Gore 2000 Chief William Daley Talks about the Campaign
"Al Gore has to put himself forward and tell his story"

Former Commerce Secretary William M. Daley took over the struggling Gore campaign as its chairman on July 15. His first task: imposing order on the factionalized enterprise. Daley has proved himself adept at quickly organizing corporate-style turnarounds in Washington, such as securing congressional passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which had faced major opposition. Recently, Washington bureau chief Lee Walczak and Washington Correspondent Paul Magnusson interviewed Daley about his experiences so far in managing the Gore headquarters in Nashville. Here are edited excerpts from the conversation:

On managing Gore Inc.:
It's a unique challenge. You create a nationwide network overnight with people that you really don't know. Just 91 days from today, this company will spend at least $67 million. You have to delegate. You have to trust judgment. You can't micromanage. I have pretty much given the people here the freedom to do their own thing.

On business suspicions about Gore as a Presidential candidate:
I think there are some false beliefs about him that go back a while. Al Gore [was] intimately involved in the '93, '94, and '95 decisions that helped put the Administration into a strong business position. But most businesspeople, even though they like the policies of the Clinton-Gore Administration, still vote Republican.

On Bush's use of Democratic themes at the GOP convention:
They can talk about inclusion, but it's the Democratic Party that for the first time ever is putting someone of the Jewish faith on a ticket. There was a great show and a lot of appearance of change, but what really matters is following it up with real change. George [W.] Bush's positions or Dick Cheney's record is very different from that image of last week.

On Joseph Lieberman's value as Gore's running mate:
[He brings] a certain level of seriousness and comfort with Gore. He brings a lot of excitement. [He] has been willing to test new things even if they don't work. [He] has a deeply held faith, deeply held values, and that's what the American people want to see.

Joe Lieberman's separation on the difficulties of President Clinton was strong and direct and showed enormous courage. But more important is how Lieberman has lived his life. That's one of his great strengths. And that's something that Al Gore believes is needed at the national level. If all that Joe Lieberman had done was give a speech on impeachment, he wouldn't be the Vice-Presidential nominee.

On Daley's objectives for the Democratic convention in Los Angeles:
Introduce your candidate, put out what he stands for, and try to present -- with some specificity -- issues. But it is really the introduction of the person and the main speech at the end. Al Gore has to put himself forward and tell his story in his own words.

On unifying the Democratic base:
Gore has been pretty definite on deficit reduction, on tax cuts that do not put [the nation's] overall economic position at risk. Al Gore is remaining constant and true to the policies of the last eight years. As the guesstimates of the surplus have continued to grow, a lot of people have been saying, "Oh, back off on that position and try to leap in front of Bush with a bigger tax cut." But he's not going to do that.

On running a New Economy election in Old Economy states:
The Old Economy is trying to become more productive and take advantage of the New Economies. Whether it's a steel plant, an auto manufacturer, or a widget maker, everyone is trying to use the new technology. I don't think because it's Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, [or] Ohio that those businesses think any less about technology than companies in California, Colorado, or Texas.

Edited by Douglas Harbrecht

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Team Gore's Dilemma

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Commentary: The Lieberman Effect: How Big a Boost?

TABLE: Assessing the Impact

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