It's not just Tipper Gore who's putting that smile on Al Gore's face. A new poll indicates that an increasing number of voters are giving the Democratic candidate love. In the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey, 49 percent of voters support Gore, compared with 42 percent for George W. Bush. Green Party candidate Ralph Nader has 3 percent, with the Reform Party's Pat Buchanan trailing at 1 percent. The survey has a 4 percent margin of error.
Though Gore's lead in this poll is statistically insignificant, it signals a disturbing trend for Bush backers. Support for the vice president hasn't measured this high in any CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey done since April. Polls in some key battleground states are tilting toward Gore as well. Reuters reports that he has a surprisingly strong lead in Illinois and an advantage in Missouri. Gore is only slightly behind in Colorado, a state once believed to be firmly in the Bush camp.
Say goodbye to Hollywood
For the past few elections, the entertainment industry has been in the firm embrace of the Democrats. But now it seems the party is letting go. According to the Los Angeles Times, Gore, prompted by a Federal Trade Commission investigation, has launched an assault against the movie, video game and record industries for marketing violence to young people. The vice president and his running mate, "piety in your face" Joseph Lieberman, have made ominous threats of expanded federal regulation if entertainers don't clean up their acts. "If [entertainment companies] are saying to parents in one breath, 'We're going to work with you, we're going to protect children,' and then behind the scenes they're advertising directly to children to attract them to the material they're not ready to handle, that is false and deceptive as an advertising strategy," Gore said.
The Bush campaign has reportedly been caught short by Gore's affinity for family-values issues and for the combination of conservative moral outrage and liberal government-sponsored solutions. "Gore is offering something tangible and I'm sure the Bush people are in a bit of a quandary," said Pete Wehner, policy director at conservative think tank Empower America. "They aren't sure whether they want to match what Gore wants to do."
Gore gets with the program
The vice president wants to match his boss' success with the ladies -- at the ballot box, that is. So he went on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and submitted himself to the teasing, gentle reproaches and uneven questioning of that idol of waitress-moms, USA Today reports. The public will get to see Bush lay himself on Oprah's altar on Sept. 19. Though she did uncover the vice president's preferences in books, breakfast cereals and records, Oprah didn't manage to get Gore to reveal whether he just says no to pajamas. When asked what he prefers to sleep in, Gore replied, "A bed," eliciting sly looks from the host and laughs from the audience. As part of her perpetual humanizing-the-husband campaign, Tipper Gore once revealed that Al Gore sleeps in the nude.
Grabbing Lone Star loot
When he's not busy expressing moral outrage or quoting Scripture, veep hopeful Lieberman is raising tons of cash for the Democratic campaign. The Dallas Morning News reports that he picked up $1.7 million in a day of passing the ten-gallon hat around Bush's home state. "I don't know what everyone thinks about Texas," Lieberman told one crowd of donors, "but after a day here, I think it's Gore-Lieberman country." Though Gore's running mate underscored the importance of fully funding the presidential ticket, his Texas take is unregulated soft money that will go largely to the Democratic National Committee.
Good old times
While Lieberman tramped through Texas, Bush campaigned in another part of Bush country, the St. Petersburg Times reports. The Republican candidate did his own version of the "Oprah" show with an audience full of senior citizens in Florida. The race for the state has grown close despite Bush's brother Jeb's holding the governor's office. But the Texas governor plans to hang tough and pull back ahead with his new, down-home approach to campaigning. "When people see me, they need to see me more answering questions, face to face with the voters," Bush told the Times. He also struck back against Democratic criticism of his Social Security plan. Bush asserted that, rather than endangering retirement funds for seniors, his partial privatization plan would allow them greater autonomy and more chances to maximize their income. "Seems like to me we need to trust seniors to be able to tailor a plan to meet each person's needs," Bush said. "I trust people."
Caught in the Net
Bush has tagged his new just-plain-folks campaign with the slogan "Real Plans for Real People." But don't go searching for a Bush Web site by that name on the Internet. When a Gore supporter heard the new catchphrase, he immediately checked and found that the Bush camp hadn't registered it as a Web address. So now, www.realplansforrealpeople.com will take surfers straight to Gore's official campaign site, as will www.realplansforealpeople.net and www.realplansforrealpeople.org.
On the trail
Buchanan: No public events.
Bush: Florida and Missouri.
Gore: Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Nader: To be announced.
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