Tuesday, September 19, 2000

Taft lashes media for Bush

Gov. opens campaign HQ for Ohio

By Debra Jasper
Enquirer Columbus Bureau

        COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Bob Taft on Monday blamed the news media for George W. Bush's inability to stay on message in recent weeks but added that Mr. Bush will “regain the momentum” with a new focus on the middle class.

        “What you are seeing on the news is process, inside baseball, that's preventing Governor Bush from getting his message out,” said Mr. Taft, chairman of Mr. Bush's Ohio campaign.

        During the official opening of Mr. Bush's Ohio campaign headquarters, Mr. Taft said Ohio is in the middle of a “ground war” over votes and is critical to Mr. Bush's chances.

        Recent national polls put Vice Presi dent Al Gore slightly ahead in the presidential race, although Texas Gov. Bush appears to have a small lead in Ohio.

        Mr. Taft handed out booklets outlining Mr. Bush's “Blueprint for the Middle Class,” which he said will be promoted during a Bush stop in Cleveland this week.

        The plan, among other things, calls for tax relief and more proficiency testing. In television ads in Ohio expected to start this week, Mr. Bush will tout his support of testing in grades 3 through 8. His plan also favors holding schools accountable “if they fail to teach children.”

        Just before the new headquarters officially opened, several Gore supporters stood outside jeering those carrying Bush signs.


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