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The BBC's Philippa Thomas
"Al Gore had to sell himself as a man of the people"
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The BBC's Stephen Sackur
"A man stepping out of Bill Clintons shadow"
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The BBC's Peter Marshall in Los Angeles
With - Michael Ramirez, Political Carotoonist and Bianca Jagger, Human rights activist
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Friday, 18 August, 2000, 07:26 GMT 08:26 UK
Gore stands as his 'own man'
Mr and Mrs Gore embrace in front of flag-waving crowd
Mr Gore's task now is to convince a wider audience
Al Gore used his nomination address to the Democratic Party convention in Los Angeles to step out of the shadow of Bill Clinton and promise a "better, fairer, more prosperous America".

In a speech peppered with references to ordinary Americans and his own family, Mr Gore said as president he would fight for the needs of those who need a champion and those who need lifting up.

I stand here tonight as my own man and I want you to know me for who I truly am

Al Gore

He attacked the tax-cutting plans of his Republican opponent, George W Bush, and sought to portray him and his party as the defenders of the wealthy and the privileged.

Speaking to an enthusiastic audience of some 20,000 Democratic Party supporters, Mr Gore acknowledged the widespread perception that he lacks charisma. But he said: "I will work for you every day and I will never let you down."

Lewinsky affair

A few hours before Mr Gore's speech, reports emerged that a new grand jury had been appointed to investigate President Clinton over his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Tipper Gore
Mr Gore made many references to Tipper and the family
The report, leaked to the American media, said that the independent counsel Robert Ray had convened the jury to decide whether the president should face charges of perjury or obstructing justice after he leaves office in January 2001.

Mr Ray's office refused to confirm or deny the report. The White House reacted with fury, saying that it appeared to be a deliberate attempt to overshadow Mr Gore's speech.

The timing "reeks to high heaven," Jake Siewert, the deputy White House press secretary said. Some Democrats accused the Republicans of being involved in the leak.

But Mr Gore made no mention of the investigation and he only mentioned Mr Clinton by name once in the entire 50-minute speech.

He alluded to the successes of the Clinton-Gore administration many times, particularly its economic record.

A fairer America

However, he said he was seeking the people's support on the "basis of the better, fairer, more prosperous America we can build together."

If you entrust me with the presidency, I know I won't always be the most exciting politician. But I pledge to you tonight: I will work for you every day and never let you down

Al Gore

"We're entering a new time," Mr Gore said. "We're electing a new president. And I stand here tonight as my own man and I want you to know me for who I truly am."

Correspondents said it was part of his attempt to distinguish Al Gore the vice-president from the Al Gore running for the presidency.

Mr Gore pledged reforms in education, healthcare and re-iterated his commitment to defending the environment. He said he had never given up on the issue and added: "We must reverse the silent, rising tide of global warming."

But it was clear that it was his promise to stand up for ordinary people that Mr Gore wanted people to remember most.

Working families

He told the convention that he was accepting the nomination for US president "in the name of all the working families who are the strength and soul of America."

Democratic convention
Applause: Gore received a rousing reception
Analysts say the reaction of the American people to his speech will be crucial. Polls taken in recent weeks have shown him consistently trailing Texas governor, George W Bush.

One of the problems Mr Gore faces is his perceived lack of charisma. But Mr Gore said the presidency was more than a popularity contest.

"If you entrust me with the presidency, I know I won't always be the most exciting politician. But I pledge to you tonight: I will work for you every day and never let you down."

However, one of the BBC correspondents in Los Angeles said the speech warmed the delegates' hearts but it did not set them on fire.

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See also:

18 Aug 00 | Americas
Mixed reviews for Gore
18 Aug 00 | Americas
Analysis: Gore reinvents himself
17 Aug 00 | Americas
'Fresh Clinton probe' over Lewinsky
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Campaigners deaf to youth concerns
16 Aug 00 | Americas
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15 Aug 00 | Americas
Picture gallery: The Democrat show
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Hollywood's Democratic love affair
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