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Bauer Criticizes Bush, Forbes

December 4, 1999

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Conservative activist Gary Bauer criticized Republicans George W. Bush and Steve Forbes for not attending a health care forum on Saturday, saying the two skipped the event to avoid answering ``tough questions.″

Bauer, one of six candidates vying for the Republican nomination, spoke to about 50 members of Iowa’s AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons.

``They’re fairly typical politicians, they tell everyone they can have everything,″ Bauer said of Bush and Forbes’ Social Security plans.

Bauer’s health care proposals push to guarantee Social Security benefits to current retirees and take better care of the nation’s veterans.

Bauer, trailing GOP front-runner Bush and leading conservative Forbes in the national polls, didn’t miss an opportunity to criticize the two candidates for not attending the event.

``Frankly, I think they just wanted to avoid answering tough questions from you all,″ Bauer said.

Organizers said initial plans had the candidates appearing together at the event. The plans were revised to include one candidate addressing AARP voters and answering their questions after scheduling problems, said Molly Daniels, director for AARP Vote in Washington, D.C.

Daniels said AARP Vote is trying to schedule appearances with Bush and Forbes. Democratic candidate Bill Bradley is scheduled to address the group next month.

Bauer plan calls for a 20 percent reduction in the Social Security payroll tax for workers and their employers, leaving investment and spending options in their hands. Benefits would be guaranteed to workers now, but younger workers benefiting from the cut would receive less.

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