Net pornographers push for Gore

The Democrat slips in polls, pumps up his Medicare plan. Bush denounces the "education recession," and stars shine on Nader.

By Alicia Montgomery
September 26, 2000 2:40PM (UTC)
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Comedians and competitors have made Al Gore sorry for claiming credit in the birth of the Internet. Now online pornographers are being encouraged to show their gratitude to the presidential candidate. Reuters reports that a featured speaker at a Friday trade show for the Internet adult entertainment industry said a Gore presidency would be good for business. "The big message from the Gore camp has been that there should be no control over the content of speech, but control over access to the speech by individuals who are underage," attorney Paul Cambria told the gathering, labeling George W. Bush as the pro-censorship candidate. The Gore campaign has yet to thank Cambria for his kind words.

Poll slip for Gore
The online pornographer vote has yet to boost the vice preisdent's public opinion numbers. The latest USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll shows growing support for Bush, with 47 percent of voters backing the Republican, compared with 44 percent for Gore. Green Party candidate Ralph Nader is at 2 percent, and the Reform Party's Pat Buchanan has 1 percent. When factoring in the survey's four-point margin of error, the presidential race is still in a statistical dead heat.


The man with the plan
Though he has had a bad week nationally, Gore is still running stronger than expected in Florida. Hoping to build support among Sunshine State seniors, Gore highlighted his Medicare plan at a Florida campaign stop, according to the Miami Herald. "The highlight of my agenda is a rock-solid commitment to Medicare," Gore told a crowd in St. Petersburg. The vice president's proposal calls for the creation of a low-cost prescription drug benefit for most of the elderly and for free prescription drugs for seniors in poverty. In addition to spreading news about his Medicare plan, Gore picked up $1.7 million from fundraisers across the state.

Bush's schoolhouse rock
While Gore wooed seniors, the Texas governor courted parents. The Los Angeles Times reports that the Texas governor devoted most of a West Coast campaign swing to beating up Gore over the "education recession." "Since 1992, even as education spending has risen," Bush said at an Oregon school, "reading scores have fallen and then ... remained stagnant. And this is a leading indicator of troubles to come." But the vice president's team says Bush's reading of the Clinton administration's education record is all wrong. "SAT scores are at their highest level since 1969," said Gore spokeswoman Kym Spell. "We've seen gains for the first time even in fourth-, eighth- and 12th-grade reading." Another Gore staff member said that the governor needs some help with his math, too. "Bush says he wants to focus on education, but his budget says otherwise," declared Ron Klain, a senior advisor to the vice president. "Bush claims education is a priority, but his tax cut uses up all the surplus that could be used to invest in education."

Political glitterati go green
Some entertainers are investing their clout in Nader's candidacy. The Associated Press reports that the Green Party candidate is basking in starlight, picking up the endorsement of actors Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, Hollywood's power couple of the political left. Other entertainment big shots who've moved into Nader's corner are actor/activist Danny Glover, pre-Oprah talk god Phil Donahue, rock singer Bonnie Raitt and Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder.


Soft-money pledge hits hard times
While Nader's friends spread the word, the New York Senate candidates can't get their allies to shut up. The New York Daily News reports that some independent political organizations have balked at Rick Lazio's efforts to push them out of the political advertising war in the Senate race. The Emergency Committee to Stop Hillary Rodham Clinton has ignored Lazio's pleas for it to back off, saying that Clinton won't honor the deal. "Mrs. Clinton's entire life has been about making promises she doesn't keep and lying about the facts," said the group's spokesman, Mark Montini. "I don't know why anyone would think moving to New York and running for the U.S. Senate would change that."

The first lady has had her own troubles getting Democrat-friendly groups to drop their advertising plans. Both the AFL-CIO and the New York branch of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League are still deciding whether to abide by Clinton's request or go ahead with their commercials.

Poll positions
Presidential race:

  • Bush 47 to Gore 44 (USA Today/CNN/Gallup Sept. 22-24).
  • Gore 47 to Bush 45 (Newsweek Sept. 21-22).
  • Gore 46 to Bush 39 (Reuters/Zogby Sept. 10-12).
  • Gore 42 to Bush 39 (New York Times/CBS News Sept. 9-11).
  • Gore 45 to Bush 42 (NBC/Wall Street Journal Sept. 7-10).
  • Gore 47 to Bush 47 (Washington Post/ABC News Sept. 4-6).

    Third-party candidates:

  • Nader 2 to Buchanan 1 (USA Today/CNN/Gallup Sept. 22-24).
  • Nader 3 to Buchanan 1 (Newsweek Sept. 21-22).
  • Nader 4 to Buchanan 1 (Reuters/Zogby Sept. 10-12).
  • Nader 4 to Buchanan 2 (New York Times/CBS News Sept. 9-11).
  • Nader 4 to Buchanan 1 (NBC/Wall Street Journal Sept. 7-10).
  • Nader 3 to Buchanan 1 (Washington Post/ABC News Sept. 4-6).
  • Nader 3 to Buchanan 1 (Newsweek Aug. 30-31).

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  • Alicia Montgomery

    Alicia Montgomery is an associate editor in Salon's Washington bureau.

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