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Vincente Fox: 1942—: Politician; Businessman

Launched Presidential Campaign

In 1997 Fox launched his campaign for the presidency, and announced that he would be seeking the PAN nomination. "Ending 70 years of dictatorship will be a great heroic exploit for Mexico," Fox told Dillon, "something like when you Americans put a man on the moon. Reaching the moon took a decade of work. Defeating the PRI is also going to take lots of time, talent and money." Standing six feet, six inches, wearing black leather boots and a large belt buckle with his name emblazed upon it, Fox campaigned by keeping his distance from the pro-Catholic, right-of-center positions of his own party and broadening his message to include the minorities and poor of Mexico.

He also gained a reputation for "rough" language that included slang and profanities on the campaign trail. Texas Monthly noted, " Profanity fits into a strategy to attract the attention of smog-eyed and sweaty Jose Six-Pack, a strategy that had carded Fox to the governorship of Guanajuato in 1995." During one appearance, Fox deflected Catholic criticism of his language by announcing, "Ladies, please cover your ears and take the children outside," quoted Dillon. " Your Governor is about to give a speech."

Fox's primary opponent in the 2000 election was Francisco Labastida Ochoa, the PRI candidate. The race, however, became more complicated because a third candidate, Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, ran on the Democratic Revolution Party (DRP) ticket. Fox worried that DRP would split the progressive vote, leading to a PRI victory, but Cárdenas' poll numbers dropped into the single digits months before the election. "So the real decision will have to be made by the voters themselves …," wrote Paul Berman of the New York Times Magazine, "by many thousands of ordinary Mexicans who might normally prefer to vote for Cárdenas and the left but who will now have to consider voting, in the name of democracy, for Fox, the right-wing cowboy."

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Trevor Edwards Biography - Accepted Wisdom from His Mother to Francisco Franco (1892–1975) BiographyVincente Fox: 1942—: Politician; Businessman Biography - Born Into Privilege, Challenged Mexico's Ruling Party, Launched Presidential Campaign, Attempted To Enact Reforms