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DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION '96

GOP Ready to Spin

August 26, 1996

With Republicans and Democrats borrowing liberally (if you'll pardon the expression) from each other's playbooks, it should be no surprise that the GOP has set up its own version of on-site rapid-response during its rival's convention. Republican National Committee Chairman Haley Barbour will hold daily 10 a.m. briefings at a hotel near the United Center, the site of the convention. A pithy sound bite will be available on tape each day from various Republican notables. Designated surrogates include former Education Secretary William J. Bennett, Michigan Gov. John Engler and Rep. Susan Molinari of New York.

A Rally of Belushi Lovers

At least one demonstration is sure to be marked by laughs: a gathering Tuesday aimed at rallying support for issuance of a stamp honoring comic John Belushi, who died in Los Angeles of a drug overdose 14 years ago. Sponsoring the gathering are a newspaper columnist and a group called BLUES (Belushi Lovers United to Establish a Stamp). Their message is simple: "He was funny," reads the headline for flyers promoting the rally. "Now give him a damn stamp."

Protesters in a Mellow Mood

The weekend leading up to the Democratic convention was basically a love fest, both for protesters and Chicago cops. The streets pulsed with small contingents of protesters, who were noisy but peaceful. The only exception came Saturday, during a brief sparring match between marchers for the leftist Progressive Labor Party and several onlookers. The fracas sent 22 people to jail.

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