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BBC Washington Correspondent Paul Reynolds
"Bill Clinton is stealing Al Gore's thunder"
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The BBC's Rob Watson reports
"It's often said America has the best democracy money can buy"
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US Editor in Chief of Gallup, Frank Newport
"George W Bush is still ahead"
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Sunday, 13 August, 2000, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
Gore facing crucial week
Gore on the campaign trail
Al Gore meets young America in Pittsburgh
By BBC News Online's Jonathan Morris

Vice President Al Gore faces a crucial week in his fight for the presidency - the last Democratic Party Convention before the election.

Mr Gore has had a couple of boosts this week. Choosing Senator Joe Lieberman as his running mate went down well.

But he has to try to halt the successful run that his main rival, the Republican George W Bush, has been enjoying recently.

clinton
Bill Clinton: Overshadowing Gore
And he has to come out from under the shadow of President Clinton.

Hollywood has always loved the Clintons and such is the farewell it is giving them that Mr Gore is being pushed into the background. Commentators say Mr Gore needs to stamp his own authority on the presidential race.

The stars have raised $4m for Mrs Clinton's campaign and $10m for Mr Clinton's library.

At a meal hosted by singer Barbra Streisand, the minimum price for a couple is $100,000.


I want to do the right thing

Al Gore
Mr Clinton will be in Los Angeles until Monday night when he will speak to the convention.

He then joins Mr Gore for what is being called a "handing over the torch" rally in Michigan on Tuesday.

Only then will Mr Gore have the stage to himself.

He needs to make an impression because he is well behind in the polls and has to start narrowing the gap significantly soon.

Both he and Mr Clinton are expected to emphasise the changes in America's fortunes over the past eight years, from budget deficit to surplus, 22 million new jobs and large cuts in unemployment and people on welfare.

Mr Gore will also be attempting this week to fill the holes left for him by Mr Bush on subjects such as healthcare, low pay, pensions and the environment.

protest
Pig out: A protester is arrested outside the Democrat's Los Angeles hotel
On Saturday he sat outside green guru Rachel Carson's home in Pittsburgh to underscore how committed he is to the environment.

He told a small crowd outside the nearby school that he identified with the author of Silent Spring, Carson's landmark 1962 call to action against pesticides.

"When she published 'Silent Spring,' she was the target of a very well-orchestrated, well-financed attack by special interests that were profiting from pollution," Mr Gore said.

"When I published Earth in the Balance, I became the subject of a lot of attacks and I want you to know I wear those attacks as a badge of honour because I want to do the right thing."

Much was made of Mr Bush's speechwriters after his well-received address to the Republican National Convention, but the Gore camp wants to stress that their candidate is capable of articulating his own ideas.

When news photographers were summoned to his private cabin aboard Air Force Two this week, they found him hunched over his laptop.

Eyeing their long lenses trained on his screen, Mr Gore asked: "You won't be able to read this in the picture, will you?"

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See also:

12 Aug 00 | Americas
Democrat Playboy venue dropped
07 Aug 00 | Election news
Gore seeks comeback formula
04 Aug 00 | Profiles
Al Gore: Groomed for power
11 Aug 00 | US Elections
The Al and Joe Show
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