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Republican National Convention: Bush Nomination Ends Journey Marked by Historic Fund Raising

Aired August 2, 2000 - 1:34 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: Another top story we are also following today is the arrival of Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush here in Philadelphia. The Texas governor completed a six-state swing before arriving earlier today at an airport on the city's north side. He's attending several receptions before heading to the convention meeting site.

Upon arriving today, Bush let his supporters know he was ready to go all the way to the White House. A delegation of ceremonial Colonial soldiers added a historical touch when Bush rang a replica of the Liberty Bell.

Bush's nomination will represent the end of a long and historic journey, one paved with dollar bills.

CNN's Gene Randall looks at the nominee's unprecedented success as a fund raiser and what may lie ahead in the fall.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think with $30 million in the bank, I've got pretty good staying power.

GENE RANDALL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Texas Governor Bush in Waterloo, Iowa a year ago said he was doing the campaign finance system a favor by refusing to take federal matching funds. That meant no limits on his primary season spending.

BUSH: In this campaign, I tot too many people counting on me to put myself on a box, to get boxed in by the rules that affected our nominee in 1996. I intend to win.

RANDALL: Not even multimillionaire Steve Forbes would keep up with the Bush money machine.

CHUCK LEWIS, CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY: He had a way of matching and not being intimidated by Forbes. He was able to spend as much as he needed in the key early states, and here he is getting the nomination, and he did it relatively easily.

RANDALL: And one by one, George W. Bush's competitors left the GOP field, all vastly out-spent.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAMAR ALEXANDER (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All I know is I ran out of money. I can't raise money in the environment we've got.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RANDALL: By June 30, Bush had set an astounding fund-raising record for a presidential campaign: $95 million compared to $49 million for Al Gore. Gore's average contribution was $120. Bush's was $216.

The Texas governor will be the first presidential candidate in post-Watergate history to win the nomination without accepting matching funds. A reformer's complaint:

LEWIS: Bush's strategy worked. He calculated, unfortunately, correctly.

RANDALL: And though the Bush campaign, by the end of June, had only $8.4 million on hand -- not much more than Gore -- it probably doesn't matter all that much. He's agreed to take taxpayer funds for the fall campaign. He and Gore will get $67.6 million apiece and each will be bound to spend no more.

But there is an important footnote here. Bush and Gore will also help raise hundreds of millions of dollars in basically unregulated soft money between now and the election.

(on camera): The law says that cash must be spent on party- building activities. In practice, say the critics, it pays for the kinds of things, including TV attack ads, that make a mockery of the word "limits."

Gene Randall, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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