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Gore: Dems Are "Bridge To The Future"

By Craig Staats/AllPolitics

Al Gore

CHICAGO (AllPolitics, Aug. 28) -- In his most biting attack yet on Republican rival Bob Dole, Vice President Al Gore described the GOP nominee as "a bridge to the past" and a pessimistic naysayer who opposed Medicare, the Peace Corps and even the Apollo moon landing. (256 WAV sound)

Gore, more policy wonk than an attack dog, told Democratic delegates tonight that Dole is "a good and decent man" who showed personal courage in fighting back from his World War II injuries.

But from that point on, Gore used much of his prime-time speech to rip Dole, House Speaker Newt Gingrich and congressional Republicans as mean-spirited, backward-looking and out of touch with most Americans.

"In his speech from San Diego, Senator Dole offered himself as a bridge to the past. Tonight, Bill Clinton and I offer ourselves as a bridge to the future," Gore said. "The future lies with the party of hope, and the man from Hope who leads it."

In his San Diego speech, Dole called himself the most optimistic man in America, but Gore ridiculed that self-description. "If he's the most optimistic man in America, I'd hate to see the pessimist," Gore said. (352 WAV sound) The Gores

The crowd loved it; a sea of red "Gore" signs bobbed in unison. Gore called the Republicans "the party of memory."

"You can judge a president by the enemies he's willing to make," Gore said. "You know that someone who's been attacked as much as Bill Clinton is doing something right...It's been a long time since we've had a president so in tune with the issues that touch the real lives of America's families."

Like a slew of earlier speakers, Gore tried to tie Dole to the unpopular Gingrich, accusing the two of them of trying to slip "a reckless" budget past the American people and President Clinton.

"They shut the government down. Twice. They thought Bill Clinton would buckle under the pressure, cave in to their demands," Gore said.

"But they did not know the true measure of this man. He never flinched or wavered. He never stooped to their level. And, of course, he never attacked his opponent's wife."

That reference to Republican attacks on Hillary Clinton drew some of the loudest applause of all.

Gore, using a familiar call-and-response, said Republicans want to rubber-stamp a harsh federal budget, control the Supreme Court to limit abortion rights, outlaw affirmative action and weaken environmental laws.

"But we won't let them," Gore said, as the crowd chanted the line with him.

Gore, departing from his prepared text, quieted the noisy hall when he recalled the death of his sister from lung cancer. He described her final painful hours and said that experience was why he was proud of Clinton's move last week to halt tobacco advertising aimed at youngsters. (576K WAV sound)

But when he began, Gore also spoofed his reputation for stiff self-control (288K WAV sound) and the delegates' daily Macarena dance session, offering to do "the Al Gore version of the Macarena."

Gore stood ramrod still, his face deadpan.

"Would you like to see it again?" he asked.

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