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ISSUE 116 VOL 5 PUBLISHED 10/11/2002

Candidates reflect on controversial topics

By Julie Gunderson
News Editor

Friday, October 11, 2002

With the ongoing debate over the U.S.’s position on Iraq, Republican congressional candidate John Kline recently weighed in with his opinion on the issue.

Kline addressed students, faculty, and community members on Tuesday evening at the Political Awareness Committee’s (PAC) dinner, one night after President Bush addressed the nation in a televised speech.

"I am in full support of the President," Kline said. "September 11 drove home for us that we are in danger and we need to take action to protect American lives."

Kline stated that conflict with Iraq would be different than in overseas combat in which America has participated.

"We have always had the luxury of deciding whether or not to go to war. Whether we should go to Kosovo or Bosnia or Vietnam," Kline said. "But we don’t have that luxury anymore."

Answering student questions, Kline addressed his feelings on whether the U.S. should pursue diplomatic policies with Iraq.

"I have lost faith in diplomacy that would stop Saddam Hussein from attacking," Kline said. "I do, however, think that it is very important to have ally support and I am optimistic that there will be a multi-national approach to this conflict."

Kline also praised Bush’s advisors, as he believes that they are well equipped to handle the Iraqi situation.

"We have a first-rate national security team," Kline said. "Colin Powell is the best Secretary of State that we have had in along time. These are people who are looking at the world with experienced and rational eyes."

Kline brings his own experience to the issue of foreign policy and military conflict, having served 25 years of active duty with the U.S. Marines. Kline was also a military aide to Presidents Ronald Regan and Jimmy Carter, and carried the country’s nuclear "football" with keys to the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

Besides sharing his feelings on Iraq, Kline also addressed a controversial tactic that his opponent Bill Luther employed in his campaign.

Luther, who has previously defeated Kline twice due to a strong third party candidate, noted that in this election there was no third-party candidate running.

Luther recruited Sam Garst, a former Democrat candidate for Minnesota Senate and State House, to run as a third-party candidate.

On the last day for a candidate register, Garst submitted his name under the "No New Taxes Party."

When the Star Tribune asked Garst why he was running, he said that he was helping out his friend Luther and was trying to pull votes away from Kline.

Kline addressed the issue by stating, "I think Minnesotans who know the story understand that it is an unethical manipulation of the ballot."

The "third party" issue was brought to light by the Star Tribune, who has been critical of Luther’s role in the decision.

Kline was most upset about the harm being done to voters. "I am angry and disappointed," Kline said. "I do not want to see voters deceived."

Another political candidate was also on campus Tuesday, speaking about his race for governor. Democratic candidate Roger Moe talked with students about his reasons for running and about several of his specific policy issues.

"I want to take my experience and knowledge in public life and put them to use in a different way," Moe said

Moe discussed his position on abortion, stating that he is pro-choice but against partial-birth abortions unless the woman’s health is in danger. Moe also took a supportive stance on gay rights issues, particularly in the advocation of domestic partner benefits for homosexuals.

Congressional candidate Bill Luther is scheduled to come to speak at a PAC dinner on Oct. 15. Green party candidate for governor Ken Pentel is also scheduled to speak in the Pause on the 15th.

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