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Gore Defends Wife’s Record-Labeling in MTV Appearance With AM-Political Rdp, Bjt

October 21, 1992

NEW YORK (AP) _ Al Gore fielded questions from an MTV audience Wednesday and defended anew his wife’s role in pressing the music industry for warning labels on records.

He said neither he nor she supported censorship, and he got a generally warm reception from the 170 students recruited from area campuses for the program.

Tipper Gore was a founder of the Parents Music Resource Center, a group that pushed the music industry to label sexually explicit records. The record industry grudgingly began voluntary labeling after a hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee, on which Gore sits.

″I think some people gave her a really unfair rap on that,″ Gore said, adding that his wife never supported legislation requiring the labels. Gore noted that he and his wife both were former journalists and said neither supported censorship.

He said some companies sought to ″exploit young kids as just another segment of the marketplace,″ but that warning labels ″give families some chance to mediate.″

Gore spent an hour answering questions for the program on the music video network.

Questions ranged from the economy and Bill Clinton’s college financing plan to Vietnam and the Senate Judiciary Committee’s questioning of Anita Hill during confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. There also were queries about abortion, AIDS and homosexual rights.

He said he would like to see the approval process for the controversial abortion pill RU-486 handled by the Food and Drug Administration ″on a strictly medical and scientific basis″ and was ″totally opposed to the political decision″ by the United States to keep the French-made drug out of the United States.

Asked about gay rights, he said, ″We believe that discrimination ought to be illegal. ... It’s time to move forward and bring our country together and put these old divisions in the past.″

Later, Gore campaigned in New Jersey, where 15 electoral votes are at stake. He visited a catalytic converter factory in Union City, saying the factory proved that there was no conflict between his ideas for environmental protection and creating jobs. The Republicans have tried to paint Gore as an environmental extremist whose ideas would force massive layoffs in the timber and automobile industries.

He also campaigned in an inner city neighborhood in Newark, visiting a mobile health clinic and outlining Clinton’s national health care plan. A statement circulated by campaign staffers accused President Bush of breaking a 1988 campaign pledge to guarantee health care coverage for all children living in poverty.

On the MTV program, the Tennessee senator said he would be a partner to Clinton if the two reclaim the White House for the Democrats. But he added, ″I have no illusions about what the role of the vice president is; all the decisions will be made by the president.″

″We have a relationship of mutual respect and trust,″ he said. ″We talk things out together and we come up with ideas together.″

Gore’s appearance on MTV was part of the Democratic campaign’s attempt to energize younger voters. An estimated 34 percent of 18-24 year olds - who comprise MTV’s core audience - voted in 1988, the lowest percentage of any age group. Those who did cast ballots in that and the previous two presidential elections were most likely to support Republicans.

Clinton, while flying to a campaign appearance in Colorado, called the set from his campaign jet after the taping session.

″We have to reach out to young people,″ Clinton said. ″We’ve got to get young people to believe again that government can make a difference in their lives.″

Clinton spent 90 minutes answering questions from an MTV audience in June. The network estimated that 5 million people saw the show.

Judy McGrath, creative director for MTV, said the network had invited President Bush, Dan Quayle and Ross Perot to appear in the same type of forum. Perot had not yet responded, she said, and the Republicans ″very respectfully passed.″

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