Dole Targets ‘Outrage’ at Media and Clinton
HOUSTON (AP) _ Bob Dole pressed dual attacks Friday on the news media for trying to ``steal″ the election and President Clinton for violating the public trust. ``Where is the outrage in America?″ he bellowed over and over. ``Where is the outrage?″
Of the Democrats, Dole said, ``If they weren’t getting propped up by the media every day, this election would have been over two weeks ago.″
The Republican presidential nominee angrily upbraided the media for paying insufficient attention to Clinton’s acceptance of foreign campaign contributions, the White House collection of FBI files on prominent Republicans and the president’s refusal to rule out pardons for those convicted in the Whitewater affair.
And, for the first time, Dole seemed to suggest the president had direct involvement in the White House security office’s possession of FBI files.
``We have the president of the United States sitting down there with 900 FBI files. Might be one of yours, might be one of yours,″ he thundered to a noisy, overflow rally in Houston’s downtown Wortham Center theatre.
``And then we have the president of the United States, who won’t say he will not pardon somebody who did business with him and might implicate him later on. Where is the outrage in America? Where is the outrage?″
Five times he sounded that call to the roar of flag-waving supporters.
With top Texas Republicans at his side, Dole was spending precious campaign time in a state that even some Republicans acknowledge should have been locked up long ago. A new poll found Clinton and Dole running neck-and-neck in the state.
State Democratic Party spokesman Joe Cutbirth said Dole had lost momentum. ``Bob Dole blew a 16-point lead in Texas by taking this state for granted,″ Cutbirth said in a statement. ``Today, he is here scrambling for his political life.″
GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who appeared with Dole in Houston, called Dole’s visit a ``wake-up call″ for Texans. ``If you want a president you can trust, there is still time,″ she said of the election, just 11 days away.
In Dallas, Dole drew a crowd of nearly 7,000 _ his largest since just after the Republican convention _ to a rally at Southern Methodist University with former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach.
Clinton, meanwhile, campaigned in Atlanta as part of a national turn-out-the-vote drive aimed at people 25 to 35 years old.
``This is your election and we need you,″ the president told a downtown rally of thousands as he rolled out another of his modest proposals for a second term. Clinton said he would ask Congress to assign 100,000 college work-study students as reading tutors for elementary students.
Dole sought to take back his remark of Thursday that he was frustrated by the course of the campaign. A giant Texas mural looming at his back, Dole said Friday, ``I’m not sure I’m frustrated, but I don’t know, I don’t understand.″
He went on to cite questionable fund-raising by the Democrats and lamented, ``When will the voters start to focus? ... When will the American people rise up and say, `Forget the media in America, we’re going to make up our minds.‴
``We are not going to let the media steal this election,″ he said.
Later, he told supporters in Dallas, ``Don’t read that stuff. Don’t watch television. You make up your own mind _ don’t let them make up your mind for you.″
Asked about Dole’s remarks, White House press secretary Mike McCurry said, ``Bob Dole went negative on Bill Clinton and that didn’t work. Now Bob Dole’s gone negative on America and that won’t work.″
In Dallas, where campaign manager Scott Reed was rebuffed this week in a effort to secure Ross Perot’s endorsement of Dole, the GOP candidate made a special appeal to Perot’s supporters.
``Every vote for Perot is a vote for Bill Clinton,″ Dole said. ``Bill Clinton knows it. I think Ross Perot would know it. If he doesn’t want Clinton, he ought to say vote for Bob Dole.″
``I don’t mind beating one person, but it’s harder to beat two,″ Dole added.
From Texas, Dole headed to California, where he has set in motion a go-for-broke campaign to overtake Clinton’s double-digit polling lead. With an eye on that state’s 54 electoral votes, the GOP campaign released a new ad faulting Clinton for 2 million illegal immigrants in California.
And in Houston, Dole suggested that the Clinton administration was pushing to provide citizenship to immigrants so they could vote.
``We have all these new people coming into America, rushing through the immigration process. We find out that maybe as high as 10 percent are criminals. They want to get them ready for election day,″ Dole said.