Senator Phil Gramm, Republican from Texas, and the first announced Presidential candidate to speak at the Club's luncheon podium, punctuated that appearance March 21, 1995 with a smiling avowal to a news audience that "I never ask for fairness in the media, only mercy." Basically, he said, he has come to accept that media coverage is "a battlefield on which the war of ideas is fought." However, Gramm said, he believes that while journalists today demand "higher standards of credibility from conservatives than from liberals," this tendency could swing the other way in years ahead. Gramm specifically emphasized his major differences with the current Administration's approach to education funding and to efforts to underpin the economy. He linked his plan for a tax credit for children to mandated cutbacks in federal educational spending, saying that families and local boards can make better decisions on school support than an inefficient Washington-based Education Department.
On federal subsidies to businesses --- which he defined as "corporate welfare" --- he contended that a cut in the capital gains tax rate would produce more jobs, business opportunities and economic growth than programs which, he said, have not "over 40 years operated in the real world." Asked about his reputed lack of compassion, Gramm countered, "The only mean in me is that I mean it." To which he added, "In our families we say no the most to the people we love the most." Gramm's assessment of the 1996 race is that "it will be very foolish to believe Clinton will fade away" and that Republicans will need "a vigorous candidate willing to take him on" all across the country. Gramm expects Clinton to pursue a campaign of "class warfare," which makes his own status--"I am not a country club Republican"--especially pertinent. The National Press Club Record Volume XLV, No. 12, March 30, 1995.