Republican National Convention
Monday, July 31, 2000

Ky. delegates confident about Bush


Festivities get started

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        PHILADELPHIA — Kentucky Republicans converged Sunday on this host city for the Republican National Convention confident that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney can win the White House in November.

        “I just have such a better feeling this year than in the past couple of elections,” said delegate Barb Haas of Fort Thomas, chairwoman of the Campbell County Republican Party.

        “We have a winner this year. You can feel it among the delegates. They are optimistic and ready to go.”

        “Here we are,” Louisville delegate Jeff Klusmeier hollered as he exited the Philadelphia International Airport late Saturday afternoon. “Let's go pick that winner.”

        The delegates say they have legitimate reasons for being optimistic.

        Mr. Bush is leading national and state polls and has by most accounts proven to be an effective campaigner who has run a stronger race than Democrat Al Gore has since the primary season ended in late spring.

        “We're in a good position right now,” said delegate and Boone County Jailer John Schickel of Hebron. “And this is a big chance for us to show the rest of the country what the party faithful already know, that George Bush is a real dynamic leader who should be elected president.”

        Most of Kentucky's 62 delegates — 31 delegates and 31 alternates — spent Sunday taking in the sights, going to GOP functions and attending evening parties and dinners, including one put on by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. Producing bourbon is one of Kentucky's signature industries.

        Others attended a fireworks show on the Delaware River as they prepared for a week of promoting the Republican ticket and the party's agenda to the nation.

        Few want to spend time discussing Bill Clinton.

        “We don't want to talk about him and we don't need to talk about him,” Mrs. Haas said. “People know what happened and how he diminished the presidency. We want to talk about our candidates and the future, not the past.”

        U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, the vice chairman of the Kentucky delegation, said he is looking forward to Wednesday night, when the program will include Mr. Bush's plan to allow Americans to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in the stock market.

        “That's an exciting program and something I have been talking about since I arrived in Washington 14 years ago,” said Mr. Bunning of Southgate.

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