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Chatter at 40,000 Feet; Next to Bush, a First-Class Schmoozer, Gore's in Coach
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Political campaigns; Aircraft; Presidential elections; Reporters
Author: Kurtz, Howard
Date: Jun 15, 2000
Start Page: A.01
Section: A SECTION

The [George W. Bush] motorcade arrived at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium, where a crowd of 600 had gathered, shortly after noon. Under a blazing sun, Bush delivered a lively speech on one of [Al Gore]'s signature issues--reinventing government--in the Democrat's home state. He also worked in some criticism, accusing Gore of "exaggerations," "scare tactics" and "lashing out at enemies." The line about biennial budgeting drew polite applause, as Bush was quick to remind the reporter who had questioned the issue's appeal.

The New York Times and Washington Post reporters said Bush's budget proposals were the most newsworthy element. Correspondents for USA Today, CNN and the Associated Press said Bush's attacks on Gore-- in a speech in which he was calling for greater civility--were clearly the story. But both versions provided a positive story line for Bush.

Unlike Bush, Gore often doesn't give the media much else to work with. Bush stages a mini news conference virtually every day; Gore has held only a handful in the past three months. Gore does his share of one-on-one interviews with national reporters--and brief sessions with home-state outlets--but seems wary of subjecting himself to the media pack, which might want to talk about, say, Elian Gonzalez on a day when the candidate is pitching economic prosperity.

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