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Tsongas Says Clinton Fine on Social Issues; Weak on Economy

July 13, 1992

NEW YORK (AP) _ Former Massachusetts senator and presidential hopeful Paul Tsongas may have endorsed the Clinton-Gore ticket, but he’s not satisfied with the campaign’s position on the economy.

Speaking to about 300 of his delegates Monday in a midtown Manhattan hotel, Tsongas said Democrats can enthusiastically support Gov. Bill Clinton and Sen. Al Gore’s stand on abortion, the environment and equal opportunity for women, gays and minorities.

But he says he’ll fight what he predicts will be a losing battle to prevent the Clinton-for-president campaign from promising tax breaks for the middle class.

″We Democrats lose the White House for one simple reason: nobody trusts us with the economy,″ Tsongas said. ″What our campaign proved is that you can be liberal on social issues - very liberal - and at the same time be aggressively pro-business.″

The speech came hours before the Democratic National Convention convened in Madison Square Garden for a four-day event culminating in naming Clinton the party’s standard bearer.

During the debate Tuesday on platform issues, Tsongas plans to push several key planks aimed at promoting business and bringing the federal budget deficit under control.

But he said he would limit his platform fight in deference to the presumptive nominee.

″I didn’t win this. You have to acknowledge that and not rain on somebody else’s parade,″ Tsongas said.

Tsongas wants the platform to include a special gasoline tax devoted to rebuilding the nation’s roads, bridges and other public works. He also supports a cut in capital gains taxes as a way to promote business investment and he is pushing for other policies to promote American industries.

Tsongas will be fighting to exclude from the platform any pledge to cut taxes for the middle class. He views the move as a vote-getting gimmick at the expense of sound fiscal management.

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