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Al Gore presidential campaign, 2000

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This article is about the 2000 campaign of Vice President Al Gore. In the 2000 election, Gore won the national popular vote, but lost the election when the state of Florida was awarded to George W. Bush after weeks of legal battles over the recounting of votes. In the end, the electoral college favored Bush 271 to 266.

See Al Gore for a detailed biography and information about his tenure as Vice President and his current expedition of creating a cable news channel.

Contents

Campaign Review

Al Gore made history when he picked Joe Lieberman to be his running mate in 2000.
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Al Gore made history when he picked Joe Lieberman to be his running mate in 2000.

After two terms as Vice President, Gore formally announced his candidacy for president on June 15, 1999. He faced an early challenge by former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley. Bradley and his supporters argued that it was time for fresh face for the White House and said that Gore had been damaged by the ethical problems from the Clinton Administration and that Gore would have a hard time winning over the so called "Moral Majority", in the general election. By the fall of 1999, a number of polls showed Bradley running even with the Vice President in key primary states.

With his campaign in a spiral, Gore shook things up. He first switched his campaign headquarters from Washington, D.C., to Nashville, Tennessee, in an effort to convince voters that he was no longer under the control of Bill Clinton and that he was a beltway outsider. Gore also reverted to a style of "town hall" meetings, which he had used when he was in the Congress, where he would meet with a small group of people and answer their questions. At about the same time, Gore began an offensive that questioned Bradley's commitment and service, citing his recent retirement from the U.S. Senate. Another area in which Gore attacked Bradley was in health care. Bradley had proposed a "universal" plan, which Gore argued was too much like the failed health care system instituted a few years by Hillary Clinton. Gore pointed out that in order to have a "universal" system, coverage had to be extended gradually. In his own defense, Gore proposed a healthcare plan that included all low income children. In a last ditch effort to stay afloat, Bradley accused Gore of distorting and exaggerating his record. However, in the end, Bradley could not stop the Gore campaign. Gore won every primary and caucus, and in March of 2000, Gore secured the Democratic nomination.

In August 2000 Gore surprised many when he selected Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut from a group that included Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts and Senator John Edwards from North Carolina, to be his vice-presidential running mate. Lieberman, who was a more conservative Democrat than Gore, had publicly blasted President Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky affair. Lieberman became the first person of Jewish origin to be named to a major party's national ticket. Many pundits saw Gore's choice of Lieberman as another way of trying to distance himself from the scandalous Clinton White House.

At the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, Gore accepted his party's nomination and spoke about the major themes of his campaign. Trying to move from President Clinton's shadow, Gore declared that he was his "own man", and he had his own vision for a better America. Gore portrayed himself as the fighter on behalf of the people against large corporations, special interests, and the powerful. He pledged to extend Medicare to pay for prescription drugs, to work for a sensible universal health-care system, to lower crime, and to keep the military strong by making it smaller and more efficient.

Soon after the convention, with running mate Joe Lieberman, Gore hit the campaign trail. While campaigning, Gore blasted Bush's tax cut plan, saying it only benefited the ultra wealthy, while he claimed that his own tax cuts targeted more lower and middle-class citizens. Gore also pledged to protect Social Security by using a "lock box" and to improve the public education in America.

Al Gore makes a point during a debate with George W. Bush.
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Al Gore makes a point during a debate with George W. Bush.

In the run up to the election, Gore and Bush participated in three televised debates. The effect of the debates is difficult to separate from other factors; however many, including Gore himself, say the three meetings hurt him. Many TV viewers saw Gore as stiff and awkward, and found his continual sighing at Governor Bush's replies annoying. However, people who listened to the debates on radio and did not see Gore's body language, thought he had won the debates based upon pure knowledge of the issues and his answers to important questions.

Just prior to the election, Gore changed his strategy towards trying to sway swing voters in states such as Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and New Mexico, which were states in which Bush and Gore were in a virtual dead heat.

On election day, the results were so close that the outcome of the race took over a month to resolve, highlighted by premature declaration of a winner on election night, and an extremely close result in the state of Florida. Gore had won 19 states, mostly populous states such as California, Pennsylvania, and New York. However, he lost his home state of Tennessee and other traditional Democratic states such as West Virginia. As election night wore on, it became clear that the race was just too close to call. Eventually Florida's 25 electoral votes became the deciding factor.

When Florida's votes were all finally counted, Gore had slightly fewer votes than Bush. Since the difference was less than one-half of one percent (it was in fact less than one-one-hundredth of a percent), Florida law required a recount.

The next day, Florida began the process of recounting the votes. After the first recount, Gore still was trailing Bush, but only by about 300 votes. With still such a slim gap in the vote totals, Democrats pushed hard for votes in heavily Democratic counties to be counted manually. Florida's secretary of state, Katherine Harris, then set a deadline of November 14 for submitting the final record of the recounted votes for certification. However, a number of counties involved in the recount, could not complete their manual recount by the deadline that was set. It was then when Gore's legal team went to court to ask that all the manual recounted vote be included in the final tally. Soon thereafter, the Florida Supreme Court ordered Katherine Harris to postpone the certification of votes until the case was heard by the court, which in effect gave the Gore team a boost by extending their time to count votes.

On November 21 the Florida Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the manual recounted votes would have to be included in the final tally, but they would have to be submitted by the initial deadline of November 26. After the ruling of the Florida Supreme Court, Bush's legal team appealed the case to the United States Supreme Court. On November 26 Florida certified its results, unofficially resulting in Gore losing the state to Bush by just over 500 votes. However, Gore passionately contested that some votes had been excluded from the final results. It was then when he formally challenged the results in court.

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On December 4, after hearing arguments from both sides, the U.S. Supreme Court requested that the Florida Supreme Court clarify its prior ruling. Later the same day, a Florida circuit court judge declined Gore's request for additional recounts, which Gore also appealed to the Florida Supreme Court.

On December 8, the Florida Supreme Court basically switched views when they ruled that additional recounts in certain counties shall continue. However, Governor Bush and his legal team quickly appealed the case to the highest court in the land. In court, Bush asked that the recounts be halted until the Court had a chance to hear his appeal case. On December 9, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Bush his wish, which stopped all recounts until the case was heard. On December 12, the U.S. Supreme Court ended the dispute by ruling 7-2 that the various county recounts violated the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution. The Court pointed out that all votes were not being treated equally because there was no clear standard or precedent for how to do manual recounts. The court further ruled (5-4) that there was not enough time remaining to do a state-wide recount using a Constitutional process; this in effect ended the series of legal proceedings and gave candidate Bush the electroal votes of the state of Florida, and hence the Presidency.

On December 13, Al Gore publicly conceded the election. Gore strongly disagreed with the Court's decision, but decided that "for the sake of our unity of the people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession." He had previously made a concession phone call to Bush the night of the election, but quickly retracted it after learning just how close the election was. Following the election, a subsequent recount conducted by various U.S. news media organizations indicated that Bush would still have won the popular vote in Florida had the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the recounts to proceed using the process requested by Gore, although some different methods of counting votes would have resulted in victory for Gore.

The Florida election has been closely scrutinized since the election, and several irregularities are thought to have favored Bush. These included the notorious Palm Beach "butterfly ballot", which produced an unexpectedly large number of votes for third-party candidate Patrick Buchanan, and a purge of some 50,000 alleged felons from the Florida voting rolls that included many voters who were eligible to vote under Florida law. Some commentators still consider such irregularities and the legal maneuvering around the recounts to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the vote, but as a matter of law the issue was settled when the United States Congress accepted Florida's electoral delegation. Nonetheless, embarrassment about the Florida vote uncertainties led to widespread calls for electoral reform in the United States, and ultimately to the passage of the Help America Vote Act, which authorized the United States federal government to provide funds to the states to replace their mechanical voting equipment with electronic voting equipment. However, this has led to new controversies, because of the security weaknesses of the computer systems, the lack of paper-based methods of secure verification, and the necessity to rely on the trustworthiness of the manufacturers.

Although Gore won the nationwide popular vote by more than 500,000 votes, receiving more votes than any Democrat in U.S. history up to that time, he lost the election by 5 electoral votes. A swing of only a few hundred popular votes in Florida would have caused the election to go the other way. It was for that reason that the outcome remained unknown until the Supreme Court's decision concerning the counting of the Florida votes.

For more information on the 2000 election, see: 2000 Presidential Election

Speculation on the defeat

Al Gore stands in support of President Clinton while he is reaffirming his intentions to not resign from office during the  process.  Later during Gore's campaign for President, he tried to distance himself from the scandal ridden Clinton.
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Al Gore stands in support of President Clinton while he is reaffirming his intentions to not resign from office during the impeachment process. Later during Gore's campaign for President, he tried to distance himself from the scandal ridden Clinton.

There are many opinions, frequently contradictory, on why Gore lost the 2000 election.

It was a bitter defeat for many Gore supporters, since he received the plurality of the popular vote, and failed to become President because the American electoral system does not grant any status to the overall popular vote. In previous elections in American history wherein the popular and electoral votes did not coincide, the elected President was assumed to lack a strong "popular mandate". This has been a reason for many to criticize the U.S. Electoral College as a systemic flaw that should be corrected. The 2000 election led some Democrats to renew this long-standing proposal, but supporters have been unable to accomplish the difficult task of amending the United States Constitution.

Some Gore supporters contend that a plurality of Florida voters did vote for Gore, and George W. Bush won by successfully preventing the votes from being counted; however, the evidence regarding the final vote tally is inconclusive. Since the election, recounts have been conducted by dozens of news organizations from around the world with results that are confusing at best. Some have claimed that Bush would have actually increased his lead if state wide recounts had taken place, others claim that Gore would have won the recounts.

Speculations as to the failure of Gore's political strategy include the following:

  • The Clinton problem: The Clinton administration had presided over an economic boom and the balancing of the federal budget. Normally, a Vice President running under such circumstances would have played up his connection to the administration. Clinton's personal scandals, however, made that approach more problematic for Gore. It has been suggested that he should have involved Clinton much more heavily in his campaign; others have said that he should have done more to distance himself from Clinton.
  • The Lieberman problem: Gore's choice of notoriously conservative senator Joe Lieberman as his running mate alienated many of those on the Left of the Democratic Party. Many voters who otherwise may have supported Gore turned to the far more progressive Green Party candidate, Ralph Nader. However, if Gore had chosen a far left-wing running mate, many moderate voters might have swung to George W. Bush.
  • Gore's personality: Much attention was paid to Gore's audible sighing while Bush was answering questions in the first of the Bush/Gore debates. CNN instant polls immediately following this debate found that viewers felt Gore had won by a narrow margin. Twenty-two voters were interviewed by CNN, and none of them volunteered comments on Gore's behavior (CNN, October 3 2000). When given explicit, leading questions by conservative Frank Luntz of the MSNBC channel, an equal number of viewers were troubled by Gore's sighs and Bush's repeated invocations of "fuzzy math" (see George W. Bush). Some libreals conclude that the observation of Gore's alleged personality flaws seems to have originated with (and been propagated by) conservative news organizations. Regardless of voters' original reactions, however, subsequent press coverage concentrated heavily on Gore's sighs and other perceived flaws, with some conservatives coining the moniker, "Al Bore". Gore's behavior during the first debate was even the basis for a sketch on NBC's Saturday Night Live television program, which according to some sources, members of Gore's campaign asked him to watch before the next debate. Whether or not he watched the sketch, his behavior was noticeably subdued in the second debate. On Election Day, Gore himself would appear on a Saturday Night Live prime time special to make a few jokes about this behavior.
  • Perceived artificiality and lack of candor: in 1997, after it came to light that Gore had improperly used White House telephones to raise money for the campaign in 1996, Gore defended awkwardly by holding a press conference in which his denial featured a repeated recital of the phrase "no controlling legal authority"; likewise, when a scandal broke concerning Gore's appearance at Hsi Lai temple at an event where unlawful campaign donations were laundered through Buddhist nuns, Gore said he thought the event was "community outreach." The "no controlling legal authority" example illustrates the Vice-President's manner of speaking generally, which was easy to caricature as stilted, pompous, and condescending, unlike the folsky but intelligent intimacy that was the hallmark of President Clinton's syle.
Al Gore greets President-Elect Bush at the White House.
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Al Gore greets President-Elect Bush at the White House.
  • Populist rhetoric: Gore ran on a somewhat more populist platform than his predecessor Clinton. Although Gore supported trade liberalization and many other Clintonite reforms, he also used rhetoric that drew attention to growing gaps between rich and poor in American society. Some found this language divisive; however, the notion that this position hurt his popularity is challenged by the fact that his poll numbers went up substantially shortly after his strongly populist speech on August 16, 2000 at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.
  • The Republicans' "Solid South": Gore, a Southerner himself, had won every election he had ever ran in the South before the 2000 election. However, between the time that Clinton and Gore were first elected in 1992, many Democrats changed parties, due to the growing conservative base in the region. Although Gore would have won the election if he had won virtually any other state in the union, many attribute his loss to his failure to win any Southern state, including his native Tennessee.


Al Gore concedes the election after 36 days of legal arguements.
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Al Gore concedes the election after 36 days of legal arguements.

Campaign History

The 2000 Presidential campaign began with George W. Bush leading Gore by 15 points; and it ended with Gore receiving the second largest number of votes of any Presidential candidate in history before the election of 2004. Gore's campaign also made history in a number of other ways: he got more votes than any other Democratic Presidential candidate; more votes any other first time Presidential candidate; and more votes than any other Vice President who ran for President. Various mathematical models theorize that Gore may have had 49,000 more votes in Florida, if everyone who voted in Florida had been able to cast their vote on modern equipment. However, there is no sure way to know if those numbers are accurate.

Campaign Platform

Below is a record of views, plans, and agendas that Al Gore proposed in the 2000 election.

Note: Al Gore's views on certain issues may have changed either in support of, or in opposition of, in the past four years.

Abortion

  • Will not appoint anyone to the courts who will overturn Roe V. Wade
  • Will defend a women's right to choose from any attack
  • Opposes parental-notification laws
  • Opposes partial birth abortion, but also opposes Republican attempts to ban it
  • Supports Medicaid funding of abortion

Civil Rights

  • Keep, but fix, affirmative action
  • Allow gays to serve openly in the military; do away with "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
  • Favors civil unions, but not marriage of gays and lesbians
  • Would support a bill banning racial profiling
  • Pass the Employment Nondiscrimination Act
  • Would heavily invest in independent living & enforce disabled rights

Economy

  • Maintain Fiscal Discipline and Eliminate the National Debt: With record surpluses, we now have a historical opportunity to pay off the publicly held national debt. Gore's fiscally disciplined approach assures that the United States will be debt free by 2012 - the first time since 1835. Paying down the publicly held debt will keep long-term interest rates low, allowing for greater investment in the private sector and bolstering economic growth.
  • Strengthening Social Security and Medicare: Al Gore will dedicate the entire Social Security surplus to reducing the national debt and strengthening Social Security, and apply the resulting interest savings to strengthen the Social Security Trust Fund. Gore's common-sense approach will protect guaranteed Social Security benefits for future retirees and people with disabilities for at least the next half century. In addition to Social Security's benefits, Gore has proposed Retirement Savings Plus to create tax-free savings accounts that will enable working Americans to build a retirement nest egg. And Gore proposes to save Medicare by creating a historic new off-budget "Medicare lock box" so that Medicare payroll taxes can be used only to strengthen Medicare and pay down the national debt.
  • Tax Cuts for Working Families: Al Gore supports a more than $500 billion pro-growth, pro-savings package of targeted tax cuts that fits within a responsible budget framework and helps working families realize their own values. Gore has proposed tax cuts to help families afford quality child care, higher education and lifelong learning, health insurance and long-term care for an aging or disabled relative. Gore will also eliminate the marriage penalty for working families and will provide estate tax relief for small business owners and family farmers.
  • Improve and Expand Access to Health Care, ensuring every child in America has access to affordable, quality health care coverage, expanding coverage to parents, allowing Americans 55 to 65 to buy into Medicare with a 25% tax credit, and providing tax credits for small businesses and individuals without job-based health care.
  • Bring Revolutionary Improvements to Public Education, with universal access to high-quality preschool, rebuilding crumbling school buildings, turning around failing schools, recruiting one million qualified new teachers and making higher education more affordable.
  • Clean Up Our Environment, reducing our dependence on imported oil, and ensuring the water we drink and air we breathe are safe for our children.
  • Investing in America's Future: A vital element of preserving and expanding America's prosperity is investing in skills and technologies that are critical to America's future. Al Gore proposes to make the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit permanent and easier for small businesses to use, double the investment in information technology research over the next five years, and increase investment in biomedical research.
  • Investing in Our Communities: Under Al Gore's leadership, the Administration has created 31 Empowerment Zones and more than 100 Enterprise Communities, helping create thousands of new jobs in communities with high unemployment and poverty rates. Gore now proposes a third round of Empowerment Zones. Gore will also fight to enact the New Markets Initiative to spur investments in economically distressed areas.
  • Opening Markets Around the World: Open markets spur innovation, speed the growth of new industries, and make our businesses more competitive. As President, Al Gore will work to knock down barriers to fair trade so other nation's markets are as open as our own, while protecting the environment and fighting for labor standards.
  • Keeping Our Defense Strong and Protect Americans Abroad: Al Gore believes the United States must remain actively engaged in the world through a strategy of Forward Engagement - addressing problems early in their development, addressing them as close to the source of the problem as possible, and having the forces and resources to deal with those threats. To support and sustain that strategy, Gore will devote part of the surplus to make prudent increases in military spending - targeted to improve benefits and quality of life for servicemen and women, improve force readiness and provide the most modern equipment. Gore will also ensure adequate funding for an effective and secure foreign policy presence abroad, and to address emerging security threats.
  • Making child care more affordable for working families by making the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) refundable for the first time.
  • Providing tax relief for stay-at-home-parents: and expand family leave for those working outside the home.
  • Helping parents pay for after-school care through a new refundable After-School Tax Credit (ASTC) for children age 16 and under.
  • Supporting families with long-term care needs through a $3,000 tax credit.
  • Marriage penalty tax relief by raising the standard deduction, so that a married couple would get the same standard deduction as if they remained single.
  • Simplifying estate tax exemptions and raising the tax exemption for small businesses and family farms.
  • Making health insurance more affordable and more accessible for small businesses through a 25 percent tax credit for premium costs for each employee of a small business that decides to join a purchasing coalition.
  • Assuring tax equity through a new tax credit for individual health insurance.
  • Tax credits, School Modernization Bonds and Qualified Zone Academy Bonds over two years to modernize up to 6,000 schools.
  • Helping families pay for college with the College Opportunity Tax Cut that allows families to take a tax credit or tax deduction for tuition.
  • Create 401(j) Life-Long Learning Accounts that can be withdrawn and used tax-free if they are used for education or qualified life-long learning.
  • Assist workers, up to $6,000, in obtaining training courses, or certification programs, that improve information technology skills.
  • Retirement Savings Plus: Tax free savings accounts that will enable working Americans to build a retirement nest egg in addition to Social Security's guaranteed benefit. The Federal Government would match individual contributions with government contributions, with lower income workers receiving the largest contributions.
  • Tax incentives to help small businesses establish high-quality employee pension plans and proposals to simplify pensions and improve portability.
  • Third round of Empowerment Zones to encourage economic growth in undeserved areas.
  • Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to expand and improve the quality of available low-income housing.
  • Technology Bonds to help undeserved communities develop their information infrastructure.
  • Make the "Brownfields" tax incentive permanent.

New Markets Initiative to provide credits to stimulate new private capital investments in economically distressed communities around the country.

  • Tax cuts to help communities and private landowners create parks and conserve lands.
  • Better America Bonds to be used for preserving green space, creating or restoring urban parks, protecting water quality, and cleaning up "Brownfields."
  • Tax incentives to increase energy efficiency and improve our environment including tax cuts that will encourage individuals and businesses to do the right thing for our environment and tax credits for energy-efficient cars, homes, and appliances.
  • Al Gore on George W. Bush's Economic Proposals: "What he's quoting is not the Senate Budget Committee, it is a partisan press release by the Republicans. And as for the surest way to threaten our prosperity, having a $1.9 trillion tax cut, almost half of which goes to the wealthy, and a $1 trillion Social Security privatization proposal, is the surest way to put our budget into deficit, raise interest rates and put our prosperity at risk." Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

Education

  • Using Tests to Measure Results: Al Gore is committed to promoting policies that use tests appropriately to ensure accountability.
  • Teachers: Gore would require states to ensure that all new middle-and high-school teachers pass a rigorous test of their teaching skills and knowledge of the subject they will teach before they set foot in the classroom. Gore's plan would also test new elementary school teachers in their teaching skills and knowledge of strategies to teach reading.
  • Schools: Gore would use state assessments and accountability systems to identify failing schools and ensure they are turned around quickly, and to reward schools that are succeeding.
  • States: Gore's plan calls for all states to administer the respected National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), known as the Nation's Report Card, to assess state-level performance. States would be required to administer NAEP tests in reading and math in the 4th, 8th and 12th grades every two years by 2004. Gore's plan would reward and sanction states based on student performance as measured by the NAEP test.
  • Students: Under the Gore plan, states will be required to test all public school students in reading and math at least three times between 3rd grade and graduation; once in each of grades 3-5, grades 6-9, and grades 10-12. Gore would also encourage states to create rigorous high school exit requirements. Gore would also support voluntary national tests in 4th grade reading and 8th grade math to help parents to measure their child's progress against a national standard.
  • Holding Teachers Accountable: Gore's plan will make sure there is a qualified teacher in every classroom, and hold teachers to high professional standards. He would require states to ensure that all teachers are fully qualified and certified and that new teachers have passed a rigorous test of their subject knowledge and teaching skills. His Higher Standards/Higher Pay Initiative would also require periodic peer reviews of licensed teachers and faster, fair ways to identify, improve and, where necessary, remove failing teachers.
  • Holding Schools Accountable: Gore's plan will require states and school districts to identify failing schools using state standards and put in place an aggressive plan to turn those schools around, including research-based curricula and a rigorous peer evaluation of every teacher. Schools that do not improve would be shut down and reopened under new leadership with a team of experienced teachers, or as a charter school. Gore's plan also increases public school choice, with funds to triple the number of charter schools, and requires schools to issue performance report cards to help parents select the school best-suited to their child's needs and hold schools accountable for student performance.
  • Holding States Accountable: Gore's plan would use NAEP scores to hold states accountable for raising student performance and closing the achievement gap, while using state measures to hold schools and school districts accountable for identifying failing schools and lowering drop-out rates. Gore would convert significant federal education programs into achievement-based funds. States that fail to improve, based on performance on the NAEP, would lose some federal administrative funds. These funds would be used instead to support local efforts to turn around low-performing schools by investing in proven reforms through Gore's $500 million Accountability Fund. Gore's plan would also provide bonuses to states that demonstrate significant progress in closing the achievement gap and raising student performance.
  • Holding Students Accountable: Gore's plan encourages states to develop high school completion requirements - to ensure that every student leaves school with the skills he or she needs to succeed. And, in addition to required NAEP testing to measure state-wide progress, Gore would encourage schools to adopt voluntary national tests in 4th grade reading and 8th grade math so parents know their children are mastering the basics. He will also increase efforts to keep kids in school and close the gap between disadvantaged students and their peers.


  • Early Education and Universal Preschool: Gore's plan will start with a momentous strategy for early education by making high-quality, voluntary preschool available to every 4-year-old and an increasing number of 3-year-olds. It will also expand funding for Head Start and Early Head Start and help families pay for high quality child-care - to ensure every child starts school ready to learn.
  • Raise Teacher Pay: We should pay teachers like the professionals they are. Gore's plan will provide funding to help raise teacher salaries in school districts that commit to improving teacher quality.
  • Recruit and Train New Teachers: Gore will finish the job of hiring 100,000 qualified teachers to lower class sizes in the early grades. And to help schools meet record student enrollments, Gore will provide funding to help recruit, hire and train 1,000,000 new teachers over the next ten years, with incentives for those who commit to work in a high-need school.
  • Rebuild Crumbling Schools: Gore will help communities rebuild and modernize school buildings to assure our students can attend schools that are modern, safe, and well-equipped for learning.
  • Access to New Technology: Gore's plan will finish wiring every classroom to the Internet and train students and teachers to use information technology to individualize learning and bridge the digital divide.
  • Special Education for Students with Disabilities: Gore will reaffirm the importance of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by making a substantial increased investment in special education, as a down payment toward reaching the goal of 40% Federal funding. His plan would make the Federal government a better partner to states in ensuring that children with disabilities have access to a free appropriate education - a policy which has opened the doors of public schools to children with special needs.
  • Making Higher Education More Affordable: Gore will help parents and students save tax-free to make college and lifelong learning more affordable and make up to $10,000 of college tuition tax-deductible.

Environment

  • Dedicating part of the expected budget surplus to create a new National Energy Security and Environment Trust Fund
  • Protecting forests, rivers and public lands so that families have places where they can hike and climb, and experience nature first hand
  • Ensuring that the nation's air and water are cleaned up
  • Encouraging smarter growth and more livable communities so every community can grow according to its own values, in a way that preserves its own precious character
  • Investing more in conservation, renewable energy and in fast-growing technologies that combat pollution
  • Taking steps - not just in this country, but everywhere in the world - to reverse the rise in global warming
  • Give consumers a tax credit up to $6,000 for the purchase of more fuel-efficient cars or SUVs
  • Provide a tax credit up to $5,000 for the purchase of fuel efficient pick-ups or other trucks, and up to $15,000 for more fuel-efficient 18-wheelers
  • Provide consumers with a tax credit up to $2,000 to purchase energy-efficient new homes or to upgrade the efficiency of their current homes
  • Extend a 20 percent tax credit to businesses for the purchase of energy-efficient building equipment
  • Help low-income families save money by helping them insulate their homes
  • Provide additional resources to help state and local governments that have launched their own efforts to help families and businesses reduce energy use
  • Gore vowed to clean up air pollution from the dirtiest power plants, called for protecting pristine road less areas in our National Forests and restated his opposition to oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  • Enforce realistic, achievable air quality standards
  • Oppose any Congressional actions designed to roll back protections for clean air and clean water
  • Make it a priority to protect the country's last remaining wild places.
  • Take decisive steps - not only in the US but also in developed and developing nations - to reverse the rise in global warming in a way that creates jobs
  • Encourage smarter growth and more livable neighborhoods with measures enabling communities to protect open space and fight traffic congestion
  • Oppose all new oil and gas drilling off the coasts of California and Florida - and continue the moratorium on new offshore drilling leases nationwide

Foreign Policy

  • Recruiting, training, and retaining a professional all-volunteer force of the highest caliber
  • Taking full advantage of America's technological edge by arming our troops with the most advanced weaponry and deploying the most sophisticated intelligence and information systems
  • Developing and implementing new military strategy, updating operational concepts, modernizing organizations, and innovating systems -- in short, transforming the armed forces to meet future challenges
  • Continuing to streamline and innovate in the Defense Department, producing more efficient management and releasing resources for critical defense needs.

On when America should use its military:Gore has defined clear criteria for such decisions, based on the following factors:

  • Is the mission in our national interest
  • Is military force the only option that can solve the problem
  • Have we exhausted all other options
  • Will military force solve the problem
  • Do we have allies who are ready to share the burden
  • Is the mission's cost proportionate to the objective we seek

Gun Control

  • Introduce mandatory photo licenses for handgun purchases
  • Limit gun sales to one per person per month
  • Crack down on gun shows
  • Ban junk guns (cheap handguns often used in violent crimes)
  • Increase penalties for knowingly selling a gun to someone ineligible to purchase one
  • Require gun manufacturers and federally-licensed sellers to report gun sales to a state authority
  • Oppose efforts to provide special legal protection for gun manufacturers, or to loosen existing limits on concealed weapons
  • Increase penalties for gun-trafficking and gun-related crimes

Health Care

  • Expand eligibility under the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and hold states accountable for signing up eligible children for health insurance.
  • Expand health care coverage to working families by extending CHIP to parents.
  • Provide affordable health care options for Americans ages 55 to 65 with a 25 percent tax credit to buy into Medicare.
  • Make health insurance more affordable for small businesses by offering a 25 percent tax credit for the premium costs of each employee.
  • Strengthen health care delivery systems for the uninsured.
  • Strengthening Medicare: Al Gore would take Medicare off-budget and place it in a "Medicare lock box" so that Medicare payroll taxes can be used only to strengthen Medicare and pay down the national debt, not for tax cuts or government spending:
  • Gore's "lock box" plan extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund until at least 2030 by devoting the interest savings from debt reduction to Medicare solvency.
  • Gore would strengthen Medicare through price competition among managed care plans and cost savings for competitive pricing.
  • Improving Medicare with a Prescription Drug Benefit: As President, Al Gore will expand Medicare to help seniors and people with disabilities afford prescription drugs so they no longer are forced to choose between paying for the medicine they need and paying for food or rent:
  • Under Gore's plan, seniors would have 50% of the prescription drug benefit costs, up to $5,000 annually, and a new catastrophic prescription drug benefit. It would also provide cost-sharing protections for low-income beneficiaries.
  • Protecting Patients: Gore is a strong supporter of the Patients' Bill of Rights that would ensure patients critical health protections and take medical decisions from insurance companies and HMOs and give them back to patients and doctors.
  • Gore would also fight for strong medical privacy protections to ensure medical records are kept private. He would also work to ensure that health insurers and employers cannot discriminate based on genetic information now that the Human Genome Project is complete and the human genome has been mapped.
  • Making Long-Term Care More Affordable: Currently, about five million Americans require long-term care. Al Gore proposals include:
  • A $3,000 tax credit that would compensate families for a wide range of formal and informal long-term care needs such as home care, adult day care, and respite services.
  • A National Family Care giving Program that supports families who care for elderly relatives with a chronic illness or disability by creating "one-stop-shops" that provide quality respite care, critical information about community-based long-term services that best meet families' needs, and counseling and support.
  • Fighting Diseases: Al Gore supports greater research and prevention to fight diseases including Alzheimers, Parkinsons, Diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and cancer:
  • He has proposed a new cancer initiative that will double cancer research over the next five years and assure patients access to cancer clinical trials, step up the fight against tobacco, and improve prevention and detection.
  • Al Gore would provide leadership from the White House in the fight against HIV/AIDS including increases in prevention, treatment and research, and enhance access to health care coverage.
  • Together with his wife Tipper, Al Gore has proposed a comprehensive initiative to help Americans with mental illness receive appropriate quality treatments, including ensuring full parity for children.
  • Improving Enrollment in Medicaid: Al Gore believes we should strengthen Medicaid by making it easier for states to expand coverage to home and community-based services by:
  • Enabling states to expand their programs to cover community-based care as well as well as nursing home residents.
  • Encouraging states to have a single application for Medicaid and nutrition assistance to increase the likelihood that eligible families will enroll in both programs.
  • Protecting Women's Right to Choose: Al Gore believes that there is no challenge more fundamental than protecting women's reproductive health. Al Gore will fight to guarantee women the right to choose and make abortion safe, legal, and rare while making significant investments in family planning and education. Freedom of choice also means freedom from fear in making that choice, and we must not allow a woman's right to choose to be taken away by those who resort to violence.

Social Security

  • Devote all Social Security Surpluses to Social Security and debt reduction. Social Security should not be undermined by a large risky tax cut or other government spending that wastes Social Security surpluses.
  • Strengthen Social Security until at least 2054 by using long-term interest savings to extend solvency.
  • Oppose efforts to raise the retirement age or reduce benefits by privatizing the system.
  • Improving fairness for Widows, Widowers and Mothers by giving parents credit toward Social Security for up to five years spent raising children - for those either out of the work force or working part time and increasing the size of the widow benefit to 75% of the combined couples' benefit to assure that Social Security benefit reflects the real cost of living.
  • Retirement Savings Plus Accounts: Al Gore proposes Retirement Savings Plus accounts which would add to - not take away from - Social Security. They would not reduce or divert Social Security revenues, and they would not involve any changes to the Social Security program.
  • Voluntary contributions, with a generous match that offers the greatest rewards for saving to lower-income Americans.
  • Similar to traditional IRAs and 401(k)s, contributions to these accounts would be tax deductible. Accounts would be tax-free and withdrawals would be taxable.
  • Accounts would be maintained by private financial institutions.
  • Like IRA accounts, participants in this plan could withdraw their savings to pay for college education, to help purchase a first home or to pay for catastrophic medical expenses.
  • Taxpayers could choose to deposit a share of their refund directly to these accounts, and the IRS would deposit their tax credit directly at the same time.
  • Allows each individual to save up to $2,000 per year.
  • If a couple fully participates, they can save $400,000 for their retirement.
  • Securing Pensions for Working Americans: Al Gore knows that businesses want to do what is right by their employees. That is why he will continue his work - begun as a U.S. Senator and continued during his time as Vice President - to expand pension portability, simplify the pension process for small businesses and protect employee pension funds.
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