- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 2, 2000

MINNEAPOLIS George W. Bush yesterday lashed Al Gore's spending plan, telling voters that the vice president is the taxpayer's worst enemy.
"This is spending without discipline, spending without priorities, spending without end," Mr. Bush told several thousand roaring supporters in this state that hasn't voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1972. "The vice president is not reinventing the federal government, he is reinvigorating the federal government."
In some of his harshest rhetoric to date, the Republican nominee depicted Mr. Gore as an ineffectual politician who would threaten prosperity with plans for increased spending.
"He offers a new federal spending program to nearly every voting bloc. He expands entitlements, without reforms to sustain them.
"Add Gore's spending up, and you get a $2 trillion spending spree over 10 years," Mr. Bush said. "These are not the policies of the 1990s. These are the same policies that threatened our economy in the 1970s.
"And when Ronald Reagan changed those policies in the 1980s, my opponent was there, opposing him. Vice President Gore offers an old and tired approach. He expands entitlements without reforms to sustain them. And when others, Republican or Democrat, propose needed reform in Social Security, Medicare or education, he opposes and attacks and demonizes them."
Mr. Bush pointed to a long public record supporting his charge.
"Twelve times while in Congress, Al Gore was rated a 'big spender' by the National Taxpayers Union. Three of those times, he earned the worst rating of any member of Congress. Considering the competition, that's quite an achievement."
If Mr. Gore becomes president, Mr. Bush warned, "Americans will feel this influence in our own lives."
"We'll have more forms to fill out, more regulations to comply with and more hoops to jump through," he said.
"Here is an example," Mr. Bush told the crowd. "How many of you own hybrid electric-gasoline engine vehicles? Raise your hands."
Not a hand in the crowd could be seen.
"Well," Mr. Bush said, "not too many of you are targeted for that tax cut. Now how many of you own a rooftop photo-voltaic system?"
Again, no hands.
"You're beginning to get the drift of 'targeted,' " Mr. Bush said. "It's always the same in my opponent's plans it sounds good until you read the fine print."
Mr. Bush also took issue with Mr. Gore's claim that he has reduced the size of government, saying most of the job cuts by the Clinton-Gore administration actually occurred in the military.
"You might call that shortsighted," Bush said. "You might call that unwise. But please don't call that 'reinventing government.'"
In traditionally Democratic Minnesota, the latest poll shows Mr. Bush leading Mr. Gore by three percentage points, 41 percent to 38 percent. And the Bush campaign is hoping to steal Minnesota from Mr. Gore along with other states that usually vote Democratic, such as Washington and Oregon, where Mr. Bush stopped again this week.
"We're going to carry Minnesota," Mr. Bush told the crowd in Minneapolis. "You know it, I know it the only people who don't know it are my opponents and they're fixin' to find out."
Said Bush adviser Karen Hughes, "If you had asked me a year and a half ago if we'd be going to Minnesota in the last week of the campaign, I probably would have looked at you as if you were crazy."
Mr. Bush said he wants to unite America to achieve "great goals for our country" reforming education, Social Security and Medicare, rebuilding the military and returning some of the projected federal surplus to taxpayers through $1.3 trillion in tax cuts over 10 years.
"When you have a surplus, it means people are overtaxed. Your government is overcharging you, and I intend to do something about it."
From Minnesota last night, Mr. Bush flew to Iowa, another state up for grabs in the Midwest. He will campaign in Illinois, Michigan and Missouri as well this week.
Before leaving Seattle yesterday, Mr. Bush visited a fish market where one worker greeted him, "Hello, Mr. Vice President." The candidate gently reminded the man that he's running for slightly higher office.
Mr. Bush also patted an oversized bronze piggy bank at one shop and deposited a coin. "For good luck," he said.
Asked about a new Zogby poll that shows him losing the key state of Florida by 11 percentage points, Mr. Bush said the survey is "totally out of kilter."
"I don't believe it," Mr. Bush said. His media strategist, Mark McKinnon, said the Zogby poll is skewed because it calls people only during the day and therefore gets a higher percentage of seniors. He said a new Mason-Dixon poll to be released today will show Mr. Bush ahead by two points in Florida.
At a Bush rally late Tuesday night in Washington state, Sen. Slade Gorton told a wildly enthusiastic crowd that all the political stars are aligned for Republicans this year.
"Perhaps once every generation, a wonderful set of circumstances occur in a single year," said the Washington Republican. "The people of the United States get a case of fatigue and revulsion about a Democratic administration in Washington, D.C. The Republican Party nominates a candidate of charisma and concern and compassion, unanimously, to be president of the United States. And hundreds of thousands of Republicans pour out into the streets and into their neighborhoods, often emptying their checkbooks and emptying their hearts to carry that message to the rest of the people."
The partisan crowd at Bellevue Community College in a suburb of Seattle emitted a deafening roar when local conservative radio host Kirby Wilbur told them, "We're also going to have a new first lady, and I emphasize the word 'lady.' L-A-D-Y."

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