|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
JANUARY 23, 2004
|CONTACT: NOW with Bill Moyers
Rick Byrne: Ph: 212.560.8406 Email: ByrneR@thirteen.org
Diane Domondon: Ph: 212.560.8300 Email: DomondonD@thirteen.org
Republican Conservative Base Questions Bush Administration's Spending Policy
Tonight On Now With Bill Moyers
NEW YORK - January 23 - Tonight on PBS' NOW with Bill Moyers, David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, the nation's oldest and largest grassroots conservative organization, says that the conservative base of the Republican party has a message for the Bush administration: "It's time to do something about government spending. And we are, in fact, demanding that something be done."|
Keene, who is also chairman of the 31st Annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), was interviewed by Moyers via satellite from the conservative summit being held this week just outside Washington. CPAC is co-sponsored more than 70 of the nation's leading conservative organizations and is expected to set the conservative Republican agenda this year.
"Non-defense discretionary spending under Clinton was going up at about 2 1/2 percent. And under Bush it's been going up roughly twice that," says Keene. "I think that the Republicans, unless they want to lose...the definition of their party and what they mean to the base out there that supports them in election after election, have to come to grips with the fact that they are letting that definition be eroded."
Keene's comments come on the heels of recent administration announcements that include a manned mission to Mars at a price tag of $500 billion, a $1.5 billion in proposed spending to promote marriage, and $200 million to fight obesity.
"I think that in spite of any disagreements I have with the president on some of these questions, that basically he's trying to do the right thing," Keene tells Moyers. While Keene is clear that conservatives remain squarely behind the president, he says: "We consider Bush to be a conservative who's allowed the ship to drift a little bit off-course."
The NOW with Bill Moyers interview with David Keene airs tonight, Friday, January 23 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings at http://www.pbs.org/now/sched.html).