Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Family Viewing Group Exhorts Dole to Keep Morality in Campaign Spotlight

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Family Viewing Group Exhorts Dole to Keep Morality in Campaign Spotlight

Article excerpt

With barely seven weeks left until what its leaders call "the most important election of our lifetime," the Christian Coalition cautioned GOP nominee Bob Dole on Friday not to let moral issues get lost in his message of tax and budget cuts.

"We recognize this campaign, to a very great extent, needs to be about cutting taxes and balancing the budget," Coalition director Ralph Reed told nearly 4,000 conservative Christians at the group's annual Road to Victory conference.

But, he said: "This election is not about a poverty in our pocketbooks. It is about a poverty in our souls. "It's about the breakup of the family, the coarsening of our culture, a loss of civility, a loss of innocence, a loss of values, and it is about a moral crisis that ails the heart and the soul of America." Reed said the media would not tell the truth about President Bill Clinton's character so the Christian Coalition would fill the gulf. He said the Coalition would register one million voters in the next month and distribute 45 million voter guides through churches on the weekend before the election. Reed sharply attacked Clinton over a rise in drug use among young people and his veto of a bill banning a late-term abortion procedure. "Now I ask you: Is that the kind of moral leadership that we need in the White House?" he asked, to a chorus of "No!" The mood was somber at the meeting, with polls showing Clinton heading for probable victory and Republicans in danger of losing their majorities in Congress. Criticism of Clinton was a common refrain. William Bennett, who was education secretary during President Ronald Reagan's administration, said of the president, "I think he is a man who has difficulty with the truth. And I think we should be able to talk about that." Reed also had a word of caution for Republicans, whose presidential nominee, Dole, declined an invitation to address the gathering. "To the Republican Party we say this: If you want to retain control of the House and Senate, and you want to have any chance at all of gaining the White House, you had better not retreat from the pro-life and pro-family stands that made you a majority party in the first place. …

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