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Trail Mix

May 08, 2000

Occasional morsels from Campaign 2000

Space race

Politicians will crow about almost any endorsement, even one coming from a galaxy far, far away. Flying from Austin, Texas, to Palm Springs last week, George W. Bush came to the back of his campaign plane holding a copy of the Weekly World News. Inside the tabloid: a picture of the candidate and a space alien, with a headline proclaiming its support.

"New faces, new voices," the Texas governor joked. Explaining the significance of the endorsement, he said, "It goes to show I'm willing to reach across certain demographic lines."

The alien's support of a Republican could portend a sea change in the politics of little green men. During the 1992 election, Weekly World News reported that an alien had endorsed then-candidate Bill Clinton.

Love affair

The computer "love bug" took a big bite out of the e-mail system at Bush's campaign headquarters--and made a pass at Al Gore's too.

The system in Bush's Austin headquarters was shut down after computers became infected Thursday. That meant no sending out scheduling information or news releases from the Republican presidential contender.

"There was too much love going on around our headquarters," quipped campaign spokesman Ari Fleischer. The solution: figuratively turning the clock backward.

"Right now it's back to 1990," Fleischer said Friday. "We're faxing and phoning."

Gore's Nashville headquarters was luckier in dealing with the computer virus. A staff member opened the infected message, but it did not affect the campaign's server.

School ties

It's been 88 years since a Yalie and a Harvard man squared off for the ultimate Ivy League bragging right: president of the United States. Both lost.

That embarrassing outcome is unlikely this year as the rivals dust off their pennants for the likely contest between Yale grad Bush and Harvard alumnus Gore.

Bush is on the alumni mailing list for both universities, having also graduated from Harvard Business School. But Yale claims the pedigree since Bush got his undergraduate degree in history there in 1968. His father, the former president, and grandfather also were Yale men.

Gore graduated from Harvard in 1969 with a degree in government.

The last time the two schools faced off in a presidential election was 1912, when Harvard grad Theodore Roosevelt and Yale alumnus William Howard Taft were both candidates. They were beaten by Princeton's Woodrow Wilson.

Broken record

With a compact disc recording just 10 minutes long, Republicans hope to make Gore a radio star. The Republican National Committee produced 1,000 CDs featuring its favorite gaffes by Gore--"The Best of Al Gore: Hits of the '80s, '90s and Today!"--and is distributing them to radio talk shows around the country.

One six-second bit is Gore telling CNN last March, "I took the initiative in creating the Internet." Another has Gore telling New Hampshire high school students, "I found a little place in upstate New York called Love Canal."

Not to be outdone--and eager to never let Bush forget his trip to Bob Jones University--the Democratic National Committee has created T-shirts for Bush's "Bob Jones Redemption Tour 2000." Bush spoke at the conservative Christian college in South Carolina before the state's primary in February. However, since winning enough delegates to be the Republicans' nominee, Bush has stuck to more moderate venues.

The DNC is selling the purple-and-orange T-shirts--which are union-made in the USA--off its Web site. Designed to look like shirts that might be found at a heavy-metal concert, the back proclaims the "tour" is "Sold out . . . to religious conservatives & right wing extremists."

Quote file

"I believe everybody has the right to vote or not to vote, just like they have a right to wear a beard or five earrings. But if you join an organization with rules about voting or against beards and earrings, you have to observe those rules."

--Denton County, Texas, Sheriff Weldon Lucas, who requires his deputies to vote in all elections.


Compiled by Massie Ritsch from Times staff and wire reports

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