Dole Tries Florida

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TAMPA: Try as he might to turn up the temperature of his campaign, polls show the same double-digit gap between Bob Dole and President Clinton that has existed for most of the election season. But Bob Dole continues to work for votes. "How low will the White House go?" Dole asked audiences in Florida, referring to a flurry of Democratic ads that claim Dole as President would cut Medicare spending. Polls now show that Florida, usually counted on by the GOP for 25 electoral votes, is up for grabs with Clinton and Dole running in a dead heat. Meanwhile, a new California poll shows Clinton holding on to an 18 point lead in that state, leading Dole 52 to 34 percent. In spite of bad news from the pollsters, Dole insisted he could still win the election next Tuesday, claiming that his campaign was getting better. "Its the classic end of campaign game," says TIME's Tamala Edwards. "Dole is staying positive, but there is a creeping realization that things will not turn out in his favor. Weeks ago the campaign had more energy, and Dole was more angry, lashing out at the New York Times and so on." In recent days, Dole has tried to get some political traction over the issue of the President's relationship with John Huang, the former Democratic fundraiser who steered millions from the billionaire Riady family of Indonesia into Democratic coffers. Unfortunately for the GOP, Dole's persistent questioning of the Clinton Administration's ethical standards probably won't resonate with voters come election day. "Even the developing Democratic fundraising scandal won't effect voting, because people don't understand it," notes Edwards. "It's tough to unravel, and most papers bury the story on page five." -- Terence Nelan