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Gore backers seek Nader aid in close states

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 31, 2000

WASHINGTON -- Liberal Democrats have begun an aggressive campaign to urge Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate for president, to endorse Vice President Al Gore in important swing states.

The liberals say they have sharpened their once-polite attacks on Nader because they have given up any hope of persuading him to drop out of the race. Instead, they have begun warning Nader and his advisers that his legacy among Democrats on Capitol Hill and elsewhere will be one of bitter resentment if Gore loses narrowly to Gov. George W. Bush.

A number of Democrats who have worked with Nader over the years said Monday that they had been calling friends within Nader's inner circle, urging them to persuade Nader to throw his support behind Gore in closely contested states like Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin and New Mexico.

Buchanan doesn't report spending

WASHINGTON -- Pat Buchanan, who is financing his presidential campaign with $12.6-million in federal money, has failed to disclose his most recent spending.

The Reform Party nominee missed the Federal Election Commission's deadline last Thursday for reporting his fund raising and spending during the first 18 days of October. It is the last report to be filed before the Nov. 7 election, and the campaign could face a fine for failing to file on time.

Buchanan spokesman K.B. Forbes acknowledged that the report hadn't been filed. He said the campaign was still working on it.

AD CAMPAIGN: Pat Buchanan this week is making one final push for relevance in the 2000 campaign with a multimillion-dollar, 27-state advertising blitz, a series of controversial, gut-punching ads designed to appeal to the most conservative voters.

Political analysts said there is an outside chance that Buchanan's final push could cost Republican candidate George W. Bush crucial support in the battleground state of Florida. The Bush campaign on Monday dismissed any Buchanan impact as unlikely.

Clinton to GOP: Apologize

WASHINGTON -- President Clinton says congressional Republicans owe the nation an apology for his impeachment, and despite their statements that the matter is over, "They haven't necessarily put their abuse of power behind them."

In an interview in Esquire magazine's December issue, Clinton said the investigation into his affair with Monica Lewinsky and his subsequent impeachment was not about pursuing the truth or the best interests of the American people. It was about politics, power, "the Republicans and their welfare," he said.

"Unlike them, I have apologized to the American people for what I did wrong, and most Americans think I paid a pretty high price," Clinton said. "They never apologized to the country for impeachment, they never apologized for all the things they've done."

He said Monday that Esquire magazine had jumped the gun in reporting the interview, saying Esquire assured him that it would not be released until after the election.

But Esquire editor David Granger said he was puzzled by Clinton's remarks.

"What we told the White House was that this would be on the cover of our December issue," he said. "We never agreed to any period of embargo."

CLINTON AND BLACKS: President Clinton urged black voters Monday to support Al Gore, saying there would be no one to restrain Republicans from damaging the economy, the environment, health care and schools if George W. Bush is elected president.

"There are honest differences here," Clinton declared. "I'm so pleased that this has been basically a positive campaign and people aren't bad-mouthing each other too much. I like that. Why (do) we have to say anything bad about our opponents? They're not our enemies, after all."

Clinton joined black entertainers Will Smith, Sinbad and Queen Latifah, and Hispanic star Jimmy Smits on a 45-minute radio show in an effort to turn out the vote. He also invited 250 black ministers to the White House to enlist their support.

Also Monday

VENTURA WON'T ENDORSE: Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, a man with a reputation for speaking his mind, apparently won't be sharing his preference for a winner in the presidential race. Even Ralph Nader, who shares Ventura's pedigree as a political outsider, is unlikely to get Ventura's open declaration of support, though the two will share the stage for a town hall meeting today.

SWING STATES STILL CLOSE: Each of the three most fiercely contested battleground states in campaign 2000 remain up for grabs between Al Gore and George W. Bush, new Los Angeles Times Polls have found. The surveys found the two men running virtually stride-for-stride in Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania: Bush holds a narrow 4-percentage-point lead in Florida and Gore a matching 4-percentage-point advantage in Michigan; Pennsylvania is teetering between the two rivals with Bush seizing a slender 2-percentage-point lead, the polls found.

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