Gore Picks Campaign Manager

Vice president Al Gore has not formally announced his intention to run for president but he already is putting together his team for a 2000 bid.

White House political director Craig Smith has agreed to be Gore's campaign manager, according to several Democratic officials close to Gore. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Smith will be in charge of the day-to-day operation of Gore's campaign if the vice president decides to run.

Gore is expected to announce for the presidency early next year.

Smith, 40, is an Arkansas native who worked for then-Gov. Bill Clinton and came to Washington in 1993, serving first in the political operation at the Democratic National Committee. In 1996, Smith helped coordinate Clinton's grass-roots campaign efforts.

Still to be determined by Gore is who will be his campaign chairman, with lobbyist Peter Knight and former White House counsel Jack Quinn angling for the post.

Bringing Smith aboard his team gives Gore one of the president's most loyal allies to help take advantage of Clinton's political operation throughout the country. Clinton has promised to help Gore win the presidency in 2000.

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