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Fox Gives Bush, Gore Half an Hour of Free TV Time


Al Gore and George W. Bush have accepted an offer from the Fox television network to split an hour of free air time in which each will make a direct appeal to voters.

Under the deal, the two candidates will each get about 30 minutes of time Oct. 27 beginning at 8 p.m. on both the West and East coasts. Bush and Gore will each answer the question, "Why should Americans vote for you?"

Each candidate will submit a videotaped response. The response must be made in the presence of a Fox executive and will not be edited or enhanced. The two tapes will be aired in an order determined by a coin toss.

Fox's broadcast network did not carry the three presidential debates live, choosing instead to air regular programming. Its cable outlet, the Fox News Channel, which reaches far fewer homes, aired the debates live.

Bush spokesman Ray Sullivan said, "It is a great opportunity to tell voters one on one why [Bush] is running for president and why he will make an outstanding president. No filters, just the candidates speaking directly."

Douglas Hattaway, spokesman for Gore, said: "We're looking for every opportunity to get out the message."

Gore on Thursday lost out on a separate bid to rebroadcast his most recent debate with the Texas governor. A spokesman for ABC News, which filmed this week's town hall-style St. Louis debate as part of a "pool" arrangement with the other networks, said the TV networks would decline the campaign's request to let it replay the entire event on cable channels in certain markets.

ABC said the footage was only intended for the news organizations.

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