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Election briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 18, 2000

Report: Gore hid Moscow's deal with Iran

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Al Gore kept Congress in the dark about details of Russian nuclear cooperation with Iran after receiving a letter from then-Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin urging him to keep the deal secret, the Washington Times reported.

The paper reported in Tuesday's editions that it has obtained a classified "Dear Al" letter in which the Russian official told Gore about Moscow's confidential nuclear deal with Iran and said it was "not to be conveyed to third parties, including the U.S. Congress."

The Washington Times quoted unnamed sources on Capitol Hill as saying Gore withheld the information from key senators who normally would be told of such matters.

Gore spokesman Jim Kennedy told the Washington Times: "It's obvious that the motivation for this leak is political."

Bush signed bill limiting generic drug

WASHINGTON -- Gov. George W. Bush, who promises to make prescription drugs more affordable, signed legislation making it more difficult for Texas doctors to prescribe a cheaper generic version of a popular blood-thinning drug.

The legislation was sought by DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical, the drug giant that manufactures the name-brand drug and tried to persuade states to block the new, generic competition. Just three states, including Texas, adopted laws.

Texas has since reversed course, now agreeing with the Food and Drug Administration that generic warfarin is just as safe and effective as name-brand Coumadin. A spokesman for Bush defended the law, saying the governor was protecting patients when he signed the legislation in 1997.

"When we're talking about drugs that have the potential of life or death, we ought to have an extra safety measure for patients," said Dan Bartlett, spokesman for the Republican presidential nominee.

Running mates campaign in Florida

ORLANDO -- The two vice presidential candidates campaigned in Central Florida on Tuesday, with Democrat Joseph Lieberman praising the new economy and Republican Dick Cheney promising to beef up the country's military if he and George W. Bush are elected.

Cheney was watching Tuesday night's presidential debate with his boss' brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, in Tallahassee. Lieberman planned to be inside the debate hall in St. Louis.

Also Tuesday

NADER BLOCKED AGAIN: Ralph Nader was barred from the presidential debate in St. Louis on Tuesday, hours after he sued the commission organizing the debates because he was excluded from the first one. Nader sued in Boston, the site of the first presidential debate Oct. 3. He was denied access to the event even though he had been given a ticket by a college student.

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