Al Gore's Lucky Break

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So at his campaign kickoff in his hometown of Carthage, Tenn., Gore talked of "my own values of faith and family" and how he would marshal the "moral leadership" of the Oval Office. And at every stop, he had on hand the sweetheart he met at his high school prom, 34 years later proclaiming him handsome and sexy in what amounts to a public-service announcement for the joy of monogamy.

Gore never mentioned Bush's name but mocked the politics of "eloquent words" and "pretty rhetoric." To play up the contrast, he left behind everywhere a blizzard of policy proposals--delving into the fine print of the tax code to propose new breaks for research, and advocating expansion of the family-leave law to cover parent-teacher conferences. But all the frolicking with Tipper and the five-point plans could not match the week's unscripted windfall from the House floor. This week Republicans handed Gore a break, but for his campaign to succeed, he may have to figure out how to make the next ones on his own.

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