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Gore, Bush appeal to pressured parents

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 6, 2000

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- On the same Michigan battleground and in virtually the same words, Al Gore and George W. Bush dueled Thursday for the stressed-out-parent vote with ideas such as Bush's TV family hour and Gore's day care tax credit.

The presidential candidates promised to make government a tool for helping parents protect their children -- from "cultural pollution," in Gore's words in Grand Rapids, or, as Bush put it in Royal Oak, from a "popular culture that is sometimes an enemy of their children's innocence."

Nationally, Gore was up 51 percent to 40 percent in the latest CNN-USA Today-Gallup tracking poll. Gore and Bush had been virtually even among likely voters on Tuesday, when the two met in their first debate.

The new poll, which has an error margin of 4 percentage points, was taken Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to include voters before and after the debate.

In federal appeals court . . .

PUERTO RICO VOTING: Puerto Ricans will be able to vote in presidential elections only if the territory votes to become a state or the U.S. Constitution is amended, a government lawyer argued in a Boston federal appeals court Thursday.

U.S. Attorney Matthew Collette is representing the Clinton administration in its appeal of a lower court ruling that declared Puerto Rico's 2.3-million voters have the right to mark ballots in the general election.

But Collette told a three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the Constitution allows only states to send electors to the Electoral College, which picks the president. Puerto Rico would have eight electors.

The appeals court did not indicate when it would rule.

DEBATE SPONSORS: Ralph Nader's battle against the presidential debates commission continued Thursday in a Boston federal appeals court with his lawyer urging a ban on corporate sponsorship.

Scott Lewis argued that corporate donations to the Commission on Presidential Debates violate federal laws banning corporate contributions to candidates.

Stephen Hershkowitz, an attorney for the Federal Election Commission, said the regulations were "in parallel" with the law, well known to Congress, and "Congress has never complained about it."

He also said it is legal for corporations to contribute to events that "encourage people to vote."

Chief Judge Juan Torruella, who headed the three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said, "I didn't see anyone there, saying, "Get out and vote.' " The court did not say when it would rule.

ABC: Many White House guests gave to Democrats

WASHINGTON -- Nearly half of the invited private guests at White House state dinners this year were contributors to Democratic Party causes, giving more than $10-million, ABC's 20/20 news program reported.

The White House called the practice unsurprising and routine. First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton defended the practice in an interview this week in New York, where she is campaigning for a U.S. Senate seat.

Clinton said people invited to state dinners "have made contributions to America in some way."

Told that contributions to the Democratic Party seem to have the same weight as contributions to the country, she replied: "I think contributing to the Democratic Party is a contribution to the country in my view."

Ventura: Make military, drinking age the same

WASHINGTON -- Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura suggested Thursday that it wasn't fair to require men to register for the draft at 18 while making them wait until they were 21 to drink.

"Let's pick an age and be consistent with it," Ventura said at an appearance at Georgetown University. "Whether it's 18, 19, 20, 21 ... if you're old enough to serve your country, you're damn well old enough to be served a beer."

Ventura noted that his generation had won a lowering of the voting age to 18, and urged students not to waste their vote.

"The message I get from students is "These candidates don't talk about anything that interests us,' " he said, pointing out that Social Security, Medicare and prescription drug coverage are center stage because the elderly vote in large numbers, and young people don't.

Nielsen disputes panel's numbers for '92 debates

Nielsen Media Research is upset with some of the numbers being distributed by the Commission on Presidential Debates -- so much so that Nielsen senior vice president of communications Jack Loftus said Thursday that he is sending a "cease and desist" letter to the commission.

At issue are the commission's figures for the 1992 debates. Many news outlets used the commission's 1992 numbers in reporting that the three-way 1992 presidential debates (President George Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot) easily had drawn the largest audiences ever.

The third and final encounter, on Oct. 19, 1992, supposedly was seen by 97-million viewers. The commission says the first and second debates respectively drew 85-million and 89-million viewers.

Not so, says Nielsen. Nielsen reports the viewership as 66.9-million for that year's third debate.

The two other debates in 1992 had 62.4-million and 69.9-million viewers, says Nielsen.

Those figures are all well below the record 80.6-million viewers for the lone 1980 debate between President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

Tuesday's debate, the first of three between George W. Bush and Al Gore, drew a far less-than-predicted 46.6-million viewers.

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