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The BBC's Paul Reynolds in Washington
"Mr Gore's message is going down well with women voters"
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banner Tuesday, 12 September, 2000, 11:54 GMT 12:54 UK
Gore woos female vote
Al Gore bantering with Oprah Winfrey
Viewers got a chance to see a more relaxed Al Gore
The Democratic presidential candidate, US Vice President Al Gore, has tried to reach out to women voters by discussing family values on one of America's most popular chat shows.

Mr Gore, often described as rather wooden and reserved, appeared relaxed as he bantered with Oprah Winfrey, whose show attracts a weekly audience estimated at 22 million - many of them women.

During the live hour-long interview Mr Gore discussed not only health care, education and family-friendly policies but also the big kiss he gave his wife Tipper at the Democratic convention.

"I felt an overwhelming surge of emotion," he told the audience. "This has been a partnership and she is my soul mate".

Mr Gore has recently overtaken his Republican rival George W Bush in the opinion polls ahead of the November election. Mr Bush will appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show on 19 September.

Al Gore's convention kiss is said to have boosted his popularity
Al Gore: an overwhelming surge
Mr Gore tried to make a virtue out of what he admits is his own reserved character.

"I am not a natural politician in the sense of backslapping and what not. And I'm a little bit more of a private person than a lot of people in the profession."

'Standing up for people'

Turning to his Democratic platform, Mr Gore said he was "for the people, not the powerful".

"I've never been hesitant to stand up to powerful interests that didn't necessarily have the American people's best interests at heart," he said.

George W Bush campaigning in Florida
George W Bush has given his campaign a makeover

The BBC Washington correspondent Paul Reynolds says Mr Gore currently has the edge in the campaign, emerging as his own man and finally gaining some credit for the US economic boom.

The latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows Mr Gore receiving 49% support among likely voters, while Mr Bush receives 42%.

The Gallup organisation says the gap is within the poll's margin of error, "suggesting that the presidential race remains very close".

The average results for the past week show Mr Gore leading Mr Bush by 47% to 43%.

But among women voters, Mr Gore has an even bigger lead over Mr Bush.

Mr Gore said he found time to speak to his wife every day from the campaign trail, and that he asked all four of his children for their views before deciding to run for the White House.

Bush fights back

Mr Bush, meanwhile, has adopted a new style as he fights to regain momentum against Mr Gore.

Mr Bush talked informally with elderly voters at a stop in Florida and was more specific about his policies than previously.

Our correspondent says Mr Bush has had to give up his rather leisurely campaign style of holding brief rallies among the faithful.

A more down-to-earth approach, including the new slogan "Real Plans For Real People," was on display when he met senior citizens in Clearwater, Florida.

With jacket off, Mr Bush stood amongst the audience, talking in detail about his plans for social security or pensions - issues on which Mr Gore is campaigning strongly.

"Here's my pledge to the people of Florida: A promise made by our government will be a promise kept when I become the President of the United States," he said.

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See also:

24 Aug 00 | Election news
Boost for Gore campaign
23 Aug 00 | Election news
Conventions give US race momentum
07 Aug 00 | Election news
Gore seeks comeback formula
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