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Gore Pushes Need for Education Reform in Ohio

Aired October 4, 2000 - 1:01 p.m. ET

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

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: It's back to work for the two major candidates for president. Work being the speeches and the handshakes in the so-called battleground states that will determine who wins the White House.

The battleground last night was an auditorium stage in Boston, where Al Gore and George W. Bush played to a national audience. Neither man had to be carried out on a stretcher, but neither seemed to win any medals, either. Asked who emerged victorious from the first of three presidential debates, 48 percent of registered voters said the vice president, 41 percent said the Texas governor. But more than half said the debate had no effect on their opinions of either candidate.

Both men are spending time today in Ohio, a toss-up state that's often considered a microcosm of America. Al Gore got there first. At this hour, he's in the northeast town of Warren, and so is CNN's senior White House correspondent John King.

What's it like today, John?

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, as you mentioned, Ohio one of the big battlegrounds, the vice president coming on stage as we speak, here in Warren, a blue-collar community. And as is custom, the debate will continue the day after the official debate.

The vice president, in this community, will make the case, as he did to the American people last night, that his approach -- $500 million worth of targeted tax cuts for things like college savings, retirement savings, and health care costs -- the vice president will say his approach, much more responsible, much safer for the economy than the $1.3 trillion across-the-board tax cut favored by Governor Bush.

Why Ohio? Obviously it is one of the big Midwestern battlegrounds. No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying this state. The vice president believes if he can beat Governor Bush here -- and it's a dead heat right now -- he can deny the governor the White House.

As for last night's debate, the Gore campaign believing it did mostly what it wanted to do: make the case that the governor's tax cut would favor the rich, stress that, in it's view, Gore's prescription drug plan is superior to the Texas governor's plan. Although, many in the Gore campaign privately conceding Governor Bush did a pretty good job, perhaps a little bit better than they anticipated he would.

As is always the case, some off-color moment or some side moment becomes bit of a controversy the day after. At the debate last night, several times the vice president shown visibly sighing when Governor Bush was giving his answers. The vice president, in an interview with CNN today, saying he did not believe those shots would be on camera.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Under the debate rules, we were told there were going to be no -- no coverage of our reactions when the other guy was -- was talking. And sometimes those rules are made to be broken, I guess. And anyway, I learned my lesson on that. I'll be much more careful not to -- not to give an audible reaction when he's talking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: More battleground stops in the days ahead: Michigan, New Jersey and Florida, as the vice president tries to build a bit of momentum after the first debate -- Lou.

WATERS: John King in Warren, Ohio, where the vice president is about to speak. When that happens, we will take you there live.

Natalie, what's next?

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, before we get to Bush's activities, you should know CNN's Candy Crowley will have a one-on-one interview with the GOP nominee a little bit later today on "INSIDE POLITICS." That's at 5:00 p.m. Eastern, 2:00 Pacific, here on CNN.

At this hour, Bush is in Pennsylvania, a state whose popular Republican governor was thought to be on Bush's short list for running mate. Bush is in the Philadelphia suburb of Westchester, and CNN's Kate Snow tells us what's going on there.

Hello, Kate.

KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, we're at noisy hall here at Westchester University, just outside of Philadelphia, a rather affluent county. Republican territory here. This, of course, a very important state, Pennsylvania, for George W. Bush. In recent polls, he's been lagging behind Vice President Al Gore. But his campaign confident that he's going to do well here. George W. Bush, when he took the stage today, saying that this is best place for his -- for him to come on the day after of the big debate.

Now, he's continuing to shake some hands here in the crowd and greet people, his message here, today, was one focused on what he terms giving tools to parents. It's a three-day tour that he's kicking off, here, in Pennsylvania, focused on that issue. It involves everything from the importance of teaching children values to reinforcing discipline in schools. He talks about giving schools the power to discipline children without having to worry about lawsuits, a change that he would, he says, if he were elected president. Bush also reemphasizing a point that he made last night that he trusts the people and that Al Gore trusts the government to do the work of the people, that being a message that he clearly made in the debate last evening. Bush says that he is proud of his performance in that debate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, I enjoyed that debate because it gave me a chance -- gave Americans from all walks of life a chance to see us directly. Didn't have to go through some filter to share our philosophies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNOW: And they have a new chant here today. They've been chanting no fuzzy math. That, of course, a term, a phrase, that Bush coined last night, repeating it several times during the debate, referring to the way Al Gore was picking apart the numbers of his $1.3 trillion tax cut plan. Bush, planning to repeat the message over and over again over the next couple of days. He heads from here for a campaign swing through more key states in the Midwest -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Kate Snow in Pennsylvania.

Now, let's see what message Al Gore is delivering, today, just after the debate. We take you now to his event in Warren, Ohio.

Here's the vice president.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

GORE: For anything other than Social Security and Medicare, and I will cut taxes for middle class families, who have the hardest time paying taxes.

You know, eight years ago the whole country was suffering from tough economic times and the other side in this campaign tries to make out like the country -- we were all a whole lot better off eight years ago than -- than we are today. Well, you know, that was my reaction, also. Because actually, we have been able to make a little bit of progress and -- in creating some new jobs and making up -- some -- some economic momentum so that we've got growth and 22 million jobs and surpluses and the rest.

But, let me tell you what. I am not satisfied by a long shot. You ain't seen nothing yet. We have got a lot of work to do.

This election is not an award for past performance. I'm not asking anybody to look at what's going on around the country and say: OK, that's good enough. That's great. Let's just keep that, no way. I know that there are too many families who are struggling to make ends meet, to make the car payments, and mortgage payments, to do right by their kids. There are too many people who can't find the kind of high-paying jobs that they need to do right by their families. And we need an all-out concerted effort to make sure that the prosperity endures and spreads and benefits all of our people.

I think we need to start with education. I think it's the number one priority for the future. I think it's time to start treating teachers like the professionals that they are. I think we need to reduce the class size so that students have more one-on-one time. We've got to give the teachers more training and professional development. We've got to modernize the schools. We ought to have high quality universal preschool for every child and every family all across the United States of America. And we need to make most college tuition tax deductible so middle class families can afford college. And we need job training and lifelong learning and 401J accounts so that individuals can go and get the new skills.

And we have got to stand by the working men and women who decide that they want to band together, and when they do, the majority vote ought to rule. We ought to get rid of all these loopholes. We ought to have fair laws. We ought to get rid of permanent striker replacement because it's not the right thing in this country.

ALLEN: Al Gore, just like George Bush, heading out strong on the campaign trail the day after the Bush -- after the debate, pardon me. Hitting the same themes that we heard last night, reaching out to the middle class and working families.

So, we will continue to follow along both candidates.

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