STATEMENT BY JOE LOCKHART
NATIONAL PRESS SECRETARY
Bob Dole said putting tolerance language in the abortion plank was his decision. "I think I make the decision," he told CNN. "It's not negotiable, it's the decision. And that's going to be in the plank...And it ought to be right up there where people can see it."
Asked later in the week if the language should be kept out of the abortion plank, Dole said, "But then it doesn't mean anything...The Bible says we ought to be tolerant."
We now know when it comes to the issue of abortion, it is Bob Dole's claim to be tolerant that doesn't mean anything. Bob Dole demonstrated today who is really calling the shots in his campaign -- Pat Robertson and the extreme right wing radicals of the Republican party.
This week must leave mainstream Republicans feeling like they don't have a candidate. With Dole's statements on tobacco, assault weapons, the NAACP -- and now abortion -- Bob Dole has clearly decided to stand with Newt Gingrich, Pat Robertson and the extreme right wing of the Republican party.
BOB DOLE'S "TOLERANCE" TIME LINE
June 10, 1996
Dole Said The So-Called "Declaration Of Tolerance" Would Be In The Abortion Plank.
In early June, Dole tried to settle the abortion issue in the Republican party by saying that a so-called "declaration of tolerance" would be placed in the GOP platform. Dole was then asked, "Is the abortion issue now over as a matter of controversy within the Republican Party?" He said, "I don't know. I mean, I think Pat Buchanan said he welcomed my statement on the abortion issue. It has been resolved. I think I make that decision -- it's not negotiable, it's the decision. And that's going to be in the plank. And it's probably going to be in the abortion plank, not in the preamble. It seems to me if you want to make it clear to the people out there that we're tolerant, you make it -- this is a moral issue, it's not like all the other things in the platform. And it ought to be right up there where people can see it." [CNN's Inside Politics, 6/10/96]
June 13, 1996
Dole Said Declaration Of Tolerance "Doesn't Mean Anything" If It's Not In Abortion Plank.
While Dole campaigned in Kentucky after he said he wanted tolerance language in the abortion plank, he was greeted by anti-abortion activist Frank Simon, who unveiled a long, yellow banner which read, "Tolerance belongs in the preamble." Simon was along the ropeline after Dole's speech and he asked Dole to put the tolerance language in the preamble. Dole responded, "But then it doesn't mean anything... The Bible says we ought to be tolerant." [Louisville Courier-Journal, 6/14/96]
June 22, 1996
Reed Said He Would Strongly Oppose "Declaration Of Tolerance" In Abortion Plank.
After Dole met with Henry Hyde, the Christian Coalition's Ralph Reed said, "Henry and we are going to hang together on this. If there is an attempt to attach a 'declaration of tolerance' only to the pro-life plank, there will be very strong opposition in the platform committee." [Chicago Tribune, 6/22/96]
June 27, 1996
Dole Met With Christian Coalition's Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed.
Bob Dole met with Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson and executive director Ralph Reed. After the meeting, Christian Coalition spokesperson Mike Russell said Robertson and Reed had an "honest, forthright discussion on the party platform language." Dole spokesman Nelson Warfield said the three met for 40 minutes regarding the GOP party platform. [Boston Globe, 6/28/96; Houston Chronicle, 6/28/96]
July 12, 1996
Dole Caves To Radical Right And Leaves "Tolerance" Language Out Of Abortion Plank Itself.
On July 12, 1996, Dole announced his plan to have a "Tolerance Plank" and a "Tolerance Principle" in the GOP platform. In a monumental cave to Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed, and the radical right wing of the Republican party. As the Associated Press wrote, "The attempt at a compromise was seen mainly as a gesture to appease the religious right, which had vociferously opposed any effort by Dole to soften the anti-abortion language." [Associated Press, 7/12/96]
Paid for by Clinton/Gore 96 General Committee, Inc.