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Democratic Convention briefs

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 14, 2000

Gore touts health coverage plan

CLEVELAND -- Al Gore visited sick children and pledged to make health coverage available to all youngsters as he campaigned toward Los Angeles and his presidential nominating convention Sunday.

He acknowledged that assuring such coverage "is a great big challenge and we've only begun," but he promised a step-by-step approach that ultimately would lead to universal care.

On Sunday, Gore spoke at a children's hospital with parents and doctors as well as the children, hearing descriptions of how youngsters have been helped by a federal law expanding health coverage to children of the working poor.

He has pledged to expand that measure, extending coverage to all children by 2005. He said during his hospital visit that he would make the issue "a centerpiece" of his campaign.

Lieberman won't back down from Hollywood

LOS ANGELES -- Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman said Sunday he would not back down from his criticism of Hollywood.

However, Lieberman said that if he and Al Gore are elected, he would not continue issuing annual "Silver Sewer" awards to people and companies that he and Republican William Bennett deem "cultural polluters."

"There are certain things that a vice president doesn't do that a senator can do," Lieberman told NBC's Meet the Press.

Platform built to center

The Democratic platform, the party's election-year statement of its agenda, continues a march from liberal orthodoxy to the political center.

Despite some modest concessions to the party's traditional liberal interests, the platform that will be approved by the convention Tuesday is a monument to how much the Clinton administration has shifted the party on key issues.

Once accused of being a bastion of tax-and-spend liberalism, Democrats in their platform now give top priority to eliminating the national debt.

The party that was once thick with Vietnam-era doves and nuclear freeze crusaders now endorses development of a limited national missile defense system.

The platform shows degrees of favor to free trade, the death penalty and stricter standards for teachers -- all points of irritation to liberal Democratic constituencies. The document even brags about reducing the size of government to the smallest its been since the 1950s.

It also contains perennials for the party's base -- support for abortion rights, gun control and gay rights among them.

On the schedule today

THEME: "Prosperity and Progress," focusing on the economy.

SPEAKERS: President Clinton; Hillary Rodham Clinton; U.S. senators Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen and Washington Gov. Gary Locke.

TELEVISION: ABC and CBS plan coverage from 10-11 p.m. NBC from 10:30-11 p.m. PBS from 8-11 p.m. CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and C-Span plan continual coverage throughout the night.

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