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CAMPAIGN 2000

Baptist Conventioneers Give Gore More Applause

September 08, 2000|LARRY B. STAMMER | TIMES RELIGION WRITER

Pledging to extend America's prosperity to all, Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush both campaigned long distance Thursday among representatives of the nation's largest African American denomination, but it was Gore's message that drew applause.

Speaking via satellite to many of the 25,000 delegates in Los Angeles at the annual gathering of the National Baptist Convention USA Inc., Gore drew repeated rounds of applause. The largely Democratic crowd received Bush with polite applause at the end of his remarks.

"America is richer and stronger, but I am not satisfied," Gore said, repeating a theme that he set at last month's Democratic National Convention. "I'm not satisfied when parents have to struggle to raise their kids in a culture that glorifies violence and indecency, a culture of too much meanness and not enough meaning."

Gore repeated his pledge to raise the minimum wage, create 10 million new jobs through a commitment to high technology and education, protect Medicare and the Social Security trust fund and provide universal health care for all children within four years. He also called for tough penalties for hate crimes and an end to racial profiling.

Bush also reprised themes from his convention speech, declaring that "the purpose of prosperity is to ensure that the great American dream touches every willing heart. We cannot afford to have an America segregated by class or by race or by aspiration. It must be our goal to expand opportunity to make it as broad and diverse as America itself."

Bush said government should invest more in faith-based charities run by churches, synagogues and other nonprofit organizations. Federal after-school programs should be opened to community groups and charities, he said, adding that if elected, he would set aside more than $100 million over the next decade to promote charitable causes.

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