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Special Event

Millennium 2000: Presidential Candidates Wasting No Time in Hitting the Campaign Trail

Aired January 3, 2000 - 1:08 p.m. ET

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

JONATHAN MANN, CNN ANCHOR: Just three days into the new millennium, the candidates for president of the United States are wasting no time in hitting the campaign trail. The first official contest of the election is now less than a month away.

The latest now from CNN's Beth Fouhy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BETH FOUHY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Campaign 2000 officially launches this week with a round of debates, millennial speeches, and, in the case of the GOP front-runner, a much-sought- after prize. Sources tell CNN that Bush will receive the endorsement of Elizabeth Dole at a campaign appearance in New Hampshire on Tuesday.

Her popularity among independents and women voters could lend a significant boost to the Texas governor, who faces a strong challenge in New Hampshire from Arizona Sen. John McCain.

For his part, McCain starts the week with town meetings and a speech outlining his views on citizenship for the new millennium. He'll divide his time between New Hampshire and South Carolina, the two states crucial to his political survival.

MARTIN PLISSNER, POLITICAL ANALYST: He's got a good enough money to go through these early primaries with relatively inexpensive media markets and demonstrate that he might be a better candidate than Bush.

FOUHY: Aides to both Bush and McCain say the candidates will spend much of their time staking out their differences on taxes, typically a big concern among GOP voters in New Hampshire.

On the Democratic side, Bill Bradley began his post-holiday campaign marathon at a town meeting on race and poverty in Boston.

BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My campaign is about asking good people to step forward and join us so that our voices can be heard.

FOUHY: He and Al Gore deliver competing millennial speeches this week.

ALBERT GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Together we will prevail and we will win a victory for the working families.

FOUHY: In Iowa, Gore will say he plans to use the strong economy as a springboard to address a range of pressing issues, like education, environmental preservation and Medicare reform, while Bradley, in New Hampshire, will call for a national consensus on universal health care.

Four different debates -- two Democratic, two Republican -- will help the candidates further sharpen their views; Gore and Bradley at forums in New Hampshire and Iowa, and the Republican field in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

With just three weeks to go before the Iowa Caucuses, candidates have very little time left to make their case to voters, this despite the fact that only now are most voters even starting to pay attention.

Beth Fouhy, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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