Source: San Diego Union-Tribune. 30 May 1990, p. B-3.
Tribune Politics Writer
Republican congressional candidate Joe Ghougassian yesterday demanded that rival Republican Randy “Duke” Cunningham apologize for a “racist” campaign brochure that says Ghougassian “has been influenced by Arab oil interests.”
“Today is the day to either put up or shut up, Randy,” Ghougassian, a former ambassador to the Arab nation of Qatar, said in a Lions Club of San Diego forum for candidates in the 44th Congressional District. Cunningham refused to apologize and told the Lions Club yesterday that “it’s not bad to be an Arab.”
“I have, on my campaign, Arab staff. My daughter’s best friend is an Arab,” Cunningham said.
But a campaign brochure mailed to district voters by Cunningham last week contained a picture of Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi and listed several people with Arabic last names and the National Association of Arab Americans as contributors to Ghougassian. “It’s garbage. It is racism, pure and simple,” Ghougassian said in a news conference after the forum. He said all the individuals listed by Cunningham are U.S. citizens. Cunningham said Ghougassian isn’t qualified to represent the district because he just returned to the United States last year after spending eight years abroad, part of them as an ambassador. “I don’t think he has the slightest idea of the issues down here, the people down here,” Cunningham said in an interview after the Lions Club forum.
During the forum, Cunningham questioned Ghougassian’s credentials as a Republican, saying Ghougassian was “a Jimmy Carter Democrat and switched over.”
Ghougassian said that puts him in good company because former President Reagan was once a Democrat.
Lost in the spat yesterday between Cunningham and Ghougassian were Democrat Byron Georgiou, Libertarian John Wallner and the other Republicans in the June 5 primary — government consultant Jim Lantry, construction consultant Eric Epifano and former federal firefighter Kenny Harrell.
Georgiou faulted incumbent Democrat Jim Bates for voting for a congressional pay raise and said Bates had missed votes in Congress while he was out of town collecting money to supplement his income by giving speeches.
Wallner said the government wastes too much money and that he stands for “small government on a national level.”
Lantry said the bickering between Cunningham and Ghougassian would do nothing to solve such problems as drug abuse, school dropouts and insufficient housing for middle- and low-income families. He said casual drug users should be forced to spend three to four months in rehabilitation programs. And he said people should be allowed to put money in tax-free savings accounts to save for a down payment on a house.
Copyright © 2001
Union-Tribune Publishing Co.