Bennett urges Dole to articulate vision for U.S., let voters know him Ex-education secretary addresses Maryland GOP

April 26, 1996|By John Rivera | John Rivera,SUN STAFF

Former U.S. Education Secretary William J. Bennett, who earlier this week called on presidential candidate Bob Dole to resign as Senate majority leader, offered more unsolicited advice for a successful campaign to a gathering of Maryland Republicans last night.

Mr. Bennett, speaking at the Maryland Republican Party's sixth annual Red, White and Blue Dinner, said Mr. Dole needs to concentrate on articulating a vision to the American people and to let the public know who he is. The dinner drew about 250 people at $150 a plate to the Hyatt Regency Baltimore Hotel.

On Monday, Mr. Bennett told a group of GOP contributors that Mr. Dole should resign as majority leader and concentrate on his presidential campaign. Last night, he said he got a scolding call from Republican National Chairman Haley Barbour for his remarks.

"And I said, I sinned and I will sin again until we get it right. This is too important," said the former drug czar and author of the best selling book, "The Book of Virtues."

When Mr. Barbour told him not to panic too early, Mr. Bennett replied, "It's better to panic too early than panic too late. Last presidential election, we panicked too late."

He offered Mr. Dole "10 things to do" if the campaign is to be successful. He compared the campaign to a football game in which a team has to play for the entire 60 minutes of the game, offense and defense. And the Republican party, he said, has been taking a breather lately.

"There are no timeouts," he said. "There's one thing I've learned for sure about politics in Washington: You're moving the ball on them or they're moving the ball on you."

Mr. Dole "needs to shift his perception in the public mind from being a legislative leader to being a national leader," Mr. Bennett said. "The people need to see him as the person who articulates a vision to the nation, not for the Senate."

Mr. Bennett also urged Mr. Dole, who grew up in Russell, Kans., to "speak Russell, Kan., not [Capitol] Beltway."

Although character is an important issue, he said, Mr. Dole should refrain from attacking the character of Mr. Clinton. "It doesn't work in America," he said. "It doesn't go with the American style of self-effacement."

Pub Date: 4/26/96

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