- The Washington Times - Friday, October 20, 2000

NEW YORK George W. Bush said yesterday that Al Gore and Democratic leaders are conducting a "campaign of fear" on Social Security that pits grandparents against grandchildren in a push for bigger government and for continued control of the retirement system.
"It is irresponsible for the chairman of the Democratic Party and for Vice President Gore to stoke the fears of seniors while ignoring the hopes of younger workers," Mr. Bush said in Macomb County, Mich., home of Reagan Democrats.
"A true leader does not try to pit grandparents against grandchildren. A true leader will fix this problem so that both the greatest generation and the rising generation can depend on the promise of Social Security," he said.
Mr. Bush's comments came as a new CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll following Tuesday's final debate showed the Texas governor's pre-debate six-point lead had grown to 10 percentage points, putting him ahead 49-39. Two-thirds of the sample was from before the debate.
Mr. Gore again lashed out yesterday at Mr. Bush, portraying him as someone who would slow the economy even further.
"Governor Bush's plan gambles with our prosperity by bringing back deficits, draining Social Security, delaying debt reduction and fueling higher interest rates," he said.
"One of the biggest differences between our two plans is on the fundamental issue of fiscal discipline. As president, I'll balance the budget every year and pay down our national debt every year," he said.
"That's the way to keep interest rates low, keep our prosperity growing and make sure it works for middle-class families."
Seeking to bolster his image as a steward of good economic times, the vice president campaigned with former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin yesterday and savaged Mr. Bush's fiscal plans.
"The economic policies my opponent has put forward in this election are not just unfair, they are unsound and they would hurt our economy," Mr. Gore warned in a speech at Columbia University. "It wasn't easy to get here. And I don't believe our future prosperity is preordained."
In an economic speech at a tool manufacturing plant in Fraser, Mr. Bush portrayed Mr. Gore as an old-style Democrat beholden to trial lawyers who lacks the vision to expand America's high-tech economy.
"He is all for the new economy, just so long as it goes to fund the old politics of tax and spend," Mr. Bush said. "He wants to use our surplus to fund a permanently larger and more intrusive government bigger government, more regulations, a blanket of lawsuits."
Mr. Bush said he wants to expand the high-tech economy by extending tax credits for research and development and protecting high-tech companies from "junk lawsuits."
"We will stand with the creators and inventors, not with the trial lawyers," Mr. Bush said. "This election must bring a victory of freedom and innovation and a defeat for central planners and bureaucrats."
His words were intended as red meat for independents and conservative Democrats who gave President Reagan his victories in Michigan in the 1980s. The latest polls in the state with 18 electoral votes show the candidates in a dead heat.
Beyond that goal, however, Mr. Bush's comments yesterday also reflected concern that Mr. Gore's attacks on the Republican's plans for Social Security reform could scare some voters into the Democratic camp.
Mr. Gore argued in the final presidential debate Tuesday night that Mr. Bush's proposal to allow workers to invest up to two percentage points of their 12.4 percent Social Security payroll tax, would bankrupt the system sooner than projected.
The Democrats began airing TV ads Wednesday on that same theme. Democratic National Committee Chairman Joe Andrew said Mr. Bush had grabbed the so-called "third rail" of American politics, and Democrats with the ad were switching on the electricity.
Mr. Bush, who has been warning voters all during the fall that the Democrats would try to misrepresent his plan, spoke out yesterday in some of his most urgent comments yet on the issue.
"Not this time, not this year," he said of Democrats' tactics.
The Republican nominee said independent analysts have "confirmed" the Social Security trust fund will have a surplus of $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years, "more than enough money" to accomplish his reforms.
"Where we see a vision of hope, the Democrats will wage a campaign of fear," Mr. Bush said. "But this will not stop us from doing what is right."
For his part, the vice president railed against Mr. Bush's proposed across-the-board tax cut, which Mr. Gore said would disproportionately benefit the rich.
"I begrudge tax cuts to those at the very top of the economic ladder," he said.
"I want to make sure prosperity is shared by everybody, with tax cuts to the middle class, for the biggest hopes our families have, like college, retirement savings and health care," he added.
Mr. Gore said he should be judged according to "how and what we do for all of you, the people who pay the taxes, bear the burdens and live the American dream."

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