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Trail Mix

March 08, 2000

Occasional morsels from Campaign 2000

Vote early and often

Several Tennesseans tried to cast votes in the presidential primary, thinking their state was part of the so-called Super Tuesday.

They weren't alone. Vice President Al Gore seemed to think so too.

State elections coordinator Brook Thompson said part of the confusion was because Tennessee used to be a Super Tuesday state.

In 1988, Tennessee and 12 other Southern states decided to hold their presidential primaries on the second Tuesday of March, dubbing it "Super Tuesday" in hopes of gaining national political clout. Several Northern states also held their primaries that day.

But since then, more than a dozen states have moved their primaries to the first Tuesday of the month, creating a new "Super Tuesday." Tennessee is among six states that have stuck with March 14, though the state allows early voting.

As for Gore, while two dozen reporters and camera operators watched from the lobby of his Nashville headquarters Tuesday, he called a "Miss Ferris" and told her, "Today is the presidential primary in Tennessee."

His expression changed as he listened to her.

"Well, you know, that is right. You are absolutely right," he said before hanging up and quickly dialing the next number on his voter call list.

Underground support

For the second day in a row, Bill Bradley met Manhattan commuters Tuesday morning as they entered the subway.

But many New Yorkers--concerned, perhaps, by the crowd of police and media around the candidate, not to mention the spectacle of seven shirtless male aides with B-R-A-D-L-E-Y painted on their chests--simply crossed to the other side of the street to use an alternate staircase.

Across town, Bradley enjoyed a little more success near a polling place. Louis Gonzalez Jr., 57, was so excited after shaking Bradley's hand that he changed his schedule and went right in to vote at P.S. 9.

He came back out and said to Bradley, "I just voted for you. I pulled the thing."

Bradley lit up and replied, "Let me shake the hand that pulled the thing."

Designs on the White House

Always the maverick, John McCain stayed away from hotel ballrooms for his primary night celebration, partying instead at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. The massive center on Melrose Avenue is normally a wholesale showroom for home furnishings and hosts decorating trade shows.

Exit strategy

Exit polls of states holding presidential primaries were available on the Internet on Tuesday, hours before voting ended, despite legal threats to those publishing the information.

Exit polling is done by Voter News Service, a consortium of ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and Fox television networks and Associated Press. The results allow news organizations to project winners and announce the results of many elections as soon as the polls close.

The results are made available to news organizations at regular intervals during the day but are not supposed to be published until the polls close in case voters are deterred from going to the polls.

Exit polling data is often called "the worst-kept secret in politics." Most political reporters and the campaigns themselves find ways to get ahold of the information.

But this year, various online services have defied the ban on publication, making the information available to everyone with a computer link to the Internet.

By the numbers

$3,200--Cost to travel as a reporter with George W. Bush to Colorado, Utah and Wyoming on Thursday.

142,000--E-mails from John McCain's campaign to supporters, asking them to post 20 fliers and call 10 friends in states that voted Tuesday.

Quote file

"He doesn't waffle. He's not a fence-sitter. I like him very much. . . . I don't think he has a chance."

--Bianca Beary, 49, on her way to vote for Alan Keyes in Montgomery, Ohio


Compiled by Massie Ritsch from Times staff and wire reports.

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