- The Washington Times - Friday, September 29, 2000

GREEN BAY, Wis. George W. Bush said yesterday that Al Gore is an "old Democrat" who is proposing the largest increase in federal spending since President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society of the 1960s.
"The vice president was seated right behind Bill Clinton at the State of the Union when the president declared 'The era of big government is over,' " said Mr. Bush. "Apparently, the message never took."
Mr. Bush, in an economic speech to factory workers in this competitive state, painted Mr. Gore as an old-style liberal in centrist's clothing.
"My opponent once seemed interested in 'reinventing government,' " said Mr. Bush. "Now he seems interested only in expanding it. My opponent has left the vital center of American politics. He has cast his lot with the old Democratic Party. We have come too far, and learned too much, to go back to the old ways of tax and spend."
The audience of about 600 union employees at the container factory whooped with approval and interrupted the Texas governor's speech several times with applause.
Aides said the campaign trip to Wisconsin is part of a larger strategy to win what senior adviser Ari Fleischer called "the Dukakis Five" five states with a total of 42 electoral votes that Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis won in the 1988 presidential race. The states Wisconsin, Oregon, West Virginia, Washington and Iowa have not voted for the Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan's re-election in 1984, but all five are competitive this year.
"This is a real problem for the vice president," said Mr. Fleischer. "Those states should be locked up for him."
As part of the effort to win over Democrats and independents in those states and elsewhere, Mr. Bush yesterday used some of his strongest rhetoric of the fall campaign to portray Mr. Gore as outside the mainstream of his party.
"The vice president's spending plan proposes three times more in new spending than Bill Clinton proposed in 1992," said Mr. Bush. "If the vice president gets elected, the era of big government being over is over."
The Republican nominee, flanked by Gov. Tommy G. Thompson, said the nation instead needs "a government that knows its limits but shows its heart." He said that includes Social Security reform to allow workers to invest a portion of their own money in the stock market and education reform that gives parents the option of moving their children out of failing public schools.
"My opponent once had sympathy for these ideas," said Mr. Bush. "He has claimed to invent many things, but he did help invent the Democratic Leadership Council. Senator Lieberman is also a member. This is an organization of more moderate Democrats who want to modernize Medicare and Social Security, shrink the federal work force and control spending. But Vice President Gore has cast his lot with the old Democratic Party. His promises throw the budget out of balance. He offers a big federal spending program to nearly every voting bloc."
Later, in response to a question from an audience member, the Republican nominee said Mr. Gore's vision of government spending is warped by his long career in the public arena without experience in private enterprise.
"I'm running against a man who's never really run anything," said Mr. Bush.
Mr. Bush said his formula for maintaining prosperity includes $1.3 trillion in tax cuts over 10 years as "an insurance policy against an economic slowdown or recession." The money would come from a projected $4.6 trillion federal surplus.
"My opponent has a plan for the surplus as well," said Mr. Bush. "He is proposing the largest increase in federal spending in 35 years since the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson," said Mr. Bush. He said the Democrat's proposed budget would add more than 200 new or expanded federal programs and "an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 new Washington bureaucrats."
"All of this could amount to over $2 trillion in bigger government over 10 years," said Mr. Bush, "costing about $20,000 on average for every household."
Mr. Bush challenged Mr. Gore to rule out new Social Security taxes and said Mr. Gore's plans for increased federal spending would end the current prosperity.
"He wants to issue bonds government IOUs to fill the Social Security trust fund," Mr. Bush said. "Let us call them 'Gore bonds.' There is just one problem eventually, IOUs come due. Our children and grandchildren will have to pay these Gore bonds. That will mean a massive increase in taxes, or a massive reduction in benefits. While I have ruled out new Social Security taxes, my opponent has not."
Before traveling to Michigan, Mr. Bush stopped by to visit the Green Bay Packers professional football team during a practice at their training facility. The candidate tossed a pass to tight end Bubba Franks and bantered with the players about tax cuts.
Mr. Bush will return to his ranch in Texas today to begin preparation in earnest for the presidential debate against Mr. Gore on Tuesday night in Boston.

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