Dubya Knocks Bubba In Heartland

George W. Bush with wife
As George W. Bush's campaign concluded its "whistle stop" train tour in Illinois over the weekend, it's been fighting not one opponent, but two: Vice President Al Gore and President Bill Clinton.

"The president and vice president made a bad mistake yesterday," said Bush on Sunday, speaking of Mr. Clinton's veto of a GOP-sponsored tax break for two-income married couples - the so-called "lifting of the marriage penalty."

With the economy good and the national mood sunny, political change can be a hard sell, reports CBS News Correspondent Bill Whitaker. So, at stop after stop through battleground states in the nation's heartland over the weekend, the Bush-Cheney "family values" team reminded middle America in subtle ways how soiled many felt by the Clinton sex scandal.

"It is absolutely essential for us to do what has to be done to restore honor and integrity and decency to the Oval Office," said Dick Cheney, the former defense secretary who's Bush's GOP running mate.

"We'll have an administration that appeals to our higher angels, not our darker impulses," Bush has said time and again, paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln.

That note was a theme the Texas governor hit hard at last week's Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.

"Our current president embodied the potential of a generation, so many talents, so much charm, such great skill. But in the end, to what end?" Bush rhetorically asked of the Clinton years during his convention acceptance speech as the GOP's presidential nominee.

The Bush campaign insists it's not running against President Clinton, but the message is clear: to cleanse the office requires a clean sweep of this president and his vice president. Couple that with the new, inclusive, compassionate GOP - and the campaign is convinced it has a winning strategy.

In fact, the campaign is so confident about its strategy and momentum that it expresses little outward concern about Al Gore's choice of a running mate and boasts that Dick Cheney is more than the match of any of the Democrats mentioned for that slot.