ALBANY, N.Y. — Vice President Al Gore and Hillary Rodham Clinton courted Latino voters Friday in a joint appearance likely to be noticed beyond New York borders.
The two already have strong leads among the nation's fastest- growing voter population. Senate candidate Clinton had a 2-1 advantage over likely Republican challenger Rudolph Giuliani in a February poll, and Latino voters went more strongly for Gore than any other New York demographic group on Super Tuesday.
In the last two presidential elections, Latinos voted overwhelmingly for President Clinton and Gore--72% to 21% in 1996 and 61% to 25% in 1992.
"Most of us know if we continue those [Clinton-Gore] policies and make sure they work for everybody, we will bring prosperity to those people who have been left out up until now, and that should be our goal," the first lady said.
Still, officials say Gore and Clinton shouldn't take Latino votes for granted. Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush is saying all the right things too, said Democratic state Assemblyman Roberto Ramirez, chairman of this weekend's Somos El Futuro legislative conference. Bush is well liked by Latinos in Texas and has been making a push to compete with Gore for that voting bloc in California and in Florida, where his brother Jeb is governor.