- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 7, 2000

FLINT, Mich. Vice President Al Gore, dashing through four tossup states during a 30-hour sleepless bid to defeat George W. Bush in today's presidential election, last night offered two versions of post-election America.
In the first, he told supporters, a voter wakes up with a splitting headache and hears a pounding rain mixed with sleet and hail hammering on his window.
"The sky is so dark there's hardly any light. You stumble out of bed. Your knees are sore as you walk toward the door and stub your toe," Mr. Gore says.
"You open the door and the newspaper is stuck to the step, frozen by the sleet, soaked through and through.
"You peel it off and hold it up to the light and all you can see is 'Bush.' "
Mr. Gore tells booing supporters there is another option.
"On Wednesday morning, just before you awaken, a golden shaft of sunlight flickers on your eyelids," Mr. Gore says.
"You hear the chirping of birds on the windowsill. Your senses detect the scent of fresh-cut flowers on the table by the bed. It mingles with the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee wafting in from the kitchen. The radio is playing your favorite song, and you leap out of bed just feeling great," he says.
"You dance your way to the front door and open it as the sunlight warms your face. You pick up the paper and it says: 'Gore-Lieberman Win.' "
Mr. Gore, bleary-eyed and hoarse, yesterday tried to boost his turnout in a last-minute blitz through Iowa, Missouri, Florida and Michigan.
"I'm in the middle of a 30-hour marathon" Mr. Gore said at midday in a satellite interview with a television station in Portland, Ore.
"We're not getting much sleep in these final hours because there are so many places to talk with people."
Today's voter verdict caps a marathon quest for the son of a Tennessee senator. Mr. Gore, who first ran for president in 1988, has pointed toward the presidency through a 24-year career in the House, the Senate and the executive branch.
Mr. Bush holds a slight lead in most national polls. Mr. Gore's aides, while not boastful, think the vice president can eke out enough big states to capture the 270 electoral votes needed to win.
Mr. Gore, exhausted but upbeat, echoed Harry S. Truman's populist spirit as he bolted through the Midwest, seeking his own come-from-behind victory.
"You know, I've seen these prognosticators and pundits and listened to their predictions and watched them read the polls," Mr. Gore said early yesterday at an airport rally in Waterloo, Iowa.
"I just have a feeling that the people of this country are pulling this race in the direction that you, the people of America, want it to go."
A Gore supporter made the Truman comparison in his own way.
At a pre-dawn rally during a rainstorm at a John Deere factory in Waterloo, a red pickup slowed in the street while Mr. Gore was pressing the flesh.
"Give George Bush hell tomorrow," the driver yelled, putting a grin on Mr. Gore's face.
The Gore campaign is making millions of calls to the homes of union workers and minorities, trying to boost turnout. But there are clouds on the horizon. Cold, wind-swept rain in the Midwest could diminish turnout.
"It doesn't help us, but it won't hurt us, because we planned for it," Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile said in St. Louis. "We'll have door-to-door limousine service."
The Democrats beefed up their transportation, adding vans to take voters to the polls in Detroit, St. Louis and Minneapolis. In rainy cities, campaign volunteers will make additional calls, offering to take voters to the polls.
Local and national campaign coordinators are "ready to rumble," she said.
Yesterday, Mr. Gore stumped at a convention hall in St. Louis before heading to Flint, Mich., where he spoke to autoworkers at a union hall and exhorted a mostly black congregation at New Jerusalem Full Baptist Church.
Mr. Gore flew on to Miami for a star-studded midnight rally with entertainers, including musicians Stevie Wonder and Jon Bon Jovi and actors Robert De Niro, Ben Affleck and Glenn Close.
Early this morning, Mr. Gore flew to Tampa, Fla., to visit with working women at 4 a.m. He planned to appear on morning news shows in Florida before heading home to vote in Carthage, Tenn.
Mr. Gore, his running mate, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, and their wives, Tipper and Hadassah, will watch returns tonight in Nashville.
Between campaign stops, Mr. Gore did a round of 10 satellite interviews with local TV stations in swing states such as Florida, Michigan, West Virginia, Tennessee, Iowa, Arkansas and Maine.
The vice president refused any joint appearances with President Clinton in the home stretch, fearing the taint of Mr. Clinton's personal scandals.
But Mr. Gore is subtly trying to tap into the president's high job-approval ratings in the waning hours.
"You gave Bill Clinton and me a chance to change this country," Mr. Gore said at the rally in St. Louis.
Mr. Gore asked Missourians to send a message to the Texas governor.
"You have the decision. Right here in the 'Show-Me State' you have the ability to show him what you want in the way of America's future," Mr. Gore said.
Mr. and Mrs. Gore landed at the rainy Waterloo airport after midnight yesterday.
"I don't know if you've looked at your watch lately, but today is officially Monday, the last day of the campaign," Mr. Gore told several hundred supporters in the terminal's arrival area.
Mrs. Gore clapped and jumped up and down, signifying relief as much as excitement.
Mr. Gore expects the election to go far into the night. A reporter recently asked the vice president what his first meal would be after the election.
"Breakfast," he said.

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