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Bush Campaign Intercepts Press Mail

September 28, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Reporters traveling with George W. Bush did not receive packages sent over by Al Gore’s campaign this week because Bush’s aides had instructed the hotel to bring any deliveries for the media directly to them first.

The Bush campaign did not distribute the material, but said Thursday it would no longer screen deliveries to members of its traveling press corps.

``At this point we will allow reporters to work this out with the Gore campaign,″ campaign spokeswoman Mindy Tucker said.

Tucker said communications director Karen Hughes issued the instructions Tuesday night to hotel staff at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles in response to complaints from some reporters about people knowing which rooms they were staying in.

Gore campaign spokesman Mark Fabiani, who complained about the matter in a letter Thursday to Hughes, said such a policy keeps reporters from deciding what information to receive.

``If a reporter gets an envelope addressed to him or her at any hotel it ought to be delivered no matter who it is from without it being censored by a campaign,″ he said. ``For some reason they decided that the press should not be able to see it.″

The packages, containing comparisons of Bush and Gore’s education plans, were delivered to the hotel on Tuesday night.

According to Fazal Samad, the hotel manager, the Bush campaign said deliveries for anyone in their ``group″ _ including reporters _ should be brought to its staff room.

``One of their specific requests was that we do not deliver anything to any of their group rooms, that there be no deliveries to those group rooms without their direction,″ Samad said.

Tucker said an aide failed to return the packets to the hotel concierge, as instructed. She said Hughes asked that they be distributed to reporters on Wednesday morning, but that also did not happen. The packages were never delivered.

Tucker initially defended the policy. ``It is not my job to make sure that the press corps gets information about the Gore campaign,″ she said.

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