Gore Gets Daschle, Bush and Dole Get Busted

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WASHINGTON: Al Gore may be trailing both George W. Bush and Liddy Dole in early opinion polls for the 2000 presidential election, but he's having much better luck than his Republican rivals in keeping his party in line behind him. Gore got a rousing endorsement Monday from Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, the second big name to get on the Gore train since ally-for-now Dick Gephardt got on board last week. The loser: Bill Bradley, who still hopes to topple Gore by rallying the party's many disaffected liberals against the Clinton-Gore machine. Those liberals, however, are deserting him in droves -- for 2000 at least, the presidency (by way of a united party in the primaries) is coming way before principles.

Bush and Dole, meanwhile, wish their ranks were as Machiavellian. The GOP's two best hopes have soft-pedaled the abortion issue in hopes of keeping the party tent big enough to win in November; now they're getting called on it. The National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, an abortion-rights group, said Monday it is launching a television-ad campaign this week in Iowa and New Hampshire that will "expose" Bush and Dole's real antiabortion views. With Pat Buchanan, Dan Quayle and Steve Forbes raising Cain against them from the party's right wing, and NARAL scaring women into Gore's arms from the left, Bush and Dole may discover by the time next November rolls around that the Republican middle is a lonely place indeed.