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Gore outlines child poverty plan, beats Bradley by a day

By KEVIN LANDRIGAN/Telegraph Staff

October 21, 1999
Web posted at: 11:19 a.m. EDT (1519 GMT)

www\.nhprimary\.com

(WASHINGTON, The Telegraph of Nashua, October 21) -- Vice President Al Gore said Wednesday that he would offer a combination of "tough love" and a helping hand to absent fathers who owe child support.

The Democratic presidential candidate spoke at a Washington church and then outlined his proposals for addressing child poverty during a telephone news conference with New Hampshire journalists.

The most controversial feature would be to challenge credit card companies to deny new cards or additional lines of credit to non-custodial parents who owe child support.

"Either make the payments or leave home without it," Gore said, taking off on a television commercial of a major credit card company.

"This is a tough love approach that is not only justified but very good for families."

Gore's speech and comments come a day before his primary rival, former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey, gives a long-advanced speech on child poverty in Brooklyn.

Bradley campaign officials accuse Gore of repeatedly trying to trump their ideas by first offering less ambitious plans than he would.

"This certainly suggests that the vice president agrees with our agenda," said Bradley spokesman Eric Hauser. "But in the end, the depth and significance of our proposals to solve big problems is far greater than his."

Another provision of Gore's child poverty plan would be to eliminate the tax penalty for married couples who file jointly and to raise the threshold for working poor so they could make up to $29,000 a year before paying taxes.

"If you eliminate the marriage penalty but don't raise the earnings limit for the earned income tax credit, then many working families end up losing money. They wind up in a higher tax bracket," Gore told reporters.

Gore also would have fathers sign responsibility contracts to pay child support just as welfare mothers do to pursue work if they are physically able. And he urged programs that receive federal grants like day care centers and Head Start programs to offer voluntary programs to establish paternity.

Meanwhile, former Democratic U.S. Rep. Norm D'Amours returned to New Hampshire for three days of campaigning for Gore.

The two men served together in the U.S. House for eight years.

D'Amours said he decided to campaign after Bradley spoke to a Democratic State Convention several months ago.

"Senator Bradley is a good man and a good Democrat, but he implied he was the only candidate with a sound ethical background," said D'Amours, who was an unsuccessful candidate for governor in 1992.

"You don't do that and then tell people you are a non-politician. He's had this plan to run for years."


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