No sleep `til Tuesday for Clinton and Dole

Bill Clinton and Bob Dole hurled themselves into a campaign finale of non-stop travel until Tuesday's vote - the President with the goal of securing re-election with an outright majority of the popular vote and helping return a Democratic Congress, his Republican challenger in the hope of stirring moral outrage enough to cause the greatest upset in US political history.

Mr Dole's 96-hour marathon started in the vital Mid-western swing state of Ohio yesterday, with a last-ditch bid to turn the character issue against his opponent. Almost simultaneously, Mr Clinton was due to set out proposals for bipartisan campaign finance reform at a speech here, before heading east to Texas, the third largest electoral prize, which the Democrats hope to capture for the first time in 20 years.

A president should set "the highest standards for everyone, this is not a game", Mr Dole declared in Columbus, flanked by the former Republican presidents George Bush and Gerald Ford. He lashed out at scandals which have buffeted the White House throughout the Clinton administration.

"It's going to be a referendum now ... It smells, It stinks, these people are shameless," he said of the White House and the dubious Democratic fund-raising practices that have been making headlines here for weeks, "Do the American people care about ethical scandals?" Unfortunately for him, despite a smattering of hecklers and protesters outside Mr Clinton's hotel at this resort, the answer alas, was almost certainly, not enough.

In many ways the battle for California, whose 54 electoral votes are a key target of both parties, has been the story of this campaign. Here and all across the West this week, Mr Clinton has been delivering not so much a political speech as a warm, fuzzy sermon, of hope, harmony and happiness. He makes a point of raising such non-partisan and 21st-century topics as supercomputers and advanced neurological research, all in the calculation he can glide above the fray to overwhelming victory on 5 November.

Even yesterday, he was not expected to address specifically the allegations that his party had trawled illegally for hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions from East Asian business interests, appealing instead for a bipartisan effort to solve a problem that has bedevilled America even before the 1974 Watergate scandal.

Everywhere, however, the crowds have been fizzing and large - as many as 25,000 at an Arizona stop, and 5,000 happy supporters at a Hallowe'en evening rally in a square on the Oakland waterfront, across the bay from San Francisco. By contrast Dole events here have been held before enthusiastic but selected audiences in Republican strongholds, of little avail in narrowing a Clinton lead of between 15 and 20 points.

Nor is his railing over campaign finance likely to change matters. Despite the latest Republican tirades, Americans generally believe that both parties are at fault. If anything the reaction could be disgust at the entire political process which could mainly serve only to depress turnout next Tuesday.

Mr Clinton is alive to those fears. Increasingly, he is pitching for his party's congressional candidates, appealing everywhere for a high turn-out to return control of Capitol Hill to the Democrats. But he has a personal ambition too, of winning 51 per cent or more of the popular vote in what is the last major election of his career, and banishing the image of the 43 per cent "minority President" elected in 1992.

Despite Mr Dole's fierce language, yesterday again brought no sign of the 11th-hour miracle that alone can save him. A Reuters poll shows Mr Clinton's lead at a smaller but still forbidding eight points; CNN/USA Today however puts the margin at double that. All though show an advance by the Reform Party candidate Ross Perot, who has long hammered away at the campaign finance issue. "I'm not going to give up, we're going to to win," he insisted. "The last time I fought around the clock for my country was in Italy," declared Bob Dole the war hero of 1945, "It was worth it then and it's worth it now."

Bob Dole profile, page 21

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
film
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
News
peopleWarning - contains a lot of swearing
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...

Investigo: Finance Business Partner

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - West London

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...

Recruitment Genius: Florist Shop Manager

£8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project