HOUSTON — REPUBLICANS are showing no hesitation to slap Bill Clinton on moral issues.
Former Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher says that "it would be a shame for this country" if American voters didn't give significant weight to questions of personal morality when choosing a president.
"I think people vote for president, for someone who they admire across-the-board," Mr. Mosbacher told a group of reporters during a breakfast meeting at the Republican National Convention.
Moral questions are crucial in government as well as business, says Mosbacher, who is currently serving as chairman of the Bush-Quayle campaign.
Governor Clinton was the subject of hundreds of stories during the presidential primaries because of charges that he had taken part in at least one extramarital affair. Without being specific, he admitted that there had been some marital difficulties with his wife, Hillary, but that they were now resolved.
More recently, a similar charge was raised against Mr. Bush in the New York Post. The president heatedly denied the charge, and First Lady Barbara Bush denounced the newspaper's report of an affair several years ago between Bush and a long-time aide as "a lie."
In nearly the same breath, however, Mrs. Bush revived talk of Clinton's alleged infidelity. "He never denied he had a fling, did he?" she commented to reporters last Thursday.
Mosbacher says that if a person's morality or integrity is in question, he wouldn't be associated with him "at all" in business or any other dealings.
Infidelity "is one of the yardsticks ... that people use as to how people live their lives and how they conduct themselves, as people first, and as leaders most of all," Mosbacher says.
Does that mean Bush's morality is higher than Clinton's? "You draw any conclusion you want," Mosbacher says. "You look at the two men, character, leadership issue, there's just no comparison."