(CNSNews.com) - White House officials say President Clinton will visit California late next week to campaign mostly for Democratic congressional candidates.
Meanwhile, George W. Bush will launch a big wave of advertising in the state, hoping to capitalize on recent polls showing that Gore's lead has slipped to single-digits.
The Bush campaign has said all along it believes the Republican can win California - a state that can't be taken for granted, according to its Democratic Gov. Gray Davis.
On Wednesday, Gov. Davis told reporters he personally called President Clinton on Saturday, urging both him and Gore to visit the state. "I think he was impressed by my strong appeal that this is the biggest state, we cannot get to the White House without carrying California, and that you cannot take the state for granted," Davis said.
Davis said Clinton is very popular in California, someone who can "rally Democrats and independents and motivate them to turn out."
Despite his entreaties, Davis - who serves as Gore's campaign manager in California --said he has received no commitments from the Gore campaign.
In fact, according to wire services, the Gore campaign is miffed at Davis and other California Democrats who have publicly urged Gore to spend more time and money campaigning in the state.
The Gore people privately complain that Davis is trying to divert the Gore campaign's limited resources to help boost other Democratic candidates and the governor's favorite ballot issues. The Gore campaign reportedly wants Davis to use his own campaign funds to boost Gore.
The Gore campaign's apparent rift with President Clinton was documented in newspaper accounts last week, with the New York Times running a long article explaining that the two men have never been as close as they've led the public to believe. The article said President Clinton is annoyed that Gore is keeping him at a distance when Gore can't seem to campaign effectively on his own.
As additional proof of Bill and Al's remarkable estrangement, wire services Wednesday quoted White House Chief of Staff John Podesta as saying that Clinton, during his California swing, would focus mostly on competitive House races.
"What the voter turnout is could potentially affect these House races," Podesta said. "That's frankly why we're going out there."