Excerpts From The Debate

October 12, 1992

ON WHAT MAKES HIM DIFFERENT

* Ross Perot: "I think the principle issue that separates me is that 5 1/2 million people came together on their own and put me on the ballot. I was not put on the ballot by either of the two parties.

"I was not put on the ballot by any PAC money, by any foreign lobbyist money, by any special interest money. This is a movement that came from the people. This is the way the framers of the Constitution intended our government to be, a government that comes from the people."

* Bill Clinton: "The most important distinction in this campaign is that I represent real hope for change, a departure from trickle-down economics, a departure from tax-and-spend economics, to invest in growth.

"But before I can do that, I must challenge the American people to change, and they must decide.

"Tonight I have to say to the president: Mr. Bush, for 12 years you've had it your way. You've had your chance and it didn't work. It's time to change. I want to bring that change to the American people. But we must all decide first we have the courage to change for hope and a better tomorrow."

* President Bush: "I think one thing that distinguishes is experience. I think we've dramatically changed the world. I'll talk about that a little bit later, but the changes are mind-boggling for world peace.

"Kids go to bed at night without the same fear of nuclear war. And change for change's sake isn't enough. We saw that message in the late '70s when we heard a lot about change, and what happened, that misery index went right through the roof. But, my economic program is the kind of change we want.

"And the way we're going to get it done is we're going to have a brand new Congress. A lot of them are thrown out because of all the scandals. I'll sit down with them, Democrats and Republicans alike, and work for my agenda for American renewal, which represents real change."

ON THE QUESTION OF CHARACTER

* Bush: "I think the American people should be the judge of that. I think character is a very important question.

"I said something the other day where I was accused of being like Joe McCarthy because I questioned -- I put it this way; I think it's wrong to demonstrate against your own country or organize demonstrations against your own country in foreign soil. I just think it's wrong.

"I -- well, maybe they say, 'Well, it was a youthful indiscretion.' I was 19 or 20, flying off an aircraft carrier and that shaped me to be commander-in-chief of the armed forces and I'm sorry, but demonstrating -- it's not a question of patriotism. It's a question of character and judgment."

* Perot: "Certainly anyone in the White House should have the character to be there. But, I think it's very important to measure when and where things occurred. Did they occur when you were a young person, in your formative years? Or did they occur while you were a senior official in the federal government?

"When you're a senior official in the federal government spending billions of dollars of taxpayers' money and you're a mature individual and you make a mistake; then that was on our ticket. If you make it as a young man, time passes."

* Clinton: "You have questioned my patriotism. You even brought some right-wing congressmen into the White House to plot how to attack me for going to Russia in 1969-1970, when over 50,000 other Americans did.

"Now, I honor your service in World War II, I honor Mr. Perot's service in uniform and the service of every man and woman who ever served, including Admiral Crowe, who was your chairman of the joint chiefs and who's supporting me.

"But when Joe McCarthy went around this country attacking people's patriotism he was wrong. He was wrong. And a senator from Connecticut stood up to him named Prescott Bush. Your father was right to stand up to Joe McCarthy, you were wrong to attack my patriotism. I was opposed to the war but I loved my country and we need a president who will bring this country together, not divide it.

ON EXPERIENCE

* Clinton: "I believe experience counts, but it's not everything. Values, judgment, and the record that I have amassed in my state also should count for something.

"I've worked hard to create good jobs and to educate people. My state now ranks first in the country in job growth this year, fourth in income growth, fourth in the reduction of poverty, third in overall economic performance, according to a major news magazine. That's because we believe in investing in education and in jobs.

". . . you can have the right kind of experience and the wrong kind of experience. Mine is rooted in the real lives of real people, and it will bring real results if we have the courage to change.

* Bush: "[Clinton] thinks, I think he said, that the country is coming apart at the seams. Now, I know that the only way he can win is to make everybody believe the economy's worse than it is.

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