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Bush Begins Campaign as Republican Candidate for President; Accepts the Nomination with his Vision of Compassionate Conservativism

Philadelphia, August 4, 2000 -- George W. Bush has embarked on his campaign to win the presidency for the Republicans. Accompanied by his running mate, former Congressman Dick Cheney, Bush today begins a three-day whistle-stop tour of the Midwest.

Last night the Texas governor accepted his party's nomination, vowing to restore honor and dignity to the Oval Office. In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention Bush took aim at Vice President Al Gore and U.S. President Bill Clinton saying they didn't deserve a third chance in government. He accused them of squandering the opportunities presented by the good economic times and the huge government surpluses.

In a speech that lasted just over 50 minutes, Bush told the delegates that he'll work for better education, stronger Social Security and Medicare, lower tax rates, a stronger military. Saying the American people "can begin again," audio button Bush asked for a mandate to lead the nation toward a more bipartisan, inclusive brand of politics. Listen as NPR's Peter Kenyon reports for Morning Edition.

In accepting his party's presidential nomination, Bush stuck to the same relatively low-key tone that Republican speakers maintained throughout their national convention. A clear example was his brief treatment of foreign policy issues. Bush said the Clinton/Gore administration has allowed "a steady erosion of American power" overseas. But he did not identify specific foreign policy disagreements. audio button And as NPR's Tom Gjelten reports for Morning Edition, the signs from this week's convention suggest that foreign policy issues are unlikely to figure prominently in the coming presidential campaign.

audio buttonListen as Morning Edition host Alex Chadwick talks to NPR's Cokie Roberts and Charlie Cook, editor of The Cook Political Report about Bush's speech and events at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.

audio buttonHear Bush's entire acceptance speech on the closing night of the convention.

audio buttonListen for the full NPR analysis with Scott Simon and Elizabeth Arnold of Bush's speech and the Republican National Convention.

Democrats Ready to Fight Back
Republicans in Philadelphia went to great lengths to portray their party as more diverse, more tolerant and more positive than in past years. The convention appeared to be well received, even if the TV audience was small.

Polls bore that out. The Bush lead over Gore grew to 14 points in one poll and shows Gains among two groups where the two had been tied--independents and women.

Meanwhile, Democrats have the advantage in polling on the issues of healthcare, the environment and Social Security. Voters remain unconvinced that Gore is stronger on the economy than Bush, despite the financial boom of the last eight years, or education, a top voter priority.

Democrats are chomping at the bit to show their side following the steady stream of media coverage the Republicans have garners this week. They claim that the GOP's attempts to throw up a more diverse image with a string of blacks, Hispanics other minorities addressing the convention smacks of marketing as much as it does substance.

"They're using these people as props," said Joe Andrew, Democratic national chairman. "We don't have to go out and find African-American and Hispanic kids to put on our stage."

Democrats meet in Los Angeles beginning August 14th for their convention.

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