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Orange County Digest

Newport Beach : Home Again, Rosenberg Comes Out for Contras

April 15, 1986|Lanie Jones

Home from a four-day "fact-finding" trip to Central America, congressional candidate Nathan O. Rosenberg declared Monday that he supports President Reagan's plan for $100 million in military aid to the Contras.

Calling himself "a man of initiative, a man of action," Rosenberg, 33, a management consultant trying to unseat 10-year veteran Rep. Robert E. Badham (R-Newport Beach), last week declared that both he and the voters were confused on the Contra issue. Rosenberg flew to Costa Rica on Thursday to study the problem firsthand.

Over the next four days, Rosenberg met with Costa Rican leaders, several representatives of the freedom fighters and three Nicaraguan officials to discuss what the U.S. government's role should be.

Those meetings and an 8 1/2-hour visit to Managua, Nicaragua, clearly proved that the Nicaraguan government was "a government propped up by an outside power" and only "the freedom fighters represent the legitimate aspirations of the Nicaraguan people," Rosenberg said. In Managua, the influence was obvious, he said, pointing out that there are Soviet helicopters at the airport and troops clad in Soviet boots.

At a press conference in Santa Ana on Monday, Rosenberg offered reporters his own "six-point plan for peace and democracy in Central America." Under that plan, the United States would delay aid to the Contras for 90 days and would spend that time negotiating a cease-fire between Nicaragua's Sandinistas and the Contras.

Rosenberg said that he had already "debriefed" the U.S. State Department on his trip, which cost him $2,200 and was not paid with campaign funds. He added: "I will be providing briefs to the White House." Meanwhile, State Department official Frances Jones of the Costa Rican desk characterized her "briefing" by Rosenberg Monday as "a nice chat." Jones said that she would not assess the political significance of the trip.

Badham aide William Schreiber called Rosenberg's trip "a campaign publicity stunt," part of a continuing effort by Rosenberg "to wage his campaign in the press." For Rosenberg to come up with a "peace program" after spending part of a day in Nicaragua when Congress had wrestled with the issue for months was "absurd," Schreiber said.

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