Vice President Al Gore officially began his campaign for the nation’s toppolitical job yesterday with speeches — including one in Iowa City. Gore used the day to begin distancing himself from President Clinton. Gore’s wife, Tipper, sounded the first notes of the refrain in Iowa City.She says her husband has a strong spirit and strong heart.Gore said the nation must “live and govern according to our highestideals.”But Gore walks the tight-rope of saying Bill Clinton’s personal conduct iswrong — but Clinton policies have been right. Gore began distinguishing hispolitical philosophy from that of George W. Bush, the “compassionateconservative” who is the Republican front-runner. Gore said Bush was using”pretty rhetoric that can mask hard realities.” Gore promised to helprevitalize the ag economy.A crowd of about one-thousand was on hand for Gore’s speech. The room was darkened and a tape of Gore’s announcement speech fromWednesday morning was shown. Applause came after references to abortionrights and gun control. A few boos and hisses came when Gore said hesupports the death penalty, though. Gore spent most of his “face time” inIowa City talking about education initiatives.