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CAMPAIGN 2000 | TRAIL MIX: Occasional morsels from
Campaign 2000

Butting in

November 07, 2000

Can't woo them with substance? How about substances?

Democrats admitted Monday that a top donor lured homeless people to the polls in Milwaukee with offers of free cigarettes. Taking advantage of a Wisconsin law that allows voter registration up to election day, the Democrats last week were transporting the homeless to City Hall, acquiring absentee ballots to be used to vote for Al Gore. New York real estate titaness Connie Milstein, who has donated almost $400,000 to Democrats in this election, defended her actions as "an attempt to enable those less fortunate to participate in our political process."

As the Gore campaign disavowed Milstein's tactic, Republicans quickly pounced and planned to file a complaint with Wisconsin election officials. "This is just, plain and simple, wrong," Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer said. "There is a right way and a wrong way to turn out the vote in this country."

The Bush campaign said it would win the homeless vote with "ideas, not cigarettes."

Gunning for votes

More questionable voting enticements: In two Atlanta suburbs, going to the polls includes a chance to win a $1,500 shotgun.

The National Federation of Republican Assemblies, a conservative group opposed to limits on gun ownership, is sponsoring the raffle. Voters can take the "I Voted" sticker they receive after casting a ballot to the gun shops and fill out a raffle ticket for the Wednesday drawing of a 12-gauge shotgun.

Steve Frank, of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, said the aim of the raffle was to increase voter turnout.

Handgun Control spokesman David Bernstein said of the giveaway: "We think it's incredibly irresponsible. There are other ways to encourage voting."

The raffle winner will have to pass federal and state background checks and comply with the necessary waiting period.

Reach out and touch someone

It's Dick Cheney and Joseph I. Lieberman calling--honest.

Lieberman and Cheney, the Democratic and Republican vice presidential nominees, both took time on Monday to place phone calls in crucial states to help get out the vote. But those on the other end of the line had a hard time believing it.

Lieberman visited Democratic headquarters in St. Paul, Minn., and took a turn on one of the phones.

"Hi, is Marie Connelly there?" he asked. "Hey Marie, believe it or not, this is Joe Lieberman. I am running for vice president."

He said the 85-year-old woman's response was, "Aw, come on." But Lieberman persisted: "It really is me, it is not a recorded announcement."

Connelly said she was voting for Al Gore. "Ah, you are wonderful. You made my morning. I love you," Lieberman told her.

In Las Vegas, Cheney stopped by a local GOP headquarters to thank volunteers and make a few calls to voters.

"Hello, this is Dick Cheney--no, I really am, it really is me," Cheney said in one call. "Need a ride to the polls or anything?"

Quote file

"I've decided that a presidential campaign is really not a place where great ideas and great issues can be best advanced."

--Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan, who appears headed for 1% of today's vote.

Compiled by Massie Ritsch from Times staff and wire reports

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