Bush - Gore jostle over the economy in dash through key states

publiziert: Donnerstag, 19. Okt 2000 / 17:41 Uhr

New York - Al Gore warns that "prosperity itself is on the ballot," urging voters to stay the economic course, while George W. Bush courts younger voters with economics of his own, refuting any attempt by Gore to take credit for the nation's prosperity.

Gore was focusing on the economy in a speech Thursday to business leaders in New York. Aides said the Democratic presidential candidate would offer no new proposals but that he would outline differences with his Republican rival on the issue.

Bush, campaigning at Visioneering Inc. in Fraser, Michigan, said the government can't take any credit for the nation's economic good times.

"Some politicians want to take credit for the new economy," said Bush, the Texas governor. "But I don't see government starting new companies, writing new software, inventing new technology, opening new factories. I've always thought those things were done by, well, the people who did them. Our new economy was not created in a Senate subcommittee or a vice presidential commission." Bush, focusing on his plan to allow younger workers to invest part of their Social Security earnings in the stock market, ridiculed Gore's math on the subject, saying that the vice president is "deliberately missing a trillion dollars" in his calculations.

"Maybe if you've been in Washington too long, you lose your ability to count real money," Bush said. He repeated his own calculations, saying independent analysts confirm that the Social Security system will have a dlrs 2.4 trillion surplus over the next 10 years _ more than enough to implement his plan. "He doesn't think people are up to the task of managing their own money," Bush said of Gore. "His first instinct is to question whether young workers can be trusted to make their own investment decisions," Bush said. "This is analog thinking in a digital age, 28K thinking in a broadband era, an eight-track ideology in an MP3 world, and our nation must move beyond that thinking." In remarks prepared for delivery, Gore called the election "one of the biggest choices America has faced in a generation, a choice of priorities, a choice of values, a choice as fundamental as prosperity itself." Gore focused on the economy Wednesday as he campaigned through Iowa and Michigan, and he said his big economic speech comes at precisely the right time to focus voter attention. "You have the home stretch, when all the undecided voters are making up their minds," said Gore. "The speech is really the chance to set the stage for the home stretch." He previewed the speech as he recounted the economy before Democrats won the White House. "Let's cut to the chase," Gore said in his speech draft. "Both sides in this election have proposed targeted tax cuts. The difference is, the Bush plan targets the wealthy. My plan targets the middle class."

Drawing on another distinction, Gore also will argue that Bush's approach to fixing Social Security is so reckless it would drain dlrs 1 trillion from the system and threaten the economy. "If you want to see the basic shape of Social Security completely altered in a way that could cause its bankruptcy in a single generation, that is what I am going to say is the likely expected outcome of the plan that is proposed by my opponent, Governor Bush," Gore said. The two rivals also were facing key decisions about where to target precious television advertising dollars. Gore stepped up his advertising in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, seeking to gain in a Midwestern battleground. At the same time, Bush strategists were considering stepping up their buys in California, Minnesota and Vermont. The California move in particular worries Democrats because they know Gore has virtually no chance to win the Nov. 7 election without California. Both candidates this week accepted an invitation to share an hour of free time next Friday on the Fox television network. During the hour, each candidate will tell viewers why he thinks he should be president. The broadcast is scheduled for 8 p.m. Eastern time (0000 GMT) on Oct. 27. Gore dismissed suggestions that a tumbling stock market raises questions about continued economic health. "As long as we keep the fundamentals sound, the markets will respond ultimately in a favorable way," said Gore. "I think that prosperity is on the ballot." Recent polls show Gore leading Bush on the question of handling the economy. Both camps were detouring to the TV talk-show circuit while in New York.


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