- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 13, 2000

BALTIMORE A Bible-spouting Vice President Al Gore brought 3,000 NAACP delegates to their feet yesterday by attacking the Republican Congress as impeding his administration's agenda on such issues as hiring more teachers and extra prosecutors to enforce gun laws.
"I'm running for president because I want to fight for you," said Mr. Gore, who expects to receive the Democratic Party's presidential nomination next month. "I want to serve the people, not the power. I don't want to work for people who make excuses for the way things are."
He also set his sights on Texas Gov. George W. Bush, whose 15-minute speech Monday was politely but tepidly received.
"I know you heard some nice-sounding words on Monday afternoon," Mr. Gore said, deliberately pausing to frown while convention-goers chuckled in approval. "But I remembered what Scripture teaches in the Book of James, chapter two, verse 18.
"Yea, a man may say thou has faith and I have works. Show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works."
The vice president received an enthusiastic response as he addressed the 91st annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a group that votes 90 percent Democratic.
Since the conference began Sunday, NAACP leaders have pushed an agenda that virtually parallels that of the Democratic Party.
Hundreds of NAACP members leaped atop chairs as Mr. Gore approached the stage from a side entrance, moving slowly through the crowd, pressing hands intently with a small smile.
At some points he stopped for a quick verbal exchange, other times he high-fived the sea of hands that washed toward him at each section of the ballroom he approached.
Mr. Gore was introduced by NAACP board member William Lucy, who said the vice president has "a proud family legacy to draw on."
However, Mr. Gore's congressman father, Sen. Al Gore Sr., voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The vice president made known his history with the country's largest civil rights organization, saying "I am a member of the NAACP. It's good to be home."
The crowd leapt to its feet several times during the 35-minute talk, whipped up by Mr. Gore's frenzied promises for the future which the vice president delivered like a country preacher.
The vice president has spent the last few weeks taking shots at Congress and Mr. Bush, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
Mr. Gore yesterday continued that strategy and berated Republican stances on such hot-button racial issues as affirmative action, a national hate-crimes law, the Confederate flag and "racial profiling."
The vice president also blamed Republicans for blocking his administration's proposals on social spending and gun control.
"This other group on the other side, they refuse to pass" a health-care patients' bill of rights, Mr. Gore said.
"And why in the world won't the Congress pass the legislation, with bipartisan support again, to give local communities help in modernizing the [school] facilities?" Mr. Gore asked.
The vice president ticked off a litany of promises he said he would fulfill if elected: more municipal empowerment zones and a continuance of the economic policies that, he said, the current administration has implemented.
"I want tax cuts that are targeted at people that need them, not at the wealthy," Mr. Gore said, continuing his attacks. "We've got the lowest African-American unemployment in the history of the statistics and the strongest economy in the 211-year history of the United States of America. We're making progress. And I'm here to say you ain't seen nothing yet."
Bush campaign spokesman Dan Bartlett called the comments "unfortunate."
"The thing that's amazing is the dire straits the vice president is in," Mr. Bartlett said. "He's still trying to shore up the vote in what is really his own party. The conventions are next month. He's having trouble with his own base."
The Confederate flag, for example, is simply a convenient issue for Mr. Gore, Mr. Bartlett added.
"You didn't hear about it for almost eight years [of the administration]," the spokesman said. "You didn't hear about it in 1992, but the flag was flying in South Carolina then."
Nothing could deter Daryl Stephens from voting for Mr. Gore in November. The Massillon, Ohio, delegate was a Gore supporter before yesterday's speech.
"He's the candidate of most people here," Mr. Stephens said. "If he hadn't said anything else, all he had to do is quote that Scripture. In our community, we judge people by what they do, not by what they say."
President Clinton is scheduled to speak today, ending a week of political jockeying at the convention. Mr. Bush, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr. Gore and the chairman of both the Republican and Democratic National Committees have addressed delegates this week.

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