Facebook Twitter

Gore’s speech to focus on issues

SHARE Gore’s speech to focus on issues

MONROE, Mich. — Al Gore will use his speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination to reintroduce himself to American voters and define his candidacy in terms of the issues — tax cuts, health and education.

Gore was arriving in Los Angeles on Wednesday in time to hear his eldest daughter — 27-year-old Karenna Gore Schiff — deliver a deeply personal convention speech designed to introduce to the nation the personal side of the vice president

While sipping coffee with teachers in a suburban Detroit restaurant Wednesday morning, the vice president confessed to being very nervous about his daughter's speech.

"I've got more butterflies about that than my own speech," he said.

His daughter will keynote the evening's speakers, and aides said her message would be about the father and grandfather she knows and the role family plays in Gore's life. The goal is to humanize policy wonk Gore.

Gore will spend the bulk of his time in Los Angeles polishing his acceptance speech, a crucial moment of the campaign. He has made it clear the speech will be filled with policy proposals, drawing a contrast with what he argues are the lack of specifics offered by GOP rival George W. Bush.

The issues he'll highlight have been clear for days, and he used a campaign appearance with President Clinton on Tuesday to test-drive some rhetoric, arguing for tax cuts aimed at workers, health care for the young and elderly and education for all.

As the final step in emerging as a stand-alone candidate, Gore went to a battleground state Tuesday to take the mantle from Clinton, who said the vice president has been "at the heart" of every important decision that's been made during his eight years in office.

"Bill Clinton worked hard to get this economy right, with the help of the American people," said Gore. "I'm not going to let the other side wreck it."

Delivering a fiery populist speech, Gore said Bush simply wants to help the rich, while he sides with working families. He repeated again and again that's he's "a fighter."

"I'll fight for tax cuts that go to the right people, to the working families who have the toughest time paying taxes and saving for the future," said Gore.

The Clinton-Gore rally was carefully staged in Monroe, a blue-collar swing district that's home to many "Reagan Democrats" who aren't tightly attached to either party.

Clinton won those voters in 1992 and 1996, and carried Michigan both times.

It's a key state again this year and polls show it competitive, with Gore needing to count on those same swing voters this time around.

Thousands jammed into the courthouse square for the photo-friendly rally.

Clinton spoke first, and only briefly before turning the microphone over to Gore. After the speeches, Gore roared, "I want to shake all your hands" and plunged into the crowd.

Clinton, was led away from the rope line by daughter, Chelsea, looking longingly at the crowd but contenting himself with waving goodbye to the television cameras.

The president's motorcade left immediately while Gore lingered to press the flesh. Campaign aides went out of their way to point out that symbolism to reporters who hadn't noticed.