He declared only a new generation of Democrats could deliver the change America required.
The choice of Mr Gore, only 44 but with 16 years experience, first as Congressman and then Senator from the southern state of Tennessee, had been widely rumoured. Even so it was only shortly before midnight on Wednesday that he received the Arkansas Governor's call from Little Rock, confirming that he had been selected from a shortlist of six final contenders.
'We have the best plan and now we have the best ticket,' said a delighted Mr Clinton, alongside his putative Vice-President and their two families. He praised Mr Gore as 'a leader of strength, integrity and stature', emphasising his foreign policy credentials, his commitment to the environment, and his help for families and the working poor. 'He shares my hunger to turn the economy around and change the country,' Mr Clinton said.
Among Democrats the choice was warmly welcomed. Although the civil rights leader Jesse Jackson complained that a ticket of similar Southern-based moderates was 'too narrow' and ignored key Democratic constituencies such as blacks and the urban poor, most saw it as conclusive proof that the party was determined to recapture the vital middle ground of American politics, sorely tempted by the independent candidacy of Ross Perot.
A new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll suggested yesterday the Dallas billionaire had weathered the recent storm of adverse publicity, and that the presidential contest could not be more open.
Mr Perot was favoured by 33 per cent of voters, compared with 31 per cent for President George Bush and 28 per cent for Mr Clinton - in statistical terms a dead-heat.
Profile, page 14
Leading article, page 20