PORTLAND, Maine -- Vice President Gore doubled his tax cut proposal Thursday, promising additional breaks for married couples, new environmental initiatives and retirement accounts that would supplement Social Security. But he continued to attack the larger tax cut offered by rival George W. Bush, who returned to the campaign trail after five days of rest and closed-door strategy sessions at his family's Maine retreat.
Gore is now offering $500 billion in tax cuts over 10 years, compared with the $1.6 trillion cut proposed by the Texas governor. The largest difference between the two: Bush would reduce income tax rates across the board, while all of Gore's cuts are aimed at specific goals and taxpayer groups.
Last summer Gore said he would not propose tax cuts in excess of $250 billion over the next decade. But in a speech in Cincinnati touting the current national prosperity, he announced ''even more good news. . . . I believe with these larger surpluses the targeted tax cuts that I had previously recommended can be more robust.''
Thursday, Bush proposed nearly $1 billion in new spending for people with disabilities following an extended weekend in Kennebunkport, where the July 31 Republican National Convention was a key topic for the candidate and his advisers.
Bush wants ''a different kind of convention'' to present himself as ''a different kind of Republican,'' said communications director Karen Hughes, with some of the party's most popular figures giving speeches to highlight the themes of the campaign. ''And there will be lots of music.''
Arizona Sen. John McCain will be the featured speaker on the second night of the convention, Hughes confirmed.
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