CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA — TOM TAUKE and Tom Harkin clashed here over negative campaigning during a television debate this week. But when the cameras turned off, the argument continued. Senator Harkin was coaxing Mr. Tauke to agree to ban any comparative ads. Here's how it went: Tauke: ``I'm not going to sign or seal it right here. ... What counts is not what we say, but what we ... do.''
Harkin: ``You want me to show you all the things you've passed out at county fairs, attacking me, telling falsehoods about me? I'm saying, put all that behind us. ...''
Tauke: ``I feel that I'm setting a standard for Iowa ... and I don't think you can find any challenger campaign for the US Senate that has been as positive-oriented as our campaign. ... I will make sure that my campaign is run in a proper way, and you make sure yours is, and this kind of thing isn't necessary.''
Harkin: ``Will you agree not to mention me in any of your ads?''
Tauke: ``No. ...''
Harkin: ``Well that's a negative campaign.''
Tauke: ``It certainly is not. If I support a balanced budget amendment, and you oppose it, ... it's entirely appropriate....''
Harkin: ``If you support a balanced-budget amendment, you put that in your ads. ... I'll say what I support in my ads. You don't mention me, I won't mention you. ... You won't agree with that?''
Tauke: ``No. ... I would be considering it with a lot more interest if we hadn't had the kind of mailing that was just sent to the women of Iowa from your campaign. But when we have that kind of activity going on behind the scenes, and we have these other groups that we can't control....''
Harkin: ``We can control them....''
Tauke: ``You going to keep NARAL [an abortion-rights group] out of the state?''
Harkin: ``You bet we can. We'll keep them out if you keep your people out of the state. ...''
Tauke: ``I suggest if you were really serious about it, you probably wouldn't have sprung it on me in the course of this debate, especially after mailing out the kind of piece that you did.''
Harkin: ``I could show all the letters you've mailed out attacking me. ... [Let's] put all that behind us.''