Bedford, NH (CNSNews.com) - Calling on Texas Governor George W Bush to "start attacking Democrats, rather than members of his own party," Republican presidential aspirant Gary Bauer today criticized the Texan's recent attacks on Congressional Republicans and added, "he's using the words of American liberalism" to go after his own.
During his New Hampshire campaign stop Bauer also accused GOP candidate Steve Forbes flat tax plan as appealing only to the "financial elites."
Bauer insisted, when the general election rolls around, Bush's comments would appear in television ads paid for by the Democratic Party.
Calling Bush's recent allegations, that Congressional Republicans are attempting to balance the federal budget "on the backs of the poor" as "terribly demeaning," Bauer said "they caused a great sense of depression among Republican members of Congress."
"The last thing they (Congressional Republicans) need is to have George Bush jumping on them...he needs to start attacking Democrats rather than members of his own party."
Despite having access to a politically aware and largely Republican audience, Bauer made no effort to hide his criticism of the front running Bush for his refusal to participate in debates before January 2000. The governor's refusal is drawing angry comments from a growing number of Granite State rank and file Republicans, some of whom insist Bush's absence will result in an erosion of his poll numbers.
Bauer made his comments on the second day of a three-day bus tour of this first-in-the-nation primary state, spoke before an unusually small crowd, estimated at 75, at the Politics and Eggs Breakfast at a local inn. Past speakers, including Arizona Sen. John McCain and New Hampshire Sen. Bob Smith, attracted between 140 and 175 to recent Politics and Eggs events.
Bauer said the differences between his flat tax proposal and that of rival canddidate Forbes is that his plan would impose a 16 percent flat rate on everyone, with the first $25,000 going untaxed.
Calling Forbes' proposal as "inherently unfair", Bauer said the publishing magnate's flat tax proposal as which would "destroy the Republican Party."
According to Bauer, the Forbes plan would mean the very wealthy will pay no federal income tax, while working people, including those who cooked and served the breakfast, would pay as much as 25 percent.
"My plan is aimed at Main Street. His plan is aimed at the financial elites," Bauer insisted.
"We stand today on the cusp of America's third full century. I believe that my Republican Party, the party of Lincoln and Reagan, once again must put our people first. That in the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt, my party must stand for the working American, blue collar and white collar, not just for big corporate interests. For it is the working families of America who carry this country on their shoulders. We Republicans must stand for the interests of Main Street and the great American middle class."
"The middle class tax squeeze is real. The average American family today pays more in taxes than it does for food, housing, clothing and transportation combined. Enough is enough," he added.
Addressing Social Security and referring to his boyhood Kentucky roots, the former Reagan domestic policy advisor characterized the politically sensitive issue as "a good program," and added, "In my neighborhood, the elderly would have been living in poverty, if it weren't for Social Security."
Bauer said the total privatization of Social Security, with investments made in the stock market, would be a mistake. "It's not a conservative idea. Why do we want to force people to put their money on Wall Street."
Rather, Bauer said his proposal would lower payroll taxes by 20 percent, on workers and employers, allowing the funds to be invested "as individuals see fit." Upon retirement, Bauer said recipients would still receive a federal Social Security check, as well as the privately invested money.
Citing growing school violence and what he characterized as "hatred in the hearts" of some, Bauer also hit on some social issues. Referring to recent polls, which show half the population believing the country is headed in the wrong direction, Bauer said, "While we all care about economics, unless America deals with its virtue deficit, our economic growth won't matter very much."
Referring to the two teens who were involved in the shooting at Columbine High School, near Denver and to the New Jersey teenager, who flushed her newborn infant down a toilet at her junior-senior prom, Bauer told the gathering, "Over the last 30 years, a lot of what we've done in America, has made it easier to create people like Eric and Dylan," the Columbine shooters.
"If we can't return values to the center of the American experience, our bank accounts won't matter and our stocks won't matter."