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web posted October 9, 2000

Bush leads in October 7 CNN/USA Today poll

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup tracking poll released October 7 indicates that Republican Texas Gov. George W. Bush, with support of 48 percent, has gained a significant lead over Democratic Vice President Al Gore, whose support was 41 percent.

Bush's support is the highest it has been since the GOP convention in August, and he has never had this big an advantage over Gore since the tracking poll began on Labor Day.

There is no guarantee that Bush will maintain this edge for long. Neither candidate has been able to hold a lead for more than two or three days and the electorate appears to be particularly volatile now that the debates have begun.

Ralph Nader came in with 4 four per cent support while Pat Buchanan saw the support of one per cent of respondents. The poll has a samping error of +/- 4 per cent.

Kostunica sworn in as president of Yugoslavia

After a brief delay in the inauguration ceremony, Vojislav Kostunica was officially sworn-in as Yugoslavia's first popularly elected president the evening of October 7, ending more than a decade of war, turmoil, and autocratic rule under the various presidencies of Slobodan Milosevic.

The inaugural ceremony took place in Belgrade's city hall, across the street from the gutted and ransacked federal parliament building, which an angry mob stormed and burned two days earlier.

The 178 newly elected members of the two houses of parliament gathered for a joint session to witness the swearing in of Kostunica, but the inauguration was delayed by a few hours due to political wrangling.

At issue were differences over whether Milosevic's Socialist Party deputies from Kosovo had been properly elected and therefore had the right to sit in the new assembly. Kostunica's 18-party opposition coalition members said Kosovo was one of the areas where fraud was the greatest during the September 24 election.

Vojislav Kostunica
Kostunica

But despite the delays, Kostunica was focusing on efforts to build a new democracy in this beleaguered Balkan country and sidestepped questions about Milosevic's future plans.

Milosevic, who after days of protests finally admitted defeat on October 6 in September 24 elections, did not attend the inauguration, despite having said he wanted to retain a political role. His wife, Mira Markovic, who has a seat in the parliament, was also absent.

However, many members of Milosevic's old entourage were there, including Serbian President Milan Milutinovic, who along with Milosevic, has been accused of war crimes by the Hague Tribunal. Some legislators booed and whistled at him.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of the inauguration, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said he saw no need for the continuation of sanctions against Yugoslavia and he expected the European Union would agree on October 9 to lift them.

"With the barrier of President [Slobodan] Milosevic and his policies gone, we do not wish, nor is there any need to keep any fresh barriers such as the sanctions between us," Cook said. "I am fairly confident that on Monday we will get a decision to immediately lift the sanctions."

European Union foreign ministers meet in Luxembourg on October 9.

Milosevic addressed the Yugoslav people in a televised speech late the night before, conceding he had lost the elections.

"I congratulate Mr. Kostunica on his electoral victory and I wish much success to all citizens of Yugoslavia," Milosevic said.

Hours after Milosevic's address, the army's chief of staff, Nebojsa Pavkovic, also congratulated Kostunica, and indicated the military would obey the new political authority.

Yugoslavia's high court had also named Kostunica the election winner and powerful Yugoslav ally Russia offered its support earlier in the day.

In his speech, Milosevic said he wanted to take a break, before restarting an active political life. As an indicted war criminal, he has little chance of seeking asylum abroad and has no choice but to try to reach an accommodation with the new government.

"I intend to rest a bit and spend some more time with my family and especially with my grandson, Marko, and after that to help my party gain force and contribute to future prosperity," he said.

But the strongman's son, Marko Milosevic, his wife Zorica and son Marko Jr., on October 9 boarded a Yugoslav Airlines flight to Moscow, the independent Beta news agency reported.

Milosevic's son is believed to have an extensive business empire stretching out of the Milosevic family hometown of Pozarevac.

The concession by Milosevic prompted bursts of gunfire and wild honking of car horns in the streets of Belgrade, where tens of thousands kept up celebrations that began October 5 in the wake of a tumultuous uprising against 13 year's of Milosevic's autocratic rule.

Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou arrived in Belgrade on October 6, the Greek Embassy said. Igor Ivanov, Russia's foreign minister, held talks with both Kostunica and Milosevic the day before.

Further confirming Kostunica's position, the speaker of the Serbian parliament, Dragan Tomic, addressed Kostunica as president in a letter -- the first such recognition by a high official from Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia.

But some anti-Milosevic leaders, like Zoran Djindjic, reacted to the president's remarks with caution.

"I don't trust him," Djindjic said. "I think he is preparing positions for a stab in the back by consolidating police, creating chaos and returning to power with a strong hand."

Clinton, Lazio spar over campaign funds in second Senate debate

First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton deflected a pointed question about her marriage and Rep. Rick Lazio defended his campaign finance reform pledges as the two New York Senate candidates met in a second debate the morning of October 8.

Rick Lazio and Hillary Clinton debateThe candidates met in Manhattan for an hourlong forum hosted by New York's WCBS-TV and moderated by WCBS-TV Political Correspondent Marcia Kramer.

The first lady took a tougher tone in the debate than in the candidates' last encounter, repeatedly trying to link Lazio to the conservative Republican leadership in Congress and sharply accusing him of violating their agreement to refuse unregulated contributions -- "soft money" -- in the campaign.

Campaign finance reform provided the most dramatic moment in the candidates' last encounter, held in the upstate city of Buffalo in September, when Long Island congressman Lazio confronted Clinton with demands she sign a deal to eliminate the use of soft money in their campaigns. Clinton refused at the time but later signed on to an agreement that her campaign now accuses Lazio of violating with a television ad partly paid for with Republican Party funds.

"Mr. Lazio's campaign violated a very simple argument that we entered into. It was a self-enforceable agreement that anyone could follow and see whether we were abiding by it," Clinton said.

"Last month, Mr. Lazio said this was an issue of trust and character. He was right. And if New Yorkers can't trust him to keep his word for 10 days, how can they trust him for six years on issues like Social Security, Medicare, prescription drugs and education," she said.

Lazio responded by again raising complaints about the Clintons inviting contributors to stay at the White House.

"Please, no lectures from 'Motel 1600' on campaign finance reform," he said.

Lazio insisted his campaign paid for the ad with a direct contribution and has not used soft money in his campaign. He has ordered aides to pull the ad in question.

"I did that quickly. I responded to it and I did it ethically," he said.

The debate came just two weeks after both candidates agreed not to accept soft money, the unlimited donations made by individuals and groups to political parties. The 30-second ad that sparked the latest dispute emphasizes Lazio's sponsorship of legislation that would allow disabled individuals to return to the workplace without losing their Medicaid benefits.

Lazio spokesman Dan McLagan said October 6 that the ad's initial airing was paid for by the Lazio campaign, but subsequent airings were paid for with Republican Party money.

Although Clinton had challenged Lazio to a soft-money ban after he entered the race in May, the issue lay dormant until Lazio brought it up at their first televised debate September 13. Clinton signed the pact only after Lazio produced signed pledges from 14 conservative groups, including the Republican National Committee, to refrain from running soft-money ads.

During the debate, the four-term congressman stressed his experience working with both Democrats and Republicans, citing instances where he crossed party lines to support Democratic bills and urging New Yorkers to keep "a foot in the other party of influence" in the Senate.

"I've worked with a lot of people to make sure that New York got treated not just fairly but well," he said.

A dramatic moment came early in the debate, when, citing questions submitted online by the audience, Kramer asked Clinton why she didn't leave her husband "after all the revelations and pain of the last few years."

The first lady tried to turn the focus back on her Senate campaign but noted that her daughter, Chelsea, was with her and "We have a family that means a lot to us."

"My experiences will give me insight on what I can do to be a good senator," she added.

As the debate unfolded, Clinton and Lazio sparred over issues ranging from the purely local ones, such as a domed stadium proposal for Manhattan and air service upstate, to national and international issues like control of Congress, violence in the Middle East and abortion.

Lazio defended his support for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, which Clinton criticized at several points during the debate, by saying his votes for Republican bills on welfare, Medicare and spending helped create today's economic climate.

"I believed in those things then. I believe in those things now, and I think the votes that we took back then helped put us on the path where we are able to make the investments in education, we're able to reduce the welfare rolls, able to reduce taxes and create jobs here in New York."

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