Bush Blasts Clinton

George W. Bush said Friday that President Clinton's ethical misconduct "embarrassed the nation" and Vice President Al Gore should do more to repudiate it.

"If Al Gore has differences with the president, he ought to say loud and clear what they are," the Republican presidential nominee said of his Democratic opponent.

Americans "have felt left down" by Clinton's behavior, Bush told reporters aboard his campaign plane as he campaigned for a second day with former rival Sen. John McCain.

Bush said that Gore should spell out any differences he has with Clinton on policy matters "and everything else."

Interjected McCain: "If you ask a lot of young Americans, they'd like to have a White House they can have more respect for."

The Texas governor and McCain were asked about Clinton's comments the day before at a church in Illinois that he was trying to rebuild his life after the "terrible mistake" of an adulterous affair with a White House intern.

"I don't think President Clinton is an issue as we go forward," Bush said.

But, he added, "There's no question the president embarrassed the nation. Everybody knows that...Americans want to be assured that the next administration will bring honor and dignity to the White House."

As to Clinton's suggestion that voters should not hold Gore responsible for his mistakes, the Texas governor said:

"Are they going to hold Al Gore responsible for missed opportunities? I mean, either you're part of an administration or you're not part of an administration is how I view it."

"I think he needs to stand up and say if he thought the president were wrong on policy and issues, he ought to say where," Bush said.

But Bush's running mate, Dick Cheney, said in an interview with The Associated Press that Gore shouldn't be held accountable for Clinton's moral lapses. "Responsible for Clinton's mistakes? No, I don't think so," Cheney said Friday in Holland, Mich.

Bush poked fun at Gore's suggestion, in an interview with USA Today, that a Gore administration would be a "fresh start," noting that the phrase had been an early slogan of his own.

Aides passed around a copy of Bush's 1999 collection of speeches entitled A Fresh Start for America.

Asked about his and McCain's two days of campaigning in the Pacific Northwest, Bush quipped, "We expect a fresh start if you know what I mean."

"Unbelievable, isn't it?" he added.

Bush said he did not mean to imply that Gore sanctioned Clinton's personal conduct.

But, he added, "If he's got a problem with what went on in the past, he ought to explain what it is."

Bush said he planned to hole up at his ranch in central Texas during next week's Democratic National Convention and didn't plan to watch any of it on television.

"I expect some good rst in Crawford, Texas. I don't have cable. I'm sorry," he said.

Bush said he was campaigning with McCain to help persuade independent-minded voters to support him for president.

The winner and loser of the GOP presidential nod were campaigning together Friday in Portland, Ore., and at a fund-raiser in Medina, Wash., after a day on the railroad through central California.

"Those are states that in the past couple of election cycles, people have said 'Well, you don't have a chance,"' Bush said Thursday. "Not only do we have a chance, we're going to do well, and it's awfully helpful to have John by my side."