Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dole, Kemp Hit Ground Running in Campaign

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dole, Kemp Hit Ground Running in Campaign

Article excerpt

Bob Dole set out from the GOP convention Friday, promoting his tax-cut plan as a boon to working families and exulting that, after years in the shadow of other Republican leaders, "I finally got to talk last."

With Jack Kemp, his running mate, in tow, an ebullient Dole, the Republican presidential nominee, left San Diego determined to sustain convention momentum and counter Democratic attempts to paint GOP policies as mean-spirited or geared to benefit the wealthy. The two are to appear today at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield.

Anticipating charges from Democrats that his tax-cut numbers don't add up, Dole said in Denver that he has a reputation for keeping his word.

"Our message is not very complicated. We have one simple message. We are going to balance the budget and cut taxes, and we are going to do both at the same time," Dole told a noisy crowd that was packed into a downtown square in Denver.

The tax-cutting vow drew a raucous response of "Bye bye, Bill" from a crowd of about 2,000 people.

Earlier, in San Diego, Dole said he and Kemp were taking off around the country to "complete the Reagan revolution" by cutting taxes by 15 percent and by opening the Republican Party "to more and more people all across America." He said he "would not propose a tax cut - I would not propose an economic package - if I was not certain we could not achieve it without hurting Social Security, without hurting Medicare."

"There are those who paint Republicans as hard-hearted, we don't care, we are not sensitive," Dole told a Republican National Committee breakfast. "But we all know that is not the case."

Pushing Tax Cut

Dole said he and Kemp would run a positive campaign anchored on his tax-cut plan and a program to allow parents to send children to the school of their choice. "We're going to talk about low- and middle-income children for the next 81 days," he said.

Buoyed by the four-day convention, Dole left San Diego for Colorado with this promise: "Beating an incumbent president is not easy - but it is going to happen."

During a send-off rally in San Diego, Dole rebutted White House assertio ns that it was impossible to cut taxes by $538 billion and balance the budget by 2002 without slashing Social Security, Medicare or programs for the poor.

Dole said his plan would cut by more than half the taxes of a family making $35,000 a year.

Kemp told the crowd that the tax cut would be "a down payment on a new code for America" that is simpler and fairer. He wore a San Diego Chargers jersey emblazoned with the "15" he wore when he played professional football 35 years ago in San Diego. Dole also got a jersey, and he and Kemp were greeted on a red-carpeted runway by 11 Chargers cheerleaders.

As Dole headed from California to four other states that President Bill Clinton carried in 1992, aides said Republican polling showed Dole had narrowed the Democratic incumbent's lead to 9 or 10 percentage points, although other surveys put Clinton's lead slightly higher. …

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