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GOP vice presidential nominee hits talk radio circuit

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ When he started out campaigning, Dick Cheney said he was a ``man of few words.'' He has since found his voice and, in this last week before the election, he's hitting the talk radio circuit.

Cheney was chatting with conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and doing interviews for talk radio programs in Pittsburgh and Detroit on Tuesday as part of George W. Bush's final push to reach out to Republican voters.

The GOP vice presidential candidate is also tentatively scheduled this week to tape a segment with Fox TV's conservative host John O'Reilly.

On Monday, Cheney was interviewed by Oliver North, who has a radio show and also appears on cable TV.

Cheney is squeezing in the interviews during a hectic week of campaigning in battleground states.

On Tuesday morning, he visited a Salvation Army center in Kansas City that provides housing for children in abusive homes to promote Bush's ``compassionate conservative'' agenda. Cheney told about 150 supporters that Bush wants to allow faith-based organizations like the Salvation Army ``to compete on an equal basis for federal funds'' to provide social services.

The topic of compassionate conservatism has been largely absent from Cheney's appearances. He last campaigned at a faith-based organization in August.

After the Kansas City stop, he headed to President Clinton's home state of Arkansas for a rally.

Cheney, defense secretary under Bush's father, is getting some help on the stump from former Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming. The two campaigned together in the 1970s and 1980s when Cheney represented the state in the House.

Traveling with his former colleague for the second time in recent weeks, Simpson serves as warm-up act to Cheney, introducing him with humorous speeches that also are laced with stinging criticisms of Vice President Al Gore.

At a rally in Peoria, Ill., on Monday, Simpson questioned Gore's credibility and chastised the vice president for negative campaigning.

He predicted the Gore campaign would unleash ``grave personal attacks'' against Bush and his allies in the last days of the campaign, and then launched an attack of his own of Gore's campaign manager, Donna Brazile, calling her a ``rough, tough slugger.''

Taking on a Halloween theme, Simpson called Brazile's operation ``a little shop of horrors.''

A Gore campaign spokeswoman could not be reached for comment.

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