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Bush Campaigns in Minnesota
By Laura McCallum
November 1, 2000
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Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush predicted he'll carry Minnesota during a campaign stop in Minneapolis. Bush stressed tax cuts, and attacked Democratic opponent Al Gore as a big spender who's achieved little as vice president.
George W. Bush urged Republican activists to reach out to undecided voters in the last days of the campaign. Hear his entire speech online.

A SUN COUNTRY AIRLINES HANGAR was transformed into a Republican pep rally for Bush's appearance, complete with several thousand cheering supporters; red, white and blue confetti and a sea of Bush-Cheney signs. Bush is running neck-and-neck with Gore in recent Minnesota polls, giving Republicans reason to think he could be the first GOP presidential candidate to win the state in nearly three decades.

Bush urged Republican activists to reach out to undecided voters in the last days of the campaign.

"Don't be afraid to talk to open-minded Democrats, and independents in this state. Don't be afraid to call upon them, cause they understand what we know: There can be a better day in America. Our government doesn't have to be bitter," Bush told the crowd.

Bush spent much of his speech painting Gore as a proponent of big government who would spend the entire federal budget surplus on new and expanded programs. He says he wants to use a fourth of the surplus for across-the-board tax cuts. He criticized Gore's plan for targeted tax cuts, saying it wouldn't do much for many working families.

As he has in other recent stump speeches, he cited a so-called "tax family." Dan and Lori O'Keefe have four children.

"This good family now pays $3,343 of federal income taxes," Bush said. "Under our vision, that says if you pay taxes, everybody gets relief, they will save $2,600 in taxes. But this isn't any great gift; it's their money to begin with."

Bush says under Gore's plan, the O'Keefes would get only $100 in tax cuts. He mocked Gore's campaign slogan, "You ain't seen nothing yet." Bush said the saying is true, he says Gore hasn't done anything to reform Medicare, fix Social Security, and improve school achievement.

A Sun Country Airlines hangar was transformed into a Republican pep rally for Bush's appearance
Republican activists didn't leave disappointed. Linda Covington of White Bear Lake says she agreed with everything Bush said.

"The taxes, and the surplus, and the teacher thing; as a parent, being able to control what goes on in our schools, that kind of thing. That's important," she said.

The rally also provided a forum for Republican Sen. Rod Grams, who's trailing in the polls behind DFLer Mark Dayton, and Republican congressional candidates. State party chairman Ron Eibensteiner says a Bush visit this close to the election energizes Republicans, and shows how the state is gradually becoming more conservative.

"This really fires up the base, it really helps for us to organize better, recruit candidates, fundraising, everything," Eibensteiner says. "We are going to make this a competitive state for the Republican party, and I'll guarantee you after reapportionment, we will be the majority party here in this state."

Following Bush's speech, Democrats held a news conference at a nearby hotel to counter the Republican attacks. Democratic National Committee chairman Joe Andrew says Bush's tax cuts leave no money to pay down the national debt. He says Gore sets aside more than $300 billion a year for debt reduction, which would lower interest rates one to two points.

"A one-point lowering of interest rates would lower home mortgage payments by $390 billion a year, would lower auto loans by about $150 billion a year, would lower credit card payments by about $100 billion a year. If you add those numbers up, they are larger than George W. Bush's middle class tax cut and Al Gore's middle-class tax cut, which is larger than Bush's," Andrew said.

Gore's running mate, Joe Lieberman, campaigns in Minnesota Thursday, highlighting just how important the state's 10 electoral votes have become in the final days.