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Dole Suggests Gingrich Should Abandon Book Deal : Politics: Senate leader says the squabble could hinder work on GOP ‘contract.’ He also doubts three-fifths tax vote provision will succeed.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) said Sunday that the furor over House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s book contract is continuing to divert attention away from the Republican agenda and suggested that the GOP would be better off if Gingrich abandoned the deal.

Even though Gingrich (R-Ga.) has voluntarily reduced the proposed book advance from $4.5 million to $1, the controversy has persisted and, as Dole noted, ". . . it does take the focus away from the issues. . . .”

Since Gingrich’s book contract was disclosed, Democrats have seized the issue, questioning the propriety of his entering into an agreement with an international media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, whose companies have business matters before Congress and various federal regulatory agencies.

The controversy reached a crescendo last week during a disorderly session on the floor of the House as Republicans sought to squelch Democrats who were questioning Gingrich’s contract.

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On CBS-TV’s “Face the Nation” Sunday, Dole said he had heard that House Republicans are fearful that the controversy will fester and continue to disrupt legislative business.

“They’re afraid it’s going to interfere with the ‘contract with America’ and that it’s getting in the way of the ideas that brought us here,” Dole said. Gingrich “must be” contemplating killing the deal, he added. “It seems to me he can’t avoid it. I mean, you step out, you pick up the paper, you turn on the radio, you watch television--it’s the book deal.”

Referring to the public, Dole continued: “They want us to move forward. And we’re not doing it. All the focus is on Newt. . . .”

Dole said he personally has no quibbles with Gingrich’s response to the criticism. “He’s already satisfied me, but maybe there’s something else he needs to do. Then he ought to do it.”

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In other matters, Dole said he favors a provision in the proposed balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution that would require a three-fifths majority to raise taxes in the future. But he added that “I don’t think there are the votes” for passage of the measure under those conditions.

“We ought to make the effort” to put the three-fifths clause in the amendment, Dole said. But “if you can’t get that provision, we ought to go out and still do the balanced-budget amendment without it.”


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