Local News

Gore Visits RTP, Tours IBM, Attends Fundraiser

Posted May 12, 1999

— Vice President Al Gore made his rounds in the Triangle Thursday afternoon. He kicked off the visit by heading toIBM's campus in Research Triangle Park.

Gore toured the manufacturing floor of IBM's computing division, where millions of commercial desktop PCs are made each year.

IBM closed down part of its assembly line for Gore's visit. Accompanied by Governor Hunt and IBM executives, the vice president received a lesson in computer building.

IBM makes 8,000 computers a day in its RTP operation. It takes about 11 minutes to assemble a machine using the team approach and progressive assembly.

Gore put stickers on and plugged in circuit boards under the guidance of a real IBM assembly team.

The vice president requested the trip to the Triangle to meet with leaders in the growing technology industry. After finishing the computer, Gore headed to a meeting with members of theNorth Carolina Electronics & Information Technologies Association(NCEITA).

"It's a chance for the vice president to talk a little bit about the information economy," says Joan Myers, president of NCEITA, "but also for our board members to talk about some of the issues that are critical in their businesses, and some of the federal regulations and issues that are impacting the growth and prosperity of the IT industries."

From there Gore headed to a supporter's home in downtown Raleigh on Glenwood Avenue for a $1,000 per seat fund-raising dinner.

"I think it's a lot of hoopla for nothing," says Jerry Whittington, who drove one of the guests to the dinner. "Why should the taxpayers have to pay for it? They should hire all the cops to look after it."

Local members of the Free Republic group protested the visit. They are concerned about questionable fund raising by the vice president.

"He has stood by this most ethical administration in history through all these years, patted the president on the back after he was impeached, and called him one of America's greatest presidents," says Teddy Crider with the Free Republic.

While this type of event is old hat for some people, valet Carl McGill says it was a big deal. He even had a briefing with the secret service.

"It's been so exciting," McGill said. "We got a lot of information on it yesterday, I can't say a lot of stuff, but last night I could hardly sleep."

Gore's first stop in North Carolina was in Charlotte, where he announced that the state will receive $900,000 in federal grants for transportation projects.

The computer that the vice president helped put together will not be sold. It will be recycled and rebuilt because it did not pass IBM's quality standards.

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