White House Wannabes Start Early

Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff

1999 News of the Nation

Iowa's January 2000 caucuses were expected to signal the real starting line of the next presidential race, but political pundits declared that the race had in fact begun in earnest with Iowa's August 15 Republican straw poll—a full 14 months before election day. Stressing “compassionate conservatism,” George W. Bush quickly emerged as the Republican frontrunner, amassing an astounding $50 million by the end of September—more money than any candidate in history. Weighed down by the Clinton albatross and a top-heavy campaign organization, Vice President Al Gore, heir apparent to the Democratic ticket, found unexpected competition from maverick Bill Bradley, former Senator of New Jersey. The absence of dynamic issues in such prosperous times and the ennui from premature media saturation led to a frivolous, celebrity-laden side show featuring the likes of Warren Beatty and Donald Trump.

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