Monitor: All the News of the World - US comment on the candidates for next year's presidential elections

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GORE'S ANNOUNCEMENT left all manner of blanks to be filled in, as announcements always do. There's a long campaign ahead in which all the candidates will become better defined, not just Mr. Gore but his rival for the Democratic nomination, Bill Bradley, and the numerous candidates on the Republican side. Mr Gore's conventional announcement contained no surprises; nor did he seriously challenge the country in any particular respect. It's hard to do that while at the same time celebrating the successes of the past seven years, and that constraint may help to define Gore's campaign.

The Washington Post

FROM THIS early vantage point it appears that the main danger in this campaign could be the spectacle of two candidates clinging so firmly to the center that their themes become interchangeable in the public mind. If that happens, the election could very likely turn on issues of personality, and it would be unfortunate if the public reacted to its disappointment with Clinton by deciding this election on the basis of personal charm. Bush and Gore both have a long way to go before even winning a nomination. They also have plenty of work to do turning the warm and fuzzy campaign themes unveiled this week into proposals of clarity and substance.

The New York Times

GORE AND Bush are being a bit premature in their general-election mind sets. Former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley is eager to take on Gore on issues such as the environment, health care, education and - watch out, Mr. Vice President - the campaign-finance system. While many voters have a favorable early impression of Bush, he still needs to test his ideas against those of Elizabeth Dole, Senator John McCain, Steve Forbes, Dan Quayle, Pat Buchanan, and perhaps others. If the major parties allow these two sons of the status quo to get too comfortable too soon, they just might find themselves vulnerable to a third-party candidate willing to bring ideas with clarity and controversy to the campaign.

San Francisco Times