Anti-Apartheid Group To Air Ads Critical Of Bob Dole
WASHINGTON (AP) _ TransAfrica, an anti-apartheid organization, announced plans for a television advertising campaign in Iowa next week that accuses Republican presidential hopeful Bob Dole of turning his back on blacks in South Africa.
Dole, in a statement, called the ad campaign a ″phony″ attempt to distort his record on civil rights and opposition to apartheid.
″We don’t want a president who will do business with racists in South Africa,″ says the announcer in the 30-second commercial, which will begin airing on the same day Dole formally declares his candidacy in speeches in Iowa and elsewhere.
″So next time Bob Dole visits your state - make him face the consequences of opposing sanctions against South Africa.″
Apartheid is South Africa’s system of rigid racial segregation, and TransAfrica led the fight to implement economic sanctions against the white minotiry government in South Africa to press foir changes.
Dole drew the anger of TransAfrica last year when he led an unsuccessful effort to sustain President Reagan’s veto of legislation imposing sanctions against the white-run government of South Africa. Dole had earlier voted to pass the bill.
Randall Robinson, executive director of TransAfrica, said the commercial will be shown in four Iowa cities covering more than 80 percent of the state’s population. He said the commercial will run later in other primary states.
″It’s a pretty sad spectacle when somebody posturing as a civil rights leader uses tactics that every responsible civil rights leader would reject, and tries to score some cheap political points using the victims of apartheid as his props,″ said the statement released by the Dole campaign.
Robinson intends to preview the commercial at a news conference next Monday in Des Moines, Iowa, and said the group was planning a public demonstration in downtown Des Moines across the street from Dole’s scheduled speech.
He said the Dole campaign learned of their plans and suddenly decided to move the site of Dole’s speech to a farm outside Des Moines. ″The Dole campaign has run away from the demonstration and hidden on private farm,″ he said.
Robinson said Dole also worked closely with Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., to block confirmation of the Reagan administration’s proposed ambassador to Mozambique ″in protest of the administration’s good relations with″ the government there.
″Mozambique is under attack by the Renamo guerillas, created by the while minority government of Rhodesia in the 1970s, then handed over to the South Sfrican military,″ Robinson said.
The television commercial marks the second time TransAfrica has attacked Dole.
Last winter, the group paid for newspaper advertisements that labeled Dole as ″one of the faces behind apartheid.″
Dole dismissed the campaign at the time, saying his role as Republican leader of the Senate occasionally forced him to take unpopular positions, but he said black leaders weren’t upset with him because he had a strong civil rights record.
″They can do what they want,″ he said of TransAfrica in an interview at the time. ″I think it’s shortsighted. They may have another bill they need some help on.″
And although he suggested in the interview that his stand on the veto vote was dictated by his leadership position, he voluntarily raised the subject of sanctions a few days earlier in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee.
He was cheered at that session when he reminded the conservatives that he was one of only 19 Republicans who supported Reagan’s veto of legislation imposing sanctions.
″Randall Robinson spewed out this venom once before, but his efforts fell flat,″ Dole said Thursday night. ″Now he thinks he’ll get a bigger audience, and maybe raise some money, by trying to exploit my announcement.″