Sen. Albert Gore Jr. (Tenn.), in his bid to establish himself as the leading Democratic presidential candidate in the South, has been making some bold claims about his campaigning there. Most recently, Gore declared Sunday on "Face the Nation": "I've campaigned extensively throughout the South, more than all of the other candidates put together since I got into this race . . . . "

Gore press secretary Mike Kopp said Gore has campaigned 37 days in southern states since his April announcement.

Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.) alone has spent 24 days in the South just since June 1, plus nine days in Missouri, a "Super Tuesday" state. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.) and Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis have spent about 20 days each in the South since May 1. That's a total of more than 60 days. And this does not include the other three candidates' southern travels.

Asked how Gore made his calculations, Kopp said Gore was talking not about the number of days but rather "ground covered" in the South. What does that mean? "We've been in every single Super Tuesday state," Kopp explained.

By that standard, Gephardt can do Gore one better. Gephardt spokesman Mark Johnson said the congressman also has been in every Super Tuesday state -- "at least six times."