Vice President Al Gore tugged at the heartstrings of New Hampshire lawmakers Saturday, honoring Christa McAuliffe the day before the 10th anniversary of her death in the Challenger disaster.
Campaigning for President Clinton, Gore also defended the president’s record, echoing themes from his State of the Union address, and accused Republicans of being in the grip of “anti-environmental extremists.”
“I am amazed that the Republican candidates are ignoring, avoiding and dodging one of the most important issues facing the country,” Gore said before addressing 300 people at an environmental forum in Nashua.
GOP front-runner Sen. Bob Dole campaigned in New Hampshire but did not attend the forum. Long-shot presidential candidates Bob Dornan, a California congressman, and radio talk show host Alan Keyes were the only GOP candidates who were participating in the weekend event.
Gore’s trip to New Hampshire was his second in a month as the Clinton re-election team heads into the state’s leadoff presidential primary, Feb. 20. Clinton faces no real challenge but has maintained a strong presence, sending a stream of high-ranking Democrats to New Hampshire recently.
Hillary Rodham Clinton has visited twice in recent months, including Thursday, and Clinton plans to come twice before the primary.
Gore also addressed the New Hampshire Statehouse, starting the rally by calling for a moment of silence for McAuliffe, the Concord teacher who died 10 years ago Sunday when the space shuttle Challenger exploded.
“We remember with pride and love New Hampshire’s and America’s hero,” he said.
Gore then got down to business, addressing the lawmakers, including 114 Democratic representatives and six Democratic senators who endorsed the Clinton-Gore 1996 ticket.
Citing statistics Clinton used in his State of the Union address, Gore said the economy has improved under the administration.