October 5, 1997 in Nation/World

Gore, In Campaign Hot Seat, Challenges Gop To Back Reform

Will Lester Associated Press

Vice President Al Gore on Saturday challenged Republicans in Congress to support campaign finance reform just a day after Attorney General Janet Reno extended a probe of his own fund-raising activities during his 1996 re-election effort.

“House Democrats support it. All 45 Democratic senators support it,” he told Florida Democrats at their state convention here. “But only four Republican senators support it. You can do the math. Just give us one more Republican senator and I’ll break the tie.”

In the spirit of the state Democratic pep rally, Gore chided Republicans as “so passive and floundering, in their own words, they can’t meet a clear and present need like campaign reform. How can they possibly be trusted to meet the challenges of America’s future?”

He cited comments from House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott that raising bushels of campaign money is the American way.

Such practices are “the Republican way,” the vice president said.

Gore was the headline speaker at the state Democrats annual convention a day after getting the word that the Justice Department will extend its review of Gore’s fund-raising phone calls from the White House.

Many of those at the convention said they expect Gore’s troubles will blow over long before the 2000 presidential campaign.

“In the short run it’s not helping,” said delegate John Lansing of Pompano Beach. “But it’s early enough that people will move onto other things.”

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