- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 4, 2002

A videotape from Democrats, which attacked the Bush administration's performance, coincided with the release of a Field poll showing that President Bush would defeat Al Gore in a rematch of the 2000 election in California if it were held now.
The Field poll found that California a staunch Democratic state that backed Mr. Gore over Mr. Bush 53 percent to 41 percent in the 2000 election would favor President Bush by a 48-to-41 percent margin.
The eight-minute video, which has been sent to each state Democratic Party and will be used for voter-registration drives, shows Mr. Bush promising not to use Social Security for other budget needs and telling a crowd that his tax cuts won't cause budget deficits.
Democrats maintain that the cuts have caused deficits that will continue past the president's term.
They also contend that the president will spend as much as $1 trillion of Social Security money over the next ten years.
"I think it is important to show the difference between the Democrat and Republican parties, and there is never a bad time to do that," said Bill Buck, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee.
The Democrats' video comes on the heels of a Gallup poll that shows the president with a 77 percent favorable rating, holding strongly to the post-September 11 approval he received. The 77 percent is a slip from the 90 percent he earned in September, which has driven Democrats to step up criticism of the administration.
Last week in a message to constituents, party Chairman Terry McAuliffe promised that "in the coming weeks and months, Democrats will be talking more about our core values that we'll be running on in the 2002 elections."
Mr. Buck said the issues that Democrats are running on are also those the president and the Republican House have fallen short on.
"For example, they didn't pass a prescription-drug program that covers seniors," Mr. Buck said. "Those are the kind of choices that Republicans have made."
The timing of the favorable polls and the anti-Bush video is "perplexing," said Kevin Sheridan, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee.
"But the real thing that troubles us is that, without an agenda, [Democrats] are trying to tear down Republicans with misguided rhetoric and a lack of focus. They lack any kind of positive agenda or idea."
The Gallup poll released Thursday indicates Americans are still solidly behind the president.
Eighty-four percent of respondents said Mr. Bush has provided "good moral leadership," while 77 percent said he has been a "strong and decisive leader" and is "honest and trustworthy."
The president also polled well in a previous Field poll in California, earning a 63 percent favorability rating.
The Field poll released yesterday in California also found that 45 percent of California's Democrats hope to see someone other than Mr. Gore as their party's presidential candidate in 2004.
This article is based in part on wire dispatches.

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