MPR presents a Minnesota Senate debate with Rudy Boschwitz, U.S. Minnesota Senator (I-R); and Paul Wellstone, DFL challenger. The candidates participate in a wide-ranging discussion of the issues. Debate was moderated by MPR’s Bob Potter.
Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.
(00:00:01) During this hour, we present a debate between the major party candidates for United States Senate in Minnesota Republican incumbent Rudy boschwitz and dfl Challenger Paul wellstone this broadcast is a joint presentation by Minnesota Public Radio and the st. Paul Pioneer Press. It's made possible by The Advocates of Minnesota Public Radio contributors include the James are Thorpe foundation and Rosemount Incorporated a worldwide leader in measurement and control systems. Well election day is just two weeks from today. And one of the important matters voters will decide is whether to send Rudy boschwitz back to Washington for a third six-year term or to replace him with Paul wellstone, if you're unsure, we hope that today's broadcast will help you decide which candidate to support now the format of the debate today is going to be a little different than what you probably come to expect from events like this today. There's no panel of reporters. Nobody keeping track to the second of how long somebody speaks. No. That are complex enough to be worthy of a bridge game. No instead. It's just the candidates facing each other this I think will seem a little bit more like an old-fashioned political debate as the moderator. I will raise questions for discussion from time to time, but I'm going to intervene and jump in only if both candidates are talking at the same time if they're hopelessly stuck on one topic or if somebody decides to practice his filibustering skills. There is one little bit of structure. Each candidate will be allowed a minute and a half to make a closing statement and we will get to those closing statements at the end Paul wellstone won the coin toss and Rudy boschwitz will give the closing statement first when we get down to that point and depending on how things go we may or may not take a few listener questions for the last 20 25 minutes. We'll see how it goes. Paul wellstone is with me here at NPR Studios and st. Paul Paul. Thanks for coming in though. It's good to be here bomb. Thanks for having the debate and Senator boschwitz Is With Us by satellite from Washington Rudy. Can you hear us? All (00:01:58) right. Yes I can. Bob and I also thank you for setting it up in this way a number of my colleagues here in the senator doing these long-distance debates now because of our session matter of fact yesterday, Senator Simpson did one with his opponent can use both sides of the aisle will kind of doing these long-distance debates. (00:02:19) All right, we were having trouble you're having trouble hearing Rudy. I couldn't hear really at all. Can you hear him now or you (00:02:25) can't well, I'll you want me to give you a countdown. I can hear you quite well, you can hear me Rudy. Oh, yes, (00:02:32) Paul. You're still not hearing anything right start again. I can hear you a little bit now (00:02:38) Ami. Well, I said Paul that these debates that long-distance becoming rather commonplace in the Senate and the house it just grinding on and grinding on we're supposed to get out of here by Wednesday night, which is tomorrow night. But now that doesn't look very current anymore. I would imagine we won't get out til the And if then I hope that the president doesn't sign another continuing resolution, but I hope we just a shadow down because only by creating a crisis are we finally going to come to grips (00:03:11) with it? Okay, I think we've got things squared away there. You can hear I I did I did hear you. I think that crisis will be real unfortunate for a lot of people's lives and Rudy. I don't think that we needed to be in this mess. I thought several weeks ago there looked like there was going to be an agreement and you and your gang of you and the Gang. Well, let me let me just finish and then and then and then you can respond you and the Gang of 16 other Senators went in and you told the president don't raise the tax rates for wealthy people for the top one percent and I think that it's come to the point in the history of our country where people are just really tired of it middle and working people really being squeezed and The top getting off like Bandits and the poor poor so I don't think you should talk as if this crisis is something sort of separate from the role that you played and I think people are real tired of it. Go ahead. It's your turn now. (00:04:14) Thank you very much Paulie you oppose that agreement. And and now you apparently like the agreement is a matter of fact, I thought that agreement was better and better the more that they negotiate the worst that it gets you were not at that meeting with the president what we told the president is stick with the tax rates throw out the capital gains rates and and just move forward because those were the sticking points at that point of time. But now please don't say that the income tax system in this country is unfair. I thought that we had debated that in the last debate as you know, the top 5 percent of all taxpayers pay forty five point nine percent of all the income taxes the top 10% of all taxpayers. Is pay fifty seven percent of all income taxes in this country the income tax system in this country is fair after the 1986 tax bill. You have read no articles about paying more taxes and GE you've read no articles about the rich escaping taxation. They do not Escape taxation. We closed all the loopholes people of America should understand that the tax system is fair the income tax system really does Nick the wealthy and the Fairway. (00:05:35) All right. Okay also responds. Well, I just really like this format because I this gives me an opportunity to respond in for Rudy and I to talk about places where we really disagree and so people know the differences people. Excuse me. Now Rudy I listen to you. Please give me the courtesy of letting me respond what people have read about during this last five. Isn't really throughout this whole decade is a massive redistribution of wealth and income up the income scale. You keep siding these figures as if it should be some surprise. It's not surprising that people on the top percentage wise in terms of the income taxes. They pay pay more. I mean, why would it surprise you for example that that I Paul wellstone to teacher with my salary at 28% Why would it surprise you that a 28% I pay less than what you pay at a higher rate. I mean 28% for example, let me let me let me kind of give it to you this way. It's the best way 28% of your million dollars is more than 33 percent of my income. So what's I don't understand your argument, of course people pay top percentage wise more. The real issue is rate since there's much more wealth and income at the top and since people on the top have not paid their fair share most of us the vast majority. Of minnesotans believe it's fair and we believe it's Equitable that Meghan errors can pay a surtax and that people with incomes over $200,000 a year top 1% couples can pay at a 33 percent level. That's fair. And that's reasonable why you keep siding these figures. It's a surprise to me, of course 28% of your 1 million is more than 33% of my middle-income salary. All right, let's hear what really has to say about this. Let me move on to the (00:07:27) topic. I had a million dollar income that he always talks about. Let me again, I'm sorry that I have to repeat so often my opponents a professor but apparently needs repetition here the top 5% of all taxpayer pay 45% little more of all income taxes in this country the bottom 50% of all taxpayers in this country pay about a nickel of every dollar that we receive an income taxes the income tax distribution in Country is fair. We have made it fairer through the 1986 tax (00:08:05) bill. Let me let me ask you this. Can I just add one thing Bob could very very quickly (00:08:09) by may want to add (00:08:15) some repetition one more time the wealth and income is all moved to the top not surprising the top five percent pays more proportionally. Yeah, the issue is one of fairness. There's no progressivity and there's no reason why millionaires in the top 1% Bob given this mess the people who have the wealth and income should not pay their fair share. That's the first point the second point about this budget mess, you know, and Rudy has played a central role in this is from the very beginning I said, it was a Clear Choice Rudy is talked about cutting Medicare benefits. He's talked about cutting student aid. He's talked about cutting Target prices and vet benefits and I say we don't cut Medicare what we do is make sure that once and for all We have a fair tax system with people in the top paying their fair share. Why is that so difficult for you to accept and fight for don't the little people once and for all need somebody at the bargaining table for them as well. And (00:09:10) that that really is a lot of political rhetoric the program's of this country. All of the programs have grown too rapidly. The result is we have the deficit perhaps my opponent thinks that were taxing too little I don't think we're taxing too little I think we're spending too much and if you're going to rein in some of the programs if you're not going to rein them in you're never going to balance the budget so that there should be some some yes some tax increases. That's the only way we're going to get votes in the Democrats. Yes, you're going to have to have some spending decreases and then we'll get 51 votes in the Senate and then we will pass some kind of a budget resolution. I have voted for them. I probably will vote for the one that they are putting together. Although I like it less and less and we do have to get on with a budget and we do have to get on with the business of governing this nation. We're not showering ourselves and Glory right now. That's for sure. (00:10:11) Well listening to a live debate between Senator Rudy boschwitz and his dfl opponent Paul wellstone Senator boschwitz live with us by satellite from Washington and mr. Wellstone here in our St. Paul Studios. Let me just we can come back to the budget if you guys like little bit later on but let's move on to another topic, but I have not heard you either of you talk about a great deal in your earlier debate and that is defense not so much what we might be spending on right now, but what are our defense needs in a new era in light of the realities of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe big countries, like the Soviet Union frankly don't seem to be as much of a threat as they once were whereas little ones like Iraq are just terrible threats to us Paul. Why don't you start that's one of the things that's puzzling about what's going on right now in the nation's And it really is related to this budget question. No Rudy was talking about how we need to freeze programs and we spend too much on programs everybody. I talked to in cafes knows the taxes are going to go up. They just want to make sure that this time it's not out of middle and working people and that we don't cut programs that are important for people. We've tried to manage the business of this country on the basis of voodoo economics, and we've built up enormous debt and I think one of the things that I can't forgive Rudy for is this enormous debt that we're saddled with so that we can't even dedu decent things anymore for people in our country, but what happened on bludgeons and the Pentagon budget really is part of what needs to be debated. We now have slated 77 billion dollars over the next five years Bob for modernization of conventional forces in Europe preparing for a war. That's never going to be fought against Czechoslovakia Poland or the Soviet Union. We don't need to spend that money. We now have big ticket items still that Rudy support. Like the B-2 stealth bomber MX destabilizing Weaponry not needed preparing for nuclear war not going to take place. So what we need to do is redefine our national security understand. The Cold War is Over the world has changed. It's not the 80s any longer. It's 1990 be strong so that we can respond where we need to respond in parts of the world but not go forward with wasteful Pentagon Weaponry. That's a big difference. Rudy wants to continue to support the stealth and I want to put some of that money into child care and health care and education Rudy. What kind of defense do we need here in the (00:12:36) well, it's not clear to me what the figures are perhaps Paulk and can give us the figures that he expects to save with respect to the budget through his plan. He outlined the plan, but what's that going to save been in in dollars and cents (00:12:51) 40 billion a year over the next five years that's 200 billion dollars should be cut from The Pentagon and we'll still have a strong strong defense. I joined two former secretaries of defense in agreement on that as well as the fine work of William Kaufman at the Brookings Institute. You have all those figures before you (00:13:07) well. Those are you may know as you may know we have agreed to a hundred and seventy billion dollars of cuts in the next five years. That's part of the packet. That's a part of the package that nobody really disagrees with its the figure that came from a number of people including Senator Sam Nunn who is Chairman of the armed services committee and who's respected and for good cause and so that there is not much distinction there but but nevertheless the B2 is going to continue the B2 as I mentioned in our last debate Paul, you know, the B2 is technology. The SDI is technology that is our real advantage over the Russians that is what has driven them to the bargaining table that is what has allowed us to eliminate a whole series of nuclear weapons that has Never been achieved before but that was achieved during President Reagan's a tenure in office. We really are making some progress but we need to modernize. We need to be a step ahead in technology. That is the American advantage and if we are Step Ahead we will indeed be able to drive the Russians to the bargaining table that's been entire experience. That is why I am for some of those high-tech weapons. For instance with the B-2 bomber that you mentioned as you may know the Russians have spent 350 to 400 billion dollars in the air defense system their Countryside bristles with Sam missiles, the surface-to-air missiles. They have a huge radar system throughout their country to track incoming bombers to track incoming type of missile V. The B-2 bomber makes it all obsolete. They cannot replace it. Their economy is indeed in the shambles threats a very very much different but yet they Undertaking modernization Paul as you may know of their nuclear forces. Those are going on unabated that modernization program. So we just have to be on our guard and we have to be skillful and we have to be on defense as George Washington and every other thoughtful person who said if you want peace you must prepare for war can because history speaks with a very single voice a strong nation is not attacked a strong Nation can keep the peace. (00:15:27) Well, this is the language that we hear from the Pentagon Rudy as you may know throughout this whole decade of the 80s. I have done quite a bit of writing about Pentagon issues. We have never really agreed on this new technology SDI Star Wars was an Impossible Dream. It's not there to provide an umbrella for us. It does not provide us protection from a Soviet attack, you know that and everybody who's done any independent study of it knows that a second of all on stealth bomber. I'm all for a strong defense. But what people are sick of in Minnesota is these boondoggles that's a weapon system without a mission you talk as if when you talk about Gorbachev in the Soviet Union. It's like you and I see two different worlds Gorbachev wants a moratorium on any further testing of nuclear weapons Gorbachev wants major arms agreement strategic arms and conventional forces Gorbachev wants to move forward and we ought to be doing everything we can to bring about that kind of new world and for you to continue to talk about these new technologies and we need more Weaponry. We have 25,000 bumps. I think shows how out of touch you are with what people in Minnesota believe is our real National Security, which is let's spend some of that money not preparing for war in Europe. Let the Europeans defend themselves. They can do that. They can build up their own forces. They have the economy's let's invest some money in our children. Let's invest some money in education. Let's invest some money. Healthcare and lest invest some money in economic performance. I think you've got to understand that. That's the real National Security of our country. People don't want to go forward with insane arms race and as a big difference between the two of us. All right, really good any final response on this you have another (00:17:15) question. Okay fine. I certainly want to go forward with education and childcare and things like that. And I don't think that the these things are mutually exclusive. Are you cited the mr. Gorbachev a number of times, you know, I'm I'm a jogger a runner and I used to meet Bill proxmire every morning and the gym and we check our together and chat together and and he talked to me in about the same vein and wanted to show me all these studies of how the SDI can't work. I don't think that they all show by any means that it can't work quite to the contrary but and then he would want to show me poles scientists and I said products. I've taken my own pole. It's just one guy. It's the guy that you talked about Paul. Let's go up a trip. He's wild about the SDI in the 80s. That's all he wanted to talk to President Reagan about that. You had to stop the SDI or we won't even talk to you. He certainly believed it works and I agree with mr. Gorbachev in this regard. They can't defend against it. They don't know how to defend against it. That's what drives them to the bargaining table. I might say it's a very small program. It's a program that accounts for just over 1% of the defense budget and it's a program that that we should not abandon technology is the American advantage in many things including (00:18:35) defense. Well, you sure though you should know Rudy I'm one of the committee's that I want to serve on as a senate armed services committee and you know being a washed in all this time. You should know that what Gorbachev was saying about SDI was not that he thought SDI was going to be a dome over us protecting us from any attack what look defensive to us looked offensive to him knowing full well that their offensive Weaponry could overwhelm SDI. What's Gorbachev was worried about was it military planners in his country would see SDI is a way where we might launch a first strike. And then with what they have left SDI might be able to handle that. So that's the whole problem. It's wasteful it's unnecessary. It's destabilizing. The Cold War is Over. Why don't we talk about major arms agreements and on stealth? Well, we are wait. Let me finish I did listen. I did sort of listen to what you said. And I think what you said was important, I think people need to know the differences between the two of us. You said that education and childcare and and all of this is not mutually exclusive, you know, it's getting down to some choices. It's getting down to some choices. And once again, either you're going to raise tax rates 33% is not considered to be high in any other Advanced economy in the world for high-income people and you're going to cut unnecessary Weaponry like the stealth or you're going to do what you proposed cut Medicare benefits. I think there are choices that have to be made and you don't understand that. All right. Can we move on to another topic? (00:19:59) Well, you know, I want to make one who should have the last word. (00:20:03) Alright? Well, I think I think Paul had the first word on this one will let you have the last person to move on (00:20:09) the Paul. Are you have a basic misunderstanding about the Strategic Defense Initiative note the name, it's a Defense Initiative. It is not an offence initiative. We're not going to put any missiles up in the sky that's not part of the Strategic Defense Initiative. It's it is a it's a program that has just stymied the Russians and when you have them on the defensive, man, you don't stop when your best programs that that has the opposition coming your way. So I (00:20:43) think a no I do understand. Yes Rudy. I don't think you listen to me I hear about this. I know these issues but we're done. That's when I stopped on this topic see if see if you guys come to any closer meeting of the minds on the topic of civil rights legislation is I understand. Do the Senate might make an attempt to override the president's veto on on that bill, which you veto yesterday you voted against the bill. I assume you will you will vote to sustain the president's veto. What kind of civil rights legislation do you think we need if any for the 1990s? (00:21:17) Well, the question is whether or not this Civil Rights bill should be passed and and we are now study. They're still negotiating it. I might say even as we sit here and speak so that it's not entirely clear yet what we are going to be voting upon but quite clearly the bill that we voted against and the first time it was somewhat improved. I might say in the second path, but the vote that we cast the first time was it was a vote that clearly would require quotas and I'm against quotas. I mean, I've been the subject of quotas all my life. I've been against them and quite clearly. This was not a Civil Rights bill in the first pass and it's improving so we'll see what it finally comes down to when we vote on. And at that maybe as early as this afternoon (00:22:02) Paul wellstone what civil rights legislation I think. You know, I can't believe not too long ago. Rudy boschwitz compared himself to Hubert Humphrey Hubert Humphrey would be twisting and turning in his grave to know that a Minnesota senator has voted against a major piece of civil rights legislation that legislation doesn't call for quotas and Rudy knows that that legislation provides people of color and women of people and I know but I could I own excuse me. I'd like to insist. I don't know how you all do it in Washington Rudy, but in Minnesota were courteous each other can't all talk at once that much I do believe I let you answer and I think it's now my turn I would appreciate the courtesy what I know and what I don't know. Okay. Well you'll have a chance to respond to him. Okay, you you need to remain calm and cool. What I'm saying is that he has to let my response talk to him where you just keep talking all these he's quiet Rudy. Again, I can't it's not a Minnesota vote. This would have provided people of color and women and people with disabilities an opportunity for redress of grievances when discriminated against in employment. This was not a quota Bill Rudy talked about being subject to quote as I'm Jewish. We're both Jewish Jewish people worry about quotas, but the Jewish Community was United in behalf of this bill. The Jewish Community was right there with the conference and civil rights lobbying for this bill. And I think it's really shameful that Rudy boschwitz has opposed A major piece of civil rights legislation. It only gives encouragement to the skinheads and of the klansmen and to people who discriminate and I think it was a terrible vote. Okay, really your turn if you want. (00:23:49) Well, since you said you but Humphrey Hubert Humphrey used to brag that he never voted against the defense Bill and he indeed had a great and strong sense of what a strong defense men. The Jewish Community was not United in support of this particular piece of legislation as it normally isn't there always a divisions in most communities. There's no question that if you look at it and I have interviewed hundreds and hundreds of people as a businessman and if you look at the records that small business isn't Lloyd bentsen businesses alike are required to keep under this bill. If you look at the burden of proof that is required under this bill, if you look at the lawyers relief bill, if you look at the the ability to Sue that comes under this bill is no question about the fact that employers will begin to hire as though there are quotas and that is something that we do not. One in our society. So that's why I have voted against a bill the first two passes now, it is still being negotiated and my vote on this is quite important so that I'll go back after this debate see how those negotiations are proceeding, but the really has not been unanimity on this issue at all. It's not clear to me that that this would really Advance the cause of civil rights. (00:25:14) It's interesting how it's clear to every member organization The Civil Rights if you will family in this country, it's clear to me that this art. Can I can I again we'll have to ask you to please be courteous this argument about quotas Bob. I hope the people get a chance to read this legislation this build it Rudy boschwitz voted against don't talk about quotas. This is the same argument Ronald Reagan made against civil rights legislation. It is not about quotas. It's about making sure that there's not discrimination in employment and I think citizens in this country have a right to that and I think 99.99% of the minnesotans believe in that with me and when Rudy mentioned Hubert Humphrey and defense I got to tell you something Rudy. I'm for strong defense. I'm just not for wasteful Weaponry. I know Hubert Humphrey would be with me on that and number two Hubert Humphrey would never never never vote for cuts in the Medicare program. Don't you beside you burn Humphrey? Well as Ally here we come back a little bit to the budget argument. All right really don't (00:26:23) want to have have a comment on that. Sure. Let me let me conclude the whole business of the Civil Rights bill. We tried to get the Senate to accept the Civil Rights bill that we have in Minnesota the Minnesota Legislature passed the Civil Rights bill that really was a good deal fairer that didn't shift the burden of proof from one side to the other. So rapidly that didn't impose itself upon reasonable size to small employers with the same rigidity that it does upon large employers that have for better record keeping on their employment system and listen to in the event that there are any changes in Medicare Paul down here. It's going to be a bipartisan thing. It's going to be Republicans and Democrats alike Medicare in 1980 was a thirty two billion dollar program in 1990. It'll be a hundred and six billion dollars. Almost a 333 Send increase almost 3 and 1/3 times as large and and you know, if you want to balance the budget, you just have to slow the growth. It's not a matter of making Cuts. Nobody's going to get less than last year. The question is are you going to slow the growth? And I think we have to slow the growth of all federal programs. Otherwise, I will never balance the budget (00:27:41) Paulette if you'd respond to that how you can't you bet. Yeah, first of all slowing the growth of Medicare slowing the growth of Medicare and I noticed that all all programs. Some people are very generous with the suffering of other people what Rudy didn't talk about was the mild and not so mild inflation of medical costs what Rudy didn't talk about was the fact that for elderly people prescription drug costs can be over $200 a month not covered at all. What Rudy didn't talk about was the kindest catastrophic nursing home expenses not covered at all. What Rudy didn't talk about was a deductible that goes up that goes up from 75 to 150 or whatever year now. Again, I said this to you before maybe that's what you spend on lunch in Washington DC. But that is a big big expenditure item for people who are having a difficult time of it. That's number one. Number two. I feel strongly about this having taken care of my parents and knowing what they've gone through. This is a sacred trust. This is a decision that we made as a people that we made a commitment to a Medicare program and not to be cutting it and number three when Rudy says we have to have cuts across the board. How convenient this is there. You are with Ronald Reagan your cut and nutrition programs your cut and childcare programs your cut and education programs. You're spending money on all the Pentagon Weaponry even Weaponry. You don't need your cutting taxes for the wealthy, but it goes up from middle and working people and now you want to freeze everything and cut everything the difference between the two of us is I don't put the same value to cutting stealth B-2 bomber as opposed to cutting a nutrition program for children. Or Head Start for children that is a shotgun approach to the government-to-government. That's a shotgun approach to governing that's a shotgun approach to the budget and the sooner the people from Minnesota get somebody in there with some standard of fairness to fight for people and not just people who are wealthy the better off I think will (00:29:39) be well to say that I'm fighting death, but people at wealthy is really political rhetoric which a nutrition program. Do you have in mind that we have cut paw (00:29:49) you? Let me just go over some of the different votes if you will over the years. (00:29:52) Okay. Well not to vote which nutrition you have a specific we cut in the 1980s. I mean school lunch program doubled during the 1980s the child care feeding program, which I have overseen the has doubled even more in the 1980's the food stamp program, which did not double in the 1980s, but which is more related to unemployment but went from nine to sixteen billion dollars the feeding programs nutrition program. This country and I am the ranking Republican the senior Republican on the nutrition committee a subcommittee of the agriculture committee. They did not go down the heads about half a (00:30:30) gram 1980. I (00:30:32) thought program that you spoke about has gone up very nicely in the 1980s almost doubled and in the as a matter of fact that this president has called for 500 million dollar increase in it this year. I agree with you. I might say about the inflation in medical costs that that is the real problem the deductible that you speak about that. We are talking about raising that is now $75 a year for people under Medicare has not been raised the 15 years when Medicare was founded 25 years ago that deductible was $50. It is not unfair to to raise it to some degree in order to prevent overuse of the system. And in order to bring this program. Some kind of control the largest outstanding economic problem we have in this country is the budget. (00:31:28) This is a live debate between Senator Rudy boschwitz and dfl Challenger Paul wellstone. I turn now Bob my turn out the budget pleaded. Oh, you haven't finished it. Okay. Now listen you filibuster in the Senate don't filibuster me in this debate Rudy. (00:31:41) The the Medicare program again is not going to be cut these programs are not going to be cut they're going to be slowed and growth Medicare has been growing at about 12 or 13 percent a year Let It Grow at 9% a year defense is going down in the 1990s and it should but programmed actual in actual numbers. It will go down and it should (00:32:07) let's hear from Paul for just a moment if we can have that I'd like to slow I'd like to I'd like, you know, the one thing that I have really liked about the senate race, at least my part is to focus on the votes and the (00:32:20) Kurt (00:32:21) Rudy said any votes 1986 voted against the 200 million dollar increase over three years for WIC that's women and children child immunization and Community meth Mental Health Centers. That's 1986. Let me give you some other votes 1990 voted against transfer of 100 million. Was that too much from the Department of Defense to a new program for drug addicted mothers and their children 1989 voted against the ABC Child Care bill, which would have also allocated money for Head Start and I could go on and on there's just awful votes against the minimum wage against increased money for education for children. And as far as what you're saying about head start again, this is Happy talk, you know, we have a great country and Minnesota is a particularly great state and we care about people but when you talk about an increase in Appropriations for Head Start or WIC, that's fine, but we have to talk about not an increase of Appropriations. This is statistics. You need to be there with people to know what's happening the Head Start program. Is reaching only one out of four eligible children. The WIC program is only serving about a quarter of children who are eligible and in case you didn't notice it Rudy in our state there was a study done by the urban Coalition that something like a third of the children from low-income households in Hennepin County are going to school hungry. No, I'm sorry. I can't let you get away with this. I really can't this is a bunch of boschwitz. I mean, that's what this is when you try and tell all of us here that there's been all these great things done for childcare all these great things done for investment in education and children. It has not happened. We've abandoned our children during this decade of the 80s and we're not going to have real security until we invest in our children. That's a big difference between the two of us. (00:34:04) But really they have a let me talk child immunization Paul spoke about programs and child immunization went from 24 million to a hundred and forty million in the 1980's the WIC program started in 1980 at seven hundred and seventy two million. It's now over two point four billion. It has more than tripled during the 1980s. Did I vote against some of these things about it against him, but you know when you have a general Appropriations Bill come up that funds I'd say Wick somebody always comes with an amendment and wants more and even though in the bill you are giving WIC program. Let's say or Head Start or some other program, you're giving them considerably more. We make a lot of political votes. Will you offer a lot of political amendments down here and they want to get people on the record boating again so that the Paul wellstones of the world can say in a campaign that you voted against something but the very bills that you're speaking about undoubtedly increased bendings on those programs, but when they want more you just have to have some budgetary discipline down here. You can't be for balancing the budget and also for increasing every program Without Limits. (00:35:16) Well, I just thought I need my real I just have to respond. (00:35:20) I will be fine (00:35:21) because I think that'll be it will hear from you then. We'll hear from Paul I rather for rooted than on another topic for sure. Okay, and we go quickly. Yeah, first of all. Rudy ask for some votes and I cited him he says now he didn't vote for all of it. But he voted for some of the additional funding. These were major Appropriations votes and those votes against now it's my turn those votes against programs that would make sure the children would have a chance we're mean-spirited votes. Now when we want to talk about fiscal responsibility, this is the difference again, I don't want to balance a budget now nor would I have done it during this decade of the 80s on the backs of children are on the backs of Medicare recipients or on the backs of young people trying to get a college education what I would have done and what I will do and it's a big difference between the two of us is I will not have regressive taxes. I will not see middle income people and working people paid more but I will see the people on the top paying more for a change and if you don't do that and you're unwilling to do that Rudy and you're not willing to cut wasteful Pentagon spending, then we won't bounce a budget. You can't really lecture me about balancing the budget you were in Washington DC while we went from what nine hundred seventy billion to over three trillion dollars of debt you Been there you've been on the budget committee. You're the one that takes responsibility. I want to change it. Okay Rudy a quick comment. Then we can have another (00:36:38) topic certainly the votes were not mean-spirited. There does have to be some discipline the college programs. I thought we talked about last time Paul and you will recall that the GSL loans guaranteed student loans have more than doubled in the 1980s. I recall the figures they went from one point seven billion dollars to 3.9 billion dollars. The Pell Grants went from 2.6 billion dollars to four point six billion dollars as I recall almost a doubling and and we really have tried to do the right things there. There's a balance the governing. There's no question about that and I'm sure that we approach things in different ways. But I believe that that we have tried to do the right thing and the by and large we have I don't believe that taxation in the United States is unfair or regressive. I think that the Ack system the income tax system of the United States is very fair indeed. (00:37:35) Stop will move on to another subject. Now. This is a live debate between Paul wellstone and Rudy boschwitz. Paul wellstone has at Minnesota Public Radio studios in st. Paul and Senator boschwitz is live by satellite from Washington. We just saw the Congress wrap up work to a great extent on on clean air legislation, and I'd like to have both of your feelings on whether you think the proper balance was struck in this bill between economic growth and Environmental Quality or if it has been tipped too far one side or the other. Let's start with Rudy out in (00:38:07) Washington, not bad and we just concluded the conference very late the night they're not last night, but the night before and it hasn't been printed up. So we haven't been able to read it. I expect we will be voting on it also fairly immediately and it was not a bad Bill. I think I was helpful in putting that bill together and shepherding it through and It was also important to Minnesota that we get certain concessions. And so it's a well balanced bill. I think that the senator durenberger who was more active in it. He's on that committee than I also thinks that way Paul. (00:38:45) Well, there's much that could be improved with that bill for sure. There could be more of a focus on conservation. There could be strict or tailpipe emissions. There could be higher fuel efficiency standards. There could be more incentives for ethanol Alternatives, but we got a compromise bill but it's no thanks to Rudy boschwitz David durenberger was a real leader. Gerry Sikorsky was a real leader. I think the thing that bothers me the most about Rudy's politics is the sort of running ads that sort of really don't represent voting record with this clean air bill. Boschwitz first of all introduced the amendment that would have essentially not had strong regulation on air toxics. He wanted to gut that his amendment was defeated now in Minnesota. We love our lakes and rivers and streams and now women of childbearing age Bob and young children are told they're not to be able to eat that fish because of air toxics mercury poisoning what not carry thousands of miles away. Yeah the senator from Minnesota who introduces a late-night amendment to cut that part then he comes out here and says, he's been a leader and an honest broker for a darn good built then goes back and vote three times for the Nicholas Heflin Amendment which would have gutted the enforcement bill. That's why the environmental organizations across the board Sierra Club League of conservation voters clean water action support me and strongly endorsed me. This is the worst kind of politics to tell the people here. You've been a leader and you've done a good job and then to go back Washington DC and vote against it and one thing that I find really interesting when we talk about the environment and I think this is so telling I remember when Rudy met because I came the next day with a group of farmers down in Mankato and he told the farmers to organize with the environmentalists will roll you over Bob and then he called the environmentalists a bunch of Sierra Club types who live in the city and drink water from reservoirs or something like that. That's not the comment of an List when you get all your money from the when you get so much money from the oil companies the exons and the chevron's and to get the money from the chemical companies and you get the money from the big auto companies. It's very difficult to be there fighting for the environment Rudy boschwitz has a very dismal record last point. If you go through the 80s, the only time he had a decent score card was 83 84 re-election the rest of his rating from League of conservation voters were 40 50 percent and I'm a teacher and that that great is a failure, (00:41:23) you know, he certainly spends a lot of time telling you what's wrong with me. I hope in his next answer he'll tell you what he intends to do. Now the amendment that he speaks about that I introduced which was a small business amendment was indeed put into the final bill and it was lauded by the environmental Community. It was agreed to by the environmental Community, even though they originally objected to it, but I felt Well that small businesses dry cleaners service stations others who will be affected by this bill and who will not be in a position to deal with the technology that is necessary to clean up the air of their own own operations should receive some help from the government. And that's really the amendment that was put into the bill and that was accepted by one and all and is now part of the bill strict the tailpipe emissions as you may know I voted for that. We had the so-called Brian bill here before us that was not in the bill because the Democratic chairman of the Commerce Committee in the House of Representatives. Mr. Dingle kept it out of the bill the Nickels Heflin amendment I think was finally worked out pretty well that it was would not make if you've ever dealt with the the fish and wildlife people with the DNR with some of the with the EPA and others, you know, that that the requirements of paper the Of the bureaucracy on enormous. This was never to lower that and I think that the final bill because of the Nichols Heflin Amendment Nichols is Republican. And Heflin is a Democrat. So it was a bipartisan approach that that part of the bill was made better as well. Let me make one final comment about the alleged remarks that I made about the 50 to the farmers. I said to the farmers that they are indeed the environmental environmentalists are the basic environmentalist. It's their land and I said that that they want clean water even more than the people in the cities the cities do indeed drink Waters lordly from reservoirs. The farmers have to drink water from Wells. Those are the things that are being polluted those were my comments and that is what I said man Kato and in other (00:43:41) places that I'd like to respond because the way we go by I think it was really starting and I responded and he responded the man cave. (00:43:48) Free Press took a really (00:43:49) boschwitz the task for that what I said, he said he said actually it was an effort to get Farmers to organize against environmentalist. I think we have to have people working together my son and his wife farm and I have lived in farm real Community all my time here in Minnesota and I've traveled around the state and I think farmers and Rural people care every bit as much about the environment. I have to tell you that what he does to the history of this legislation is amazing the small businesses that would have been Exempted in this amendment were businesses like Bethlehem Steel Uniroyal chemical and Dupont. They don't sound like small businesses and I guess Rudy here's what it boils down to this is a state where people feel strongly about the environment and they want to have a senator and David dear Burger has shown this leadership who will be a strong advocate for the environment if you've done so well, why do you have such a low score card such a low voting record by the major environmental organizations? What why can you explain that? (00:44:48) Well, let me first say that the amendment you're incorrect. It would not have applied to Universal or Bethlehem Steel or (00:44:55) Dupont. I'm correct, but let's go (00:44:57) on. Bob it was my Amendment, but he knows it better than I do. It would (00:45:04) not I say we don't agree on anything (00:45:07) too bad. It would not have applied to them. If you look at my environmental rating with with the various organizations, you will see that in the energy part. I rated quite High I think it's 77% in the pollution part. I also read it quite High 73 74 percent in the resources part. I did rate low but you know for instance now they are going to raid us once again on Forest roads, and they raided us last year unto the twelve votes run Forest roads and mind you they take four votes out of many hundreds and then they rate you if we spend less in this country and Forest roads were recognized that the first roads that won't be built will be in northern Minnesota because our forests up there and not particularly productive and yet Northern Minnesota where I must say most of the folks the Democrats but yet they have to have to work most of the new jobs that are being created the most vibrant industry up. There is a wood products industry. I can't vote against my own State and so sometimes in resources a happened low, but it doesn't Minnesota kind of (00:46:18) boat. Let's move on to the subject, please. Let's move on. Can we just real quickly that that one (00:46:23) second though Baba? I (00:46:25) really I would like to move on I really would because we're getting down near the end here and we are going to get the closing statements rust one final question though, which I'd like to put to each of you and that is whether you think u.s. Industries are well prepared as well prepared as they can be and should be to compete internationally and what you think government should do or not do to help Foster that competition Paul start with you. It gets back to real National Security. We have not had the economic performance in this country. We were talking about the environment Bob. The epa's research budget is 1% of the pentagon's research budget. How are we going to invest in new? Clean Technologies are big growth industry. Japanese are serious about that Europeans are serious about it. We're not we're missing out in new emerging Technologies telecommunications. We've been beat and fiber optics and Auto in steel and electronics Machine Tools. It's been paper entrepreneurship. It's not been productive investment and there's a whole class of citizens who've been left completely out of the economy. I think one of the real scandals and I said this earlier is one of the things I cannot forgive ready for in terms of this mess in Washington and what's happened during the 80s is that we have gotten ourselves into so much debt that we no longer are capable of investing in ourselves. It's such a good question. You asked it's not just a budget deficit. It's more than that. It's an investment deficit and it's even more than that Bob. It's a spiritual deficit. We're not investing in human capital. We're not investing in physical infrastructure and we don't have real good strong credible capital investment. That's why good many people in the business Community say to me that what I'm talking about in terms of the 90s. It's 1990 and getting away from this mess in the 80s is absolutely the direction. We need to go in Rudy boschwitz. (00:48:17) Well, I'm not sure that I feel that this country is beating out in quite the way that my opponent that I'm not quite so sure that I think the 80s were such a dismal failure in the 1980s. We had seven and a half years of economic growth unabated. It was a longest period of economic growth that this nation has ever had during the 1980s. We have seen countries all over the world follow our system come to our system because it's fairer to people in all levels of society. So that I not sure that that would be eaten out and that we've been beaten to a pulp as Paul had you have you think however, I think we do have to do more in the tax law and we're not doing it in this budget package with respect to stimulus to investment. I know that the Paul probably opposes the capital gains tax lowing I know that he may oppose research and development tax credits. But those are the kind of things that we have to do if we're going to get the investment in this country and indeed we have to bring down the budget deficit in this regard. I certainly agree with them that too much of the monies that we developed in this country and in the world are invested into our deficit and we have to slow the growth of government spending Paul would you know criticizes me because I vote that way sometimes I vote that way a whole lot. You got to slow the growth above government spending. You just can't raise taxes in order to balance the budget so I don't think that would be eaten in this country at all. And I think that the 90s should be a continuation of strong economic (00:49:54) growth. The closing statements will be coming up in just a sec. Sounds just like I have to tell you Bob just sounds like what do we hear in 84 from RE The Best Is Yet To Come to sounds like Ronald Reagan talk. Everything's fine. This is a great country and it's a great state we can do much better, but I'll tell you something people don't go for this talk from Washington D.C. Every that any longer that everything is just fine not when we built up all of this debt. Everything's just fine not when we're not investing in children. Everything's just fine that discussion on the environment where we have a really wasted the environment all of this has happened and it has to change that's the difference between the two of us. I think we need major changes in our state and we won't have them unless people in Minnesota have somebody in the Senate that will fight for them and things they believe in and things aren't so great. No Rudy we disagree on that. It's not so cheerful. We have a great country, but we can do much better hurry if you want the final word on. (00:50:48) One, okay, but okay. I I I'm a great Optimist and I do believe in the future and I really do believe that the best is yet to come. I don't say by any means that everything is perfect. But if you look around the world and look at America and looked at other countries and look where we are. I think that we shouldn't be satisfied we want to do more. I mean that that's Rudy boschwitz. I always like to do more always like to achieve more I have one final question. Yes II don't I don't think you should be so downbeat on America. Everything is not so (00:51:22) terrible one final question, which is going to require a pretty brief answer from each of you. So we have time for the closing statements and that it's a little bit off the wall. But what the heck, you know, the election really has been dominated by the governor's race in Minnesota this year and I'm sure like each of you to assess the impact. It's having on your campaign there there have been a new poll showing that John grunts Seth cannot win some Republican legislators say that he's hurting the IR legislative effort Rudy do you think I am to ask oneself to get off the (00:51:49) ticket. Well, you know, I've been talking about a loan to Grant Seth the whole political year in Minnesota is really has been quite unseemly not just the last few weeks but weeks before that and also through the spring and summer. I'm going to duck you a little bit about whether or not he should go off the ticket, but something like that could well happen. There's no question. If it's a three-man race two of them are Republicans with disadvantaged and so that lets just wait a little bit (00:52:24) Paul would impact his the Republican gubernatorial race head on your campaign that didn't sound that sounds kind of like a a waffling answer. I don't think I heard less or no. I think it's been unfortunate that you know, and I've said this over and over again. That's why I'm so appreciative of this debate and discussion. I want to keep the focus on issues and in the senate race, that's what I wanted to be and to the extent that the governor's race is taken away some of that Focus. I think it has been a real shame because I think these issues were talking about are so Into people's lives. That's been my big disappointment one final thing Bob since we're going to go to closing statements is about being down on the country. I'm not down on this country. I mean, my father came over here as a Jewish immigrant from Soviet Union. He taught me what it was like to live in this country. I love this country. I just want America to be America again and Rudy. I want this to be a country where all the people have opportunity and where all the people are represented in government. Not just the people with the clout to many people did left out Paul. It almost sounded like you started your closing statement. I don't think you did know Paul Paul wellstone won the coin toss before the debate began and has (00:53:28) asked Can I please respond to that? (00:53:32) Well, we're just about out of time. If you can make it about 10 seconds real quick. (00:53:36) Well, I think well, we'll go to the closing (00:53:39) statement. All right, we're and that case Rudy. You're good your first your first Rudi out there in (00:53:44) Washington. Well, I'm proud and a half. I'm proud to be in the United States Senate. I want to serve again. I love the Of Minnesota, I get almost all 87 counties every year. You know, when I first came to the United States Senate inflation was thirteen percent interest rates for 21% Unemployment was up over at 10% The world was in disarray. The Afghanistan had just been invaded our defenses were down. I think that as we enter the 1990s the times really are very much better having said that these have been some very very frustrating days in the United States Senate. They really have as I've often said that that watching Law is being made that watching the budget process go forward is almost like watching sausage being made. It's not very pleasant. But the only time we really shine is one where compared to other nations around the globe and we compared to those governments and then indeed we do shine. My dad and Paul is talked about his father. He was just amazed about America every Because he really knew difficulties in life. He knew poverty is a young man, but real poverty in Europe in the last part of the last century and how much we have progressed and what a wonderful country that said people are still lined up to get in and not lined up to get out of here. I think that America is the greatest. I want to return to the United States Senate. I think I've had a good impact and I want to continue to do so. Thanks a lot Bob. Yeah. Thank you. Rudy very (00:55:21) nicely timed. I must congratulate you on that Paul. You have a minute and a half now. Okay. Well, I think Washington needs to be shaken up. I think big changes need to take place. I think all too often has been people with the big bucks and all of the clout and the vast majority of people have been left out to me. Bob leadership is not dividing people but it's inspiring people to be their own best selves and I think this decade of the 80s will be viewed by historians as agreed decade just too much has happened that has to be changed the abandonment of the environment the abandoning of children the transfer of Farmland the the SNL sleaze the HUD sleaze we have to make major changes and I want to go to Washington not just to go there but I want to go there to be a major leader in this change and to introduce major legislation and Healthcare Economic Opportunity for Citizens. I want to be right there protecting the environment. I want there to be some fairness in the tax system and there isn't right now with middle and working people squeezed in the people on the top getting away like Bandits. I want campaign Finance reform so that each person counts as one and no more than one so that the wealthy Dominate and I want to see privacy rights and choice for women. And finally, I see a new world in the making I see all kinds of possibilities of ending this insane arms race ending this expenditure of money on weapons of death and destruction and investing in people right here in our country and in the world not a heaven on Earth, but a better Earth on Earth, I think we can do that in this decade of the 90s. Thank you Paul wellstone and thank you Rudy boschwitz for joining. Thanks Brothers debate. Thank you Paul wellstone here at our Studios at Minnesota Public Radio and st. Paul and Senator boschwitz live by satellite in Washington. This debate was produced by Sarah Mayer. The technical director was Scott Yankees. Thanks also to engineer's Clifford Bentley and Randy Johnson. The executive producers were Ron Clark of the st. Paul Pioneer Press George Busey and Vic reamer of Minnesota Public Radio.