And in the Taking Credit for Things Yet to Come category, Gore told the sad story of little Kaylie Ellis and her poverty-stricken Sarasota, Fla., high school, where they "can't squeeze another desk in for (Kaylie), so she has to stand during class." But never fear! Gore would come to Kaylie's rescue as president: "I want the federal government ... to make improvement of our schools the No. 1 priority so Kaylie will have a desk and can sit down in a classroom ..."
But then the day after the debate, the principal of Kaylie's high school indignantly took to the airwaves to say that the classroom seemed crowded that day only because it was brimming over with $100,000 worth of computer equipment. The school has plenty of room, plenty of desks, and -- evidently -- plenty of computer equipment.
Most brazenly, Gore got huffy when Bush answered the moderator's question about any "issues of character" that might distinguish the candidates. Not surprisingly, Gore wants character issues completely off the table.
But Jim Lehrer asked, and Bush answered. After a hail-fellow-well-met introductory paragraph on what a good family man Gore is, Bush said: "I think the thing that discouraged me about the vice president was uttering those famous words: no controlling legal authority." (One further point Bush refrained from making was that Gore said those words in a speech in which he was admitting to have made fund-raising calls from the White House -- a federal felony.)
The next thing you knew, Gore was in one of his schoolmarm snits: "I want to spend my time making this country even better than it is, not trying to make you out to be a bad person. You may want to focus on scandals. I want to focus on results."
Yeah, of course Gore doesn't want to focus on scandals. Unlike the Internet, he actually does have something to do with those. This is like Don Corleone complaining to the prosecutor that -- as a point of etiquette -- he just doesn't think they should be discussing any crimes either of them may have committed. When did it become a principled stance for crooks to take crime off the table?
Nixon didn't want to talk about the Watergate in the 1972 election. Slobodan Milosevic probably got a little sick of all the jawboning about scandals in the recent Yugoslavian election. King George didn't want to talk about taxes.
Surely Gore remembers that. Wasn't he the guy who crossed the Potomac?