Clinton comes out fighting for Al Gore's campaign
KINGSTON, N.Y. (Reuters) - Crisscrossing New York state Monday for a second day to boost his wife's Senate bid, President Clinton also tried frantically to whip up support for Al Gore's presidential race.
Coming out fighting for the Democratic presidential nominee, Clinton heaped praise on Gore, telling supporters the vice president was the right man for the job.
"He has been a big part of all the success in the past eight years," Clinton said at a fund-raiser for Democratic Rep. Maurice Hinchey in the Hudson Valley town of Kingston.
"Al Gore understands the future," he said. "How are you going to keep the prosperity going ... Al Gore will."
Clinton hailed Gore's role in his administration's
successful programs which produced a budget surplus, reformed the welfare program, reduced the size of government to the lowest level since 1960 and advanced the Internet.
"These are big things that he did," Clinton said to a partisan crowd gathered at the Hillside Manor restaurant.
With Gore and his rival Texas Gov. George W. Bush in a statistical dead heat just two weeks before the election, Clinton has ratcheted up attacks against the Republicans in recent days, trying to boost the chances of his vice president.
Gore has been reluctant to pull Clinton out on the campaign trail, wanting to come across as "my own man" and fearing voter fallout from Clinton's damaging impeachment scandal.
Clinton said there were so many challenges ahead and Gore was well-equipped for them, adding that in times of prosperity it was often hard for people to make the right decision.
TIME FOR A FEAST
"This election ought to be a feast," he said. "People should feel good about it but sometimes its harder to make a decision when times are good than when they are bad."
Hinchey thanked Clinton for his support and said the president had faced the most hostile Congress in decades.
"No president since Lincoln has had to face a more hostile, adversarial Congress than this one. Despite that the accomplishments of this administration are astonishing," said Hinchey at the fund-raiser, which should put $85,000 into his campaign coffers.
Invoking the memory of the 17 sailors killed in the attack on the USS Cole warship in Yemen 10 days ago, Clinton said those young people in the military had put their lives on the line and people should vote in their honor.
"Many of them were younger than my daughter ... The least we can do is show up and vote," Clinton said.
Later Monday he was billed as the keynote speaker at campaign fund-raiser for his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton, hoping to pull in $50,000.
The president helped raise $500,000 Sunday for her Senate race against Republican Rep. Rick Lazio.
After the Queens fund-raiser for his wife Monday, Clinton is set to attend another fund-raiser for the Westchester Democratic Committee at which about 650 people are expected to raise $250,000.
Clinton arrived in Kingston after a helicopter ride over the Hudson Valley, greeting schoolchildren along the way from the George Washington elementary school.
Carrying colorful banners welcoming the president, children stood on top of teachers' shoulders to get a view of the president.
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