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CNN Today

Super Tuesday: George W. Bush Sets Aim on Al Gore with Nomination in Reach

Aired March 8, 2000 - 2:07 p.m. ET

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

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: In the race for president, Al Gore and George W. Bush are taking aim at each other while basking in the glow of their Super Tuesday triumphs. With his Democratic rival to bow out tomorrow, Gore today is criticizing Bush as leaning too far right on gun control and Social Security. After trouncing John McCain in the Super Tuesday races, Bush says today he's looking forward to battling Gore.

CNN's Patty Davis is in Austin, the Texas governor's home -- Patty.

PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Texas Governor George W. Bush here at his home, the governor's mansion in Austin, as you said. He is catching his breath from his big sprint for those Super Tuesday votes and what amounted to a very huge victory for him yesterday. He now turns his attention to the next contest in this Republican nomination race. He and his wife, Laura, voted today on absentee ballots in advance of next Tuesday's primary in Texas. Also that day, Florida and other southern states vote.

He heads tomorrow to Colorado, Utah and Wyoming to campaign for Friday's primary there. Ninety-one delegates at stake in those three states. Now that he is so far ahead of John McCain on that delegate count, he is really setting his sites, as you said, on Vice President Al Gore, the likely Democratic nominee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If people are happy with the status quo in Washington, then vote for Al Gore. If people are happy with what Al Gore and Bill Clinton, the tone they've set for America, then you've got a perfect person to vote for. I believe we ought to share some of the surplus with the people who pay the bills; he doesn't. I know we need to reform public education. I know we need to restore morale in our military. Morale is dangerously low. I know we need a president who will lift the spirit of the country, somebody who will change the tone of Washington, D.C. I look forward to the campaign against him. First and foremost, I've got to secure my party's nomination.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DAVIS: Now, Bush also sat down for a couple of hours ago for an exclusive interview with CNN's Candy Crowley, and he talked about Gore and the issue of soft money.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: It is going to be up to Vice President Gore to explain what's happened in this admission. I was amazed yesterday, he talked about soft money. He wants to, all of a sudden, abolish soft money. He said, he has got a campaign finance reform agenda that he's had in the past. And yet, his president -- the president is now raising soft money and touting it as great accomplishment last week.

And if this man is serious about reforming soft money, he needs to debate the president, first, it sounds like. And he ought to go to AFL-CIO and say the members of the AFL-CIO, union workers, ought to have paycheck protection. The money ought not to be spent without their permission.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DAVIS: Now, the war of words between Bush and Al Gore likely to get much more heated in the coming days and the coming months as they jockey for position. Their goal, both of them: the White House, this November.

I'm Patty Davis, CNN, live in Austin, Texas.

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