Near the end of the debate, Lazio marched over to me, waving a piece of paper called the ďNew York Freedom from Soft Money PactĒ--and demanded my signature. I declined as he shouted, ďSign it right now!Ē I offered to shake hands, but he kept badgering me.
I wasnít sure how Lazioís confrontational ploy would be received. Opinion polls soon made it clear that a lot of voters, especially women, were offended by Lazioís tactics.
LAZIO: If you look at the average donation that I receive, itís like less than $100. In the House, of course Iíve been very active on housing issues.
Q: But have you gotten heavy contributions from the housing industry?
LAZIO: Weíve gotten contributions from a whole range of people with different interests that are important to the quality of life of New Yorkers
CLINTON: He received a million dollars in contributions from the home-building industry and from the manufacturers of homes. And in return, at least there is an appearance that he did several things. He fought to weaken the safety standards for manufactured housing and in-home building.
LAZIO: Thatís absolutely false. And you know it, Mrs. Clinton.
CLINTON: Well, Mr. Lazio, you just referred to The Daily News, which ran an investigative article which made exactly that point.
LAZIO: I voted for campaign finance reform. I have run this campaign abiding by McCain-Feingold. We have not raised a dime of soft money. I do not agree with public financing because the voters should decide who is elected. We should not have welfare for politicians.
CLINTON: I think we need to change the system of campaign financing. I just have to remark that Mr. Lazioís campaign violated the very simple agreement that we entered. Last month, Mr. Lazio said that this was an issue of trust and character. If New Yorkers canít trust him to keep his word for 10 days, how can they trust him for six years on issues like Social Security, Medicare, prescription drugs and education?
LAZIO: Mrs. Clinton, no lectures from Motel 1600 on campaign finance reform. I took a legitimate contribution of clean hard money. My opponent objected. Because I have a commitment to campaign finance reform and to this agreement, I refunded the money.
CLINTON: In May I made exactly that offer. I said, ďLetís forego soft money, but letís also be sure we donít have these independent expenditures.Ē If you will get signed agreements from all your friends and will not be running so-called independent ads, will not be doing push polling, will not be doing mass mailings with outrageous personal attacks, I think we can have an agreement.
LAZIO: Iíd be happy to get signed agreements, but I want to get it done right now. I donít want any more wiggle room. Here it is. Letís sign it. Itís the New York Freedom from Soft Money Pact.
CLINTON: Well, I would be happy to when you give me the signed letters.
LAZIO: Sign it right now.
CLINTON: Weíll shake on it.
LAZIO: No, I want your signature.
|Other candidates on Government Reform:||Hillary Clinton on other issues:|
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader