From: Phil Hirschkorn/CNN
Subject: Gore Attends Fund-Raisers In New York, Connecticut
Vice President Al Gore attended a dinner Thursday night that raised $150,000 in so-called "soft money" for the Democratic National Committee. Attendees included 30 guests from the Democratic Business Council, the main organization for business leaders who support the Democratic Party.
The people who attended contributed $10,000 per couple; political action committees gave $15,000 each.
"The Democrats have demonstrated we know how to manage the economy and manage the government," Gore told the guests. He spoke at a restaurant in the Inn at National Hall, a restored bed and breakfast in old Westport.
Gore pointed toward next year's mid-term congressional elections and 38 gubernatorial elections, saying, "We have a huge showdown next year."
Gore made no reference to recent congressional hearings about Democratic fund-raising practices, and reporters were not allowed to question him. Attorney General Janet Reno is examining whether Gore broke the law in making fund-raising phone calls from his White House office.
Instead, Gore focused his comments on the administration's record on the economy, crime and welfare. "We've only begun, but it makes a huge difference to be moving in the right direction, rather than the wrong direction," he said.
One of the 30 guests was Connecticut resident and housekeeping guru Martha Stewart.
A Manhattan visit
Earlier in the day, Gore visited Manhattan to lend his support to underdog mayoral candidate Ruth Messinger. Messinger is the Democratic challenger to New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is seeking a second term. The election is Nov. 4.
Speaking to a fund-raising luncheon at New York's Plaza hotel, Gore told the partisan crowd, "A vote for Ruth Messinger is a vote for our children's future."
Gore said the Republican party had "turned its back" on America's cities, and described the Clinton-Gore Administration as "standing between the country and harmful change advocated by the Republican Party."
The luncheon raised $200,000 for New York's state Democratic organization. The Messinger campaign raised an additional $50,000 at the same event.
Gore also spoke at Columbia University, where his daughter Karenna is enrolled at law school. He told a Teachers College assembly that the country has an immense need to hire more teachers in the next 10 years.
Relying on new Education Department analysis, Gore predicted the country will need to hire an estimated two million new teachers in the next decade to keep pace with the retiring teacher population and a "baby boomlet" of children entering high school age.
"After you go through the whole agenda, the one key element remains, talented, committed, well-trained teachers," Gore said. "So as we look at this unique moment in history, two things are obvious. One, education is the key to our future. Two, teachers are the key to the success of our educational system."
Figures released by Gore showed states with the highest need for new public school teachers will be California, Hawaii, Utah, Georgia, Idaho, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. New Jersey has the oldest teaching force in the nation, with 19 percent of its teachers over age 55.
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