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Major Events in U.S. Presidential Campaign 2000

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Following is a chronology of major events in the 2000 U.S. presidential campaign.

Dec. 4, 1998 - Bill Bradley, former Democratic senator from New Jersey, announces formation of presidential exploratory committee.

Dec. 30, 1998 - Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, establishes a presidential fund-raising committee.

Jan. 4, 1999 - Former Cabinet secretary Elizabeth Dole, wife of 1996 Republican nominee Bob Dole, resigns as president of American Red Cross, preparing her own presidential bid.

Jan. 8, 1999 - Former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander forms exploratory committee for second bid for Republican nomination.

Jan. 13, 1999 - Rep. John Kasich, Ohio Republican, forms 2000 exploratory committee.

Feb. 18, 1999 - Sen. Bob Smith, New Hampshire Republican, announces his candidacy.

March 2, 1999 - Pat Buchanan, winner of 1996 New Hampshire Republican primary, announces his third presidential bid.

March 2, 1999 - Texas Gov. George Bush announces formation of exploratory committee to seek Republican nomination.

March 9, 1999 - Alexander announces his candidacy in Nashville, Tennessee.

March 10, 1999 - Elizabeth Dole forms presidential exploratory committee.

March 16, 1999 - Steve Forbes announces his candidacy on his own Internet Web site.

April 14, 1999 - Former Vice President Dan Quayle announces his candidacy in Huntington, Indiana.

April 21, 1999 - Conservative activist Gary Bauer announces his candidacy in Newport, Kentucky.

June 12, 1999 - Bush embarks on first campaign trip to Iowa and declares, ``I'm running for president ... and there is no turning back.''

June 16, 1999 - Vice President Al Gore announces his candidacy in Carthage,

Tennessee, declaring he seeks an America ''that is not only better off but better.''

June 17, 1999 - Radio talk show host Alan Keyes establishes a presidential exploratory committee.

June 30, 1999 - George W. Bush announces he has raised $36.3 million during

the first six months of 1999, nearly triple the record and about twice as much as Al Gore.

July 1, 1999 - Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah become final candidate to enter race for Republican nomination.

July 13, 1999 - Smith quits Republican Party, saying it has abandoned core conservative principles. He stays in race as independent.

July 14, 1999 - John Kasich withdraws from the race citing lack of funds and endorses Bush.

Aug. 14, 1999 - Bush wins Iowa Republican straw poll. Steve Forbes and Elizabeth Dole finish second and third.

Aug. 16, 1999 - Lamar Alexander, almost out of money, withdraws from race after disappointing showing in Iowa poll.

Sept. 8, 1999 - Bill Bradley announces his candidacy in his hometown of Crystal City, Missouri.

Sept. 27, 1999 - Dan Quayle withdraws from the race, saying Bush's fund raising made it impossible for him to compete.

Sept. 27, 1999 - Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, formally kicks off his campaign in Bedford New Hampshire.

Sept. 29, 1999 - Al Gore moves his campaign headquarters from Washington, D.C., to Nashville, Tenn, to ``go from the Beltway to the heartland.''

Oct. 7, 1999 - Billionaire real estate developer and casino owner Donald Trump announces he will form a presidential exploratory committee.

Oct. 20, 1999 - Elizabeth Dole drops out of the race.

Oct. 25, 1999 - Donald Trump quits the Republican Party to join the Reform Party, saying Republicans were ``too crazy right.''

Oct. 25, 1999 - Pat Buchanan leaves the Republican Party to join the Reform

Party, saying Republican and Democrat parties ''have become nothing but two

wings of the same bird of prey.''

Oct. 27, 1999 - Democratic candidates Al Gore and Bill Bradley have their first debate in New Hampshire.

Oct. 28, 1999 - Sen. Bob Smith ends his long-shot bid as independent candidate for president and makes move to rejoin the Republican party.

Nov. 1, 1999 - Texas Gov. George W. Bush sustains minor injuries when he jumps out of way of a runaway dump truck during a daily jog in Austin.

Nov. 4, 1999 - Bush hit with surprise quiz about foreign leaders on Boston TV show, does not know the answers.

Nov. 19, 1999 - In major foreign policy speech, Bush promises tough policies on China and Russia.

Nov. 30, 1999 - Bush proposes five-year $484 billion tax cut package.

Dec. 3, 1999 - Bush joins five other Republicans for first time in debate in New Hampshire.

Dec. 5, 1999 - Fighting reports of a serious temper, McCain releases more than 1,500 pages of medical records dating back to days as Vietnam POW to show he is physically and mentally fit.

Dec. 10, 1999 - Bill Bradley admits himself to hospital for previously undisclosed irregular heart beat but is released without undergoing any treatment.

Dec. 16, 1999 - Democrat Bradley and Republican McCain hold rare joint appearance in Claremont, New Hampshire -- site of Bill Clinton-Newt Gingrich handshake over campaign finance reform -- to declare war on ``soft money'' in politics.

Dec. 17, 1999 - Al Gore and Bill Bradley clash over their respective health

care plans during Nashua, N.H. debate.

Dec. 19, 1999 - On NBC's ``Meet the Press,'' Gore extends hand for agreement to stop all political ads and instead debate twice a week. Bradley refuses,

calls it a ``ploy.''

Dec. 29, 1999 - Bradley raises twice as much money as Gore in final three months of year.

Dec. 30, 1999 - Bush campaign announces it raised record $67 million in 1999.

Jan. 5, 2000 - When asked at New Hampshire debate if he would have ``litmus

test'' on gay issues for military leaders, Gore said they would have to agree with him; backs down later.

Jan. 7, 2000 - Gore defends campaign manager Donna Brazile, an African-American, for remarks she made about Republicans and blacks, including retired Gen. Colin Powell.

Jan. 8, 2000 - McCain releases all the letters he wrote to FCC as senator after controversy over some letters supporting causes of campaign contributors.

Jan. 11, 2000 - McCain outlines plan to save Social Security and provide $240 billion in tax cuts over five years.

Jan. 24, 2000 - Al Gore wins Democratic Iowa caucuses easily over Bradley; George W. Bush wins Republican Iowa caucuses with Steve Forbes finishing a strong second.

Feb. 1, 2000 - McCain scores upset victory over Bush in New Hampshire primary, with Forbes trailing; Gore nudges out Bradley in close race.

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