For those who could never get enough of the Nixon-Khrushchev "kitchen debate," there may soon be a sequel of sorts: Sen. Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) squaring off with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.
While leading a delegation of Republican senators to several Central American countries last week, Dole hired local camera crews in Honduras and Nicaragua to videotape useful snippets for possible use in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. No big deal, his aides said, noting that the crew in Honduras consisted of one fellow with a home video camera.
But the crew in Nicaragua scored big, capturing an acrimonious session between Ortega and the Republicans, in which Dole pressed for consideration of a peace plan and "freedom" for the people of Nicaragua. While there are no immediate plans to use the tape in a television commercial, "we wanted to have it in the can" just in case, said Dole spokesman Walt Riker.
Rep. Peter H. Kostmayer (D-Pa.), who was traveling separately in Nicaragua and invited by Dole to join the session, said he had no quarrel with Dole over taping the session for campaign use. But Kostmayer took umbrage when other Republican senators later accused him of having injected partisanship into the Ortega session. "I wonder if it's appropriate to film Ortega for campaign purposes and then accuse me of being political," he said.