Republican presidential candidate Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) outlined his campaign positions in a speech last night at the Institute of Politics.
Lugar, a fourth-term senator and former mayor of Indianapolis, spoke to an audience of about 250 in the latest stop of a one-year old campaign for the White House.
Longtime political rival, fellow Hoosier and Institute of Politics Director Philip R. Sharp introduced Lugar as a "true gentleman" in American politics.
The senator quickly dove into his controversial plan for tax reform. He proposed completely eliminating the income and capital gains taxes.
In their place, he called for the implementation of a higher national sales tax, coupled with tax breaks for low-income groups.
"My tax plan might be a boon for the wealthy," the senator said. "But it is what this country needs to reinstall incentives and encourage growth."
He further called for more positive, constructive ideas in the campaign and criticized the "politics of paranoia" practiced by his opponents in the race for the Republican nomination.
"One candidate who shall remain nameless was faced at a speech in a factory with the question of why industrial wages remained stagnant," Lugar said. "His answer was 'immigrants.'"
Lugar also discussed his concern for urban issues and pointed to the revival of Indianapolis under his guidance as mayor. He said he efficiently consolidated the city and county governments while rebuilding the neighborhoods of the innercity.
"Cities are barely mentioned in political rhetoric today because the problems seem intractable," he said. "But we have to deal with them."
One audience member asked Lugar, who trails in the polls, what keeps him in the race. The senator responded that two-thirds of the voters are already turned off to his more "well-known" rivals.
"The numbers this early in the race do not reflect how the election will turn out in the long run," he
Audience reaction to the speech was generally favorable, but John T. Jacoby '99 said that he wished Lugar had supported education more strongly.
"He needs to demonstrate more that is in favor of financial aid to get my vote," Jacoby said.
The speech was co-sponsored by the Kennedy School Republican Caucus, the Harvard Republican Club and the Harvard-Radcliffe Republican Alliance