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Election briefs

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 20, 2000

Lieberman takes break to attend synagogue

LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman and his family veered off the campaign trail Saturday to attend services at the only Jewish synagogue within 90 miles and discovered newfound meaning to the Sabbath, the day of rest.

"After the week we've had, my family and I are thankful, not just for spiritual reasons, but for physical and psychological reasons, for a day of rest," Lieberman told about 60 worshipers at the Congregation Sons of Abraham.

Lieberman mused that two weeks ago, if someone had told him he'd be going to synagogue in Wisconsin, he "wouldn't have believed it."

Rabbi Saul Prombaum, visibly delighted by the Liebermans' presence, incorporated them into the three-hour service. Both Lieberman and his 31-year-old daughter, Rebecca, were summoned to the front of the temple to sing from the Torah -- the word of God -- in Hebrew. Also attending were his wife, Hadassah, his 33-year-old son Matthew and 12-year-old daughter Hana.

After the service, the Liebermans joined other worshipers in a kosher meal and then walked the 1.3 miles back to their hotel. Lieberman is to rejoin Gore in Moline, Ill., today.

Clinton cedes spotlight, vacations in Adirondacks

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- CNN has a correspondent and crew in place, just in case news breaks out in the woods. The other networks are following along as well, betting on the proposition that President Clinton, even while on vacation, will not be able to resist a camera and boom mike in his face.

But Clinton's public schedule Saturday was as clear as the summer skies here, and the reporters who follow him everywhere were advised by presidential aides, who meant no disrespect, to go take a hike. As if to prove that he is fully capable of ceding the spotlight to his vice president, Clinton has literally headed for the hills for a few days of vacation in the Adirondacks.

He has been horse riding, golfing and celebrating his 54th birthday with his wife and daughter -- all outside the view of the media. The plan is to lie low and allow Vice President Al Gore and his running mate, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, to take center stage for a while.

Clinton acknowledged that even though five months remain in his presidency, things have changed now that Gore has been officially been tapped as the next Democratic presidential nominee.

Clinton said he no longer holds the rank of party leader -- as of Thursday night, when Gore delivered what the president praised as an "extraordinary speech and a great road map for the country's future."

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