Bush acceptance speech avoids tech issues

George W. Bush touched upon no technology issues during his almost hour-long Thursday night acceptance speech to the Republican Party's convention in Philadelphia.

          Texas Governor George W. Bush touched upon no technology issues during his almost hour-long Thursday night acceptance speech to the Republican Party's convention in Philadelphia.

          Bush mentioned the Internet just once, in the course of a dig at current vice president and presidential hopeful Al Gore, whose statement that "during my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet" has been often quoted as Gore claiming to have "invented" the Internet. Touching on Gore's attacks on his policies, Bush said in the speech, monitored in Tokyo, "If my opponent had been there at the moon launch, it would have been a 'risky rocket scheme.' If he'd been there when Edison was testing the light bulb, it would have been a 'risky anti-candle scheme.'"

          "And if he'd been there when the Internet was invented...," Bush said, before being cut short by rapturous applause from the floor. The prepared text of his speech, issued to media earlier in the evening, continued, "well, I understand he actually was there for that," but Bush never got to deliver that line for the applause.

          Outside of that comment, technology was mentioned at one other point when Bush addressed his desire to break down the divide between America's "haves" and "have-nots."

          "... When these problems aren't confronted, it builds a wall within our nation. On one side are wealth and technology, education and ambition. On the other side of the wall are poverty and prison, addiction and despair. And, my fellow Americans, we must tear down that wall," he said, although he failed to make any further specific references to technology or attempts to bridge the digital divide -- an issue that Gore has taken to heart.

          "This was a speech that was short on substance and short on specifics," said Jenny Backus, press secretary of the Democratic Party, reacting to the speech. "While it had a lot of red meat sound bites, I don't think it laid out a compelling case for why Bush should be the next president of this country."

          The absence of technology issues from the speech mirrored the entire convention, where technology issues have been largely avoided. [See "Republican Convention Quiet on Tech Issues," August 3.]

          The Democratic Party will hold its convention from Aug. 14 to 17 in Los Angeles.

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