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Bennett Hits Lieberman on Hollywood

By Michael Powell, The Washington Post,
Thursday 21 September 2000, A18

CLEVELAND, Sept. 20 -- Former education secretary William Bennett today accused Democratic vice presidential nominee Joseph I. Lieberman of soft-pedaling cultural criticism in pursuit of Hollywood dollars.

"I'm saddened that my friend Senator Lieberman's powerful, direct criticism became sotto voce," said Bennett, a frequent ally with Lieberman on cultural issues. Bennett said in a statement that he is reconsidering his praise of Vice President Gore for selecting Lieberman as a running mate.

"Recent events have caused me to re-evaluate my opinion."

The Connecticut senator expressed surprise at the criticism, noting that only a week ago he went before a Senate committee and laced into the entertainment elite for marketing adult content to children.

He suggested that perhaps Bennett had been pressured into making the comments: "I wonder whether this is a sign of a campaign that's faltering or kind of anxiously trying to regain the momentum."

Lieberman told reporters that he and the vice president have consistently criticized their Hollywood friends. And he suggested the Republican presidential ticket do the same.

"Part of leadership is being willing to challenge friends and supporters to do better," Lieberman said. "I'm looking forward to the day that Dick Cheney and George W. Bush stand up to their supporters in the oil industry . . . and the NRA."

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