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Clinton works the phones, media to get out the vote

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Clinton worked the phones and sat for interviews with minority television outlets Monday to boost black and Hispanic turnout on Election Day.

Clinton joined a radio interview hosted by Labor Secretary Alexis Herman that included entertainers Queen Latifah, Jimmy Smits, Sinbad and Will Smith. The White House said the interview was heard on minority stations "across the country."

The president also sat down for exclusive interviews with Univision and Black Entertainment Television -- all part of an effort to get minority voters out to the polls November 7. The campaign is supervised by the Democratic National Committee and conducted in consultation with Vice President Al Gore's campaign.

Despite these efforts, key black members of Congress fear the effort might be too little, too late.

"We have a few short hours to energize and mobilize our base," said Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, a member of the Democratic leadership. "If we don't, we lose. It's just that simple."

Lewis said "only" Clinton can motivate minority voters in the closing days of the campaign. He said the vice president does not motivate minority voters as well as the president does.

"There is a deeper kinship there," Lewis said. "The president has a direct ability to motivate and inspire them."

In his radio interview, Clinton addressed what he believed the impact would be on civil rights if Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush is given the opportunity to appoint two or more new members to the Supreme Court.

"There is a block on the Supreme Court, that I think would be confirmed if we are not successful in this election with Vice President Gore and Senator Lieberman, who want to drastically restrict the ability of the federal government to protect and promote the civil rights and human rights and basic needs of the American people," Clinton said.

Lewis applauded Clinton's Supreme Court message.

"That's well-tested, well-tried," Lewis said. "Whenever I talk about the Supreme Court and I always get a sustained reaction. Blacks know that the court historically has been our best friend."

 



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Monday, October 30, 2000


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