Clinton address touches Nevada delegation

LOS ANGELES - Nevada politicians say Monday's farewell speech by President Clinton, recounting accomplishments of the past eight years, set the perfect tone for Al Gore who'll accept his party's presidential nomination Thursday.

But Jeanne Maust of Las Vegas, who took in Clinton's speech and an earlier speech Monday by New York Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, saw the Democratic National Convention addresses in a less political way.

''They were relishing it; they had that charisma, that natural intelligence which comes through,'' Maust said.

Nevada delegate Nancy Harkess, who cried during the president's 40-minute address, said, ''I didn't feel it was a farewell. I felt it was a stay-tuned.''

By talking about the past eight years, Clinton ''set it up'' for Gore and his vice presidential nominee, Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, said U.S. Sen. Harry Reid.

Clinton focused on issues in a way that allowed people who like his political achievements but do not like him personally to walk away feeling good about issues such as the economy and unemployment, Reid said.

''The president has the unique ability, whether it's one-on-one or in a large group, to make you feel he's talking to you personally,'' Reid said.

Gore can't match Clinton's oratory skills when he accepts his party's nomination Thursday, Reid said, adding, ''I hope he doesn't even try. Gore has a different message. Gore has to be himself.''

U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan said Clinton helped Gore by challenging the Republicans on specific issues. On the length of the speech, he quipped, ''The president never suffered from brevity.''

Clinton's own enjoyment of his last convention speech was obvious, Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., said. ''He thoroughly enjoyed himself documenting the points of accomplishment of the last eight years,'' she said.

For Las Vegas attorney Ed Bernstein, who hopes to be a U.S. senator in 2001, the Clinton speech was ''one of the most phenomenal history-making speeches I've ever heard. Nobody compares to Bill Clinton.''


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