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Archive for Saturday, October 26, 1996

CYNICAL ELECTORATE FRUSTRATES SENATOR

October 26, 1996

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An Iowa senator decried what he perceives as a liberal bias in coverage of the Dole-Clinton race and endorsed Sam Brownback for U.S. Senate.

If Sen. Charles Grassley was standing in President Clinton's shoes, Grassley wouldn't want to be re-elected.

Grassley, R-Iowa, attending the 20th annual economic outlook conference at Kansas University, said Friday in an interview that surveys indicated millions of Americans didn't trust the president but were prepared to vote for him anyway.

"I can't understand that," he said. "It's frustrating and ironic."

Grassley said he wouldn't want to represent Iowa in the U.S. Senate or lead the nation as president if a large block of voters thought him untrustworthy.

In national polls, Clinton is the front-runner in the race against former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan.

"This is the first candidate for president that I've ever heard of where two-thirds or three-fourths of the people say they don't trust him but are still going to vote for him," Grassley said.

Dole has accused Clinton of violating public trust on issues such as foreign campaign contributions, the White House's possession of FBI files on top Republicans and ties to former Arkansas business partners involved in Whitewater.

The media should have more thoroughly explored questions about Clinton's character during the campaign, Grassley said.

Grassley, elected to the Iowa House in 1958, the U.S. House in 1974 and U.S. Senate in 1980, said attitudes toward Clinton suggested the electorate had grown cynical about the integrity of all politicians.

"I believe that's the situation," he said. "That's a sad commentary."

He said too many politicians left themselves open to criticism by not living up to campaign vows after Election Day.

"When running for office, we should be more candid -- not promise too much -- and re-establish credibility," he said.

While in Lawrence, the senator endorsed U.S. Rep. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., who is running for Dole's former Senate seat against Democrat Jill Docking of Wichita.

"I'm happy to be here to support you," Grassley said of Brownback. "I'm glad to be here because you do reflect a philosophy that trusts the people of Kansas."

Dole's candidacy should help Brownback by increasing Republican turnout Nov. 5 in Kansas, he said.

In regards to the Dole-Clinton race, Grassley said the GOP nominee didn't slip up by asking Reform Party candidate Ross Perot to step aside.

"I think it was a legitimate request," he said. "Obviously, I think the senator wanted to make it a private discussion and that didn't occur."

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