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Electiom briefs

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 5, 2000

Voters indifferent to DUI arrest news

WASHINGTON -- Voters have initially reacted with vast indifference to news that Texas Gov. George W. Bush had been arrested for drunken driving more than two decades ago, according to the latest Washington Post survey.

Interviews with likely voters conducted Friday suggest that only one in six voters say the drunk driving arrest in 1976 was relevant to the current presidential campaign. Even fewer say it will make them less likely to vote for the Republican nominee.

A total of 598 likely voters nationwide were interviewed Friday night as part of the Post's ongoing tracking poll. Margin of sampling error for the results is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

One in six voters, 15 percent, said the arrest raised at least some doubt in their minds about whether Bush is qualified to serve as president, and 7 percent said the disclosure raised "serious" questions about Bush's fitness to serve.

But the survey also found that only 8 percent of those interviewed said they were less likely to vote for Bush as a result of his drunken driving arrest.

An ABC News poll found similar results. In the ABC poll, 15 percent said the episode raised questions about Bush's fitness for the job, while more than eight in 10 said it did not. About the same number among the 697 likely voters polled Friday said they felt the arrest was not relevant to the presidential race.

President urges voters to continue prosperity

NEW YORK -- President Clinton worked Saturday to build the turnout for the presidential election, urging Americans to vote as if their prosperity depended on it.

"How do we keep this remarkable progress going? That's the question Americans must decide on Tuesday because the best is still out their waiting for us," Clinton said in his weekly radio address.

"Are you ready to win this election," Clinton asked a cheering, chanting crowd of some 1,500 Democrats gathered in a restaurant in the Bronx overlooking Long Island Sound. "You've just got four days, and these four days will determine the next four years and maybe the four years after that and maybe the next 20."

Pumping for his Senate candidate wife along with the national ticket, the president said: "You want to keep this prosperity going you got one choice, Al Gore, Joe Lieberman and Hillary."

Lazio still hitting Clinton over thank-you note

PURCHASE, N.Y. -- In the nation's highest-profile Senate race, U.S. Rep. Rick Lazio continued to criticize the first lady Saturday for using White House stationery to send a thank-you note to a Muslim group.

The note, which surfaced Friday, was signed by Hillary Rodham Clinton and stated: "It was a pleasure to be part of the Massachusetts chapter meeting of the American Muslim Alliance."

The meeting was a $50,000 fundraiser Clinton has said she thought was sponsored by a local businessman. She promised to return the money after learning it was sponsored by the AMA, which is considered by many to be a mainstream Muslim organization but has members recently quoted defending the use of violence against Israel.

"There's so many things wrong with this episode," Lazio said Saturday as he toured upstate.

Clinton, who promised to return the $50,000, has said the note was a form letter from the White House with a computer-generated signature and that she didn't know about it until Friday.

On Saturday, Clinton spoke at an abortion rights rally at Manhattanville College in Purchase, where she was cheered by a crowd of about 500 supporters.

"I'm very encouraged by what's happening in this campaign, but this is a volatile, close election," Clinton said in urging her backers to get out the vote.

Buchanan backer calls Ross Perot a sellout

The endorsement of Gov. George W. Bush by Ross Perot, the Reform Party's founder, is being called a sellout by the faction of the divided party that supports Pat Buchanan as the Reform Party's presidential candidate.

"He has endorsed a candidate who stands for everything our party is against," Gerald Moan, chairman of the Buchanan faction, said Saturday. "The Republicans voted for NAFTA, GATT, the WTO and for extending permanent trade agreements for China. I would have felt better if he had endorsed no one."

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