ad info Allpoliticsallpolitics.comwith TIME EUROPE:


Search tips

Bush unveiling religious-based charity plan

Bush and family attend largely black church

Bush appears to make encouraging first impression

Bush Cabinet will meet over California power crisis

Former first lady says Reagans repaid Bel Air home with interest

Lockhart defends Clintons as GOP criticizes gifts, pardons, pranks



Indian PM witnesses quake devastation

EU considers tighter BSE controls

Alpine tunnel tops summit agenda

Bill Gates to address Davos


 MARKETS    1613 GMT, 12/28



 All Scoreboards
European Forecast

 Or choose another Region:












CNN International




Gore targets upper Midwest; Bush makes play for California

FOND DU LAC, Wisconsin (CNN) -- Vice President Al Gore opened the last full week of the presidential campaign Monday wooing voters in the upper Midwest, while Texas Gov. George W. Bush stumped in New Mexico before attempting to shake Gore's once-solid grip on the biggest electoral prize -- California.

Bush began a 36-hour foray late Monday afternoon through the Golden State, where his campaign and the Republican Party are spending $3 million on TV ads this week. This is his tenth trip to the state since he clinched the Republican nomination in March. He was accompanied by former presidential rival John McCain at a rally in Burbank in the early evening.

Some polls show Gore's lead in California has shrunk to single digits as Bush has challenged him across the diverse state. Gore is also trying to stave off a threat to his left in the Northwest and California, where longtime consumer advocate Ralph Nader's Green Party bid has appealed to some disaffected liberals.

As he has done in recent days, Gore on Monday portrayed the choice between himself and Bush as a referendum on the current economic good times.

CNN's Jonathan Karl interviews Al and Tipper Gore (October 30)

Play video
(QuickTime, Real or Windows Media)



Presidential race 2000

Gore's people refer to his economic preservation strategy as the "closing argument" of his year-long campaign.

"Continuing our strong economy is my overriding commitment," Gore said. "Everything else depends on it."

"We can build on our prosperity and make sure it enriches all our families, not just a few," Gore said. "Or we can squander this moment and lose the best opportunity we have to secure the next American century."

The vice president hammered away at Bush's plans for more than $1 trillion in tax cuts and his plan to partially privatize Social Security. He argued Bush would bring back government deficits and reward "the wealthiest of the wealthy."

"We've been there and done that, and we're still paying the bill. We're not going to do that again," Gore said.

Campaigning on the shores of Lake Michigan in the closest presidential race in decades, the Democratic nominee called on state Democrats to turn out in force on Election Day.

"Your one vote is more powerful on Tuesday, a week from tomorrow, than the voice of any powerful interest," he said.

And, he touted the cleanup of Lake Michigan in hopes of defusing the Nader challenge over Gore's signature issue, the environment.

"We can have prosperity and this beautiful lake," he said. "We can have good jobs and these beautiful beaches."

Later, in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Gore urged voters there to get out and make a difference for the Democratic ticket.

"This is a hot race -- it's close," Gore exclaimed as he shed his suit jacket. "As goes Wisconsin, so goes the rest of the nation."

The vice president stayed "on message" in his second major speech of the day -- sticking to his assertion that a Bush win could endanger the nation's longstanding economic good fortunes.

"I want to see us take a road toward higher prosperity, toward more jobs, higher income, include everyone," Gore said.

Gore later appeared at an evening rally in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where he steadfastly refused to stray from his message.

"When you've got the momentum in a football game... that is a time to keep going and get it into the end zone," he said, mentioning late Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi. "We want to score for America's families."

"I don't believe we ought to take this big surplus and give all of it away in a big tax cut that goes mostly to the wealthy," Gore said. "You're the ones who are working harder. You are the ones who need the tax cuts. I'm for tax cuts for the middle class."

Lieberman: Bush 'not ready' for White House

Gore and his running mate, Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, spent Sunday trying to rally black voters in Detroit, where Lieberman bluntly declared Bush unqualified for the presidency. Lieberman repeated the assertion Monday in Michigan.

"Let me tell you honestly, I sure think George W. Bush is not ready to be president of the United States."

In a CNN interview that aired Monday, Gore said he could "appreciate what Joe says," but was "not comfortable" with questioning Bush's qualifications directly.

CNN's Jonathan Karl follows the actions of the two presidential candidates as they approach their final week of campaigning

Play video
(QuickTime, Real or Windows Media)

CNN's Garrick Utley explains the intricacies of the Electoral College

Play video
(QuickTime, Real or Windows Media)

"Earlier in the year, I said that his proposals provoked that question," Gore said. "I personally do not want to pass judgment on my opponent's qualifications to be president because I'm biased," Gore said. "I'm probably the least objective person on that subject. That's a question for others to assess."

Bush spokeswoman Mindy Tucker tried to turn the experience question against Gore, painting the GOP nominee as a Washington outsider.

"If people are going to accuse us of not spending the last 20 or 30 years of the governor's life in Washington, then they're right," Tucker said. "He's been in Texas, he's run a business, he's been in the private sector, he's been a governor.

"I think people are ready for somebody who has not spent a lot of time in Washington to come in and be president, because that person will also realize that Americans deserve some responsibility too," Tucker said.

As the campaign enters its final days, the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup tracking poll shows that Bush has the support of 47 percent of likely voters. The poll indicates Gore has 44 percent of the count, while Nader has 2 percent and Reform Party nominee Pat Buchanan has 1 percent.

Nader's challenge has forced Gore and Democratic surrogates -- including his primary rival, former Sen. Bill Bradley, and former presidential candidate Jesse Jackson -- to spend more time in states like Oregon and Washington, where the Green candidate's support could cost Gore in the electoral college.

Some of Gore's advisors believe that the race is so close, and that Nader's effect so strong, that they see a possibility of Gore winning the electoral college but losing the popular vote.

Bush tries to rattle Gore in California

Sensing a shot at a major electoral prize, Bush jetted on Monday afternoon to California, where Gore's once-solid lead has shown signs of slipping in recent days.

Bush attended an afternoon rally with McCain in the well-heeled city of Burbank. The Arizona senator beat Bush handily in the New Hampshire and Michigan primaries, and the two have since worked to forge an alliance aimed at convincing independents to lean Bush's way.

Bush predicted at the Burbank rally that California would swing for the Republican ticket, despite the rulings of various pundits.

"Why?" Bush asked a thick crowd in Burbank. "Why, people will ask, did California do what it did when everybody else thought it was going to go the other way? Because... we got the greatest grass roots organization in this state's history.

"They're about to find out what grass roots politics means," he said.

"The people know we can do better in Washington," he continued. "They don't want four more years of Clinton-Gore.

Later, Bush was to rally supporters in Fresno.

The Texas governor practiced a bit for his pivotal Golden State sojourn with a stumping stop in the swing state of New Mexico, where he has sought to appeal to a burgeoning Hispanic population, matching his strategy to siphon support from Gore in California.

"This is the perfect place to begin heading West," Bush said Monday. "Come November 7, New Mexico is going to be Bush-Cheney country."

Continuing, Bush said, "I know the pundits don't believe it, but you watch what happens. (California) is going to be Bush country as well."

He pounded Gore through a lengthy airport rally speech in the city of Albuquerque, working all the while to present a developed picture of how his philosophy of governing clashes with Gore -- hitting the vice president on subjects as far-ranging as policy differences and campaign demeanor.

Related stories:

Sticking with what works best: Gore, Bush offer contrasting leadership styles

Education a linchpin for presidential platforms

Gore, Bush health care solutions reflect disparate visions of government's role

Long untouchable, Social Security becomes a major campaign topic

Gore, Bush reap benefits of booming economy on campaign trail

Specter of McCain haunts Bush, Gore on campaign finance reform

"Here's the difference between us," Bush said. "His tax plan is complicated, and selective. Our plan is broad, and fair. His budget has massive new spending; mine has spending discipline.

"He knows the surplus is the government's money, but we know differently. No, no, Mr. Vice President. The surplus is not the government's money. It's the people's money."

Bush then predicted Gore's aggressive campaign style would do him in come next week.

"He talks of ripping the lungs out of his political opponents, and he scares the elderly for political gain," Bush said. "His campaign attacks are presented to spread falsehood and cynicism. But when you try to win at any cost, the price is high. You lose your ability to inspire the people and lead a nation."

"Our country has limitless potential, but our politics is broken," Bush said. "You know what's wrong... There is so much anger, so much division, so much work left to be done."

Appearing at a Bosque Farms, New Mexico, elementary school earlier in the day, Bush returned to his most cherished campaign issue -- his plans to overhaul the public education system. This opening for his last full week of campaigning begins a circle, campaign aides said, a circle that will close with an education address next Monday in a place yet to be determined.

The candidate said himself that he would talk up one policy issue per day in this last stretch toward the general election.

"It's fitting that we start the last week of the campaign in a school," Bush said. "One of my priorities as president will be to work with local folks to make sure our public education system fulfills its promise."

The beginnings of that renewed promise, Bush said, lie with new efforts to teach children basic reading skills from an early age -- no matter what language their parents may speak at home.

"I'll make a priority out of making sure our children can think, so they can make a living not only with their backs, but because they can think well," he said.

"I will make sure every child can read," he continued, under a "no excuses policy."

The candidate's wife Laura, who introduced her husband as he strode to the podium, offered a veiled hint about how she might spend her time as first lady. Laura Bush was a public school librarian when she met the oldest son of former President George Bush in the late 1970s.

"I hope I have a chance to work to recruit new teachers," Bush told the crowd in a short introductory speech.

CNN's Jonathan Karl, Ian Christopher McCaleb and Matt Smith contributed to this report.



Monday, October 30, 2000


Back to the top  © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.