Tsongas sees grief for Bush from women

January 23, 1992|By C. Fraser Smith

Democratic presidential hopeful Paul E. Tsongas imagines a scene: angry Republican women descending on President Bush, accusing him of treachery on the abortion issue.

Mr. Tsongas, appearing at the University of Maryland law school yesterday, said he expects that confrontation because of the "Faustian bargain" Mr. Bush made when he sided with anti-abortion forces. The president set aside his own abortion-rights position to win votes on the Republican right wing, Mr. Tsongas said.

"It's the cynicism that's at play," he said. When the GOP women call Mr. Bush to account, possibly at the party's convention next summer, "there will be a judgment day on that cynicism."

The former U.S. senator from Massachusetts said he is not happy with the possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court may soon rescind the right to an abortion. But the prospect of Mr. Bush in trouble with loyal Republicans pleased him.

In his speech to about 200 students at the law school, Mr. Tsongas covered a wide array of other issues from housing needs in the inner cities to public education, student aid and the importance of unity in the war for world markets.

Instead of being in the same boat pulling together, he said, ethnic and racial divisions have many Americans "standing and bashing each other with the oars."

In Ethiopia as a Peace Corps volunteer, he said, he saw children who had nothing but who learned their lessons well "because the society valued learning.

"You can't have a Bart Simpson country and compete with anybody," he said.

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