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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dole Goes Day-to-Day in Final Week

NEWPORT BEACH, California -- Where next? After 3 1/2 days of scouring California for votes, Bob Dole's campaign is making day-by-day decisions about which states to target in this final week of the presidential campaign.


The Republican presidential challenger planned another California appearance Tuesday, with a morning address in Irvine to the World Affairs Council of Orange County.


Just 16 hours before his plane was to take off from southern California on Tuesday, Dole announced he would travel to Denver before briefly touching base back in Washington. From there, his itinerary was undecided.


"We're going to be working every day," Dole told reporters Monday, even as he acknowledged his own predicament at an Anaheim rally with running mate Jack Kemp. "Anything worth having you work hard for -- and you come from behind sometimes," Dole said.


Capping an extended tour of California, which Dole has targeted for its 54 electoral votes, Dole said his campaign's private polls put President Bill Clinton's lead in the state down in the single digits. Most public California surveys have Clinton ahead by 10 to 20 points.


"Looking good. Got new numbers today in our surveys," Dole said. "It can be done."


With polls putting Dole behind Clinton by double-digit margins in most regions of the country, aides joked that picking targets for the candidate's travel through Election Day next Tuesday was like throwing darts.


Among the states on their "maybe" list: Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, New Mexico and New Jersey. The decisions went straight to the top, with Dole calling the last-minute shots. Clearly preoccupied with California, he was planning an election-eve swing back through the state next week.


Clinton, campaigning Tuesday in Ohio, planned to hit more than 10 states before Nov. 5, including California, Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Florida.


Mostly ignoring Dole's attacks on his character and on his running of the White House, the president has been using the power of incumbency instead to announce initiatives that appeal to working families.


On Tuesday, for example, he was highlighting a short list of recommendations to states on how to improve education, including "school by school" report cards that will help parents choose where their children learn.


Reform Party candidate Ross Perot, meanwhile, was using his last week of the campaign to question Clinton's ability to lead. "How can you even consider voting for someone for president who has huge moral, ethical and criminal problems facing him?" Perot asked at a stop in Blacksburg, Virginia.


That Dole was making two final-week appearances in Orange County wasn't a good sign. It is the most heavily Republican county in the nation, yet the latest poll finds Dole stuck in a statistical dead heat with Clinton.


"We need to carry Orange County big-time," Dole called to his Anaheim crowd. But an Oct. 19 to 21 survey released over the weekend by the Los Angeles Times found Dole carrying Orange County by between 19,000 and 25,000 voters, far below the 300,000-vote margin typically needed to offset the heavily Democratic balloting in San Francisco and Los Angeles.


Another poll in Tuesday's editions of the Los Angeles Times found Clinton leading Dole 51 percent to 34 percent nationally, with 12 percent for Perot. The Oct. 24 to 27 survey of 1,112 likely voters also found 48 percent favoring Democratic congressional candidates to 44 percent favoring Republicans. The survey had a margin of error of 3 percentage points, suggesting the race for control of Congress is a statistical dead heat.


Clinton's 17-point lead over Dole in the latest Times survey compares to a 12-point lead in a similar poll conducted for the paper earlier this month, while the 4-point Democratic advantage in the generic congressional survey compares with a 6-point Democratic advantage earlier this month.