The Negative Campaign Season

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 10, 1996 | Go to article overview

The Negative Campaign Season


Never mind the pundits' predictions of who will win the presidential election in November. Here's one that's a guaranteed lock: Sometime this fall Washington Post columnist David Broder and the ad-watch gangs at CNN and the other networks will castigate the pervasive negativity they find in campaign ads. A corollary prediction: Nobody will mention that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) threw the first punch.

Announcer: "The president proposes a balanced budget protecting Medicare, education, the environment. But Dole is voting no. The president cuts taxes for 40 million Americans. Dole votes no. The President bans assault weapons, demands work for welfare while protecting kids. Dole says no to the Clinton plan. ... It's time to say yes to the Clinton plan - yes to America's families."

Even by the Clinton administration's abysmal standards for truth, this is a remarkable reading of legislative history since 1993. The ad doesn't identify which of the numerous fiscal 1996 budgets President Clinton has proffered against which Mr. Dole voted "no." But only one of them has come up for a vote. That was his first offering, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said would produce annual deficits averaging $240 billion through 2000 and exploding thereafter. Mr. Dole voted "no" on that budget, but, then again, so did 98 of his colleagues.

In addition to voting for a balanced-budget constitutional amendment that was thwarted by Democratic opposition, Mr. Dole spearheaded the Senate's version of a seven-year balanced-budget plan and later crafted a House-Senate compromise balanced budget. In the end, it was Mr. Clinton, of course, who voted "no" with his veto pen.

With his veto, the president also voted "no" for a permanent $500-per-child (under 18 years old) tax credit for families with adjusted gross incomes below $110,000. …

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The Negative Campaign Season
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