Gore sides with McCain on campaign finance

By Ron Fournier, Associated Press, 12/15/99

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- In a prelude to the cross-party summit between Democrat Bill Bradley and Republican John McCain, Vice President Al Gore is siding with the GOP candidate.

Gore's campaign has paid for a full-page ad in the Eagle Times in Claremont to show up in Thursday's papers just as Bradley and McCain make a joint appearance in the New Hampshire town to tout their pledges to reform campaign finance laws if elected.

The ad, an open letter from Gore, says "I would ask the voters to look beyond the rhetoric of candidates to the actual record. John McCain has shown real courage in taking on his own party and working for real reform. I also have been at this fight for a long time."

Gore aides said the ad is a not-so-subtle dig at his Democratic rival Bradley, who was not mentioned.

The Gore campaign believes that independent voters, who are the target of McCain and Bradley in Thursday's meeting, will find the Arizona Republican more committed to the cause than Bradley. Independent voters can vote in either the Democratic or Republican primary in New Hampshire Feb. 1, meaning those who vote for McCain won't be voting for Bradley.

Gore reiterated his pledge to swear off unregulated soft money donations if the Republican nominee does the same and challenged other candidates to make the same promise. Bradley and McCain have already done so.

Gore's letter also lists numerous occasions in which he fought for campaign finance reform when he was in Congress, suggesting by inference that Bradley has not been as active.

Bradley's campaign did not immediately return calls seeking comment.