MONTPELIER, Ohio (AP) _ Treading on ground his forebears once walked, Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole said he offers small-town values like trust and frankness, qualities he contends are lacking in President Clinton.

``Everyone here understands and loves America. We want a better America, and we want better leadership for America,'' Dole told a cheering county fair crowd. ``Trust me. Trust me. I trust the people.''

Dole, whose ancestors left northwest Ohio for Kansas just after the Civil War, again brought up Clinton's unfulfilled 1992 pledge to cut taxes and warned them that the president might make the same promise this time.

``This is the guy who promised you one in 1992. Anybody get hit with a tax cut? I don't think so,'' Dole told a rally Thursday night at the Williams County Fair.

``You tell him, goodbye Bill, goodbye Bill. You're history,'' Dole said.

Dole, on the other hand, invoked his upbringing in rural Russell, Kan., to underscore that he learned as a young boy the value of keeping promises _ like his proposed $548 billion tax cut, including a 15 percent reduction in income taxes, coupled with a pledge to balance the budget.

``We're going to promise and we're going to keep our promises,'' Dole said, as many in the crowd waved round yellow ``15 percent'' signs. ``This is a good, fair program, and no one is left behind.''

Dole planned another event today in Ohio, a key electoral state, followed by stops in Michigan and Illinois, two more battleground states. He was being joined by running mate Jack Kemp, a move some advisers believe makes the events more exciting.

Dole spokesman Nelson Warfield contended that both candidates were equally ``dynamic'' on the stump, and would alternate between joint and separate events. ``Unquestionably there's a special energy when they're together, but the geographic truth is you can cover twice as much of the political map with them traveling separately,'' Warfield said.

Before the rally Thursday night, Dole visited the grave of his great-great grandfather, Michael Dole, and Michael Dole's granddaughter, Minnie, who died at the age of 4 in the mid-1800s.

``We've been working on it for a long time, and we finally got it tracked down,'' Dole told reporters of the hunt for long-lost relatives. He joked that finding them here lets him claim Ohio as home turf _ a claim he hopes will help him carry the state's 21 electoral votes in November.

Dole brought two bundles of red carnations bound in red, white and blue ribbons to lay at the grave's white tombstones, which were almost completely weathered away. All that was readable on Michael's stone was ``Michael Dole'' and the word ``died.''

Three of Dole's other ancestors were mayors of Montpelier and a great-great uncle, Robert D. Dole, was wounded in the Civil War while fighting in Jonesboro, Ga., and lost a leg to amputation, according to local amateur historian Alan Benjamin.

Like Dole, who suffered severe wounds in World War II and went into politics, Robert D. Dole served three terms as county recorder and was a delegate to the Republican convention that nominated James Garfield for president.

``It is kind of exciting to learn more about your past. It is always good to know where you came from, what kind of people you came from,'' Dole said.

It was Robert's brother, James L. Dole, who moved the family to Kansas in 1866, apparently to join other family members.