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Clinton Campaign Disavows Answering Machine Message

October 5, 1992

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ The Clinton-Gore campaign on Monday disavowed an answering machine message at its state headquarters that equated Republican family values with racism and gay-bashing.

Calls to the headquarters at noon Sunday were answered by a recorded message which said:

″We’ve taken Bush’s family values to heart. We’re out trying to find women who will marry us, gay men and lesbians to bash and minorities to oppress.″

The tape was playing just a few hours before Democrat Bill Clinton made a campaign stop in Raleigh where he warned supporters to watch for negative campaigning.

″We can’t explain it,″ said Rhonda Raney, a spokeswoman with the state campaign. ″It’s nothing we initiated. It’s nothing we would have initiated.″

Ms. Raney said the campaign was unaware of the recording until contacted by The Associated Press and did not know how many callers might have heard it Sunday.

She said the campaign’s telephone service found nothing wrong with their answering equipment, a voice-mail system that takes calls for specific staff members. The recorded message could not be found and phone calls early Monday were answered by the normal voice-mail message.

″Whatever it was, it was separate and apart from our voice-mail system,″ she said.

″I can tell you this, if it was a volunteer playing around and trying to be funny, they won’t be a volunteer with us anymore,″ said Bob Geolas, the Clinton-Gore state director. ″If it was a paid staff member, they will be fired.″

House Speaker Dan Blue, a co-chairman of the state campaign, said there was a possibility of political ″dirty tricks″ behind the tape.

″There probably ought to be some investigation of that,″ he said. ″It sounds to me like someone was tampering with our telephones, intercepting calls or whatever.″

Mark Major, a spokesman for the Bush-Quayle campaign in North Carolina, said ″I can honestly tell you we wouldn’t take the time to do something like that. No, we had absolutely nothing to do with it.

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