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CNN Today

Election 2000: Jack Kemp Throws Support Behind George W. Bush

Aired January 27, 2000 - 2:31 p.m. ET

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

ANDRIA HALL, CNN ANCHOR: Joining us now with more from New Hampshire, where the primary is now just five days away, CNN's Charles Zewe. He's with the rest of our team there in Manchester -- Charles.

CHARLES ZEWE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Andria, the five Republican contenders were all out on the campaign trail again today. Governor Bush got a major endorsement, meanwhile, former Housing secretary and former Republican vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp throwing his support behind Governor Bush, calling Bush a great candidate. Kemp was expected to campaign alongside Bush at various points during the entire presidential campaign.

Bush, earlier in the day, visited an elementary school, danced with a couple of kids, and then got the endorsement from Kemp at a news conference in the state capital of Nashua.

Bush again today, however, lashing out at his main rival here in New Hampshire, John McCain. McCain, for his part, spent the day conducting five more town hall meetings, touring some plants, and saying that all of the criticism of last night's debates sort of rolls off his back, says politics is a tough business, says he's enjoying every minute of it, some minutes more than others. McCain, in our latest tracking poll here at CNN, is showing some loss of strength. The race between Bush and McCain is tightening, analysts saying that Bush's big victory in Iowa has apparently helped the governor increase his lead here in New Hampshire.

As you said, Andria, the vote now five days away. The candidates expected to react overnight and into the day tomorrow on what President Clinton has to say in his State of the Union address tonight -- Andria.

HALL: Charles, it seems like the other debates with the GOP candidates were very nice, shall we say, but this time it looks like they're taking off the gloves.

ZEWE: Well, I think a lot of them think it's now or never. This is a very tight contest. New Hampshire is the first primary in this presidential election year, and it is critical, particularly for John McCain.

John McCain's adviser Mike Murphy told me last week, look, we have to win New Hampshire, we have to win South Carolina or our campaign is going to slowly wind down and go away. So this is a critical victory for McCain. He knows that it's also a very important victory for Bush; more so for McCain, however. That's why the gloves are coming off.

HALL: And so, in five days, we'll see if not only the gloves are off, but the right jab is there, too.

Thank you, Charles Zewe, reporting live.

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