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CAMPAIGN 2000

Trail Mix

September 17, 2000

Occasional morsels from Campaign 2000

Hold the tongue

Politics these days largely is image, and that lesson wasn't missed by Alex Wong, a student at the Mark Twain School for Gifted & Talented in Coney Island, where Hillary Rodham Clinton and Joseph I. Lieberman campaigned together last week.

Alex stood out among his classmates at the magnet school, his peers agreed, simply because he was wearing a suit and tie. His reward: Alex spent the next 45 minutes as stage dressing, sitting perfectly still--no small feat for a seventh-grader--behind the Democratic vice presidential and Senate candidates.

Robert Katsnelson, another seventh-grader, didn't wear his finery but did come with a question. He wanted to ask Clinton about Internet protections.

Instead, his teacher steered him to the back of the room. Even there, Robert said, his teacher had special instructions: "Hold your tongue and be a nice kid."

No competition

Victory, apparently, lies in the eye of the beholder. In an interview, Reform Party presidential candidate Pat Buchanan ticked off the list of the vanquished: "We've outlasted Warren Beatty, Donald Trump, Ross Perot, Jesse Ventura and even Cybill Sheperd. We got the nomination."

Now, if that was all there was to it . . .

By the numbers

1,200--Estimated number of minutes the campaigns for George W. Bush and Al Gore spent negotiating how to conduct three presidential debates.

270--Estimated number of minutes Bush and Gore will actually debate.

38--Percentage of Americans who told Associated Press pollsters that the debates are not an important factor in their vote.

Quote file

"You're off to a good start."

--Vice President Al Gore, campaigning in Maine, after a woman addressed him as "Mr. President."

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Compiled from staff and wire reports by Times staff writer Scott Martelle.

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