Gore reintroduces himself, lists policy proposals in convention speech.
The Los Angeles Times reports, "Al Gore, facing an unsettled party and a doubting public, stepped forward Thursday night as 'my own man' and pledged to use this time of plenty to build a 'better, fairer, more prosperous America.' " The Times adds, "In a time of peace and prosperity, Al Gore is betting that Americans want to go to war. … Gore extended his effort to fuse the centrist policy agenda that Bill Clinton synthesized with a class-conscious populist language that looks to mobilize working families against 'powerful forces and powerful interests. … This uneasy alliance amounts to what Gore himself might call 'a risky political scheme,' " because Gore "risks seeming to be unaccountably angry, or even anachronistic." The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Gore's "journey may be fraught with peril" as he "has clearly decided that it would be futile to compete with Bush on charisma" and is instead "inviting the voters to accept him as their surrogate in the fight against what he described last night as the 'powerful forces and powerful interests.' " The Omaha World Herald reports Gore cast "himself as a warrior for working Americans" and "laid out a sharply defined and lengthy list of traditional Democratic goals." The Louisville Courier-Journal reports Gore "mixed a populist message with a subtle moralistic tone that contrasted with the troubles surrounding his friend, President Clinton." The Wall Street Journal reports, "In a long and rousing speech," Gore "offered a detailed plan of how he would govern that offered something for both his liberal base and the swing voters crucial to his hopes for election." The Washington Post reports Gore "cast himself as a serious if sometimes unexciting politician who will battle against powerful special interests." The New York Times reports, "In what sounded like a subtle attempt to distance himself from Mr. Clinton, he promised, 'I will never let you down.' " The Baltimore Sun reports Gore "gave a commanding performance." The New York Post reports the speech at times "sounded like a State of the Union address by a sitting president." The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports Gore "brought the Democratic National Convention to a rousing climax." The Orlando Sentinel reports, "Gore, with an earnestness and passion few Americans have seen in him, rallied Democrats behind his vision of America's future." The Chicago Sun-Times reports Gore's "51 minutes of biography, philosophy, and populist Democratic politics was good but not history-making."
Analysis mixed on Gore speech.
USA Today reports, "Among the experts, reviews were mixed. To Ross Baker, a Rutgers University political science professor, Gore's list of policy positions on safety locks for guns, investment in medical research, making college tuition tax deductible and cracking down on tobacco marketing undercut whatever inspirational moments Gore tried to provide." Robert Schmuhl of the University of Notre Dame said, "In trying to act energetic, he often rushed through points that needed to be teased out." However, "Fred Greenstein, an expert on the presidency from Princeton University, said 'it won't go down with Thucydides or Pericles,' but rated the speech 'a triple or an in-the-park home run.' " Jack Germond writes in the Baltimore Sun that Gore "probably fell short of showing Americans something new and entirely different in presidential politics." Michael Barone said on Fox News that Gore "did quite an interesting job. … He adopted a kind of friendly tone of voice, but there were hints there of the negative campaigning that may come ahead on issues. He made a choice in this one in my view. He put aside the progress and prosperity consensus idea. He went for the people versus the powerful confrontation idea." Bill Kristol added, "I thought the speech was flopI mean, it was a bewildering choice to me that Gore went in the direction he did. He was so scared of being associated with Clinton that he mentioned Bill Clinton once. He took credit for the economy for about 40 seconds and then he says, right at the beginning of the speech, 'I'm not asking you to vote for me on the basis of the economy we have.' It's insane. Of course, he should be asking Americans to vote for him on the basis of the economy that they have." Mara Liasson added, "I think this is the best speech I have ever heard Al Gore give. … And if this doesn't give him a bounce, I don't know what will." On CBS, Dan Rather commented, "He was rushing to get through it. … I thought he had some very good lines in the speech. Unfortunately a lot of them got buried because there was applause on the floor." ABC's Peter Jennings commented, "Certainly not a negative speech at all, particularly from George W. Bush and certainly from Al Gore here now." George Stephanopoulos added, "This is the most populist speech I think in the Democratic Convention since Harry Truman in 1948, and I think with that, Al Gore is taking a very big gamble. Will it work at a time when nearly 60 percent of the country is invested in the stock market?" Sam Donaldson commented, "This vice president was on speed tonight. He acted like a man who was late catching a plane. … We heard a lot of the so-called old Democratic references." On NBC, Tom Brokaw said the speech was "more prose than poetry. More an accounting of Al Gore's ledger than Al Gore's dreams." Added Tim Russert, "I am anxious to hear how the Bush campaign is going to respond to Vice President Gore saying his first bill will be campaign finance reform. I'm sure you'll see pictures of the Buddhist temple and the White House coffees coming very soon." In its editorial, the New York Times commented, "Racing through his speech and sometimes even stepping on his own applause lines," Gore "clearly did what he needed to do and impressed and perhaps surprised his audience in the process." In its editorial, the Washington Post noted that Gore's "unspoken message was that he has the experience, knowledge, and general heft that the less-experienced Texas governor lacks. But the vice president could not rely exclusively on such a tactic, because too many voters continue to see him as awkward and an automaton." Tim Russert said this morning on NBC's Today Show that Gore "connected with his base audience and moved Democrats back into his column. … It was a litany, a checklist of constituencies and issues that Democrats care about."
Ray empanels grand jury to investigate Lewinsky case.
The AP reports Independent Counsel Robert Ray "has empaneled a new grand jury to hear evidence against President Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, legal sources said Thursday." The Washington Post reports Ray "has been considering possible criminal charges," including "perjury, subornation of perjury, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice for his alleged efforts to defeat a sexual harassment lawsuit brought against him by Paula Jones." The Wall Street Journal reports, "Ray has beefed up his staff with new prosecutors. And Tuesday, a federal grand jury sitting in Virginia that is working with Mr. Ray's office issued a subpoena to Sheryl Hall, a former White House computer specialist. Ms. Hall is a witness in another matter stemming from the Lewinsky scandalnumerous E-mails that the White House said were improperly archived because of a computer glitch and, as a result, not turned over to investigators. Mr. Ray's office has been investigating whether the E-mails, some of which may relate to Ms. Lewinsky and other probes, were lost accidentally or purposefully withheld to obstruct justice." While Democrats are angry over the timing of the story, some Republicans suspect the news was actually released by a White House that reasoned the story would eventually come out, so put it out at a time that would allow the media to frame the news as dirty politics, thereby serving to enrage and energize the Democratic base. For example, ABC News reported, "Officials believe it's a dirty trick, hatched by aides to President Clinton's nemesis, former independent counsel Kenneth Starr." CBS News added Clinton administration officials were "privately seething at the timing of the disclosure, just hours before Gore was to make his case to follow Clinton in office. … 'It reeks to high heaven,' said a spokesman at the White House." CBS added, "The hope of the Gore campaign is that this leak will fire up their troops and backfire against the Republicans. How? By tying George W. Bush to Ken Starr." Bob Schieffer commented, "My sense of it is that the whole thing could backfire on the Republicans." Meanwhile, Bush Communications Director Karen Hughes said in an interview on MSNBC, "I know this will probably surprise you, but we actually agree with the Gore campaign's criticisms of this. The timing is terrible. It's wrong. … This election is not about the past; this election's about the future, and I think the people of America are sick of all the scandal and all the investigations, and one clear way to get rid of all that and put it all behind us is to elect Governor Bush and Secretary Cheney as the next president and vice president of the United States."
Parts of Democratic base still not pleased with Gore and Lieberman.
The New York Times reports "cracks are showing in the labor pillar as this convention draws to a close. … Just this morning, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut met for the second time with Bob Chase, president of the National Education Association, to reassure members of the powerful teachers union that while he had supported experimental voucher programs in the past, he would now go along with Vice President Al Gore in opposing them." The Washington Times reports, "Donna Brazile, campaign manager for Al Gore and his vice presidential running mate, Joseph I. Lieberman, spent the final harried hours of the Democratic National Convention trying to galvanize the grass-roots constituencies considered critical to the ticket's success." The Washington Post reports, "African-American leaders, preparing to leave the Democratic National Convention here today, said they face an uphill struggle in building voter enthusiasm for Vice President Gore and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman." The Los Angeles Times reports, "Left uncertain as the convention ended was how unified Democrats emerged from the Staples Center." Liberals "have grumbled the party is too centrist, a complaint exacerbated by Gore's selection of" Lieberman, "a moderate, as his running mate. Meanwhile, some centrists and conservative Democrats felt many of the speakers featured at the convention were too liberal."
Democrats worried about November.
The New York Times reports Gore's "elaborateand often conflictingobjectives tonight, and throughout this convention week, reflect the trying challenges he and the Democrats confront as they emerge from this convention. … For the Democrats, happy days are certainly not here again." They "may not be panicked, but they are jittery about their standard-bearer. And they are jittery about November." The Times added, "More than one Democratic official complained that the campaign this week seemed more focused on winning over the liberals who might back Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate, than the bigger threat, Mr. Bush." The Kansas City Star reports, "Republicans left their national convention in Philadelphia convinced their nominee would be the next president of the United States. Today, Democrats fly from Los Angeles confident of having a winner but conscious that it will take some work." Brit Hume said on Fox News, "Nobody is shouting it from the rooftops here, but the message is seeping out. The Democrats here in Los Angeles are worried." The Bergen Record reports, "New Jersey Democrats prepared to leave the Southern California sunshine with a brighter outlook about Vice President Al Gore's chances for a promotion Thursday, but they were nowhere near confident of victory." The Washington Post reports, "Before the balloons and confetti, Democrats grimly pondered the possibility that they could lose the White House. Even worse: the chance that they could lose the White House and fail to win control of Congress, too." Sen. Robert G. Torricelli said, "There's a lot of anxiety."
Bush maintains 11-point lead in Battleground tracking poll.
A Battleground tracking poll of 1,000 voters shows Gov. George W. Bush leading Vice President Al Gore by 11 points, 48 percent to 37 percent, the same lead as yesterday's Battleground poll. Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan polled 3 percent and 2 percent respectively. Ten percent remain undecided. The Washington Times reports Gore "has received no bounce from the Democratic National Convention so far." Morton Kondracke said on Fox News "the internals of the poll indicate that what happened was is that Gore's lost ground among conservative Democrats."
Bush camp agrees to three presidential and two vice presidential debates.
The New York Times reports, "Advisers to Gov. George W. Bush said today that he would participate in three presidential debates, an announcement clearly intended to blunt a drumbeat of criticism from the campaign of his opponent, Vice President Al Gore, that Mr. Bush was trying to avoid such face-to-face contests." Fred Barnes said on Fox News that the reason the Bush team made the announcement is because they "don't want Gore in his speech to be able to say, 'I have challenged Bush to debates, people offered us invitations to debates, and I have said yes to every one, and he hasn't agreed.'" Morton Kondracke agreed, adding, "I think the other thing is that I think it shows that George W. is not afraid of the vaunted, mighty debater Al Gore."
Clinton upsets his home state by officially becoming a New Yorker.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports President Clinton "and his daughter, Chelsea, have registered in Westchester County, N.Y., making them eligible to vote for first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in her bid for a U.S. Senate seat against Republican Rick Lazio. ... By registering in New York, Clinton indicates he intends to make that state his primary residence, or domicile." The Democrat-Gazette quoted Darrell West, an expert on American politics at Brown University, as saying: "It's a real sign of a shift in loyalty away from Arkansas and toward New York." Added an Arkansas convention delegate, "He owes his loyalty to Arkansas. I realize his wife is running in New York, but the people of Arkansas kind of expect him to come home."
Gore dismisses telemarketer with criminal record.
ABC News reported last night, "We have had some fallout from Brian Ross's reporting this week on the Democrats and fundraising. On Tuesday, Brian reported that Al Gore's campaign had a contractual relationship with a telemarketing firm controlled by a convicted felon. Twenty-four hours later, the campaign and the Democratic Party severed their relationship with the company." Meanwhile, CBS News reported last night, "And as the Republican ticket takes hits for its big oil connections, the Democrats face fire, too, for Sen. Joseph Lieberman's deep-pocket backers. … He may be No. 2 on the ticket, but Joe Lieberman is No. 1 with insurance companies, raising nearly $200,000 in industry contributionsmore than any other Senate candidate this year."
McCain undergoes tests for skin cancer.
The New York Times reports, "Doctors at the Mayo Clinic here examined Sen. John McCain of Arizona today and recommended that he begin treatment immediately for the recurrence of a serious form of skin cancer, a McCain spokeswoman said." CBS News reported last night that McCain "was in good spirits as he left the clinic, but he will undergo surgery on Saturday to remove one melanoma from his left arm, and a more complicated procedure to remove another from his left temple."
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