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Special Event

Millennium 2000: Presidential Candidates End Holiday Break With A Vengeance

Aired January 1, 2000 - 5:20 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: As the holiday season draws to a close, the presidential race in the United States is heating up. The coming week is jampacked with speeches, debates and appearances by would-be nominees. Also in play what's, being described as some major endorsements.

Jonathan Aiken has the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONATHAN AIKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The men who want to be president end their holiday break with a vengeance this week. They don't have time to ease their way into the New Year. The Iowa caucuses convene January 24. New Hampshire's primary comes just eight days later on February 1. And an early primary schedule makes it likely voters will know the players from the spectators by mid-March.

The campaigns are making the most the first week of the New Year in ways that say a lot about the candidates themselves. On Monday, the first workday of 2000, Democratic candidate Bill Bradley outlines his vision for the millennium, a big picture speech we're told. Nothing nuts and bolts about his appearance in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Vice President Al Gore offers some nuts and bolt in a big picture speech of his own Monday in Davenport, Iowa, where he'll detail some of his specific policy differences that separate his agenda from Bradley. Both men will debate those difference Wednesday night at the University of New Hampshire. It seems the Republican candidates do nothing but debate this week. Four GOP forums are on tap, and so we're told is one endorsement.

George W. Bush will be standing next to someone Tuesday in New Hampshire -- we don't know who -- receiving endorsements the candidate's staff describes as major and a surprise. It's probably not John McCain. Bush's nearest challenger delivers what's being called a "major speech" on citizenship Wednesday in New Hampshire.

Steve Forbes, meanwhile, takes the scenic route around New Hampshire with a four-day bus tour. The Bradley campaign is touting a big endorsement Thursday in Boston. Aids are mum about who it's coming from. We're told the mystery guest is a big state official.

And the Reform Party gets airtime Friday, when "The Body" meets "The Money" Minnesota.

It seems too soon to be talking about November. at New Year's, but if we've learned nothing else from all this millennium business, it's that time waits for no one, especially those who want to be president.

Jonathan Aiken, for CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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