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The "Inside Politics" Interview: Randy Tate, Gary Bauer

Aired May 8, 1998 - 5:04 p.m. ET

This is a rush transcript. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BERNARD SHAW, CO-HOST: Two conservative leaders join us now to talk about their discussions with Republicans in Congress. Randy Tate is executive director of the Christian Coalition, and Gary Bauer is president of the Family Research Council.

Randy Tate, did the Republican leadership get your message?

RANDY TATE, CHRISTIAN COALITION: Well, clearly, there's been several successes over the last couple of years. Just recently the $500 tax credit that passed last year, education savings accounts which just came up, comprehensive welfare reform.

But today, there was commitment to go further, as was mentioned in Gene Randall's piece, to end the marriage tax penalty, to eliminate the National Endowment for Arts and to work on the issues that are important like ending partial-birth abortions.

So clearly there have been missteps in the past where issues haven't been addressed or there haven't been a vocal support on the part of some of those in Congress. But clearly they heard today that these issues are important, and there's a sense of teamwork. This is going to be a group effort to get this legislation passed.

SHAW: Gary, more than missteps and miscommunications had you behind closed door with the Republican leaders. Take us into that meeting and tell us what was said, very candidly.

GARY BAUER, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Well, good question, Bernie. It was a private meeting and I'm not sure I want to get into the back and forth of it, but it was a frank meeting...

SHAW: But that's the politics of all this?

BAUER: Actually, the politics of this, really, I think, Bernie, is the fact that the Republican party, at its best, when it's at its best, is a conservative Ronald Reagan party. A party that believes in smaller government, lower taxes, family values, respect for the sanctity of human life and a strong foreign policy built on American values. When the party does those things, it succeeds, it wins. I'm a little offended by the idea that somehow we're threatening the party, we're ordering the party. We are the party. The party is a conservative party. And we will remind them...

SHAW: What Dobson said was not a threat? That he would leave and take millions of his supporters from the Republican Party. Was that not a threat?

BAUER: No, what Jim Dobson was been doing, and what a lot of other conservative leaders have been doing, and I include economic conservatives, defense conservatives. They've been telling the party that unless it actually fulfills a conservative agenda, it's vote will stay home on election day. That's not a threat; that's just political reality. It's an analysis of the situation.

I think what Randy and I are so happy about is that there's a clear signal today that there's going to be action on a Reagan-type agenda that...

SHAW: So you're happy?

BAUER: Well, I'm happy with this meeting. We'll have to wait and see. But if the agenda is fulfilled, it will not only be good for Republican party, the most important thing is it will be the best thing for America.

SHAW: Question.

TATE: Sure.

SHAW: By attacking, unrelentlessly, President Clinton, is Speaker Gingrich pandering to your group?

TATE: No. What Speaker Gingrich is hearing as he's traveled across the country, I'm sure, on his book tour, is that the American people are concerned that nobody is speak out about the wrongdoings that are going on in the White House.

But more particularly, those parents that are trying to find role models for their children. Parents today can no longer look to the president of the United States and tell their children, I want you to grow up to be just like this person. Moral values and integrity do matter. They want their elected officials so to say, what you do in private does impact your public performance. That is important to the families that we represent and the vast majority of the American people that are watching the show.

SHAW: Well, a lot of viewers out there know that you and you have been puts heat on the Republicans, you've been heat on Gingrich, and you're getting results.

BAUER: Well I think there has been some responsiveness, that's a good thing.

But I tell you, Randy is absolutely right here. The big issue of the last several months isn't about, you know, Republicans, Democrats. It's about the virtue deficit. This has been a terrible period of time, Bernie, for America's kids, the lessons they're being taught about fidelity...

SHAW: You know, the last time you were on INSIDE POLITICS, you indicated you were fed up with what was going on and you all but hinted you would run for president. Are you still fed up?

BAUER: Well, I'm very upset that there's been a lack of action.

SHAW: Are you going to run?

BAUER: I'm going to make a judgment at the end of this year. But, Bernie, I have to tell you, I've been going to New Hampshire and Iowa giving speeches, people are hungry for a Reagan-type message and if nobody else will effectively give it, I'll do it.

SHAW: Ah-hah.

TATE: I'm not running, Bernie.



TATE: I just wanted to eliminate that.

SHAW: As you look at the field, the way it's presently constituted, who appeals to you?

TATE: Well I think there's a number of individuals.

SHAW: Who?

TATE: There's a number of candidates, I'm not going to get into specific names, that are planting the flag on important issues. I think...

SHAW: You want to keep your options open?

TATE: Well, the Christian Coalition is nonpartisan, we don't endorse candidates. What we encourage our membership to do is to be informed on the issues. And you can tell by the number of candidates and potential candidates, that our issues are important because the vast majority of them are talking about lower taxes, strong families, safe neighborhoods, good schools. The types of issues that move social conservatives in this country.

SHAW: Gary, you're not reluctant to share some names that appeal to you, are you?

BAUER: Well, I mean, I see a lot of people out there that obviously have shown interest...

SHAW: Who?

BAUER: Well, you know the list. I mean, it's everybody from Pat Buchanan to Lamar Alexander, et cetera, et cetera.

But what I don't see, Bernie, is somebody willing to make, what I call the, virtue deficit. This breakdown in reliable standards of right and wrong; the central part of a campaign.

SHAW: Gary Bauer, Randy Tate, thanks very much for joining us.

BAUER: Thank you.

TATE: Thank you.

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