Campaign Countdown 2000

December 20, 1999

Gore, Bradley feud over farm policy

(Des Moines, IA)  The two democrats seeking their party's next presidential nomination feuded Monday over farm policy, with Vice President Al Gore taking the offensive and rival Bill Bradley dismissing Gore's attack as distortion.

During a telephone conference call with Iowa reporters, Gore assailed Bradley's voting record in the U.S. Senate as "anti-family farmer" for opposing things federal subsidies for the ethanol industry and voting to end to the federal crop insurance program.

"The record shows very clearly that he has had an anti-family farmer record," Gore told reporters.

Gore's comments come as he prepares to appear solo at a Wednesday evening forum sponsored by the Iowa Farmers Union, a "debate" to which Bradley was invited but declined to participate.  Gore accused Bradley of ducking the debate.

"He said in Iowa, and I quote, that he doesn't pretend to know agriculture," Gore said.  "Well, that did not come as a revelation to people who were in the trenches fighting against his assault on family farm policy. He voted consistently not only against ethanol, but against aid for farmers, against farm credit assistance, against price supports."

During a news conference later in Des Moines, Bradley rejected Gore's assertions.

"We're going to have two debates in Iowa here in January," Bradley told reporters.  "...We had two last week.  Does he want to debate on Christmas Day, too?"

Bradley said while representing New Jersey in the U.S. Senate, he was voting in the interests of his constituents in the Garden State, most of who have no connection to farms.

"The average per capita expenditure of the federal government in farm programs to New Jersey is six dollars a person," Bradley said.  "The average per capita farm expenditure for Iowa is $2,700 a person."

Bradley delivered a farm policy speech in mid-October, vowing to crack down on monopolies in the ag industry and to re-establish federal subsidies for farmers when prices for crops and livestock fall below the price of growing or raising those commodities.

"I believe that I'd be a President of all the people.  That includes being an effective President for agriculture," Bradley said during Monday's news conference in Des Moines, Iowa.

Gore has long advocated dramatic changes in current federal farm policy --the Freedom to Farm law, which he calls "Freedom to Foreclose" – including re-creation of a federal safety net of price supports for farmers.

"We need a President who not only understands agriculture, but understands the threat to family farmers," Gore said Monday.

December 10, 1999

Forbes attacks Bush on tax pledge

(Hiawatha, IA) Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes Friday criticized GOP front-runner George W. Bush for failing to issue a "no new taxes" pledge.

"As one of (Bush's) own aides said today, he's not going to do that...and I think if a political candidate is not willing to make a firm pledge, you know it's more likely to be violated," Forbes said during an interview after a campaign stop in Haiwatha, Iowa.

Forbes was referring to a published report in the St. Petersburg Times which quoted top Bush aide Karl Rove as saying the son of the former President was "loathe to make a pledge he cannot keep."

President George Bush told voters to "read my lips" during his successful 1988 campaign, promising not to raise taxes. Bush, however, later agreed to a tax increase in a major federal deficit reduction package. His son appears reluctant to fall victim to a similar about face.

Forbes said the younger Bush has previously made a "no new taxes" promise.

"He did, in 1994, take a "no tax" pledge, at least it looked that way, then in 1997 he proposed a tax package that had in it some 70 new tax increases, including an increase in the state sales tax," Forbes said.

Bush's Iowa press secretary, Eric Woolson, said Bush opposes taxes, but sidestepped the issue of an outright, signed-and-sealed-pledge on the subject.

"Governor Bush has made it clear to Americans for Tax Reform and others that he will oppose and veto any increase in individual or corporate marginal income tax rates or individual or corporate income tax hikes," said Woolson. "He feels that such increases would reduce productivity, removemoney from the pockets of Americans at a time when taxes already take a record peace-time share of the national income."

Since 1995, Forbes has been touting a 17 percent "flat tax" on income which would junk the federal tax code and establish a postcard return. He plans to bring up the tax cut issue at a debate Monday in Des Moines featuring the six GOP presidential candidates.

"Unfortunately, the political culture today is such that no matter what the times and circumstances -- peace/war, prosperity/recession, budget surplus/budget deficits -- the political culture always finds reasons to take more money out of your pocket and this is part of a pattern...We have to say no," Forbes said.

December 6, 1999

Bradley strikes back at Gore

(Cedar Rapids, IA) Former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley Monday accused Vice President Al Gore of telling falsehoods about his health care reform plan.

The two rivals for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination have offered competing plans to extend health care benefits to America's uninsured and low-income Americans who work but don't get insurance through their employer and cannot afford a private plan.

Gore has labeled the Bradley plan too expensive and this weekend suggested Bradley would have to raise taxes to pay for it.

"I have not proposed a tax increase," Bradley said Monday during a news conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "I do not propose a tax increase. The Vice President knows that."

The sharp response from Bradley marks a new phase of the campaign. For months, Gore did not acknowledge Bradley's challenge, then this fall began criticizing Bradley's proposals when public opinion polls showed the former NBA star winning support.

Bradley last Thursday struck back, and continued the mantra during his latest trip to Iowa, a state which hosts the Iowa Caucuses January 24, a sort of kick-off event for the political campaign.

"Health care for all Americans has been a fundamental democratic principle since Harry Truman, even F.D.R. I regret the Vice President has walked away from that," Bradley said.

Bradley said the Vice President has misrepresented his health reform package.

"I think that he's used scare tactics, going from group to group and trying to frighten people and I think that's not the politics that I would practice," Bradley said.

Bradley's campaign is running television advertisements in New Hampshire and Iowa, spots his staffers say promise a positive campaign.

"Wouldn't it be better if we had more than sound bites and photo ops when we are choosing a candidate?" Bradley says in the ad. "I think so. That's why my campaign will try to be different. It'll concentrate on issues, ones that concern you."

 December 4, 1999

Bauer attacks Bush, Forbes on Social Security

(West Des Moines, IA) Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer used a Saturday appearance before about 70 Iowa members of the American Association of Retired Persons to criticize the Social Security reforms proposed by two of his rivals.

"There's a basic disagreement here," Bauer said. "I believe Social Security was a good program and is a good program and where I grew up, the elderly would be living in poverty without it, so I want to preserve it."

While Bauer, a native of Kentucky, proposes a 20 percent reduction in the payroll tax charged to current workers, he opposes the idea of privatization of the system.

Magazine publisher Steve Forbes, a two-time GOP presidential candidate, has advocated allowing workers to invest half of their payroll taxes on their own in a more to privatization Forbes contends would earn those workers more for retirement.

Texas Governor George W. Bush, the front-runner for the Republican party's next presidential nomination, advocates creation of private retirement investment accounts for individuals, but has not specified what amount or percentage of payroll taxes he favors diverting.

"Mr. Forbes and Mr. Bush have bought in to the privatization idea. They're allowing current workers to take half of their money out. That only has one inevitable result: that will mean the phasing out of Social Security, and I think Mr. Forbes ought to be honest about it and quit trying to sell people the Social Security equivalent of a bad aluminum siding contract," Bauer said.

Bauer said his two competitors for the GOP's presidential nomination were fueling the fears of younger workers who believe there won't be Social Security checks for them when they reach retirement age.

"Both Bush and Forbes are going down a road that is fairly typical in politics. They're trying to tell everybody that they can have everything. They're saying to current retirees, you have nothing to worry about, you'll still get your money. They're saying to current workers, you have nothing to worry about, we'll let you take half of your money out of the system. What they're failing to address is that it's the money of current workers that's paying the benefits of current retirees," Bauer said.

Bauer was quizzed about several other issues during his appearance before the AARP group, issues like veteran's benefits and Medicaid restructuring.

Republican candidate Orrin Hatch is set to meet with the group later this month and Democrat candidate Bill Bradley has a date in January. Vice President Al Gore appeared before an AARP group in New Hampshire.

December 2, 1999

Farm reception for candidates

(Des Moines, IA) A few hundred Iowa farmers sat eating their pancakes and link sausage on a Wednesday morning in Des Moines, when Texas Governor George W. Bush strode into the room for a "shake and howdy" session with potential supporters.

Bush, the frontrunner in the contest to win the Republican party's next presidential nomination, is gunning for votes in Iowa, the state which hosts Caucuses January 24, an event which is considered the kick-off of the 2000 election cycle.

Bush had the run of the room at the Iowa Farm Bureau's annual convention before rival candidate Steve Forbes, the magazine publisher, entered the scene, finding many in the crowd had accepted and put on green caps printed with the words "Bush Farm Team".

The two met face-to-face, exchanged pleasantries and a handshake (an event captured by the throng of media surrounding them), then Forbes offered this comeback.

"We're tellin' the folks here today that you can wear the green, but I'll let you keep the green," Forbes said in reference to his plan to establish a "flat tax" of 17 percent on income.

All the Republican presidential candidates but John McCain, the Arizona Senator, have appealed for the farm vote in Iowa, promising to demolish trade barriers with other countries and keep the basic premise of the landmark "Freedom to Farm" law intact.

That law saw Congress depart from traditional farm supports toward a system of declining government payments to farmers, with the goal of having farmers make their planting decisions based on the market rather than government rules.

Supporters say it's free market enterprise. Critics, like democrat presidential candidates Al Gore and Bill Bradley, call the policy "Freedom to Fail." Gore and Bradley promise to re-establish some sort of a "safety net" for farmers, with government payments to farmers kicking in when prices for commodities like corn and soybeans fall below a set price.

Varel Bailey, a 59 year old farmer who raises corn, beans, cattle, hogs and sheep on land near Anita, Iowa, is a Republican who supports the end of government price supports and expansion of trade opportunities, as he believes it'll be more and more difficult to get the candidates to focus on ag issues.

"It's always tough, because farmers make up less than two percent of the population, so if I were a presidential candidate, why I'd parcel my time out on agriculture real carefully," said Bailey, who has been president of both the Iowa and National Corn Growers Associations. "On the flip side, though, agriculture is very important because we're interlocked with the rest of the world, in trade and providing food and fiber, so they can't ignore it, but as a powerful voting block, if it weren't for the (Iowa) Caucuses, I'm not sure (the candidates would talk about agriculture at all."

There are less than 100,000 farmers in Iowa today and to illustrate their fading political might, one need look no further than Latino voters which will at some point in the next decade outnumber farmers in Iowa.

Fifty-six year old Joan Bartenhagen raises non-traditional Iowa crops like potatoes, watermelon and cantaloupe on her farm near Muscatine, Iowa, and she's still searching for a candidate to support.

"We're not sure (the candidates) completely understand all the farm issues that are going on," Bartenhagen said as Bush strolled through the Farm Bureau convention. "We'd like open markets with all the foreign countries, with less government intervention. We aren't out for getting free hand outs or anything from the government. We just want open trade so that we can openly sell our products."

Another convention-goer, 48 year old Carlton Kjos who farms near Decorah, Iowa, supported former candidate Elizabeth Dole, who dropped out of the race last month, and is still looking for another Republican to support.

"A big part of it will be their position on farm issues, but also social issues are important, and character," he said.

Kjos said he isn't supporting Bush or Forbes yet, as they haven't provided him enough specifics.

"We always want them to address more, not only as candidates, but also to remember once they get elected," Kjos said.

Sixty-nine year old Laverne Lansman of Audubon, Iowa, stood in line to get Bush's autograph, as she's decided he's the candidate she'll back. Lansman rejects Kjos' claim that Bush hasn't provided enough specifics.

"His positions are very well outlined," she said. "In fact, I've gone to the Internet and found a page on just about every topic that you can think of, from gun control to farm issues to education especially. I own a farm, that's my source of income, and I'm very interested in what the farm economy is."

Merlin Bartz, a 38-year farmer who's also a member of the state legislature, shepherded his presidential pick, Steve Forbes, through the farm crowd. Bartz has pushed for a statewide mandate that corn-based ethanol fuel be the only gas dispensed from Iowa pumps.

All the candidates but John McCain have stated their support of ethanol's federal tax break (the federal tax on ethanol is one cent less than what's charged on other gasoline). That includes Bill Bradley, who voted to end ethanol's tax advantage while he was a member of the U.S. Senate.

Bartz believes McCain, who is an outspoken critic of the ethanol subsidy, could win support in Iowa, although McCain has decided not to campaign in the state, focusing on New Hampshire's primary instead.

"People look at the entire candidate and the ethanol issue is one issue that I think a lot of Iowans are very interested in right now, but I would not recommend, or myself personally, would not choose a candidate based on one issue," Bartz said.

A recent Des Moines Register poll of likely Iowa Caucus-goers found McCain o have the support of eight percent of those surveyed.

December 1, 1999

Bush outlines tax plan

(Des Moines, IA) Iowa farmers used to rising early for breakfast got their pancakes and link sausage, along with a serving of political posturing Tuesday morning at the Iowa Farm Bureau convention in Des Moines.

Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush, the front-runner for his party's nomination, made his way through a room full of farmers and a throng of media to do the "shake and howdy" with potential supporters, many of whom accepted a "John Deere" green cap printed with the words "Bush Farm Team."

Bush had the run of the room for half an hour, then another republican presidential contestant arrived.

"We wanted to show we could go into Indian Territory and not be afraid," said Bob Haus, a senior consultant to magazine publisher/presidential candidate Steve Forbes.

As Forbes surveyed the scene, he saw the growing number of green-capped converts. The two candidates moved toward one another for what Haus called the "picture of the week" -- a snapshot of the two shaking hands.

"See ya tomorrow," Bush said to Forbes, referring to Thursday's debate in New Hampshire which will feature all six GOP candidates.

"Good to see ya," Forbes responded.

Forbes also had his own rejoinder to counter the sea of green hats.

"We're telling the folks here today that you can wear the green, but we'll let you keep the green," Forbes joked to reporters, a reference to his plan which would junk the current tax code and establish a simple, 17 percent "flat tax" on income.

Bush touted his own, just-released-Tuesday-night tax plan during a luncheon speech in Des Moines. Bush estimates his combination of tax changes would account for a $483 Billion dollar reduction in taxes over five years.

Bush would reduce rates and increase the number of low-income Americans who pay no tax at all. In addition, he'd reduce the so-called "marriage penalty," establish a $1000 per child tax credit for parents and do away with the inheritance tax.

"This tax cut will be an insurance policy against any potential economic slowdown," Bush said during an appearance on Iowa Public Television.

Vice President Al Gore called Bush's plan "too risky" because it would reduce the federal government's ability to boost education and fix the Medicare and Social Security systems.

"Vice President Gore calls any tax cut risky," Bush said. "What's risky is to give Congress surplus money to spend. What's risky is to have an Administration that is unwilling to pass money back to the taxpayers."

Forbes called Bush's plan mere "tinkering."

"He leaves the IRS untouched. He phases in his small tax cuts over five to ten years. It doesn't deal with the real problem. It's a signal that it's politics as usual. It's a signal to Washington, they don't have to worry, their gravy train is going to remain on track.

November 30, 1999

Bauer calls on Vilsack to rescind pro-gay order

(Des Moines, IA) Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer Tuesday was joined by a retired pro-football star in attacking an executive order issued by Iowa's Governor which shields state workers from discrimination based on their "sexual orientation" or "gender identity."

Governor Tom Vilsack issued the order in September. Last night, Bauer urged Vilsack, who's a democrat, to be a "big man" and rescind it.

"The Governor of this great state has made a very big mistake," Bauer said during a rally, which attracted over 200 people to a Des Moines hotel to voice opposition to the executive order.

Bauer said conduct, like homosexuality, should not be included in anti-discrimination policies.

"I believe that Iowa can show the way, that you can be tolerant of your neighbors without twisting the law that was there to protect minorities into something that ends up protecting conduct that most of the civilized world still rejects," Bauer said.

Former Green Bay Packer Reggie White said the majority of Americans feel homosexuality is wrong.

"I have no problem with homosexuals," White said in his speech to the same crowd. "No one can prove that I have problems with homosexuals. If I had a problem with homosexuals, I wouldn't befriend them and try to minister to them. I have a problem with the agenda."

White said the agenda advanced by gays and lesbians should be offensive to those who long ago fought to win blacks basic civil rights.

"What Dr. King and many people in the civil rights movement fought for, for a group of people to say they want those same civil rights...based on your sexual orientation is an offense to every black person in America," White said.

About a year and a half ago, White sparked a firestorm when he addressed the Wisconsin state legislature and denounced homosexuality as a sin. He lost lucrative endorsement and sports contracts in the aftermath.

White has endorsed Bauer's bid for the presidency and appeared with Bauer at rallies in seven Iowa cities on Tuesday.

November 28, 1999

Bradley: Displaced workers need government help

(Emmetsburg, IA) On the eve of what may be groundbreaking world trade talks, Democrat presidential candidate Bill Bradley Sunday said American workers who lose their jobs to cheaper labor in another country should get a government stipend if their new job pays less.

Bradley also supports expanded job training programs for workers thrown into unemployment by an overseas business relocation.

"So that people could learn more and therefore earn more," Bradley said in an interview.

Bradley issued a three-page statement about the World Trade Organization and the protests of those who say expanding world trade is hurting the environment and workers.

"I have long championed trade because it is an engine for growth," Bradley said, in the statement. "...The W.T.O. is at a turning point. To maintain support for further liberalization, it is imperative to recognize trade's impact on people and nature."

Bradley proposed a worldwide ban on goods produced with "bonded or indentured child labor" and he called for opening the World Trade Organization's proceedings to the public.

Bradley said the next president must enact policies which help workers "displaced by trade who take lower paying jobs."

Bradley has previously proposed spending $1 Billion taxpayer dollars on job training programs.

"There have been many jobs created by open trade and there have been some jobs that have been lost," Bradley said during an interview. "What we have to do is focus on those individuals who have not fared well, try to give them a security package that includes health care and child care and opportunity for more education."

In his statement, Bradley said expanding trade ties between the world's countries are a convergence of economics and morality.

"When I hear our exports are growing, I say, that's a good thing," Bradley said. "But when I hear America is also exporting its most precious values -- freedom, tolerance, respect for human rights -- I say, that's a great thing. Finding a way to come together in that endeavor should be Seattle's real story."

Representatives from over 140 nations will gather this week in Seattle, Washington, to discuss trade issues and whether to admit China to the World Trade Organization.

Bradley campaigned in western Iowa over the weekend. He was joined on the Iowa campaign trail by Republican presidential hopeful Orrin Hatch, who also focused on trade issues.

Hatch, a U.S. Senator from Utah, said it is crucial for China to be admitted to the World Trade Organization.

"The more we can get them to conform to worldwide norms, the more we undermine their police state," Hatch said during an interview.

Hatch said U.S. defense strategy regarding China must be firm, particularly since a report indicates the Chinese are on the verge of developing military technology which detects U.S. "stealth" aircraft.

"China's tried to have unjust influence in the South China Sea, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, just to mention four places and we have got to be a geopolitical competitor with China," Hatch said. "We can compete with them, but at the same time we have to be open to a relationship which will hopefully bring them out of the Stone Age."

November 18, 1999

Bush previews foreign policy speech

(Des Moines, IA) Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush is calling for what he terms an era of "New American Internationalism."

The Texas Governor is scheduled to deliver a foreign policy address on Friday. The speech caps a week in which a biographical book about Bush has been released and Bush has stepped up his campaign appearances, making stops on the television talk-show circuit.

The foreign policy speech also comes on the heels of an embarrassing incident on a Boston TV station when Bush was quizzed by a reporter who asked Bush to name foreign leaders in four "hot spots" around the globe.

During a news conference Thursday morning in Des Moines, Bush gave reporters a brief sneak preview of the worldview he'll formally outline Friday.

"I'm going to talk about how America must not retreat within our borders, how we must lead the world to peace," Bush said. "We can't lead the world to peace by ourselves, but we can with out friends and allies...We must have free trade and a stronger military and strong alliances."

Bush rejected the clarion call of some in both his party and the democratic party who worry U.S. trade agreements are hurting American workers and leading to environmental damage in developing countries.

"America must seize the moment. That stands in stark contrast with those who believe we ought to retreat within our borders. I know we need to have a new American internationalism," Bush said.

For example, Bush supports the idea of admitting China to the World Trade Organization.

"I hear all the talk about free trade hurts workers. I strongly disagree. I think free trade keeps our economy vibrant so people will be able to find high paying, higher-quality jobs," he said.

But Bush supports the trade embargo against Cuba, which he termed a totalitarian regime."

"I believe that capital flowing to Cuba will prop up Fidel Castro," Bush said in response to a reporter's question on the subject.

Bush was asked to contrast his worldview with that advanced by his father, who was U.S. President from January, 1989 to January, 1993.

"I'm going to give you a preview of my speech, and then you can make those conclusions," Bush said.

Bush listed several priorities: trade markets in the Western Hemisphere; a peaceful Middle East and a secure Israel; a strong Europe, especially NATO; as well as strengthened diplomatic and trade ties with Russia, China and other countries in the Far East.

November 14, 1999

New Des Moines Register "Iowa Poll"

(Des Moines, IA) Two new Des Moines Register "Iowa Polls" show Al Gore and George W. Bush still the front-runners in Iowa, but their leads are narrowing.

In the Republican race, the poll shows Bush in first place with 49 percent, virtually the same result at the previous "Iowa Poll" conducted in June.

"That poll is another snapshot in time, but (Bush) recognizes and all the people on the Bush staff recognize that there's a lot of work yet to do," said Eric Woolson, press secretary for Bush's Iowa campaign.

Steve Forbes trails Bush at 20 percent in the latest poll, but Forbes doubled the amount of support he had recorded in June's survey.

"Steve Forbes has become the conservative alternative to George Bush and what (the poll) shows is a consolidation of the conservative movement in Iowa behind Steve Forbes," said Bill Dal Col, Forbes' national campaign manager.

Dal Col questioned the Register's polling technique as pollsters weren't using a list of Iowans who have a history of attending the Caucuses, which are held in precincts throughout the state and can last all night long.

The Register's poll is "broad based and it goes to self-identified voters. I think if you actually contacted actual caucus attendees, the Governor's numbers will be significantly lower and ours will be significantly higher," Dal Col said.

None of the other G.O.P. candidates garnered more than ten percent and finished in this order: John McCain with eight percent, Gary Bauer with seven percent, Alan Keyes with five percent, and Orrin Hatch with one percent.

On the democrat side, it's a two-way race that's tightening. Gore led challenger Bill Bradley, 54 to 32 percent. Bradley gained eight points since the latest "Iowa Poll" snapshot of the race -- and Gore fell about 10 percent.

"Of course, we're very excited that our hard work is paying off," said Maureen Monahan, press secretary for Bradley's Iowa campaign effort. "It reflects all the field work and organization that we've done."

Gore's camp seeks to downplay the edge Gore seems to be holding onto in Iowa.

"We fully expect this to be a very, very close race and, quite frankly, we think the race is even closer than the Register is predicting," said Jud Lounsberry, press secretary for Gore's Iowa campaign.

November 12, 1999

Gore a new man, listening to "music" of the campaign

(Johnston, Iowa) It was not the "Al in Wolf's clothing," but the Veep in his very Gore-ganized, official looking navy blue business suit, starched white shirt and red tie.

Al Gore left the new clothes feminist author Naomi Wolf picked out for him in the closet, choosing instead the politician's uniform for his Veteran's Day trip to Iowa in which he addressed about 200 World War II era vets, met with "undecided" voters in a gabfest and appeared on a public television interview show.

The last time Gore wore a suit and tie in Iowa, it was June and he was standing in Iowa City, "formally" announcing his bid to get the gig Bill Clinton's had since 1993.

As Gore in late summer reorganized his campaign to fight the labels of "stiff" and "wooden" -- and a very real challenge from Bill Bradley, he began campaigning in the "business casual" style of clothing (envision an Izod shirt tucked into Dockers), adding black cowboy boots for that homespun Tennessee fashion flair. The look became so familiar, acerbic Iowa reporters began to joke about the Vice President's new "Gore-animals," a reference to the line of children's clothing which feature labels which help kids match shirts and slacks.

But Gore's national breakout fashion debut came at the Iowa Democratic Party's Jefferson/Jackson Day Dinner in Des Moines October 9. when the Vice President of the United States didn't don the politician's uniform, appearing instead in an olive suit and fashionable "French blue" shirt. It was a marked contrast to Bradley, who did look like the former United States Senator and Rhodes Scholar he is, complete with those little half glasses sitting mid-nose.

Gore has since drawn flak for employing and accepting the advice of Wolf, who has advocated the controversial idea that teenagers should be taught how to sexually pleasure themselves as an alternative to promiscuity.

While he did not talk about Wolf's controversial idea, Gore did talk about his renewed pleasure in campaigning during an appearance on the Iowa Public Television program, "Iowa Press" (taped 11/11/99, aired 11/14/99). Here's a partial transcript:

Q: "You're catching a lot of grief for having hired this feminist consultant at $15,000 a month and now it's $5,000, to give you advice. What do you say about that? What's your response to that?"

Gore: "She's a valued advisor and she'll remain one."

Q: "Despite the criticism?"

Gore: "Well, uh, I've, I've always reached out for a diversity of advice, uh, and, uh, if somebody, uh, has views that's controversial, that are controversial on something that have nothing to do with what he or she is advising me on, then I, you know I, that's uh, I guess that's a cost you pay for, for, uh, reaching out for diverse opinions, but, uh, I'm , you know, I value her advice and she's one of many, uh, people who are on the campaign team who are helping us with the campaign."

A few moments later, Gore ventured into a discussion of the "music" of the campaign trail.

Q: "Give us a status report on this campaign. There are some who suggest that you've stabilized your campaign and have begun to pull away and right the ship against Senator Bradley. What's the status of that race?"

Gore: "Hmm. Well, I think if this Campaign, uh, 2000, on both the democratic and republican side were a book, we would just be finishing the introduction. And we'd be turning the page to begin chapter one. I think most people are just now digging in to what they feel about these candidates and the dialogue about our future and I think that's as it should be...(thanks Iowans for receptions in recent meetings)...I think where my campaign in particular is concerned which I guess you're kinda asking about here, I think starting a couple of months ago, I started to say a couple or three months ago, I began to connect with the groups I was meeting with and the individuals I was meeting with in a new way. It started, I think, 'round about the time I started spending the night on, uh, with farm families in Iowa and in the small towns with families here and really immersing myself in what you might call the music of campaign 2000 and really, really hearing not just with my ears but with my heart what people are dreaming about, what they want to see happen in this country and when I started connecting in a new way, I went through some changes, Mike. One of 'em was this: instead of thinking like a vice president, which means thinking, 'How am I going advance the administration's goals and help the current administration,' I started thinking like someone who is asking the people for their ideas on how to make this a better country and then responding spontaneously from the heart about whatever they're wanting to talk about and once that happened, then I said hey, I've got to move my campaign out of Washington..."

A few minutes later, Gore talked about what he's called his"transformation" on the campaign trail:

Gore: "What campaigns are all about is a dialogue between the candidates and the people. And you know what, it's also a learning experience for candidates. And if it's done correctly, it's a growth experience for candidates and if the people are willing to tell you what you need to know and if you're listening with your heart, you can really learn a lot and I want you to know I've been learning a lot and I have really been enjoying it. Six months ago, if I'd told you I was enjoying it, I'm not sure that I really was that much."

November 11, 1999

Gore visits Iowa Veterans, pledges tough military presence

(Marshalltown, IA) Dressed in a navy business suit and wearing his Tennessee American Legion cap, Vice President Al Gore used a Veteran's Day address in Iowa to outline the defense initiatives he'd pursue as president.

However, Gore, a military journalist from January to May of 1971, diverted from his prepared speech text to talk about being a veteran of what was an unpopular war.

"Those of you who have not seen the experience of Vietnam veterans may wonder sometimes why it is that when two Vietnam veterans meet, they'll often just reflexively say to one another, 'Welcome home,' even if they're from different towns and different states and have never met one another before. And, of course, that symbolic greeting, which is nearly universal, is intended to kind of reaffirm in the hearts of each the feeling that many Vietnam veterans had to build for themselves coming home," Gore said.

Gore spoke to about 200 World War II era veterans, half of whom were in wheelchairs, assembled in an activity room at the Iowa Veteran's Home.

"I know, as so many of you do, what it's like to leave home for a war zone. I don't claim that my military experience matches in any way what others here have been through, or that my skills as a soldier could rival those now standing guard...But I can and do understand what many others feel in their hearts as they leave their families to defend their country," Gore said.

Gore said the next President must get the U.S. Senate to ratify the nuclear test ban treaty and get Congress to pay, in total, the dues America owes to the United Nations.

"Unfortunately, more and more each year, engagement abroad means a political struggle here at home. When Congress risks our vote at the United Nations by refusing to pay our dues, that does not honor the service of our veterans," Gore said.

Gore also promised to redouble international diplomatic efforts and boost U.S. investments in other democracies around the globe.

"History teaches us that an ounce of prevention is worth a mighty arsenal of cure," Gore said.

Gore spoke vaguely of providing the U.S. military with the support necessary to "deter and, if necessary, reverse aggression," but he did not provide specific examples of weapons programs or military pay proposals.

November 3, 1999

One-third opt for Internet vote, most want to again

(Des Moines, IA) Iowa Secretary of State Chet Culver said between 80 and 90 percent of the Iowans who participated in experimental "Internet voting" in Tuesday's municipal elections want to have the option again.

"People in Iowa, those that tried it, seem ready for this possibility and I've said all along that I think it will be a viable option in this state and across the nation within the next 10 years," Culver said during an interview with Radio Iowa.

Culver isn't talking about voting at home in your pajamas as the inevitable "next step," but he envisions having computer stations set up at precincts for Internet voting.

"This is essentially just a very high tech voting machine with on-site Internet voting," Culver said. "The best part about it is we're looking at potential cost saving of 40 to 50 percent because you don't have to print any ballots. It's all over the computer."

Computer voting stations were set up alongside voting booths in eight precincts in Johnson and Woodbury counties for Tuesday's election. One-third of those who cast paper ballots in those precincts cast a second, Internet ballot.

"The voters came in the booth. They voted the traditional way, with a ballot, and then they were asked if they wanted to participate in the Internet voting study and we were extremely pleased with the results."

Culver, a 33-year-old ex-high schoolteacher and coach, said he's still reviewing the results, but the Internet voters weren't necessarily computer savvy.

"There were some people that tried voting yesterday on the computer, over the Internet, that really had never even been on a monitor before," Culver said.

Culver was elected Secretary of State in 1998, a job which makes him Iowa's Commissioner of Elections.

November 2, 1999

Forbes steps up campaign, returns to IA for bus tour

(Sioux City, IA) Magazine publisher Steve Forbes plans to intensify his presidential campaign, hoping to emerge as the challenger to George W. Bush, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination.

"We're going to step up our efforts to get our message out," Forbes said in a telephone interview with Radio Iowa. "We'll be going on the air before Thanksgiving, both over television and radio. We've been on radio and done television, periodically. We'll be doing more of that."

Forbes indicated he plans to attack Bush on several specific fronts, including the abortion issue. Forbes said if elected, he would appoint "pro-life" justices to the U.S. Supreme Court who would overturn Roe versus Wade, the decision that legalized abortion.

By comparison, Bush has said he opposes abortion, but wouldn't impose such a "litmus test" on Supreme Court nominees.

"People want to know how you hope to move the issue forward, not to just make vague promises," Forbes said, in reference to Bush.

Forbes will stress the issue in television and radio advertising to "make it clear" that Forbes believes "in the sanctity of life."

Forbes made campaign stops in Council Bluffs and Sioux City on Tuesday.