Al Gore at Convention
Photo by Joshua Barlow
Copyright 2000 NPR
Gore Wins Convention
with 'Speech of his Life'
Los Angeles, August 17 -- Al Gore stepped to the podium Thursday night knowing full well it could be his best shot at supercharging his presidential bid as it heads toward the final stretch of the fall campaign.
Greeted by a roaring crowd, he walked through the convention hall shaking hands and met his wife Tipper on stage for a long hug and kiss.
Gore then flew into a speech that celebrated the booming economy with a pledge to spread the good times to all.
"Let's make sure that our prosperity enriches not just the few, but all working families," he said. "Let's invest in health care, education, a secure retirement and middle class tax cuts."
During one point in his speech, the vice president also slugged away at his critics who claim he is too "wonkish" and that he lacks the personal touch.
"I know sometimes people say I'm too serious, that I talk too much substance," he said. "But the presidency is more than a popularity test. It's a day-by-day fight for people."
As part of that fight, the 52-year-old vice president vowed to take on powerful interests that he said stand in the way of his agenda: providing prescription drugs to seniors through Medicare; keeping tobacco away from children; stopping the flood of unregulated money in politics; strengthening the rights of patients insured in managed healthcare plans.
"Big tobacco, big oil, the big polluters, the pharmaceutical companies, the HMOs…. Sometimes you have to be willing to stand up and say no so families can have a better life," he said.
Gore then took a jab at the Republican presidential ticket of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
"That's the difference in this election. They're for the powerful and we're for the people."
List to Vice President Al Gore's full acceptance speech.
Advisers and supporters had been saying all day that Gore was prepared to give the "speech of his life" and that the primetime TV moment would be his first opportunity to fully share his message far from the shadow of President Bill Clinton.
They are also counting on Gore's talk helping to turn the tide of ambivalence that some voters have toward his campaign. Most public opinion polls consistently find the GOP ticket of Bush and Cheney leading in the neighborhood of 10 percentage points.
"This is the first time the vice president has had this large national stage to himself to make the arguments," said senior strategist Tad Devine at a press conference this morning.
Then listen as All Things Considered host Linda Wertheimer speaks with Josh King, vice president of SpeakOut.com, about the Website's instant polling to gauge reaction to speeches at the Democratic National Convention.
Campaigning the Mississippi River
Understanding the work that lies before them, Gore and his running mate, Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, planned to hit the ground running following Gore's speech. Just a few hours after Gore finishes his convention business, the two catch a plane to Wisconsin where they will begin a 400-mile-long tour of the Mississippi River by boat on Friday.
Late this afternoon, Sen. Joseph Lieberman received the unanimous nomination from delegates at the Democratic National Convention.
On Wednesday evening, Lieberman addressed a roaring crowd in a speech where he shared his joy as being the first Jew to share a presidential ticket for a major political party. He, too, noted the sharp differences between Democrats and Republicans.
"I am glad the GOP has changed their rhetoric," he said in a veiled reference to rival George W. Bush's campaign of compassionate conservatisim. "But I wish they would also change their policies."
Lieberman's speech put forth a centrist message, but was carefully crafted not to alienate liberal voters. Many political commentators have said the Democratic Party must court both ideologies to win the election in November. Lieberman presented that view and gave many Americans, including many Democratic delegates, their first opportunity to hear Joseph Lieberman give a major speech. Listen as NPR's Andy Bowers reports for Morning Edition that, on the convention floor at least, Lieberman made a strong impression.
Meanwhile, protesters continued demonstrating outside the convention today -- as they have all week -- to express a litany of complaints against big business, police brutality, the globalized economy, immigration and environmental degradation. In all, police said they had made 192 convention-related arrests as of Thursday.
LAPD outside the Staples Center
Photo by Joshua Barlow
Copyright 2000 NPR
Listen for NPR's analysis of the final night of the Democratic National Convention.
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