Illinois and its 22 electoral votes still appear to be in Gore's grasp, but recent polls have shown the race tightening in the state. As Gore campaigned downtown, Bush was visiting the largely Republican Chicago suburbs, looking for an upset.
In keeping with the election's topsy-turvy electoral map, Gore sought last night to upend Bush's lead in New Mexico, a state that has been considered safely in the Bush camp. The state did, however, vote for Clinton in 1996, and a growing Hispanic population that tends to vote Democratic has kept the race tight this time.
While the vice president rallied the Democratic faithful, his campaign was advertising to undecided voters with its most direct shot at Bush's qualifications.
Lehane ridiculed the Texas governor for taking Sunday off for a rest at the Bush family ranch in East Texas. The contrast between Gore's frenetic campaigning and Bush's more leisurely pace, Lehane contended, reflected the kind of president each would make. "The hardest day on the campaign trail is the easiest day as president," the Gore spokesman said.
The Bush campaign responded by saying that Gore is running the most negative presidential campaign in history, even as Bush aides took potshots of their own.
"When it comes to experience, America can't afford Al Gore's experience of raising taxes, increasing the size of government, opposing bipartisan Medicare and Social Security reform, and not making education a priority," said Dan Bartlett, a Bush spokesman.