November 23, 1991 – CBS World News Roundup – KNX-AM – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
The October Surprise – according to Senate Republicans, there wasn’t one. With rumors swirling around the release of the 50 American hostages being held in Tehran for some 444 days and released by Iran on January 20, 1981, the timing just seemed a little strange. According to some, the release was timed as a result of pressure by GOP operatives for the Reagan campaign on Iranian authorities to delay the hostage release, as a way of assuring a Reagan victory in November, since a release before the Presidential election would assure a victory for Jimmy Carter’s re-election. Senate Democrats called foul while Senate Republicans countered with “nothing to see here – keep moving”. The whole thing triggered calls for an inquiry and the issue itself became fodder for yet another partisan divide. But on this day, the GOP was determined not to play along
White House Chief-of-Staff John Sununu was in hot water with his boss over the Administration’s handling of the economy. Sununu said Bush “ad-libbed” his remarks over reducing Credit Card Interest rates earlier in the month, the first of a series of mixed signals on the Economy which triggered a big dive in the Stock Market the previous week. Sununu denied accusations that he scripted the remarks, even though he had a “hand in the rest of the speech”. White House Spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said remarks about reducing Credit Card interest were the President’s idea, but were scripted.
And Election ’92 was looming on the horizon as a parade of Democratic Presidential candidates barnstormed through Illinois, Iowa and South Dakota. The Hopeful Half-dozen were meeting in party conferences, laying plans, slapping backs and extolling virtues. A splendid time was guaranteed for all.
All this, and Congress meeting in weekend session in a sprint to get business done before adjourning for the year and lingering questions over The October Surprise for this November 23, 1991 from The CBS World News Roundup.