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NHPrimary.com: Forbes says 'outsider' will be force of change

By KEVIN LANDRIGAN/The Telegraph of Nashua, New Hampshire

November 18, 1999
Web posted at: 2:42 p.m. EST (1942 GMT)

NHPrimary\.comCONCORD, New Hampshire (The Telegraph of Nashua) -- Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes said Wednesday that it will take a "true outsider" to simplify the tax code and allow citizens to invest privately some of their tax payments to Social Security.

"The political culture envelops people. That's why it is going to take a true outsider, who is in for a fixed period of time with a true agenda that has been ratified by the American people," Forbes told reporters after filing for office. "Politics as usual is not going to get the job done on taxes, health care, education, Social Security. It is going to take an independent outsider who has the support of the American people."

The theme of Forbes' campaign is a "new birth of freedom," which the candidate said is needed to replace President Clinton, who Forbes said has governed by poll rather than by conviction.

"After seven years of sizzle and spin from Washington, I think the American people are in the mood for substance based on principle," he said.

Forbes began a new advertising campaign this week with two ads touting his views on Social Security and a flat or single-rate income tax. He also came under attack in ads from the Republican Leadership Council.

The RLC thought Forbes was going to begin an attack-ad campaign against GOP front-runner George Bush and responded with a $100,000 advertising campaign critical of Forbes.

On Wednesday, Forbes filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against the RLC, calling it a "front organization" for the Bush campaign.

Forbes has been joined by Republican State Chairman Steve Duprey and GOP rivals Gary Bauer and U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona in calling for the RLC to pull the ads.

"It is very telling in the case of George Bush that he uses a front organization financed illegally by soft money and corporate money to do attack ads on me. If he has criticisms, he ought to be forward about it and do it himself," Forbes said.

But Forbes would not rule out running ads that contrast his views directly with Bush, as he did with a multimillion dollar attack-ad campaign against 1996 nominee Bob Dole.

"My campaign, then and today, is a campaign about issues and ideas, never gone in for personalities. It is principles and policies, and that's what I am doing and will continue to do. That's what the people of America want," Forbes said.

"Personalities, no, principles and policies, yes. We must have a fulsome debate."

Forbes became the last of the eight major Democratic and Republican presidential candidates to file in the state, which will hold the first primary Feb. 1.

In 1996, Forbes got into the race only three months before the New Hampshire vote and has learned from that experience, campaigning almost nonstop since that election for president in 2000.

Forbes predicted victory both to reporters after filing and outside during a brief rally on the Statehouse steps as about 100 supporters braved unseasonably cold weather.

"We've done the deed, we're on the ballot. This time we are going to win. I think we've got the strongest message of any campaign," he said.

Forbes is posing a major threat to Bush in the first caucus state of Iowa, placing second in the polls leading up to that Jan. 24 event.

But all polls of New Hampshire voters have Forbes mired in single digits, far behind Bush and McCain.

Forbes predicted the campaign will break his way and his organization will be ready to take advantage of it.

"One critical difference is time. We entered the race very late in 1996 so there wasn't the time to get across my broad-based message or get the groups together that we are now. That's why we are strong in all of the early states - strong here, strong in Iowa. That's why we are going to go the distance," Forbes said.

Rose Hess, a retired GOP activist from Nashua, believes Forbes can improve on his fourth-place showing in 1996, which all but dashed any hopes he had of winning the nomination.

"He is coming across very well, and I think most voters are going to grow sick of the other two candidates when they learn they aren't getting what they thought with either one of them," Hess said.

"I also think Steve Forbes has the most integrity of all of them."

Tony Bellefond of Manchester, the owner of his own transportation company, backed Forbes in 1996.

"I like his ideas and I think there are people in both parties now who are talking about what he's been talking about," Bellefond said. "I think the press has him wrong. He's a very smart and principled guy."

Erick Franzen of Sunapee, captain of a shipping vessel, said Forbes does not represent the political establishment that talks reform but rarely delivers. "He's got a lot of money, but he does represent real people and his solutions to problems will really help all of us," Franzen said.

"He's going to make a difference if we elect him, and he's the only one I feel that way about."


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