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BBC correspondent Jane Hughes
"Party opposition to Mr McCain had become increasingly embarrassing"
 real 28k

Friday, 4 February, 2000, 16:18 GMT
McCain gets NY ballot boost

McCain rollercoaster is picking up speed

Republican Party hopeful John McCain has received a new boost for next month's New York presidential primary, following his stunning victory in New Hampshire.

Supporters of Texas governor George W Bush - who came second by 18 percentage points in the opening primary - have caved in to pressure to allow Mr McCain on ballot papers across the state for the crucial 7 March vote.

A campaign about ideas ... not technicalities
New York Governor George Pataki

Both the Bush and McCain campaigns have now moved south, where the latter is hoping to ambush the front runner again at the South Carolina primary in two weeks time.

Opinion polls in South Carolina have previously put Mr Bush ahead by as much as 20 points, but a recent poll by Zogby showed McCain in front of Bush by up to five points.


Arizona senator McCain had accused senior members of the New York Republican Party of practising "Stalinist politics" for trying to keep him off the ballot in one third of the state's 31 congressional districts, because his did not have the required number of petition signatures.

George W hopes to follow father's footsteps
New York Governor George Pataki finally agreed that Mr McCain could be on the ballot late on Thursday.

"This should be a campaign about ideas and issues, not technicalities," Mr Pataki said. "I'm confident that George Bush will win that campaign."

The underdog from Arizona knows his campaign could end shortly after "Super Tuesday", when New York, California and 14 other states choose their preferred candidates.

Tobacco country

In South Carolina, there are a large number of war veterans - a group that can be expected to listen to Vietnam hero Mr McCain, and which his campaign team consider crucial to his chances.

Mr Bush has the backing of much of the state's Republican establishment, as well as a name that has been popular there in the past and campaign finances that dwarf those of his main rival.

South Carolina is also tobacco country, and John McCain headed for plantations in the north-east of the state on Friday, hoping to limit any damage from his unsuccessful attempt to raise to raise tobacco taxes in the Senate.

Bauer speculation

Gore plays air steward on Air Force Two
While New Hampshire has been good for Mr McCain, it appears to have proved fatal for another Republican candidate, Gary Bauer, who polled less than 1% of the state's vote.

He has called a news conference for Friday at which he is widely expected to announce his retirement from the race.

That would leave four Republicans in the contest - Bush and McCain, publishing magnate Steve Forbes and former ambassador Alan Keyes.

The two Democrat candidates have both been campaigning in California - Bill Bradley went to San Francisco, while Vice President Al Gore was in Los Angeles before flying up to Washington state.

Mr Bradley tore into his rival's record on opposing abortion, and on the issues of health care and campaign finances, while Mr Gore took credit for the strength of the US economy and said Mr Bradley was linked to Republican policies.

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See also:
04 Jan 00 |  Profiles
John McCain: Ready-made war hero
02 Feb 00 |  Americas
McCain savours the moment
07 Jan 00 |  States
South Carolina
02 Feb 00 |  Americas
Republicans head south
04 Jan 00 |  Profiles
George W Bush: Out of his father's shadow
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