- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 10, 2000

OXNARD, Calif. Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush said yesterday that Democratic vice presidential hopeful Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman was a "good pick" by his Democratic rival, Vice President Al Gore.
Mr. Lieberman "is a man who is praised by people from both sides of the aisle, and that is a good thing," Mr. Bush told reporters upon landing in California. "I don't know him personally, but I do appreciate his strong positions on ethics that he's taken."
But Mr. Bush tried to keep the focus on Mr. Gore, who has been tarnished by fund-raising scandals and whose close association with President Clinton appears to be hurting in polls.
"The American people are going to decide who is best to bring a new tone to Washington, D.C.," he said. "If Vice President Gore wants to say 'I'm different from President Clinton,' let him explain how… . I'm saying we'll set a new tone."
Mr. Bush will campaign today and tomorrow in California with his former Republican-nomination rival, Sen. John McCain of Arizona. The Bush campaign noted that the combined vote for Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain in the March primary was 3.9 million, beating the combined total for Mr. Gore and his Democratic rival, former Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey.
Meanwhile, in St. Louis, Mr. Bush's running mate, Richard B. Cheney, pitched himself as better qualified to be No. 2 in the White House.
"I think when the chips are down … the American people will believe my experience and what I have to offer adds more to the Bush campaign than Joe adds to the Gore ticket," Mr. Cheney said on his first solo campaign outing.
Mr. Cheney said Mr. Lieberman's religion he's the first Jewish American on a national ticket shouldn't be an issue in the campaign.
"It should have no effect," he said. "I don't think it's an issue, and should not be an issue."
Pressed to draw distinctions between Mr. Lieberman and himself, Mr. Cheney said he had more experience in the executive branch, having served under three presidents, whereas Mr. Lieberman, an attorney, has "stronger legal dimensions."
Mr. Bush sent Mr. Cheney to a homeless shelter in a blighted area of downtown St. Louis to promote his plan to give federal money to religious groups that help people struggling with drugs, poverty and crime.
Mr. Bush has proposed partnerships between the government and churches, charitable organizations and individuals who provide services or donate money to fight social ills.
Charitable and religious groups already have the right to compete for government contracts to provide social services, but Mr. Cheney said most of the time they have to "conceal or compromise their religious charter."
"Governor Bush and I believe faith-based groups, whether Mormon, Methodist or Muslim, ought to be eligible for public money and should not be required to abandon their principles or their practices," Mr. Cheney told about 70 people at the Sunshine Mission, a former soup kitchen founded in 1903.

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