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Ethics Lesson: Candy Is Dandy

December 27, 1987|From a Times staff writer

WASHINGTON — Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) recalls in a televised interview to be broadcast today that he once advised his daughter, Kate, then a grade school student, on the subtleties of campaign ethics.

"Kate was running for treasurer of her class in grade school and she came home one day and she said, 'Dad, the only way you can win this thing is if you throw out candy. The tradition in the school is that you make your speech (about) why you should be treasurer and then, at the end, you throw out bubble gum or candy,' " said Gephardt, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"And I said, 'Kate, you can't do that. That's buying the election. You really have to tell them what's in your heart and if they like you, they'll vote for you.' So she went and did that and she lost," he said.

"And she came back and the next time around--they have the election every six months or so--and she came back and said, 'Now I really want to throw out the candy.' So I said, 'Kate, it still isn't right, but maybe there's a better way to do it.' I said go talk to each student in the class individually, and ask them for their vote and then as you're shaking their hand after the talk, put a piece of candy in your hand. And maybe that'll get it done. And she won the next time."

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