Oct. 9 -- With his truthfulness under fire and his opponent gaining in the polls, Al Gore’s surrogates are openly questioning George W. Bush’s intelligence.
Since this weekend, the Gore team has been ratcheting up its efforts to paint Bush as “confused,” “bumbling,” “babbling” and “ignorant.”
“George W. Bush seems incapable of talking aboutthe important issues in this campaign in a coherent way,” Gore spokesman Mark Fabiani said today, just one in a series of statements from the Democratic candidate’s team drawing attention to the Texas governor’s mispronunciations and misstatements on the campaign trail.
“George Bush is routinely unable to string together a coherent sentence to explain his own proposals,” another Gore spokesman, Douglas Hattaway, said in an earlier statement this weekend. “Americans will decide whether Bush’s uncertain command of the facts and his garbled language bear on his ability to be an effective leader.”
Hattaway’s criticism came after the Texas governor bobbled an explanation of marginal income tax rates at a campaign event in Florida. Bush has fumbled numbers and uttered seemingly incomprehensible statements on the stump many times before. But Saturday marked the first time the Gore campaign seized on one of its opponent’s gaffes and used it as a pretext for directly challenging his intellectual capacity.
Only 24 hours earlier, Hattaway said, “We don’t attack Bush for his crimes against the English language.” But Gore advisers took to the airwaves the following day to continue the attack.
“Bush ought to be held to presidential standards, and what he did yesterday didn’t meet up toDan Quayle standards,” Fabiani said on CNN’s Late Edition. “Governor Bush is incapable of explaining his own positions on the issues coherently.”
“He is dangerously ignorant,” Paul Begala, an aide to the vice president, said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “He doesn’t know his own ideas, much less the facts on the table.”