Giuliani Claims ‘Baby Bond’ Victory

By A'Melody Lee

Oct 9, 2007 5:22pm

ABC News’ Teddy Davis and Mike Chesney Report: Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani claimed credit Tuesday for Sen. Hillary Clinton’s, D-N.Y., decision not to propose a $5,000 "baby bond."

"I challenged her on it. She backed off on it," said Giuliani during a Republican presidential debate taking place in Dearborn, Mich.

Clinton confirmed in an interview with Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal that she will not propose a $5,000 "baby bond" after having floated the idea on Sept. 28 while speaking to the Congressional Black Caucus.

Clinton’s idea, which was never a formal policy proposal, was ten times larger than a $500 "baby bond" that she touted a year earlier while speaking to the moderate Democratic Leadership Council.

"I like the idea of giving every baby born in America a $5,000 account that will grow over time," said Clinton, "so when that young person turns 18 if they have finished high school they will be able to access it to go to college or maybe they will be able to put that down payment on their first home, or go into business."

After floating the idea of a $5,000 "baby bond," Clinton was hammered by Giuliani, who portrayed the idea as a government give-away. On Friday, Giuliani’s campaign mocked the idea by e-mailing members of the press a graphic of a faux "Hillary Baby Bond" which included the former first lady’s likeness.

In explaining her decision not to push for a $5,000 "baby bond," Clinton told the Wall Street Journal that her priorities for health care, deficit reduction and energy alternatives "are really more pressing."

From the lectern in Michigan, the former mayor opened a new line of attack on the Clinton platform. This time the target was the formal retirement account proposal she made earlier in the day.

During a speech in Webster, Iowa, the senator explained that under her "American Retirement Account" program the federal government would allow people to put up to $5,000 into their accounts each year. Then, for families earning less that $60,000 per year, the government would match 100% of the first $1,000 invested. For families with annual incomes between $60,000 and $100,000, it would match 50% of that first $1,000.

The Clinton campaign estimates the retirement plan would require $20-$25 billion each year.

Saying that the senator was "filled with endless ways to spend," Giuliani claimed Clinton’s newest proposal would cost $5 billion more than the "baby bond" one.

Clinton never formally said how much she thought the entire "baby bonds" program would cost. But, assuming four million births annually, the $5,000 bonds would be a $20 billion line in the annual budget.

The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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