"The Republicans: A New Hampshire Forum"
Thursday Dec. 2, 1999 at WMUR-TV's studio in Manchester, NH.  8:00-9:30 p.m. (EST). 
The Questions
First Round
1. Brit Hume to Gary Bauer:  Ronald Reagan famously said again and again in 1980 to the public, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"  Everyone thought that question and people's answer helped him win.  If we're asked today, don't you think most people would say yes? 

1a. Let me follow up with you on the issue that you have made the foremost issue of your campaign: abortion. You appear to have a position, Sir, that is at variance with what majorities consistently say they favor.  How do you propose to accomplish the end of legal abortion as we know it if you were president?

2. Karen Brown to Sen. John McCain:  Senator McCain, in your home state of Arizona and in Washington, DC, fellow Republicans make an issue of your temper.  It is one thing to feel passionate about the issues, but why is it that those who know you best seem to like you the least?

2a. Let me follow up then.  If you have friends in Washington, and I assume you do, why is it then a majority of your fellow Republican Senators have endorsed Governor Bush while only a handful have endorsed you?

3. Brit Hume to Sen. Orrin Hatch:  Has Senator McCain answered that question to your satisfaction?  You're one of those who know him best; you're one of those who see him and his personality.  Has he answered that question correctly about why it is that Republican Senators in such numbers seem not to be for him?

3a. Senator Hatch, as recently as a couple of weeks ago on my broadcast on FOX News Channel you articulated some concerns about Senator McCain that went beyond what you're willing to say here.  Have you not changed your mind about him?

4. Karen Brown to Alan Keyes:  In October you accused the media of being racist for their apparent disinterest in you during a press availability.  Is that racism or is it a reflection of your standing in the polls?

4a. Well to accuse anyone of racism is a pretty strong statement.  After all you're here tonight for all the world to see and hear. So do you have any regrets about what you said?

5. Brit Hume to Steve Forbes:  You've got an ad on the air now quickly put together with a telephone call in which you accuse Governor Bush of a betrayal on Social Security because he has considered raising the age.  Is it fair to criticize someone simply for considering an option which is on nearly everybody's list of what to do about that program?  You call that a betrayal?

5a. But Mr. Forbes, you yourself acknowledge all he has said he would do is consider that.  How can mere consideration of an option be a betrayal?

6. Karen Brown to Gov. George W. Bush:  I'm going to give you a chance to respond to that.  Is this code for "We're going to do it."

6a. Governor Bush if I may follow up.  Let me ask you point blank.  Would you consider or would you raise the age?

Second Round
1. Brit Hume to Gov. George W. Bush:  Governor you have said that you would always have people around you as president who would be able to fill in any gaps in your knowledge of the world and the players on the world stage.  But let me ask you, do you think that President Bush could have done the job he did in assembling and holding together the Gulf War coalition composed of many very varied nations had he not had the knowledge of the world that he had from years of experience in diplomacy, in politics, at the UN?

1a. With all respect, Sir, I don't think you answered the question.

2. Karen Brown to Steve Forbes:  Mr. Forbes. The next president will be dealing with the aftermath of the Microsoft antitrust case.  Thus far the federal judge has found in favor of the government, indicating that Microsoft violated antitrust laws.  With high technology a key to the country's economic engine, is it in America's best interest to break up Microsoft the way AT&T was in 1984 in order to foster competition in the software industry?

2a. Let me follow up. If you were president then, would you encourage the case against Microsoft be dropped?

3. Brit Hume to Sen. John McCain: Senator McCain there have been reports of a whispering campaign by some, including some in the Senate, suggesting that any ferocity of temper that you may have been displayed was somehow a result perhaps of your war experience.  Let me ask you, Sir, are you aware of anyone specifically who has spread this, particularly any of your Republican Senate colleagues?

3a. There is something though, Senator, that leads to the failure of more of your Republican colleagues to endorse you, to the fact that there are a number of Republicans in Arizona who have been critical of you--[the] Governor has endorsed one of your rivals.  What's going on there in your judgment?

4. Karen Brown to Gary Bauer:  Mr. Bauer, you oppose the idea of personal retirement accounts as a way to reform Social Security.  Instead you propose an immediate 20% cut in the Social Security payroll tax.  When the system is poised to go broke in the year 2012, how can you justify cutting the revenue stream that assures retirees their benefits?

4a. Let me follow up.  I don't think you answered my question.  There are a lot of senior citizens out there tonight watching who don't understand your plan and who fear that the money won't be there for them.

5. Brit Hume to Alan Keyes:  Ambassador Keyes you've been elected president.  You wake up one morning to find two things.  Taiwan has formally declared independence from China, and the Chinese have begun to fire missiles toward those offshore islands.  What do you do?

5a. Well let's assume it came to the scenario that I outlined.  What would you do then, at that moment?

6. Karen Brown to Sen. Orrin Hatch:  Senator Hatch, should an individual have the right to sue his or her HMO if unreasonably denied medical care?  Under current law, HMOs are immune to such lawsuits. As you know, the U.S. House has passed the patient bill of rights, which includes a provision for such lawsuits; the Senate has a competing bill and it does not contain that provision.  So if the prospect of civil liability is the best means for preventing these kinds of unreasonable coverage decisions, would you support it?

6a. Well some would dispute that.  They would say the cost really is not the issue here.  According to an independent study that was sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation, it showed that the cost of litigation against HMOs is really only between 3 and 13 cents per enrollee.  So some would ask why then allow the HMOs this special legal status?

Third Round
1. Brit Hume to Steve Forbes:  Mr. Forbes, the quote that Governor Bush read during the last round appeared to have you, if it is a correct quote, proposing or suggesting that you would consider doing the very thing you have got ads out criticizing him for.  How do you answer that? 

1a. That is sure to be attacked by Democrats as, in their inimitable phrase, a risky scheme.  How would you answer that -- that money invested in the markets would be potentially subject to great gains, but potentially also subject to severe losses? 

2. Karen Brown to Gov. George W. Bush:  Governor Bush, according to the Houston Chronicle, Houston is the smoggiest city in America.  Do you support the EPA's proposed Tier 2 standards to desulfurize  gasoline?  Cleaner gasoline would help cut down on the ozone pollution, yet many refiners, some of whom are based in Texas, oppose the Tier 2 standards.  Please tell us your position. 

2a. But specifically, what about those Tier 2 standards? 

3. Brit Hume to Sen. Orrin Hatch: Senator Hatch, you've heard Mr. Forbes' answer to the question about the Microsoft suit.  He says basically he'd drop it.  What would you do? 

3a. But, Senator, the antitrust laws are supposed to protect consumers; they're not necessarily supposed to protect just competitors. That's special interest activity -- 

4. Karen Brown to Sen. John McCain: Senator McCain, the status of the U.S. Army's readiness is under scrutiny right now.  They have difficulty recruiting.  There is an internal dispute between traditionalists, who say the Army's strength is in its big guns and tanks, and those who say the Army should modernize to be able to deploy faster and lighter tanks. What's your take?  Does the Army have a place in a modern military or is the U.S. Army obsolete? 

4a. Well, if you say the Army's not obsolete, then what kind of commitment would you make as president to help the Army with readiness? I'm talking dollars. 

5. Brit Hume to Gary Bauer:  If you could only do one thing as president, what would it be? 

5a. And your second priority?

6. Karen Brown to Alan Keyes:  Mr. Keyes, America intervened in Kosovo when it became apparent that innocent civilians were being slaughtered.  Now the same is happening in Chechnya.  What should the United States do about Russia's military crack-down on Chechnya? 

6a.  So do we ignore what's happening in Chechnya?  Or do you advocate, if certainly not engaging troops, something like withholding loans from the International Monetary Fund? 

Fourth Round
1. Brit Hume to Gov. George W. Bush: Governor, there a great many people who have said that they couldn't have done any better on that pop quiz on world leaders than you did.  But it does seem, fairly or not, to have raised the issue of your knowledgeability of the world and your interest in that. Could you tell us, Sir, what do you read every day for information? 

1a. What else?

2. Karen Brown to Steve Forbes: Mr. Forbes, set aside your flat tax for the moment, if you would.  What would you advocate as president to keep us away from inflation and out of economic recession? 

2a. So you would not reappoint Alan Greenspan? 

3. Brit Hume to Sen. John McCain: Senator McCain, where do you come out on this question of this stock market, as high as it is, and on the issues that have just been asked of Mr. Forbes relating to Mr. Greenspan, who seems, at times, alarmed by the level of the stock market?  Do you think it's a bubble?  Do you think we should afraid of this?  What? 

3a. Quickly, then, Senator, just let me get the rest of your answer on the stock market. Is it a bubble? 

4. Karen Brown to Gary Bauer: Mr. Bauer, in New Hampshire, a young woman named Amy Boyer (sp?) was murdered in October.  What was startling about her death was that her killer had kept a public diary on a website dedicated to her for two years, including details of how he planned to carry out this murder. After she was gunned down, the website host pulled the plug, but only after authorities brought their attention to it.  My question is this: has the time come to police the Internet for content, and whose responsibility is it? 

4a. Is it the role of the federal government to close off the Internet to these illegal activities like the child pornography you mentioned? 

5. Brit Hume to Alan Keyes:  Mr. Ambassador, let me try you on the issue of Internet and whether it should be regulated and by whom. 

5a. You seem to be saying it's difficult to do and that doing it is -- [ MR. KEYES: Oh, I don't want to fool people.] -- and that doing it defeats some of the purpose of it, but you want to do it anyway. 

6. Karen Brown to Sen. Orrin Hatch: Well, Senator Hatch, I'm going to stay with the Internet theme for a bit longer.  Futurists predict that e-commerce will be a trillion-dollar business in the next century.  Currently the Internet is not taxed.  Should it be? 

6a. If you don't tax businesses doing e-commerce, doesn't that put small companies doing business the old-fashioned way at a disadvantage because they are taxed? 

Fifth Round
1. Brit Hume to Steve Forbes:  Mr. Forbes, Governor Bush made a tax proposal this week that in dollar terms is larger than the one that was proposed by Republicans in Congress, who, when they made theirs, went out during the August recess to try to drum up support for it, and found remarkably little.  And yet you have criticized his proposal, in effect, as being too timid.  Are you living in, sort of, the real political world on taxes? 

1a. Well, what evidence would you cite from the public that there is appetite for this kind of -- this tax change, even for the end of the IRS -- what evidence? 

2. Karen Brown to Sen. John McCain:  Senator McCain, several major HMOs are failing financially.  The system isn't working.  There is rampant patient dissatisfaction.  What do you propose to fix it? 

2a. Let me return to the issue of health care and HMOs.  Given how expensive health care is, HMOs are now waking up to the fact that they can't deliver the promises they made to consumers and still be profitable.  If, ultimately, HMOs disappear, what then fills the void? 

3. Brit Hume to Gary Bauer: Mr. Bauer, if the sale of a book or a pair of shoes is taxed when it's done in a store, why should it not be taxed if it's done over the Internet? Isn't that how you level the playing field for all? 

3a. Well, speaking of taxes, what is your reaction to Governor Bush's tax plan so sharply criticized by Mr. Forbes? 

4. Karen Brown to Alan Keyes: Mr. Keyes, I'm going to stick with this health care theme.  I think it's important. The cost of prescription drugs is escalating. Many New Hampshire residents will board a bus and drive to Canada where it is cheaper to buy their drugs. What specifically do you propose to make those drugs more affordable for senior citizens who are on Medicare? 

4a. Okay, now would you answer my question about the prescription drugs? 

5. Brit Hume to Sen. Orrin Hatch:  All right, Senator Hatch.  Why don't you try it on the tax issue? 

5a. React, if you can, to what Ambassador Keyes has just said on this issue. SEN. HATCH: On this issue or on the HMO issue?  MR. HUME: Well, try -- no, on this issue. SEN. HATCH: On this issue?  MR. HUME: He says end to this -- and does Mr. Forbes -- end to the IRS. 

6. Karen Brown to Gov. George W. Bush: All right, Governor Bush, we're going to give you a chance to swat at this tax question as well. 

6a. As you've indicated, you want to cut the federal income taxes for every American, and you do so on the assumption that there is a budget surplus.  So what happens when or if that surplus goes away? 

Sixth Round
1. Brit Hume to Sen. John McCain:  If you could be remember for one thing as president and only one thing, what would it be? 

2. Karen Brown to Steve Forbes:  Mr. Forbes, given how crowded airplanes are these days, with passengers complaining of lost luggage and delays, there are increasing cases of what's come to be known as "air rage."  Is it time for Washington to step in and solve the problem? 

3. Brit Hume to Alan Keyes:  Ambassador Keyes, I want to take you back to the question you were asked originally related to your anger at what you felt was racial motivation behind the failure of journalists to pay appropriate attention to your candidacy. There are other black political figures, Republican and Democrat alike -- Jesse Jackson and Colin Powell being signal examples -- who have not experienced this problem.  Why do you suppose you have and not they? 

4. Karen Brown to Gary Bauer:  Mr. Bauer, six states have passed laws allowing for medicinal marijuana.  Is it time for the government to regulate marijuana for medicinal purposes?

5. Brit Hume to Gov. George W. Bush:  Governor Bush, Saddam Hussein is still there.  What would you do about that, if anything, that is different from what President Clinton has done? 

6. Karen Brown to Senator Hatch:  Senator Hatch, you have been one of the Attorney General Janet Reno's harshest critics, yet you've stopped short of calling for her resignation.  Will you do so tonight?


Copyright 1999  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.