- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 1, 2000

DAYTON, Ohio George W. Bush will practice the positive politics that he preaches when he accepts the Republican presidential nomination Thursday night by going easy on the scandal-ridden Clinton-Gore team that drove his father from the White House, campaign aides said yesterday.
"He will needle his opponents a little, but he will treat them with respect," said Bush spokesman Karen Hughes, with the candidate at another large rally in this battleground state. "He will not engage in the kind of trash-and-burn, attack-style politics that we've become so sick of out of Washington, D.C."
The Texas governor has left out of his convention speech a standard dig at President Clinton from his stump speeches that the nation needs a president "who understands what the definition of 'is' is." That is a reference to Mr. Clinton's evasive testimony in the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit that led to his impeachment.
Mr. Bush's plan to lay off the harshest partisan vitriol he will focus instead on restoring honor and integrity to the White House is in line with his wishes to devote the convention to positive issues and success stories.
For example, at his insistence, the GOP has abandoned its traditional Democrat-bashing session that it usually reserves for Tuesday night of convention week.
Mr. Bush wrapped up his 10th campaign trip to Ohio yesterday with rallies at the University of Dayton and at the Statehouse in Columbus. The Dayton event, held in a swing county that gave rise to the term "soccer moms," drew about 5,000 people, further proof to the candidate that his campaign is reaching independent voters.
"We're on a mission," Mr. Bush told the audience in Dayton. "We've seen huge crowds, and there's a reason why. Ours is the campaign of hopefulness."
The campaign will conclude its six-state tour today in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, arriving at the convention in Philadelphia about 10 a.m. tomorrow. Mr. Bush will give his nomination acceptance speech Thursday night.
More details were made available yesterday about Mr. Bush's 3,900-word speech, portions of which he has been road-testing during this campaign swing. Mrs. Hughes said it will be a "very positive and uplifting speech, a leadership speech."
Various passages will hold the Clinton administration responsible for failure to modernize Social Security, low morale in the military, and failure to work with Congress in a bipartisan spirit on a prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients.
"This is very much his speech," Mrs. Hughes said. "He's been very involved in every edit session."
In a preview of his speech, Mr. Bush told the crowd in Dayton yesterday, "We're speaking to the aspirations of the American people. We do not spend time tearing down people to get ahead. We talk about positive issues for all Americans. Ours is the politics that lifts the spirit of America."
Two families have already heard the speech. The DeWitt and Reynolds families, longtime friends of Mr. Bush and his wife, Laura, witnessed a rehearsal Sunday night at the DeWitts' home near Cincinnati, where the Bushes were staying overnight.
The DeWitts pushed aside their living room furniture, according to Mrs. Hughes, and Mr. Bush delivered the address for the group of about 12 people, even using TelePrompTers.
"There was lots of applause very reassuring," Mrs. Hughes said.
The speech's starting time, about 10 p.m. Thursday, has been the topic of mild trepidation in the Bush camp. It's past his usual bedtime of 9:30 p.m.
"We hope he'll have time for a nap Thursday afternoon," Mrs. Hughes said. "It's a late night, but he's been looking forward to this moment and he intends to make the most of it."
The visit to Ohio was Mr. Bush's sixth since winning the Republican primary over Sen. John McCain of Arizona. No Republican has ever won the presidency without carrying Ohio.
Sen. Mike DeWine, Ohio Republican, told the crowd in Dayton that there's a "fundamental difference" between Republicans and Democrats in this election year. He noted that Congress has approved a bill to eliminate the "marriage penalty tax," but Mr. Clinton has promised to veto it.
"George Bush would have signed that bill," Mr. DeWine said. "Elections do matter."

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