Sen. Albert Gore Jr. (D-Tenn.) picked up endorsements Saturday from Sen. Terry Sanford (D-N.C.) and former Gov. Jim Hunt, who said the Tennessee senator was more attractive to Southern moderates than the other Democratic presidential hopefuls.
"It's time the Democrats started focusing on electing a President . . . not just getting a nomination," Hunt said, standing beside Gore at a news conference.
Gore is downplaying the first-round Iowa caucuses and the Feb. 16 New Hampshire primary to focus on his native South, where 14 states will hold Super Tuesday primaries on March 8.
Sanford and Hunt both insisted that their support of Gore was based on more than his being from Tennessee. "I'd have supported Al Gore if he'd have been from Wisconsin," Sanford said.
Sanford, a former governor of North Carolina, and Hunt avoided comparing Gore and the other Democratic hopefuls, and singled out Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri for praise.
Sanford also paid tribute to the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who attended college in North Carolina and whose supporters in the state have grumbled in the wake of reports that Sanford would endorse Gore.