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Two By Sea: Dole-Kemp Team Make Splashy Entrance to Convention City

August 11, 1996

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Bob Dole made a splashy entrance into his convention city Sunday and vowed emphatically to ``win the gold″ on Election Day and take the White House away from President Clinton.

``We’re going to do what Bill Clinton’s people say can’t be done,″ Dole told an enthusiastic arrival rally in a sunny park jutting into San Diego Bay. ``That’s to balance the budget while cutting taxes and it can be done,″ he said.

Dole and vice presidential running mate Jack Kemp flew into town aboard a chartered jetliner, then transferred to a flag-draped ferry for a ride across San Diego Bay to the park. Supporters greeted them with enthusiastic cheers of ``Dole-Kemp, Dole-Kemp″ while waving newly printed signs touting the Republican ticket.

The convention opens Monday, and the former Senate majority leader, 73, and the former congressman, 61, will be formally installed on the ticket Wednesday night. On Thursday, they deliver the acceptance speeches that will launch them on their way.

The two men begin the convention badly in need of a boost, trailing Clinton and Vice President Al Gore by double-digit margins in the polls. Dole and his managers were looking to Kemp to help provide that lift.

In his remarks, Dole scoffed at Clinton’s oft-quoted declaration that the ``era of big government is over.″

What’s really about to happen, he said, is ``the era of Bill Clinton is over.″

Dole made clear that his campaign will stress the tax cuts and promise of economic growth that he made the centerpiece of his economic program, and that Kemp has long advocated.

With a pro-growth Republican Congress, balancing the budget while cutting taxes is ``just a matter of presidential will,″ Dole said. ``If you have it you can do it and I have it and I will do it,″ he said to applause.

Kemp, too, stressed the ticket’s call for tax cuts, a program that he said would put ``more money in your pocket and your savings account, more jobs in your community″ and ``create a zone of opportunity from sea to shining sea.″

And in a reference to the differences the two men have had over the years, he said he understood fully that Dole was atop the ticket.

Said Kemp, a former professional quarterback, ``Bob you’re the quarterback and I’m your blocker and we’re going all the way.″

For his part, Dole dismissed the troubles that have plagued his campaign to date. ``Everything before’s been a warmup lap, a trial heat,″ he said. ``Here in San Diego, the real race begins.″

By then, though, some audience members had already left, waiting only long enough to hear Kemp.

``A lot of people were just curious to see Kemp,″ said one who departed early, Bob Gaglione, a convention volunteer from San Diego. ``I think he’ll energize the ticket.″