||Bill Press is co-host of CNN's Crossfire. He is providing exclusive analysis to CNN allpolitics.com during the election season.
Bill Press: Gore and Lieberman set new campaign agenda
Even if he is still behind the polls after Los Angeles, Al Gore has succeeded
the agenda for the presidential campaign of 2000.
In Philadelphia, George Bush tried to set his own agenda: tie the sins of
Bill Clinton to Al
GoreÕs tail; and paint Republicans as the party of family values and
morality, contrasted to
those free-living, free-loving, amoral, if not immor
Al Gore met that head-on. He named Joe Lieberman as his running mate.
Lieberman is Mr. Morality in the United States Senate. And the embodiment of
with ClintonÕs Oval Office pranks.
BushÕs campaign plan immediately collapsed, leaving an empty canvas for Gore
to paint a
new one. He did so, Thursday night in Los Angeles.
On the podium, Gore is no Clinton. Nobody is. But he gave the best speech
heard him give. He certainly gave a much more powerful and more substantive
than George Bush.
Gore had three challenges Thursday night: to energize the delegates in the
introduce himself to the American people, and set forth a new campaign. He
met all three.
First, in the most dramatic moment of the evening, Gore declared his
Clinton - whose name he mentioned only once in 51 minutes. Yes, I served with
Clinton for 8 years and, yes, IÕm proud of it, Gore told the world, but from
now on heÕs
his own: ÒI stand here tonight as my own man, and I want you to know me for
who I truly
Gore next told his own story, and it is a compelling one: a family man,
theological student, investigative reporter. HeÕs a man dedicated to public
extensive experience as Congressman, Senator and Vice-President. No doubt heÕs
qualified to be president, compared to that young whippersnapper from
Then Gore laid out the battle plan for the campaign: ÒWe are for the people,
they are for
the powerful.Ó In combative words reminiscent of Harry Truman, Gore vowed to
the special interests. He would fight against the big tobacco companies to
out of the hands of teenagers. Fight against big drug companies to provide
Medicare with prescription drug benefits. Fight against the HMOÕs for a
patients bill of
rights. And, Gore promised, he would fight against all corporate interests by
campaign finance reform his top priority and the McCain-Feingold legislation
the first bill
he sends to Congress.
True, those battles are already being waged by the Clinton Administration.
But Gore also
added a few goals of his own: providing universal preschool for all kids by
the year 2010;
making college tuition payments tax-deductible; and doubling federal spending
research. He also broke with Clinton by vowing to sign legislation ending the
income tax penalty - the same legislation Bill Clinton vetoed just two weeks
Gore also left no doubt whoÕs in charge. So what if Joe Lieberman is soft on
vouchers? There will be no federal funds to private religious schools under
administration, Gore said. Delegates roared with approval. The camera didnÕt
reaction on LiebermanÕs face.
ItÕs a whole new campaign after Los Angeles, with a whole new set of issues.
longer a referendum on Bill Clinton. ItÕs now Al GoreÕs party and Al GoreÕs
As Gore has reshaped the debate, Republicans are for the big corporations,
for working families. That gives voters a stark contrast and a clear choice
Monday, August 14, 2000
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