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Bush and Gore — A Face Off in Quotes

Quick, how different are Al Gore and George W. Bush?

October 5, 2000

Quick, how different are Al Gore and George W. Bush?

Did U.S. presidential candidates Al Gore and George W. Bush have anything new to say when they faced each other in the first presidential debate? You decide. In our latest Read My Lips feature, we collect their statements from the past several months on the election’s key issues.

How important is “character” for any U.S. President?

“I understand I’m running against a person who is so anxious to become president, he will do whatever it takes.”

(George W. Bush, April 2000)

Might this “character” debate be out of place?

“I think he has a warm, engaging personality. But, you know, the presidency is more than just a popularity contest.”

(Al Gore, July 2000)

What role do you envision for the government?

“My guiding principle is government if necessary — but not necessarily government.”

(George W. Bush, March 1999)

Do you see a danger in too little government?

“If many Americans continue to believe that no matter what the problem is, you cannot rely on any solution that involves the government and hope to solve it … that will erode our national self-confidence to the point where the whole future of self-government is eroded.”

(Al Gore, August 1994)

Why do you propose a tax cut?

“The polls say cutting taxes is not popular. I’m not proposing tax relief because it is the popular thing to do. I’m proposing tax relief because it is the right thing to do.”

(George W. Bush, June 2000)

Why would a tax cut now be a mistake, Mr. Gore?

“The Bush tax plan could shatter confidence in our economy — sending a message to the world that, under George W. Bush, the era of fiscal responsibility is over.”

(Al Gore, April 2000)

But what about your plans for saving Social Security?

“We know from experience, some of it bitter, that while some people will invest wisely, others will not.”

(Al Gore, July 2000)

Why should it be everyone for himself?

“The conservative philosophy trusts the individual, whether it’s dealing with retirement plans — or letting someone choose their own health care spending.”

(George W. Bush, May 2000)

What concerns do you have about the environment?

“It took roughly 10,000 generations for the world to reach a population of two billion. And yet in my 46 years, we have gone from a little over two billion to almost six billion.”

(Al Gore, September 1994)

Mr. Bush, what about complaints that you only care about prosperity?

“Prosperity will mean little if we leave to future generations a world of polluted air, toxic lakes and rivers and vanished forests.”

(George W. Bush, April 2000)

Finally, on the vision thing, Mr. Bush first.

“The success of America has never been proven by cities of gold — but by citizens of character.”

(June 1999)

And Mr. Gore?

“I’m on the side of men and women who work hard physical jobs all their lives, who drive those buses and lay down train track and carry bags at airports for others.”

(July 2000)