One Ashcroft aide said the ice cream was "the secret weapon to win the straw poll." Whether it would have worked remains to be seen, as the poll was cancelled this year. On Saturday, Ashcroft made the rounds at various state caucuses. In addition, Ashcroft's book was available at the Thomas Nelson Publishing booth.
most of the other speakers, Ashcroft didn't come to the podium from
instead he raced up to the podium from the back of the hall as Country
Western music pulsed over the sound system.
In his speech, "Vote Our Values," Ashcroft lashed into Clinton, whom he described as "the last son of the Sixties." "Compartmentalization didn't save the Titanic and it won't save this president," he declared. "If ever there were a time in America to vote our values it is now," he said.
Ashcroft is seen as a favorite of the Christian Coalition. In February 1998 he placed first in an informal straw poll of Christian Coalition state leaders; in late March, Pat Robertson and his wife each contributed $5,000 to Ashcroft's Spirit of America PAC; in June, Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice endorsed Ashcroft. Support for Ashcroft extends to the grassroots level as well. A chapter head from Oklahoma said Ashcroft is "really sincere" and "can pull it off." "Ashcroft has substance," he said.
American Values PAC, unlike the organizations of most of other
prospects appearing at the conference, did not set up a booth in the
area. However, on Friday Ashcroft hosted his 2nd annual "Road to
Victory" ice cream social in the exhibit area. Hundreds waited to
be served free sundaes by the Senator and his wife Janet; the line
out the door.