Bob Dole labeled President Clinton's tough recent welfare talk as more "petty theft" of Republican ideas Monday and got a chorus of support from GOP governors.
Dole was outlining his welfare reform ideas in a speech Tuesday in Wisconsin. Aides said the certain Republican presidential nominee was likely to call for mandatory drug testing of welfare recipients, as well as a five-year lifetime limit on most benefits.Dole's speech was designed to convince voters that Clinton has not delivered on his 1992 promise to "end welfare as we know it."
But the president served notice over the weekend that he was hardly ready to give ground. Clinton surprised Republicans by announcing his support for a Wisconsin experiment that ends the guarantee of welfare benefits and requires work.
"It's probably petty theft," Dole told reporters in Florida as he toured Enterprise Village, a privately financed education center outside Tampa where fifth-graders learn to operate their own businesses.
Later, addressing a convention of automobile dealers in Washington, D.C., Dole continued his attack on the "weak and dangerous road on which we're traveling now" under Clinton. Dole also pledged to work hard to phase out or eliminate the luxury tax on expensive automobiles, calling it "that terrible luxury tax."
At one point, perhaps reflecting the day's long schedule, Dole told the dealers: "What would you want the president to do if he were informed in the middle of the night or the middle of the day . . . that there was an incoming missile, maybe from the Soviet Union? You may say, `shoot it down.' But we can't shoot it down."
It was a defense of GOP proposals for a missile defense system. However, Dole's reference to the Soviet Union, which no longer exists, was an apparent slip of the tongue. He referred to "the former Soviet Union" earlier in the speech.