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Trail Mix

October 29, 2000

Occasional morsels from Campaign 2000

The truth is out there

Newspaper endorsements abound, but undecided voters may want to know how some of the nation's most elusive opinion-shapers--Elvis and space aliens--are siding in this presidential election. Turns out, they're split.

In Roswell, N.M., site of a purported UFO crash in 1953, a sign greeting Dick Cheney on Wednesday showed a pictograph of a little green man who loves the Republican vice presidential running mate. Last spring, according to the Weekly World News tabloid, Texas Gov. George W. Bush secured another alien endorsement--and a handshake.

But at a Las Vegas rally Thursday, where Joseph I. Lieberman represented Al Gore and their Democratic ticket, a sign read: "Elvis Says Vote 4 Al & Joe."

Bigfoot could not be reached for comment.


When Gore's parents named him, maybe they aided his lifelong reputation for stiffness. The medical term for the cooling of the body following death is algor mortis, from the Latin for "coolness of death." The word for a "set of instructions for solving a specific problem in a limited number of steps"--as in, you have nine days to win the White House--is "algorithm."

Kids these days

Cheney had one of his most reliable applause lines thrown back at him last week at a high school outside Memphis, Tenn. Cheney, the former Defense secretary under President Bush, told the audience that one of the first things he did when the Persian Gulf War ended was call former President Reagan in California and thank him for what he did for the military.

Asked one young man during the Q&A that followed: "If you called Ronald Reagan to thank him for the Persian Gulf War victory, did you also thank him for trickle-down economics and triple-digit inflation?"

"I have a different view of Ronald Reagan than you do," Cheney responded, arguing as he has in the past that the current economic prosperity has its roots in the Reagan years.

Strategic voting

Selling your vote is frowned upon, if not illegal. But the cops won't show up at your door--and Bush won't make it to Washington--if you swap.

That's the idea of NaderTrader, a Web site that encourages Ralph Nader supporters in tossup states to find a friend in a pro-Bush state and strike a deal. If you vote for Nader in your Republican state, so the arrangement goes, I'll vote for Gore in mine. That way, Democrat Gore doesn't lose crucial states to a fellow lefty and Nader gets enough of the popular vote to earn federal funding for the Green Party in 2004.

The site suggests that voters in Washington, Oregon, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida trade their votes with residents of Bush strongholds Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.

Quote file

"All I ask is that you do for me what you did for Jell-O."

--Gore to comedian Bill Cosby, a supporter and the longtime pitchman for the gelatin brand.

Compiled by Massie Ritsch from Times staff and wire reports

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