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Wellstone Excites Other Convention

August 1, 2000

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Arms flailing and voice quaking, Sen. Paul Wellstone implored those gathered Monday at a counter-convention to revolt against a campaign finance system tainted by ``severe corruption.″

``We need to turn up the heat,″ the Minnesota Democrat said.

Wellstone delivered a firebrand speech at the ``shadow convention″ which is competing with this week’s Republican National Convention. The crosstown gathering is highlighting issues that organizers say won’t get attention from the 2,066 GOP delegates.

``The ethical issue of our time is the way in which big money has come to dominate politics, where we do have corruption, very real corruption,″ Wellstone said.

Some Minnesota Republicans accused Wellstone of trying to upstage them.

``It’s nothing but a ploy to take the attention off the real show,″ said Tim Philbrick, a delegate from Farwell, Minn.

Actor William Baldwin introduced Wellstone as ``the right man to fight this fight.″

After promising to be brief, Wellstone launched into a 25-minute speech that ended with a sermon-like call to arms.

``Save democracy, reclaim democracy and make politics a good profession,″ he said to one of several ovations. ``The reason we are here _ and we ought to shout this from the mountain top _ is not because we reject this system (of government). Quite the contrary, we love this system. We want to restore this system.″

He said Democrats and Republicans should share the blame for not enacting ``clean money, clean elections″ laws used by some states. In exchange for public subsidies, candidates must volunteer to limit campaign spending. He plans to carry the same message to a shadow convention organized for Los Angeles, where Democrats gather Aug. 14-17.

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On the Net:Shadow Conventions 2000 http://www.shadowconventions.com.

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