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Election briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 22, 2000

Gore gets boost from black minister

NEW ORLEANS -- A black minister laid hands on Al Gore on Saturday, as supporters prayed for help and ominously warned of the consequences should the vice president lose to George W. Bush.

Everyone addressing the group of about 75 religious and social leaders agreed the outcome could hinge on voter turnout, particularly among African-Americans, so speaker after speaker urged the audience to inspire their followers to vote.

"We know that it is dangerous when people are no longer concerned about the best man for the job," added Bishop Paul Martin. Placing his hand on Gore's forehead, as he did to Bill Clinton, then the governor of Arkansas, in 1992, Morton cast the election in biblical terms. "We are not going back to Egypt," he said, "We're not going back to the wilderness. We like the Promised Land."

Saturday, a Reuters/MSNBC daily tracking poll showed Bush with 45 percent of the vote and Gore with 44 percent. That was a break in the candidates' recent deadlock but still within the 3-percentage-point margin of error.

A new Newsweek poll showed Bush leading 48 to 41 percent among likely voters, still within the 4-point margin of error, while a CNN-USA Today-Gallup tracking poll showed Bush leading 51 percent to 40 percent. The poll has a 4-point margin of error.

Such figures have buoyed the Bush camp, and both the governor and staff are talking of victory in states that might have appeared beyond their reach a couple of months ago.

Speaking via satellite Saturday from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, Bush told supporters in Washington state: "We have a solid chance to sweep the West Coast."

Bushes paid $449,827 in 1999 income taxes

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas Gov. George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, paid $449,827 in taxes on a 1999 income of $1.6-million, tax documents released on Saturday by Bush's campaign showed.

The tax returns were filed on Oct. 15 after the Bushes obtained two extensions beyond the usual April 15 filing deadline. The Bushes had asked for the extra time to gather partnership reports needed to complete the return.

A copy of Bush's 1040 tax form showed that the couple reported $546,380 in capital gains, $781,051 in interest payments and $86,691 in dividends from various investments.

Bush also included $130,000 in advance book royalties from A Charge to Keep, a campaign book he co-authored last year, and $86,691 in wages from his job.

The governor's post pays $115,345 a year, but Bush relinquished pay for those days that he was on the road campaigning for the presidency.

In all, the Bushes gave $210,165, including the book royalties, to various charities.

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