As Gore winds his way down the Mississippi on his post-convention riverboat tour, the vice president now holds a narrow lead over his GOP rival, Texas Governor George W. Bush. The latest Newsweek poll gives Democrat Gore 48 percent to Bush's 42 percent in a four-way race that includes Green Party candidate Ralph Nader and Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan. Given the poll's four percent margin of error, stakes remain as close as they are high for Gore and Bush.
On CBS News' Face The Nation, Bush campaign strategist Karl Rove said Gore's acceptance speech in Los Angeles - a laundry list of attacks against "special interests" - made him a "more divisive" and "more polarizing" figure.
Gore "emphasized class warfare and the need to fight these powerful forces which are keeping progress in Washington from occurring," said Rove. "Look, the powerful forces that are keeping progress in Washington from happening are the divisiveness and the partisanship and the hyper-negativity that's been unleashed by this (Clinton-Gore) administration and that's been echoed by Congress. "
Rove argued despite his immediate poll bounce, Gore's "I'm for the people, not the powerful" rhetoric in L.A. would come back to haunt him with undecided voters.
"The voter in the middle - the independent voter, the swing voter - doesn't like class warfare," he said. "If they did, they would be on the left wing of the Democratic Party."
Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile dismissed Rove's choice of labels.
"When you talk about health care, that's not an issue on the left or the right," she told Face The Nation. "That's an issue that all Americans are concerned about. When you talk about education and improving public schools in this country, that's something all Americans care about."
Also on Face The Nation. Oklahoma's GOP Gov. Frank Keating likened the populist tone of Gore's speech as nothing more than just the vice president's latest political pose.
"When you consider that Al Gore talked about he was going to fight big tobacco and yet for years he received U.S. Government tobacco subsidies. He sold tobacco. He received large PAC contributions from the tobacco industries," said Keating. "He said he was going to fight big oil and the pollutors, again demonizing business. Yet he's rich because of his ownership in Occidental Petroleum's stock "
And Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) downplayed concerns that African-Americans are less than thrilled about this year's Democratic ticket due to Gore's selection of Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman as his running mate.
"Most Americans who don't believe that all their dreams and aspirations have been met in this country truly believe that Joe Liebermanby opening that door for Jewish people, opened a door for a lot of people. I think it's one of the greatest things that ever happened to us," Rangel told Face The Nation.
During the convention week in L.A., Lieberman had to soothe concerns of some black Democratic leaders about his one-time stands on affirmative action and school vouchers - something that Rangel argued should surprise no one.
"Because African-Americans are sensitive to vouchers and to affirmative action, it makes a lot of sense to talk with the candidate about it," said the congressman.
Besides, Rangel argued, look at GOP running mate Dick Cheney and his conservative voting record in Congress.
"You shouldn't even mention Joe Lieberman's name when Dick Cheney is the vice presidential candidate for Governor Bush. It's night and day," he said.