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Bush Takes Errant Dig at Gore on Stock Market Investments

May 16, 2000|From a Times Staff Writer

RANCHO CUCAMONGA — Texas Gov. George W. Bush routinely accuses his opponent, Vice President Al Gore, of stretching the truth. But now the presumed Republican presidential nominee has found the way to make Gore really mad: accuse him of owning stock.

After detailing his plan to reform Social Security by allowing workers to invest in the market, Bush anticipated Gore's standard response that the proposal was "risky," and wondered Monday why Gore would attack the idea when the vice president has "a substantial amount of his money invested in the stock market."

"If he is building his own retirement security in the market, why does he object to young Americans doing the same?" Bush asked.

But Gore's aides said the idea that Gore has benefited from the bull market is, well, bull.

Gore divested himself in 1976 in order to avoid any potential conflicts of interest, said Chris Lehane, a Gore spokesman.

As remarkable as it may seem, the man who takes credit for helping nurture the current economy hasn't benefited from the longest expansion in history, his campaign said.

"Despite George W. Bush's claims, Al Gore does not personally have money invested in the stock market," read a statement issued by the campaign. "Bush should get his own fiscal plans in order before trying to understand those of others."

Aides, who denounced Bush for making "a personal attack without any facts to back it up," said Gore had an IRA from his days as a senator, but all the money in it was invested in government bonds.

And the one stock listed on Gore's personal financial disclosure form, Occidental, is owned by a trust created after the death of his father, former Tennessee Sen. Al Gore Sr. Gore has no direct control over that stock.

The Bush camp noted that Bush owns stock, but through blind trusts that prevent him from knowing the exact source of his shares.

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