Following are excerpts from Vice President Gore's interview yesterday:
On welfare reform: "Welfare reform has been, according to most measures, a significant policy success. I acknowledge the fact that during this unprecedented period of prosperity some potential problems with welfare reform may not be clearly visible today."
On Senate rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty: "There is no challenge more important than stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. What the Senate Republicans did on the test ban treaty is the single most reckless action that I have seen the Senate take in the entire time I've served in government the last quarter century, almost, or that I've ever seen in my lifetime. It's breathtakingly irresponsible. It makes the world a more dangerous place. It is an ill-considered action with no alternative on their part proposed except a go-it-alone strategy. . . . I ask for a mandate if I'm elected president to make my first act as president the resubmission of this treaty to the Senate accompanied by a demand from the American people that they ratify this treaty."
On his decision to run a political ad on the nuclear test ban treaty: "I did not poll it, I did not focus-group it, I did not talk to a legion of advisers. I sat down with a pen and paper and wrote it."
On Texas Gov. George W. Bush's opposition to the treaty: "His position is a serious mistake and shows poor judgment about the national security interests of the United States."
On independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr: "I have from the very start of the Whitewater investigation refrained from saying a single critical word about the special prosecutor. I have felt in my role I simply should not do that. I defended the president; I have shared the view of the American people that his personal mistakes should be judged in the larger context of his service to our country and his leadership of our country. But I have never launched any criticism of Mr. Starr. I don't want you to interpret that as a lack of any feelings [about] his job performance. I just felt it was inappropriate for me."
On the prospect of President Clinton campaigning for him: "We have not discussed the issue of campaigning. I have said on numerous occasions in the past in response to that question only half in jest that he has a full-time job. I think that's more than just an aside. If there are appropriate times and ways for him to campaign and he's able to do that, maybe that'll happen, but we haven't discussed that. . . . I think you have to win a race on your own; I think you have to win something like this on your own."
On running his own campaign: "A campaign for president is a very personal quest, and I am learning about this one as I go along. . . . Others campaigning for you just doesn't have the same effect, other than Tipper. I think she's better at it than I am, by a long shot."
On moving his campaign headquarters to Nashville: "However you want to interpret that. I said at the time I don't really care how it's interpreted -- of course, I do -- but I don't really care that much because it's the results that I'm interested in."
On his fund-raising: "We have broken the records on fund-raising, except for the Bush fund-raising. We have invested in setting up a national organization in key states around the country and have run a national campaign. Moreover, we have gone about it by emphasizing small donors."
On the state of his campaign: "I feel really energized, positive, liberated by the new shape of the campaign, the closeness and the hard-fought nature of it."
On the lunch and his appetite: "I ate everything but the bone."