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Clinton: Cheney Will Dramatize Race

July 26, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Clinton said Wednesday that George W. Bush’s selection of Dick Cheney as his running mate will help dramatize the differences between Republicans and Democrats over guns, abortion, economics, civil rights and the environment.

``It further clarifies that there are significant choices here to be made″ in the election, the president said in a brief exchange with reporters at the White House after denouncing Republican tax-cutting bills.

Democrats say Cheney’s conservative record will be a plus for Vice President Al Gore, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Cheney voted to restrict abortion, gun control and funding for the Clean Water Act. He voted against the Equal Rights Amendment and favored raising the Social Security retirement age from 65 to 67.

``Everything I know about Mr. Cheney personally I like,″ the president said. ``And I’m actually kind of pleased by the decision.″

Cheney, a former congressman, secretary of defense and White House chief of staff, was named to the Republican presidential ticket Tuesday in advance of next week’s Republican National Convention. Gore has yet to choose his running mate.

``There are big differences on the environment, on gun safety, on a woman’s right to choose, on civil rights enforcement and on economic policy,″ the president said. ``And that’s what I think the election ought to be about.″

``I think this ought to be a positive election where people say good things about their opponents personally and say they have honest differences,″ the president added. ``And I think having Mr. Cheney come on the ticket will help to clarify that there are big, profound differences between the two leaders and the tickets, and that those differences will have real consequences for the country.″

He said Cheney’s selection could bring a healthy change to politics.

``I think because he’s a good man, we can further dispense with the 20 years of politics of personal destruction and focus on the differences between the people that are running and the parties and how it will change life in America,″ the president said.

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