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Occasional morsels from Campaign 2000

March 01, 2000

Random survey

Dinners across America were interrupted recently for such critical questions as: "Which presidential candidate is most likely to be an alien?" The answer, from nearly 40% of respondents to a not-so-serious survey conducted for Al Gore.

Furthermore, among the candidates, Americans most want John McCain to be their dad, their landlord and their divorce lawyer. Women would prefer to marry George W. Bush, and men would most like Bush as their best man in their wedding. No one seems to want Bill Bradley to do anything--he didn't top any categories.

"Gov. Bush is the 'fun candidate' in the race, and that's good news for him," polltaker Frank Luntz said. "In virtually every presidential election since 1952, the more 'likable' candidate has won."

Pit stop

It was something of a tough stop in Bismarck, N.D., for John McCain, apart from his being 90 minutes late.

Flying Monday to California from Virginia, the McCain gang decided on a combination refueling stop and rally on the tarmac at the Bismarck airport. The idea was to get the candidate's feet planted, if only briefly, in a state where people voted Tuesday in Republican caucuses.

But the public address system worked only sporadically before conking out.

"Who paid for this microphone?" McCain asked, a play on Ronald Reagan's angry words during a Republican forum for the 1980 campaign. McCain tried to shout over the noise of the wind and the airport, rotating to address the crowd almost surrounding him.

"I bring you greetings from all your neighbors who are spending the winter in Arizona," he said. "They'll be back soon."

By the numbers

7--Number of candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination on this date four years ago.

3--Number of candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination today.

Today's trail

Bradley and Gore debate at the Los Angeles Times. McCain holds rallies in Riverside and Westminster, and appears on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Bush campaigns in Georgia and Missouri.

Quote file

"I don't make it a habit of routinely conducting these high-level reviews on Sunday."

--Dr. Arthur Leibowitz, Aetna U.S. Healthcare's chief medical officer, after his company decided to continue nursing care for a baby whose case caught Al Gore's attention.


Compiled by Massie Ritsch from Times staff and wire reports

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