(Des Moines, IA) Republican presidential hopeful Elizabeth Dole on Friday evening added a new phrase to her campaign mantra, calling herself a “courageous conservative” — a pointed contrast to the Texas brand “compassionate conservatism” Governor George W. Bush has been peddling.
“It means that I’m willing to say what I believe, not to wait to put my finger up to the wind and see which way the wind is blowing and then decide what my position’s going to be on an issue, and having the courage of your convictions to say what you believe even if some people may not agree with it,” Dole told reporters.
Dole has distinguished herself from her competitors in the republican presidential race by advocating gun restrictions and she has angered some in the pro-life movement by her moderating statements on abortion. Dole has also sided with internationalists in her party by backing NATO-led intervention in Kosovo.
“I think people really are tired, especially of foreign policy being made by, you know, polls and what people want to hear and I think they want us to really say it like it is and really be consistent,” Dole said.
Dole’s first use of the “courageous conservative” phrase came late Friday as she addressed about 75 supporters who’d gathered at the Des Moines airport to watch her plane land.
“I believe that Iowans want straight talk on issues. They want you to tell it like it is. They want to know who you are, what you believe in and they want people who have the courage of their convictions and that’s what I bring to Iowa. I call it courageous conservatism,” she said, to the crowd’s applause. “I believe that that courageous conservatism is gonna take us all the way to victory.”
After her speech, Dole was asked by a reporter to contrast her idea with Bush’s “compassionate conservatism.”
“That’s someone else’s phrase,” Dole said. “I know what I believe which is that courageous conservatism means you’re willing to speak your mind and have the courage of your convictions.”
Dole, Bush, former Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander and Ohio Congressman John Kasich will all be campaigning in Iowa on Saturday.