Transcript of Interview on Elm Street in Manchester, NH
Haines spoke while campaigning; he was holding a sign and attempting to hand out his flyers to passersby:
ROBERT HAINES: I started a grassroots petition campaign in Colorado in 1989 [on my] business stationery. People in my community signed my petition for public office. That's all it did; it said Robert Haines petition for public office. It didn't have a designation on the top of the business stationary. Just a piece of my business stationery, okay. Just to see if I could get support. Hundreds of people in my community signed in Colorado, okay. Many of them influential people in my influential community. Many of them just common citizens. After hundreds of signatures, someone said why don't you put something at the top of your petition so that we know what you're running for. So I put a low level position--state legislator. And they kept signing up. Then someone said why don't you run for United States Senator; our Senator is not seeking re-election. So I put United States Senator at the top of my business stationery and they continued to sign up. So I knew it was for real. So I went to the Secretary of State's office and I got the official petitions for United States Senator. And they continued to sign up. Now I was signing up the people who own the oil wells and the cattle ranches in Colorado. During the course of that campaign someone suggested that I run for president of the United States...
It was 1990 when somebody said why don't you run for president of the United States. So I went to the Secretary of State's office and I got the official petitions for president of the United States. People continued to sign up. Now I'm signing up people who own the ranches and the oil wells in the west, okay, in addition to the ones that are in Colorado. So I knew I had legitimate support, all right, it was for real... I campaigned in 21 states coast to coast twice in 1992.
I lived on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC from '92 to '95, and I studied the government as an independent scholar. I studied the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government as an independent scholar based at the Library of Congress. We lived five blocks from the United States Capitol, two blocks from the Library of Congress, one of the Library of Congress buildings--there are three buildings. So I attended everything I possibly could. I was at the Capitol almost every free minute that I had; I attended sessions of Congress, all types of hearings--GATT, NAFTA. I was at every hearing of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade with Senator Ernest Hollings, who was chairman of the Commerce Committee. They conducted hearings on public TV. You can refer to the videos; you see me sitting there, okay, right behind the people testifying. And I was there for the other big issues of the time--the balanced budget amendment, line-item veto, crime bill, etcetera. And I was there for the election of 1994 where 235 members of Congress were replaced.
[Pauses to interact with a passerby: Would you like a brochure or a copy of my new book? I have a new television series on Manchester TV--7:30 Mondays: "America."]
So I met over 300 members of Congress, all the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attended hearings on numerous subjects on Capitol Hill, whether it was at the Heritage Foundation or in congressional hearing rooms. I was at the Supreme Court for major decisions. At the White House, in the vicinity of the White House, not inside, but I used to campaign near the White House. I used to campaign on the steps of the United States Capitol, and I used to campaign in front of the Supreme Court, and all over Washington basically. I used to campaign all over Washington, even down near the Pentagon, for President of the United States.
I started in September of '94; I started late September of '94 campaigning for President of the United States again. In the '96 election cycle I campaigned in 15 states from Virginia to Maine, and I campaigned at a lot of state capitols. I was at Gov. Tom Ridge's inaugural activities in Pennsylvania. I met the governor of Connecticut in Hartford, who was a former congressman. I had met him in Washington, John Roland. I met the governor of Rhode Island and basically campaigned at a lot of the state capitols of those 15 states in the 1996 election cycle.
I'm challenging President Bush. I'm the only Republican who's challenging President Bush.
Q: What have you been doing between 1996 and 2003?
HAINES: I am the author and publisher of the "Haines Washington Letter," which is a newsletter dealing with issues of importance to Americans--"Haines Washington Letter." I'm the author of a new book, the author and publisher of the new book America Land of the Free and Home of the Brave...
Q: Can you state some of the major issues you want to focus on?
HAINES: Absolutely. National security. If elected--when elected, when elected I will do my best to bring Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden to final justice. I will not grant amnesty to 8 million illegal immigrants. I will not sacrifice national security for political gain. I will protect our borders. A country that cannot protect its borders is not safe.
The economy. I will have a strong economy and plan for budget surpluses so that we can pay off the national debt. The administration has recently gone to Congress to raise the national debt ceiling to $7.8 trillion from $6 trillion. Currently Americans pay approximately 50 percent of their income in taxes and what they're doing is selling us into slavery. A borrower is a slave to the lender. That's a proverb.
Q: Other top issues.
HAINES: Affordable, accessible health care. Modernize Social Security and secure it for future generations. Education. I've been an educator for close to two decades. The environment. A clean environment in conjunction with a policy of energy independence, where we're not dependent on 60 percent of our oil imports, but we can use conservation, renewables, research and new technology.
Q: How often have you been coming out here.
HAINES: Here in Manchester in this election cycle?
HAINES: This is the third day, third afternoon. I come out around noon, when there's a lot of foot traffic. In this election cycle I actually began Veteran's Day. I visited the Veteran's Hospital in Manchester when I started. However I was not actively campaigning; I was just physically showing up at a lot of different things... It's the third day actually out here campaigning on the street, although I did campaign for two days in Portsmouth, New Hampshire over the weekend, last weekend, where I was out on the street meeting people, talking with newspaper reporters and so on. But I've been attending a lot of important events. For example I spoke at the Manchester Republican Committee meeting in January, and other things like that. I was to Gov. Benson's inauguration...
Q: Can you win?
HAINES: Of course. If I didn't believe I could win why would I be out here doing it. It's a tremendous sacrifice.
Q: But given the fact that 99.9 percent of Americans have probably not heard of you--?
HAINES: That's not true. I campaigned in 36 states.
Q: Maybe 90 percent of Americans haven't heard of you.
HAINES: That's not true. I'm the man who captured the person who tried to assassinate President Clinton in front of the White House in 1994.
Q: Well you'll have to admit that President Bush has a lot greater name recognition that you do.
HAINES: Of course. I ran against his father in 1992.
Q: So how are you going to make the step--?
HAINES: He's 20 points lower than his father's ratings at this point in his presidency. After the Gulf War I, Bush senior had a 91 percent approval rating; Bush junior has a 71 percent approval rating.
Q: Surely the Republican establishment in all the states is going to line up behind this incumbent President.
HAINES: That's what usually happens, but George Bush lost New Hampshire by 19 points, George W. Bush....
Q: So what is your strategy?
HAINES: To win every state I possibly can. There's not just New Hampshire. Washington, DC has the first primary. I'm a former resident of Capitol Hill. Everybody all over Washington knows me. I had contacts with over 300 congressional offices, okay. I made history in Washington, DC. This is no brag, just fact; historical fact. I was campaigning for the office of President of the United States at the time I captured the person in front of the White House who was successfully prosecuted for attempted assassination of the President, firing at four Secret Service agents, $3,200 worth of damage to the White House and a total of ten crimes. He's in prison for 40 years. We got him in five seconds; he traveled 80 feet. If I'm elected president--when I'm elected president, I will bring Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden to final justice.
Of course every incumbent has a distinct advantage. He can fly all over the country on Air Force One at public expense, give speeches daily with media attention. However George Bush senior was defeated in 1992. An unknown, Ross Perot, got 20 percent of the popular vote... George Bush lost. He probably had the greatest political resume of any president this century, from Republican National Committee, RNC chairman, CIA director--
Q: The bottom line point?
HAINES: George W. Bush may have Air Force One and he may have this and he may have that, but he only won the election by a disputed 500 and some votes. He lost many states to John McCain, including Arizona, including New Hampshire, and several other states [where] he was beaten by John McCain. George W. Bush is very vulnerable to my challenge.
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Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.