WASHINGTON – Taking his latest shot at President Bush for the nation's economic jitters, former Vice President and presidential candidate Al Gore said the Bush administration ought to sack its economic policy team.
"The best thing they could do is completely scrap the entire economic plan and start over again from scratch. And get rid of their entire economic team and start with a brand new one tomorrow that has some common sense to get our country back on track," Gore said.
The latest Fox News opinion dynamics poll shows that on the economy the President's approval rating is at 55 percent with a 37 percent disapproval rate, considerably lower than his overall approval rating which is at 69 percent to 18 percent disapproving.
But Fox News has learned that when it comes to handling the economy a private GOP poll for House Republicans shows Democrats now have an edge at 43 to 42 percent.
As Gore railed on the president on Capitol Hill, Bush was in North Carolina defending his stewardship of the economy.
"I want you to know that I believe our economy is fundamentally strong. Our economy is growing, inflation is low, we got lower taxes, which help people keep their own money. When you have your own money, it means you have money to spend," Bush said.
And by spending that money, the president said more jobs would be created. But in a sign of what some analysts fear might be shrinking consumer spending and demand, the Commerce Department reported that orders for durable goods, cars, and computers fell 3.8 percent in June, the biggest drop this year.
In his first return to Capitol Hill since losing the 2000 election, Gore renewed his charge that the Bush tax cut is causing federal budget deficits and the administration is trying to hide it.
"They mislead people about the extent of future liabilities that we as taxpayers would encounter because of their very poorly designed and ill-advised tax cut," Gore told about 500 young Democrats.
Gore also blamed the Bush tax cut for the nation's economic sluggishness.
"That did not happen by accident nor was it the result of 9/11 and the attack on America ... It is the natural and predicted result of the economic policy that the Bush-Cheney administration has been following," he said.
GOP sources say that's a great argument except that the economy is now recovering from a downturn that began during the Clinton-Gore administration. Without the tax cut, they said, things would have been far worse.
Fox News’ Carl Cameron contributed to this report.