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GOP CONVENTION '96

Excerpts: 'Let Me Be the Bridge to a Time of Tranquillity, Faith'

August 16, 1996| From Associated Press

Here are excerpts from Bob Dole's acceptance speech Thursday at the Republican National Convention in San Diego:

Ladies and gentlemen, delegates to the convention, and fellow citizens: I cannot say it more clearly than in plain speaking. I accept your nomination to lead our party once again to the presidency of the United States. . . .

I was born in Russell, Kansas, a small town in the middle of the prairie surrounded by wheat and oil wells. As my neighbors and friends from Russell, who tonight sit in the front of this hall, know well, Russell, though not the West, looks out upon the West. . . .

And [my] perspective has been strengthened and solidified by a certain wisdom that I owe not to any achievement of my own, but to the gracious compensations of age. And I know that in some quarters I may not, I may be expected to run from the truth of this. But I was born in 1923, facts are better than dreams, and good presidents and good candidates don't run from the truth. . . .

Age has its advantages. Let me be the bridge to an America that only the unknowing call myth. Let me be the bridge to a time of tranquillity, faith and confidence in action. And to those who say it was never so, that America has not been better, I say, you're wrong, and I know, because I was there. I have seen it. I remember. . . .

After decades of assault upon what made America great, upon supposedly obsolete values, what have we reaped? What have we created? What do we have? What we have in the opinion of millions of Americans is crime and drugs, illegitimacy, abortion, the abdication of duty and the abandonment of children.

Village vs. the Family

And after the virtual devastation of the American family, the rock upon which this country was founded, we are told that it takes a village--that is, the collective, and thus the state--to raise a child.

The state is now more involved than it has ever been in the raising of children, and children are now more neglected, abused and more mistreated than they have been in our time. This is not a coincidence. This is not a coincidence, and, with all due respect, I am here to tell you, it does not take a village to raise a child. It takes a family . . .

To those who believe that I am too combative, I say, if I am combative, it is for love of country. It is to uphold a standard that I was born and bred to defend. And to those who believe that I live and breathe compromise, I say that in politics, honorable compromise is no sin. It's what protects us from absolutism and intolerance. . . .

Now, which is more important? Wealth or honor?

It is not, as was said by the victors four years ago, "the economy, stupid." It's the kind of nation we are. It's whether we still possess the wit and determination to deal with many questions, including economic questions, but certainly not limited to them. . . .

The high office of the presidency requires not a continuous four-year campaign for reelection but, rather, broad oversight and attention to three essential areas--the material, the moral and the nation's survival, in that ascending order of importance.

And in the last presidential election, in the last presidential election, you, the people, were gravely insulted. You were told that the material was not only the most important of these three but, in fact, really the only one that really mattered. I don't hold to that for a moment. . . .

Corps of the Elite

It is demeaning to the nation that within the Clinton administration a corps of the elite who never grew up, never did anything real, never sacrificed, never suffered and never learned, should have the power to fund with your earnings their dubious and self-serving schemes.

Somewhere, a grandmother couldn't afford to call her granddaughter, or a child went without a book, or a family couldn't afford that first home, because there was just not enough money to make that call, buy the book or pay the mortgage or, for that matter, to do many other things that one has the right and often the obligation to do.

Why? Because some genius in the Clinton administration took the money to fund yet another theory, yet another program, and yet another bureaucracy. Are they taking care of you or are they taking care of themselves? . . .

My economic program is the right policy for America and for the future and for the next century. . . .

It means you will have a president who will urge Congress to pass and send to the states for ratification a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.

It means you will have a president and a Congress who will have the will to balance the budget by the year 2002.

It means you will have a president who will reduce taxes 15% across-the-board for every taxpayer in America. It will include a $500-per-child tax credit for lower- and middle-income families. Taxes for a family of four making $35,000 would be reduced by more than half--56% to be exact. And that's a big, big reduction.

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