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[whitespace] Gore drops in for campaign endorsement

Vice President touts self, Honda for November election

Sunnyvale--A crowd of more than 1,000 people descended upon Sunnyvale's Lakewood Park in the sweltering heat on Sept. 13, for a campaign stop by Vice President Al Gore. Along with promoting his presidential platform, Gore gave the nod of approval to the campaign of 24th District State Assembly Democratic candidate Mike Honda.

Despite Gore's significant tardiness, the crowd was very excited and affectionate toward Gore when he finally arrived and jogged confidently up to the podium.

Before Gore appeared, Honda found himself in that all too familiar position of the opening band trying to stall the frenzied crowd, as they wait for the nearing unfashionably late main attraction.

In his elongated speech, Honda stressed the importance of education and diversity. "I started out as a teacher at Sunnyvale High School in 1969," said Honda. "I know that $34,000 isn't enough money for teachers. We need to put our money where our mouth is. We need reduced class sizes. We need 100,000 new teachers. The engine of this community won't continue without good education."

As word spread that Gore had finally arrived at the park, Honda--bubbling with excitement--thanked the crowd for their patience and then asked them to "thank God for Al and Joe".

As Gore began his energetic speech, he tried to distance himself from President Bill Clinton while still claiming certain victories within the Clinton White House as partially his own.

He encouraged the supportive crowd that choosing him is choosing "a new future. . . a new president." He then went on to say, "We need to keep this prosperity going. We need to build on our foundations. Eight years ago California had the deepest recession since the Great Depression. We turned the biggest deficits into the strongest stock market. We now have the strongest economy in the 224 year history of America, and you ain't seen nothing yet!"

Gore also touted a new prescription drug plan providing choice and coverage for all Medicare beneficiaries.

"Big drug companies are now making record profits selling overpriced drugs," he said. "I want to cut drug costs for all seniors. Many seniors can't afford the medication they need. Drug companies are putting too much money into advertising, instead of research. Seniors are being charged higher prices than anyone is and no one is standing up for them. I've never been afraid or hesitant to stand up to the big drug companies. I want to take Social Security and Medicare and put them in a locked box that says ëpoliticians: hands off.'"

Representatives of Honda's opponent , Republican incumbent Jim Cuneen responded to the speeches later that day.

"Jim has been a real leader in education. He has worked to reduce class size. He is the son of a public school teacher, and this has been a very big issue with us," a spokesman from the Cuneen camp said.

In response to the proposed drug plan, the spokesman said, "Jim would like to see a plan added for prescription drugs. He doesn't want to jeopardize any current plans, but he would like to create plans for people who don't already have them. Honda wants a government health care system where you don't have any choices. Jim wants you to have the right to choose your own doctor."
Daniel Hindin

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Web extra to the September 28-October 4, 2000 issue of Metro.

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