In a wide-ranging interview with the conservative journal National Review, Texas Gov. George W. Bush held forth on women, the media, his New Year's plans and smoking in the White House.
Would he assign responsibility to an issue like health care to his wife, as Bill Clinton did to Hillary Rodham Clinton? "Absolutely not. . . . I'm the person running for office. I'm going to be president of the U.S. This is not a co-presidency."
Should men and women train together in the military? "I don't believe in gender-integrated training. I think they ought to be separated. The training facilities ought to be separated."
Smoking in the White House? "That wouldn't bother me. I mean personal guests come in and smoke at the governor's mansion."
On Vice President Gore's outspoken campaign manager, Donna Brazile: "It's slash-and-burn, zero-sum politics. This is a campaign that if I happen to win the party's nomination is going to be a campaign of belittlement. . . . It already started. 'Doesn't know anything. Famous daddy.' On and on and on."
On Gore adviser Naomi Wolf, a controversial feminist: "I don't understand that mentality. . . . There's a kind of literati, and it's just not me. I respect smart people, I respect genius. I love good writing. But that's just not where I'm coming from."
Will he go to Renaissance Weekend, the New Year's weekend gathering at Hilton Head, S.C., often attended by Clinton, where intellectuals, politicos, entrepreneurs, journalists and activists conduct seminars on subjects ranging from public policy to personal relationships? "Wrong guy. Wrong guy. I'd rather be fishing."
New GOP Ads Hit Gore on Taxes
Vice President Gore won't have the airwaves to himself tonight when he takes part in a televised "primary forum" on WNDS-TV in Derry, N.H. The Republican National Committee plans to run ads both before and after the forum, criticizing Gore for not supporting a large tax cut and for refusing to categorically rule out a tax increase.
RNC spokesman Mark Pfeifle said the ads were intended to capitalize on the recent back and forth between Gore and Bill Bradley over the question of taxes. Gore originally criticized Bradley for refusing to rule out a tax increase and then said that even he could not predict whether future economic conditions would require a tax hike.
McCain Ads Spotlight POW Role
On the stump, John McCain goes out of his way not to play up his ordeal as a Vietnam prisoner of war. "It doesn't take a lot of talent," he tells crowds, "to intercept a surface-to-air missile with your own airplane."
Yesterday, however, the Arizona senator's campaign launched two new radio ads that seek to exploit his 5 1/2-year captivity. And the spots are playing in the early primary state of South Carolina, which--not coincidentally--has 140,000 veterans in a voting population of 1.1 million, one of the highest proportions in the nation.
In one spot, Col. Bud Day, a Medal of Honor recipient, recalls meeting McCain in a Hanoi prison: "He was in horrible shape. He was broken up and weighed about 95 pounds. His body was saying that it's dying. John's brain said, 'The hell I am.' Being a POW forges you in fire. . . . John was very optimistic and was considered by many of his peers as being one of the toughest, most resourceful resisters in the system."
In the other ad, Day talks about a 1971 Christmas service that "was centered around scripture that John had gotten from the first Bible we had been able to get from the Vietnamese. . . . John composed an extremely compelling sermon that night about the importance of Christmas. Everyone sat just glued to their seats."
Staff writers Thomas B. Edsall and Howard Kurtz contributed to this report.