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Bush, Gore trade stronger barrages

By Compiled from Times staff and wire reports

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 24, 2000

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Al Gore as president would be the "obstacle-in-chief" fighting against school, tax and Social Security reforms, George W. Bush said Monday, hardening his anti-Gore rhetoric with 15 days until the election.

Gore mostly stuck to his prosperity theme, declaring "America has put its house in order" and this is no time to change economic leadership. He also took a more political slap at Bush, saying the Republican hopes to avoid the issues people care about and "run out the clock" on the election.

The sharper attacks were an acknowledgment that neither man has been able to sway the undecided vote. Bush holds a slight lead in some of the national surveys, but the margin has narrowed. Gore is struggling in traditionally Democratic states such as California, where a new poll showed his lead shrinking from double digits to 5 percentage points.

Widow backed for Senate seat

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Top Democrats are urging Missouri's new governor to appoint the widow of Mel Carnahan as senator if the late governor receives more votes than Sen. John Ashcroft on Nov. 7.

Carnahan, a Democrat, was in a tight race for the Senate when he, son Roger and campaign aide Chris Sifford were killed in a plane crash on their way to a rally last week. Carnahan's death came too late to take his name off the ballot.

Jean Carnahan, 66, has never held public office or run for office. She made no public comment about whether she would accept an appointment.

Texas lawmakers denounce Bush

TALLAHASSEE -- Texas legislators joined the Gore campaign team Monday with a series of news conferences around the nation to criticize Gov. George W. Bush's record.

Rep. Domingo Garcia, a Democrat from Dallas, said Bush has an "abysmal record" and has displayed a serious lack of leadership in solving education, health care and environmental problems in Texas.

Calling himself a friend of George W. Bush, Garcia described Bush as "a nice guy with a terrible record." He said Bush listens only to special interests.

Garcia played a 10-minute video featuring teachers and other Texas residents who accuse Bush of ignoring problems while promoting tax cuts for the rich.

"Thank God for Mississippi," Garcia said. "Without them we'd be at the bottom of everything."

Asked why Texans re-elected Bush and now favor him as a candidate for president, if things are so bad, Garcia said "he is a likable guy" who has outspent his Democratic opponents.

The Bush campaign said the Gore video distorts the truth and misleads voters about Bush's Texas record.

"Al Gore and friends are circling the country trying to distort Gov. Bush's record, making it clear that the one thing they don't want to talk about is Al Gore," said Bush campaign spokesman Dan Bartlett. "Texas has undergone dramatic improvements under Gov. Bush's leadership."

Bush brothers coming to Tampa

Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush will hold a campaign rally Wednesday evening at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. Bush's brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Arizona Sen. John McCain are expected to attend the event. Gates open at 4:45 p.m. and the rally starts at 7 p.m. Free tickets can be obtained from the Hillsborough County Republican Party, 4526 S Dale Mabry Highway or 10035 Adamo Drive. Tickets also are expected to be available at the door.

The fairgrounds stop will be the last on a one-day bus tour through Central Florida by the Bush brothers and McCain. The fairgrounds are on U.S. 301 off Interstate 4 in Tampa.


ASNER CALLING: Democrats have begun making tens of thousands of recorded phone calls featuring actor Ed Asner assailing George W. Bush's Social Security plan. The calls, begun over the weekend in several states, including Florida, echo a message being delivered this week in more than $10-million worth of TV advertising.

NADER AD: Ralph Nader supporters who worry that they could tip the presidential election to the Republicans are being told in a new ad campaign that a "vote for Nader is not a vote for Bush."

The ads, which will appear in seven markets in a dozen daily and weekly alternative newspapers, are meant to appeal to independents, former supporters of Republican candidate John McCain and "disgruntled Democrats" who might otherwise sit out the election, said Greg MacArthur, whose group, Citizens for Strategic Voting, paid $320,000 for the ads.

-- Times staff writers Lucy Morgan and Tim Nickens contributed to this report.

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