(WEST ORANGE, OCTOBER 11) - Schundler for Governor campaign manager Bill Pascoe, clearly relishing Bret Schundler’s decisive victory in last night’s debate with Jim McGreevey -- a debate that turned on the question of taxes -- today issued the following statement:
“Last night was a turning point in the race for the Governor’s chair. New Jersey’s voters finally had a chance to see the two candidates together on the same stage, and heard a very simple proposition: a vote for Bret Schundler is a vote for tax cuts that will keep the economy strong, while a vote for Jim McGreevey is a vote for tax increases that will destroy New Jersey’s economy and throw people out of work.
“Watching last night’s debate, I had to remind myself that it was Jim McGreevey and not some other Democrat on stage with Bret. It looked like McGreevey was going Back to the Future, dredging up the ghosts of tax-hiking Democrats from the past. When he said he couldn’t promise to get rid of Parkway tolls in nine months, he sounded just like Walter Mondale; when he failed to rule out a tax increase, he sounded just like Jim Florio; and when he walked on stage wearing black combat boots with a two-inch rubber heel, I couldn’t help but think of Mike Dukakis wearing a combat helmet.
“On July 19, 1984, accepting the Democrat nomination for President, Walter Mondale said ‘Let’s tell the truth … Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.’ Compare that to Jim McGreevey on Parkway tolls last night: ‘People want a governor who tells the truth. I can’t get rid of the tolls in nine months, and, respectfully, he can’t either. The only difference is that I’m saying it.’ Eerie, isn’t it?
“Several times last night, Jim McGreevey was given the opportunity to rule out a tax increase. He refused, claiming it would be ‘irresponsible’ to do so. McGreevey sounded just like Jim Florio, who, in 1989, famously said ‘I see no need to raise taxes’ -- but who pointedly refused to rule it out. And we all know what THAT led to -- the biggest tax increase in New Jersey history, a whopping $2.8 BILLION tax increase (for which McGreevey cast the deciding vote), which cost 170,000 jobs.
“And in the summer of 1988, of course, Mike Dukakis made a fool of himself when he violated Campaign Rule Number One -- NO FUNNY HATS -- when he put on a combat helmet for a photo op. Imagine my surprise last night when I saw Jim McGreevey walk on stage wearing black combat boots with a two-inch rubber heel, clearly borrowing from the Dukakis wardrobe. I know politics ain’t beanbag, but did he actually think he was walking into a war zone? Was he trying to ‘elevate’ his tone in the debate? One thing’s for sure -- this gives new meaning to the phrase ‘stature gap.’
“Jim McGreevey will raise taxes. Bret Schundler will cut taxes. It’s just that simple.”