Vice President Gore, over breakfast today with business leaders, cited the economic successes of the Clinton administration as reason No. 1 for electing him president.

"What we've done in the last seven years is we've gotten the fundamentals right," he told a few hundred members of the New England Business Council at the "Eggs and Politics" breakfast this morning.

It was one of the few occasions Gore has aligned himself directly with the president. But Gore said he would go much further than President Clinton.

"I will pledge to you if you elect me president I will balance the budget and [go one] better every single year," he said. "In fact, I make you this pledge this morning if you elect me president, I will further reduce the national debt every single year of my presidency."

Gore criticized two presidential rivals -- Texas Gov. George W. Bush (R) and former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley (D) -- saying their campaign plans for cutting taxes and reforming health care respectively "would put our prosperity at risk."

On the day the World Trade Organization formally opened its meetings in Seattle, Gore attempted to strike a rhetorical balance between pro-trade issues and fears about environmental and worker protections.

Gore fielded questions ranging from the Khiota treaty on the environment to urban sprawl before closing with a plea for support. "My hidden agenda here this morning is not very hidden," he said. "I want you to vote for me in the New Hampshire primary."

Gore then went to Concord High School for a session on school safety and planned to eat lunch with veterans in Manchester.