Posted 3:23 p.m. Oct. 4
by Alex Kingsbury
U-WIRE (DC BUREAU)
(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – Former Vice President Al Gore, in his second major policy speech in as many weeks, challenged the President George W. Bush and his administration to address the nation’s economic woes before the mid-term elections.
Speaking in Washington, D.C., the 2000 Democratic presidential nominee slammed the current administration’s policies, accusing the president’s policies of hurting the nation’s economy. The former vice president also spoke on sustainable growth, energy independence and the War on Terrorism.
“When seeking office, President Bush said he would lead a new era of responsibility,” Gore said.”But today, he won’t take any responsibility for the damage economists say his policies have created.”
Gore faulted the president’s priorities in addressing the nation’s economic woes.
“President Clinton and I inherited an economy deep in trouble, yet after a few years of sound economic policy we turned deficits into surpluses and joblessness into 20 million jobs,” Gore said, in a morning speech at the Brookings Institution, a think-tank in the nation’s capital.
“President Bush believes that it is urgent that the Congress act on the issue of Saddam Hussein prior to the election on November 5. I think it’s even more urgent that both he and the Congress take action to strengthen our economy prior to the election.”
Gore’s address comes a week after a speech in San Francisco in which he voiced his disagreement with the president’s stance on Iraq and the War on Terrorism.
“We will pay a price for any further delay,” Gore said. “If the president does not propose actions before the election, we’ll have to wait until next year when the new Congress convenes. In the interim, a global recession or worse could have taken hold.”
The former vice president outlined new strategies for dealing with the current economic recession including a “short-term stimulus, including extended unemployment benefits and help for small business.”
“People are working harder, they are working more hours,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be this way.”
Gore joked that many 401(k) plans have turned into “201(k) plans.”
Gore even went as far as to call for some of the president’s economic team to step down.
“We also need to recognize that some members of Bush’s economic team simply do not inspire confidence in the markets, nor carry weight on his behalf on discussions in Congress, the Federal Reserve, the business community and economic policy makers in other countries and they need to be replaced.”
Under questioning he refused to specify who should resign. Gore said he is still undecided about a run at the presidency in the 2004 elections, saying he will decide after consulting with his family.
“I don’t know,” Gore said, “if I’ll be a candidate or not.”