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En Espanol, Gore wows Hispanic Caucus

By PAUL DE LA GARZA and JOHN BALZ

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 24, 2000


For a moment, you could have sworn you were at the annual Independence Day celebration at the presidential palace in downtown Mexico City, with cries of "Viva!" showering the speaker, who, in turn, worked up the crowd in Spanish.

Instead, it was the annual black-tie gala of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute at the MCI Center in Washington, and that wasn't the Mexican president up there talking about immigrantes and educacion.

It was Al Gore.

After lively performances by a mariachi band, Tito Puente Jr. and Los Lobos and an appearance by President Clinton, Gore strolled on stage and thrilled the crowd of several thousand with his Spanish, delivered, actually, with a very good accent.

He began, of course, with, "Gracias."

But then, it went beyond the rudimentary.

"No estoy satisfecho," said Gore, the Democratic presidential nominee. "Todavia no han visto nada."

What he said was that he wasn't satisfied with sitting on Clinton's accomplishments, that we ain't seen nothing yet.

Next time, though, the White House would be wise to do its homework for its boss.

In Clinton's prepared remarks, he referred to the 28-year-old son of Tito Puente, the Latin Jazz icon, as Tito Fuente.

GOP site sells everything to raise funds for party

Looking for the ultimate bipartisan shopping experience? How about picking up Al Gore's or Joe Lieberman's or Richard Gephardt's or Bill Bradley's books on RepublicanShopping.com. They're all available for sale on what is actually -- as the name suggests -- a highly partisan initiative and a new twist on campaign fundraising.

The site, organized by the California Republican Party in conjunction with ebates.com, donates between 2 and 28 percent of all sales to the Republican Party. And it's not just book-buying that customers can support the party with. Hundreds of thousands of items are available for sale -- from athletic apparel to gardening supplies to telecommunications services -- through more than 400 established electronic retailers.

Gun control group wary of Florida candidates

The advocacy group Handgun Control Inc. has named Senate Republican candidate Bill McCollum and state congressman Adam Putnam, R-Bartow, a candidate for the U.S. House, to its 2000 list of elected officials with voting records that it deemed unfriendly.

McCollum was named to the "Dangerous Dozen" list of candidates with "particularly dangerous records" and Putnam was given a "dishonorable" mention.

A spokesman for Putnam said Putnam is for responsible gun ownership and Second Amendment rights.

McCollum acknowledges he is a supporter of gun ownership rights, but has said he favors closing the "gun show loophole," which allows people to purchase guns without background checks, and stands by the law against armor-piercing bullets. He also has said he endorses a three-day waiting period.

-- Times Washington bureau staff writers Paul de la Garza and John Balz contributed to this report.

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