Gore Asks for Less TV, More Debate

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In a session with TIME editors on Monday, Vice President Al Gore said that if he receives the Democratic nomination, he will immediately challenge the Republican nominee to cease television and radio advertising and instead engage him in twice-weekly debates. The challenge is similar to one he has already issued to Bill Bradley — one that Bradley has denounced as "a ploy," but that is working well with focus groups.

"People hate these little fuzzy ads," Gore said. "They don't work any more." The process of preparing for debates, he added, benefits a candidate by forcing him to think through his own policy positions more carefully, and to prepare himself in subject areas where he might not otherwise.

Gore made the proposal in response to a question about the enormous financial disadvantage the Democratic nominee will have against the Republican, particularly if it is George W. Bush. That advantage, he added, "can easily be overstated and overvalued."