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Presidential Candidates on the Issues

With just a week to go before voters head to the polls, the Monitor today and tomorrow shows where four candidates - those who are on the ballot in all 50 states - stand on 14 issues that affect the American public.

BILL CLINTON, Democratic Party

BOB DOLE, Republican Party

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ROSS PEROT, Reform Party

HARRY BROWNE, Libertarian Party


Bill Clinton: Supports broad abortion rights. Vetoed bill that would have banned most late-term abortions. "Abortions should be safe, legal, and rare. We can lower the number of abortions by emphasizing education, prevention, and personal responsibility to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies."

Bob Dole: Long Senate record of voting against easing abortion access, but expresses concern that party anti-abortion policies "not drive people away." Backs ban on late-term abortion procedure. "I support a constitutional amendment to restrict abortion, subject to the exceptions of life of the mother, rape, and incest."

Ross Perot: Supports abortion rights. "A decision to have an abortion should only be made between a woman and God."

Harry Browne: Opposes abortion and also opposes government involvement in the matter. "Nothing in the federal Constitution authorizes the government to be involved in abortion." Would leave the issue to the states to decide. "The only practical solution ... is a program of education and persuasion - undertaken by people, not government."

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Bill Clinton: "Mend it, don't end it." Is reducing preferences for women and minorities in government contracting in response to Supreme Court order. Expanding efforts to recruit contract bids from minority- and female-owned firms without using set-asides. Opposed broader Dole effort to end affirmative action in hiring and government purchasing.

Bob Dole: Former affirmative action supporter, but now opposes it. "I think now we've reached a point where we need to move on." As senator, introduced legislation that would prohibit most federal preferences based on race or sex.

Ross Perot: Says affirmative action needs to change with the times. Said in 1992 he opposed promoting a minority over another candidate better qualified for a job.

Harry Browne: Advocates getting the government out of "discrimination business" - neither prohibiting nor mandating discrimination.


Bill Clinton: Won major anticrime package that included money for more local police and prisons. Stiffened gun control. Expanded scope of death penalty. Supports constitutional amendment to strengthen rights of crime victims. Endorses juvenile curfews. Teenage drug use doubled in his term. Favors prosecuting violent youths as adults.

Bob Dole: Favors prosecuting violent youths as adults. Favors allowing evidence to be used from criminal searches conducted without warrants, but with "just cause." Favors limits on death-row appeals. Opposes most gun controls. Would increase use of National Guard and perhaps military in fighting drugs. Favors making prisoners work for their keep.

Ross Perot: Favors death penalty for "any drug dealer who kills a child." Opposes any early release for violent criminals.

Harry Browne: Wants to keep the federal government out of fighting crime. He says all law enforcement should be local because all crime is local - it occurs within the jurisdiction of some police department or sheriff's department. He also advocates legalizing drugs and repealing gun-control laws.


Bill Clinton: Would offer families a tuition tax credit for up to two years, followed by annual tax deductions for college expenses, in program costing $43 billion. Supports national standards and steps toward public school choice and charter schools. Opposes using public money for private school tuition. Sponsored AmeriCorps program.

Bob Dole: Would offer $1,000 elementary and $1,500 high school scholarships to students of low and middle income for private, religious, or public schools of their choice. Would eliminate Education Department and switch more functions to states. Backs constitutional amendment on school prayer. Opposes AmeriCorps.

Ross Perot: Advocates more local control of schools, foreign-language instruction in early grades, and continued experiments with school vouchers. "If I could wish for one thing for all the children in the disadvantaged community, it would be tiny, little neighborhood schools that their parents could be involved in, where learning is stressed."

Harry Browne: Proposes the federal government completely get out of education, saying says it has no constitutional authority to "meddle." By lowering taxes, parents would be able to finance their children's education directly. Would let states decide whether to fund public schools or adopt a voucher system.


Bill Clinton: Expanded environmental protections but backpedaled on Western land reforms. Declared 1.7 million acres of Utah a national monument. Opposes GOP legislation that would base environmental decisions on cost assessments instead of health standards. Opposes "takings" law. Opposes restricting Endangered Species Act.

Bob Dole: Sponsored takings legislation that would strengthen requirements for compensation when regulation cuts property values and a bill that would reduce protected wetlands acreage. Opposed raising fees for ranchers who graze cattle on federal land. Backs cost assessment. Favors curbing Endangered Species Act.

Ross Perot: Favors "takings" law as long as it does not reward speculators who buy environmentally sensitive land to profit from government compensation. Has said he would use incentives instead of regulations to achieve environmental goals.

Harry Browne: Advocates getting property out of the hands of government, which he views as the biggest polluter, and into the control of private owners. Groups such as the Nature Conservancy or the Wilderness Society will take much better care of assets like Yellowstone Park, he says.


Bill Clinton: Backs "moderate" cut in legal immigration. Boosted budget for catching illegal immigrants. Opposes making English the official language. Opposes most social services for illegal immigrants, but would let their children attend public schools.

Bob Dole: Backs "modest, temporary" cut in legal immigration. Pushed for legislation giving more money to states struggling with costs of jailing illegal immigrants. Would deny most social services to illegal immigrants. Favors making English the official language.

Ross Perot: Favors emphasizing job skills and education in criteria for admitting immigrants. Says, "We don't want to build a wall around America."

Harry Browne: Says dismantling the welfare state will automatically solve the immigration problem. "Once there is no more gravy train, the only people who will want to come here will be those who want the freedom to work and to build a better life for their families."


Bill Clinton: Failed in major effort to make affordable health care available to all. Signed bipartisan law aimed at guarding insurance coverage for people who change jobs or have preexisting illnesses. Opposes tax-free medical savings accounts, saying they would undermine Medicare, but agreed to try them in limited experiment.

Bob Dole: Backed law signed by Clinton guarding coverage for people between jobs, and won health insurance tax breaks for self-employed and for long-term care. Favors medical savings accounts.

Ross Perot: Supports making wealthier people pay more under Medicare and slowing program's growth. "You've got to put the lid on this thing and slow it down now to balance the budget."

Harry Browne: Advocates that government get out of health care. Would privatize Medicare, abolish Medicaid, and let states decide on care for the needy. Supports abolishing the Food and Drug Administration. Would make all medical expenses tax deductible. Would stop states from imposing conditions on health insurance.

Source: wires/staff

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