Gore sticks to issues, gets some help from boss
July 14, 1999
Web posted at: 7:06 p.m. EDT (2306 GMT)
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, July 14) -- Vice President Al Gore got some campaign help Wednesday from the man whose shadow he has been trying to step out of in recent weeks -- President Bill Clinton.
The White House Wednesday announced the president would go to Little Rock, Arkansas, August 6-8 for some fund-raising for the vice president, and would attend four more Washington fund-raisers for Gore in August and September.
President Clinton spoke at a DLC event Wednesday
The announcement came as Gore continued an Iowa swing that concentrated on several likely issues in the 2000 campaign.
Clinton also helped in another way Wednesday. During an address to a Democratic Leadership Council meeting in Baltimore, Clinton went after the GOP's presidential front-runner -- Texas Gov. George W. Bush.
"This compassionate conservatism has a great ring to it," Clinton said. "It sounds so good. And I've really worked hard to try and figure out what it means. I mean, I made an honest effort. And near as I can tell here's what it means.
"It means, 'I like you, I do. And I would like to be for the patients' bill of rights, and I'd like to be for closing the gun show loophole, and I'd like not to squander the surplus and, you know, save Social Security and Medicare for the next generation. I'd like to raise the minimum wage. I'd like to do these things. But I just can't. And I feel terrible about it.'"
Meanwhile, Gore continued an Iowa swing that has featured comments on everything from farm issues to tax cuts to health care and education.
The visit has been highlighted so far by an endorsement by Christie Vilsack, wife of Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. The Iowa governor has said he will not endorse a candidate before the state's caucus in early February.
Vice president Gore was in Iowa this week
Earlier this week, at a junior high gymnasium in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Gore talked about safety issues. "For all the innovations that are needed in our schools, and all the changes in policy that are needed, none of them will be of much good unless we have absolute assurance that our schools are safe," he said.
Gore also proposed adding 100 agents to the Drug Enforcement Administration who will be specifically trained in rural areas and in shutting down methamphetamine labs. Methamphetamine has become an increasing problem in midwest schools, and Gore's proposal also would establish anti-meth education programs in schools and launch a new ad campaign geared towards residents in rural areas.
Responding to critics concerned about his standing in current polls, Gore compared his campaign to that of the Iowa governor before Vilsack's last election. "There was a time," Gore said, "when he (Vilsack) was, like, 20 points behind in the polls ... and there were people who said he couldn't win. ...And he had ideas and ... his Republican opponent was trying to avoid discussion the issues, right? And was ready to move into the mansion before the election. I don't know, maybe it's deja vu."
Gore has outlined detailed positions on a number of issues -- a sharp contrast to Bush and Gore's sole major Democratic opponent, former Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey. Both of those candidates say they will wait until later in the election season to lay out many of their major goals.
The White House is strongly denying the new Clinton effort to help Gore has been spurred by the Bradley's strong showing or the fear of Bush. "We had always planned to participate in the fund-raising effort, and I think when we get to the point where people start voting and you all have to watch other people and stop talking about it, the vice president will have the resources he needs," White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart said Wednesday.