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Occasional morsels from Campaign 2000

March 07, 2000

New York attitude

Wearing a blue Windbreaker on Monday to cut the early morning chill, Democratic presidential contender Bill Bradley stuck out a hand to greet commuters streaming off the Staten Island Ferry in Manhattan. "Trying to get to work, get out of the way!" one young man said, brushing by.

Bradley shook dozens of hands as commuters rushed off the ferry at 7:45 a.m. Not wanting to make enemies in a state key to his campaign's survival, Bradley made sure his aides and the press corps stood aside to let people by, but they still drew some grumbling from New Yorkers.

Others were encouraging.

"Beat Al Gore, buddy," one man said as he shook Bradley's hand.

"Keep hitting jumpers from the corner," said Nathaniel White, 30, who remembered Bradley's days with the New York Knicks. "You've got our support in the hip-hop community."

Super dupery

Call it Titanic Tuesday, Terrific Tuesday or Tons o' Tuesday, but even with 16 states voting, today is technically not "Super" Tuesday. That term originated during the 1988 presidential election to refer to the day when, eager for clout and attention from the candidates, a slew of Southern states held their primaries. In that tradition, this year's Super Tuesday is actually March 14, when Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas will vote, along with Oklahoma in the Plains.

Political Spectrum

Voters in today's California primary will encounter a rainbow of ballots. Those registered as Republicans will receive blue cards, and Democrats will get orange ones. The color coding allows only party members' votes to count toward delegate allocation; voters not registered with a party will receive white cards with an orange watermark. Third parties are color-coded too, though they will not use the primary to bind their delegates. Libertarians will vote on gray ballots, Reformers on brown. The American Independent Party gets red cards, and Natural Law ballots are green. The Green Party's ballots, confusingly, are lavender.

McCain mutiny

Facing dismal projections in today's primaries, the mood was already morose enough among Bradley's aides this weekend. But it sure didn't help when the traveling press corps jumped ship and went to John McCain.

The Bradley press bus was pulling onto an airport tarmac in Buffalo, N.Y., Sunday morning when reporters noticed that McCain was holding a rally in a hangar next to Bradley's plane.

With an hour to kill, the reporters asked the advance staff if they could jog across the tarmac and hang out at the Republican's event.

Reluctantly, the staff opened the doors to the bus and watched the 30-some reporters, producers and camera crews quickly file out.

In the cavernous hangar, the members of the media happily greeted their compatriots covering McCain, exchanging stories from the road and snapping pictures.

As they left the raucous rally, one Bradley reporter remarked guiltily: "That was like cheating on your spouse while she lay dying of cancer."

Fast food for Bush

Stung by a pop quiz about foreign leaders earlier in his campaign, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush now has fallen victim to a foreign affairs prank.

Canadians are chuckling over his on-air answer when comic Rick Mercer, posing as a reporter, made up a story that Canadian Prime Minister "Jean Poutine" had endorsed him. "I appreciate his strong statement; he understands I believe in free trade," Bush replied.

"He understands I want to make sure our relations with our most important neighbor to the north of us, the Canadians, is strong and we'll work closely together," he continued.

Canada's prime minister is Jean Chretien, not Poutine, and he has endorsed no one in U.S. politics. Poutine is a popular fast food in the French-speaking province of Quebec, consisting of French fries, gravy and cheese.

By the numbers

1.3 million--Average number of viewers for Wednesday's Democratic debate, according to Nielsen Media Research.

2.8 million--Average number of viewers for Thursday's Republican debate.

Quote file

"I'm not taking a single vote for granted."

--Al Gore, no fewer than 10 times in 30 minutes Monday, during a round of television interviews in New York City.

Compiled by Massie Ritsch from Times staff and wire reports

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