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Occasional morsels from Campaign 2000

August 31, 2000

Casting 'stones

Joseph I. Lieberman, who has been criticized for using too many religious references in his speeches, instead turned to cartoon characters for his analogies. In Anaheim, home to more than a few animated characters, the Democratic vice presidential nominee on Tuesday cast Republican George W. Bush as the bumbling simpleton Barney Rubble of "The Flintstones" and suggested Bush doesn't understand the 21st century economy.

"It's just this simple: We as a nation can't afford to make Barney Rubble investments in a George Jetson world," Lieberman said, sending titters through his audience of several thousand communications union members.

"That's a new one," Lieberman added, almost apologizing for his reference to the old cartoon series about Stone Age and Space Age families.

Face race

Al and Tipper Gore's lingering convention kiss is still on their lips. After Mrs. Gore introduced her husband in Tallahassee, Fla., on Monday, she gave him a very brief peck on the lips. Taking the microphone, Gore told the crowd of senior citizens, "All I can say is, that was a pretty short kiss."

Ever since Gore's seven-second smooch, his running mate, Joseph I. Lieberman, has joked about his own efforts to one-up the vice president.

Lieberman grabbed his wife, Hadassah, for a longish kiss after she introduced him last week at a swank fund-raiser in Washington, prompting her to feign a struggle to get away.

"I don't want you to think there's any kind of competition on this ticket, but I told Hadassah we are not going to stop until we reach seven seconds, which is the current world record," Lieberman told Gore and 20 of his closest friends at the fund-raiser.

Green veggies

They serve the occasional lobster tail on Republican George W. Bush's campaign plane and salmon on Democrat Al Gore's flights, but in the 14-passenger van of the Green Party's candidate, meals are not so sumptuous.

Ralph Nader and his tiny entourage were greeted by Ventura County Greens at LAX last week with dinner packed in recyclable paper bags. On the menu: tabbouleh, hummus and vegan macaroni salad--"Don't worry, if it looks like mayonnaise, it's really not," explained the driver. (Vegans do not eat or drink animal products.)

And to spoon out the feast: organic flat bread.

The night before, Nader enjoyed a greasy turkey melt at Mom's Restaurant across the street from Disneyland in Anaheim. While dining options were limited for the 11:30 p.m. meal, Nader was insistent on one thing.

"I don't go to McDonald's," the anti-corporate candidate said, making a beeline instead to the only restaurant that didn't appear to be a chain. "I've never been to a McDonald's."

Kill the kill story

A freelancer for the Dallas bureau of ABC News' TV wire service was fired last week after sending out a fake script for the following story: "Al Gore arrested today for killing small child with his teeth."

The "recently hired, inexperienced freelancer," as described in an apologetic e-mail from ABC NewsOne, had created the mock script to practice using the news service's computer system. The story purported to show "various shots" of the vice president with the child's body, an interview with the sheriff in Austin, Texas, and aerial photos of the "crime" scene.

ABC sent an urgent "mandatory kill" message to its affiliate stations, telling them to ignore the story and apologizing for "any misunderstanding."

By the numbers

392,000--Visitors to Republican Web sites during the party's convention, according to Media Metrix Inc.

201,000--Visitors to Democratic sites during their convention.

Quote file

"Buchanan: Love him or he'll hate you"

--Last week's message, referring to Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan, on the roadside sign at the Palm Springs Travelodge


Compiled by Massie Ritsch from Times staff and wire reports

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