-Quoted by Molly Ivins, the San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 21, 2000 (Thanks to Toni L. Gould.)

"When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and you knew exactly who they were," he said. "It was us vs. them, and it was clear who them was. Today, we are not so sure who the they are, but we know they're there."-Iowa Western Community College, Jan 21, 2000

"The administration I'll bring is a group of men and women who are focused on what's best for America, honest men and women, decent men and women, women who will see service to our country as a great privilege and who will not stain the house."-Des Moines Register debate, Iowa, Jan. 15, 2000

"This is still a dangerous world.  It's a world of madmen and uncertainty and potential mential losses."-At a South Carolina oyster roast, as quoted in the Financial Times, Jan. 14, 2000

"We must all hear the universal call to like your neighbor just like you like to be liked yourself."-ibid.

"Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"-Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000

"Gov. Bush will not stand for the subsidation of failure."-ibid.

"I think it's important for those of us in a position of responsibility to be firm in sharing our experiences, to understand that the babies out of wedlock is a very difficult chore for mom and baby alike. ... I believe we ought to say there is a different alternative than the culture that is proposed by people like Miss Wolf in society. ... And, you know, hopefully, condoms will work, but it hasn't worked."-Meet the Press, Nov. 21, 1999

"The students at Yale came from all different backgrounds and all parts of the country. Within months, I knew many of them."-From A Charge To Keep, by George W. Bush, published November 1999

"The important question is, How many hands have I shaked?"-Answering a question about why he hasn't spent more time in New Hampshire, in the New York Times, Oct. 23, 1999

"I don't remember debates. I don't think we spent a lot of time debating it. Maybe we did, but I don't remember."-On discussions of the Vietnam War when he was an undergraduate at Yale, Washington Post, July 27, 1999

"If the East Timorians decide to revolt, I'm sure I'll have a statement."-Quoted by Maureen Dowd in the New York Times, June 16, 1999

"Keep good relations with the Grecians."-Quoted in the Economist, June 12, 1999

"It was just inebriating what Midland was all about then."-From a 1994 interview, as quoted in First Son, by Bill Minutaglio

from the Washington Post

THE MOST amazing political quote in a politics-saturated weekend came from George W. Bush, in answer to a question about his latest radio advertisements. The ads denounce John McCain for voting against research funds for breast cancer. But when Mr. Bush was asked if he personally believed that Mr. McCain opposed breast cancer research, he responded, "No, I don't believe that."

The campaign leading up to today's primaries in 16 states, including Maryland, has revealed much about the candidates' views and records and temperaments, as a campaign is meant to do. But Mr. Bush's admission that even he does not believe his own misinformation shows that individual candidates remain capable of disturbing cynicism. Mr. Bush is by no means the only offender. Still, it is worth dwelling on his breast cancer ads as a case study in campaign dishonesty.

The ads rely on a standard political technique: Scour your opponent's record for potentially embarrassing views; quote them out of context; seek plausible allies willing to lend authority to your attack; and don't be put off by your own shortcomings on the same issue. In this case, the Bush campaign seizes upon Mr. McCain's opposition to two or three breast-cancer research projects; it ignores his record in supporting many more of them; it bolsters its attack by persuading a well-known breast cancer survivor to narrate the ad; and it is unfazed by Mr. Bush's own lack of leadership on this disease, which kills more than 40,000 women annually.

The ad says nothing about the reason for Mr. McCain's opposition to some projects: that they did not go through the normal appropriations review process. It says nothing about Mr. McCain's cosponsorship of Senate resolutions establishing National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, nor of some 10 other votes in favor of research funding over the past decade. It neglects to mention that in a national survey of breast cancer screenings in 1997, Texas ranked 41st in the nation; or that as governor Mr. Bush turned down a request for funds to improve that performance.

Even when it turned out that Mr. McCain's sister is a breast-cancer survivor, Mr. Bush showed no sign of remorse: Far from pulling the ads, he remarked that this was all the more reason to attack Mr. McCain on the subject. But Geri Barish, the narrator of the ads, seems open to second thoughts. After it was revealed that she owes a salaried appointment to New York's Republican machine, which is firmly in the Bush camp, her credibility as an independent cancer activist suffered. Mrs. Barish now says she regrets her participation in the ad campaign.

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Professor of Economics J. Bradford DeLong, 601 Evans Hall, #3880
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
(510) 643-4027 phone (510) 642-6615 fax

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