- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 2, 2000

HARRISBURG, Pa. — George W. Bush, in a rare burst of public anger, yesterday dismissed taunts from President Clinton as the acts of a man desperate to salvage his historic legacy.
"He's so desperate to have his legacy intact by getting Al Gore elected, he'll say anything, just like Al Gore will," Mr. Bush told reporters aboard his campaign plane.
Even Mr. Bush's father, former President George Bush, took offense at Mr. Clinton's latest remarks.
"I'm going to wait a month … If he continues that, I'm going to tell the nation what I think about him as a human being and person," he said.
While Mr. Bush's opponent has remained silent during the Republican National Convention, Mr. Clinton has stepped in to assail the GOP candidate. In one recent attack, the president suggested Mr. Bush's campaign message was: "How bad can I be? I've been governor of Texas. My daddy was president. I own a baseball team. They like me down there… . Everything is rocking along hunky dory. Their fraternity had it for eight years, give it to ours for eight years."
That provoked Mr. Bush to break his self-imposed ban on mentioning the names of Mr. Clinton and Mr. Gore.
"This nation is sick and tired of the politics of personal destruction; they want a uniter not a divider. This nation does not want four more years of Clinton-Gore," he told a rally in front of West Virginia's Veterans Memorial.
"I said Clinton-Gore," Mr. Bush joked with reporters. "You got me all riled up, so I said his name."
Mr. Bush also took a few shots at Mr. Clinton, telling the audience that America "needs somebody who will appeal to the better angels of our nature, not to our darker impulses."
Mr. Clinton has stepped up his attacks while Mr. Gore, on vacation at a private beach in North Carolina, has remained conspicuously absent.
On Monday, the president ridiculed Mr. Bush's efforts to expand the Republican Party as a clever deception.
"Their strategy is to talk about compassion and all that, and it's a brilliant strategy, a pretty package, and they're hoping if they wrap it tight enough, nobody will open it before Christmas," he told reporters in Florida.
But Mr. Bush said he was pleased Mr. Clinton can't stop talking about him.
When a reporter yesterday remarked to Mr. Bush that Mr. Clinton is attacking him, Mr. Bush replied, "Good."
"I welcome President Clinton's criticism," Mr. Bush said. "I welcome him to the arena. [It's] his prerogative. I'm not surprised in the least."
Asked if Mr. Clinton's attacks were helpful, he replied; "I don't think it's harmful that the president is talking about me. I think it's a sign they're a little concerned."
On the comment from Mr. Bush's father, Bush spokesman Karen Hughes, "All of us think that President Clinton's comments have been a little undignified. [Former president Bush] was just expressing concern that President Clinton's comments have been a little beyond the pale for an incumbent president."
When a reporter asked why Mr. Bush's wife, Laura, had mentioned the lack of integrity in the White House during her speech Monday night, Mrs. Bush said people at every campaign stop show them pictures of their children and ask Mr. Bush to restore dignity to the Oval Office.
"I wasn't talking about President Clinton," Mrs. Bush said. "I was talking about my husband and what that means when people come up with pictures of their children."
Mr. Bush added, "That's reality. When people walk up and say, 'Don't let us down,' we're just reporting what's happening."
Nevertheless, the line drew a standing ovation from delegates inside the convention hall Monday night.
Mr. Bush wrapped up his tour of six swing states yesterday in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, two states that voted Democratic in the past two presidential cycles but are favoring Mr. Bush in polls so far. He arrives at the convention in Philadelphia today.
In Harrisburg, the largest crowd of this campaign swing roared as Mr. Bush made a dramatic entrance on the bunting-draped portico of the state Capitol.
More than 5,000 supporters greeted the candidate and Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania, who lost out in Mr. Bush's search for a running mate to former Defense Secretary Richard B. Cheney.
But Mr. Ridge showed no disappointment outwardly, telling the crowd that Mr. Bush is the candidate "who will restore the morale of the military of this great country."
While Mr. Bush tries not to mention his opponents by name, others have no such ban. Mr. Gore's name came under attack from some at the Charleston rally, including Republican Gov. Cecil Underwood of West Virginia.
"Someone told me the only way to get Al Gore to pay attention to veterans and national defense is to tell him that the Navy Seals are on the endangered species list," Mr. Underwood said. "We need a president who waves the star-spangled banner more proudly than he waves the flag of Greenpeace."

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