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Gore takes campaign to Ventura, Minnesota's land of independents

March 12, 2000
Web posted at: 3:54 a.m. EST (0854 GMT)

MINNEAPOLIS (CNN) -- The morning after winning another round of primaries on a presumptive march to the Democratic presidential nomination, Vice President Al Gore met Saturday morning with Minnesota's Governor Jesse Ventura here.

The two strode into a meeting at the Hotel Hyatt in downtown Minneapolis clad alike: jeans and cowboy boots. Asked what he hoped to get out of the meeting, Ventura told a reporter, "Breakfast."

Emerging an hour later, they both said they'd eaten well.

Gore said he did not ask the former grappler for his endorsement. "I purposely didn't because I thought it was way too early," Gore told reporters.

Voters flocked to Ventura ticket

Ventura won the governor's office in an upset victory that was fueled by independent voters who flocked to his Reform Party ticket candidacy. Since then, Ventura has left the party.

"We're both very well aware that it's naturally going to be those middle voters who will determine the [presidential] election," Ventura said Saturday. "I mean, the vice president's a bright man. He understands that. Naturally, he has to focus on the independent voter. The independent voter determines who wins. I'm more pleased about the fact that we're both wearing jeans today, so my press won't criticize me."

Instead of discussing endorsements, Gore said, the two political leaders talked about campaign finance reform, political reform, and special education.

Concerning campaign finance reform, Ventura had no criticism for Gore's role in raising "soft money."

Two talked of campaign finance reform

"You've got to play within the scheme of the football game ... whatever the rules are. You can't really criticize someone for playing within the set of rules the game's at when you begin. But the vice president and I agree that the rules need to be changed and there needs to be a cleaning up, a cleansing of campaign finance in this country," he said.

Gore too talked about the need for campaign finance reform. "As you all know, the voices that got the most recognition in advocating campaign finance reform were John McCain and Bill Bradley."

But now that neither is actively campaigning, "I want to raise that banner higher," Gore said.

"Not only because of the obvious political reasons -- that I want to give a home for those voters who were strongly supporting of Sen. McCain and Sen. Bradley because of that issue. I acknowledge that's part of what is going on here. But also because I believe in it. And because I was advocating it before they dropped out of the race. And because I advocated it 23 years ago in my very first term in the U.S. Congress."

Gore is on a two-day campaign swing through the Midwest. He picked up endorsements Friday from former Vice President Walter Mondale and Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, a former Bradley supporter.

 
ELECTION 2000


CALENDAR
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VIDEO
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WHAT'S AT STAKE


HISTORY
If you have a Flash-capable browser, take a look at the history of key events during the primary season.


CANDIDATE BIOS
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RACES
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THE STATES
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WHO'S IN-WHO'S OUT
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Sunday, March 12, 2000


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