Bush: Gore doing Hollywood flip-flop

Thursday, September 21st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

VP's campaign dismisses criticism, says governor hasn't addressed media violence

By Sam Attlesey / The Dallas Morning News

MEDIA, Pa. – Assailing his Democratic rival as a candidate beholden to his financial backers, George W. Bush said Wednesday that Al Gore switches positions so often that he must be "auditioning for a Broadway play."

"He keeps changing his tune," Mr. Bush said, accusing Mr. Gore of softening his criticism of the entertainment industry after benefiting from its big political donations.

"Recently, he talked awfully tough on Hollywood ... but after a couple of fund-raisers, he's changing his tune," the Republican said.

Kym Spell, a Gore campaign spokeswoman, denied any flip-flop.

"Al Gore, unlike George Bush, is not afraid to disagree with his friends," she said. "Al Gore has repeatedly said that we need to stop the marketing of violence to our children. George Bush has yet to say what his approach would be."

On a busy campaign day, Mr. Bush also:

Formally accepted the support of the Fraternal Order of Police, which announced its endorsement about two weeks ago.
Gilbert Gallegos, the group's national president, introduced the governor at a courthouse rally and said, "Cop killers ... have all these Hollywood types supporting them" but that police favor Mr. Bush. He did not react to that statement.

Challenged Mr. Gore's credibility on the nation's record economic expansion, saying the Democratic administration broke a 1992 campaign promise to provide tax relief for middle-income Americans.
"In 1992, they campaigned on a targeted tax cut for the middle class. In 1993, we got an overall increase on the middle class," Mr. Bush said. "In the year 2000, they are campaigning on the same rhetoric. They had their chance to lead on this."

Mr. Bush is pushing a $1.3 trillion package of across-the-board tax cuts. Mr. Gore prefers limited tax breaks, such as for college education and long-term health care.

Said he didn't care if some critics complained that even in the thick of the campaign he has been returning home to Texas each weekend to spend time with his family.
"I appreciate all the advice I get, but I'm taking my Sundays off," he said. "I'm going to take time off, but that doesn't mean I don't want to be president."

Meanwhile, a new poll indicates Mr. Bush has narrowed the gap separating him from Mr. Gore.

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll taken from Saturday to Monday shows Mr. Gore favored by 48 percent of likely voters and Mr. Bush backed by 44 percent. The survey of 697 voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, meaning the race is a statistical tie.

In a series of Gallup tracking polls, support for Mr. Bush climbed 3 percentage points since Sept. 14. But Mr. Gore's support has held steady in the polls, and registers at the same levels as seen in other recent surveys.

A day after his appearance on Oprah Winfrey's TV talk show, Mr. Bush repeatedly targeted the vice president's relationship with the entertainment industry.

Mr. Gore last week said that unless the industry stops marketing violence to kids within six months he would seek sanctions through legislation or regulatory action for deceptive advertising practices.

Monday, Mr. Gore raised $4.2 million for the Democratic National Committee at a star-studded event in Beverly Hills.

Mr. Bush accused Mr. Gore of hypocrisy. "At the beginning of the week, he sounded awfully tough on Hollywood. ... Go out there to Hollywood to collect some money, no longer is it six months and tough talk."

At the Democratic fund-raiser, Mr. Gore was joined by running mate Joe Lieberman, who said, "We will nudge you but we will never become censors."

Mr. Bush said that if elected he will summon industry leaders "and explain to them, loud and clear, that our country needs to do a better job of raising our children."

He also said parents should be more "mindful of what their children are watching."

Also Wednesday, former Education Secretary William Bennett, one of Mr. Lieberman's closest Republican allies, accused him of easing up on the entertainment industry.

In recent years, Mr. Bennett and Mr. Lieberman have issued annual "Silver Sewer" awards to media outlets they deem "cultural polluters." But Mr. Bennett said Wednesday, "I'm deeply disappointed. He so softly voiced his criticisms in Hollywood that he was barely audible."

Lieberman spokeswoman Kiki McLean said the senator is "disappointed that Mr. Bennett feels that way." She said Mr. Gore and Mr. Lieberman have shown courage in being willing to criticize their own supporters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.