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DNC WEB EXTRAS DAY FOUR - Street Theater: A Child, A Choice, What's the Difference?

Pro-lifers confront the clueless Cher

Issue: "Lieberman vs. Gore," Aug. 19, 2000

It's not just lefties picketing for various causes outside the Staples Center. Operation Rescue is there, too, with larger-than-life signs showing the after-effects of abortion. Most delegates entering the convention area brush by them angrily, but a few stop to talk and maybe take their literature. OR representatives said police haven't hassled them at all, even though they're positioned directly next to the protest site where police and anarchists have clashed. They don't always fare so well with local celebrities, however. Outside a Saturday night party, they report being confronted by the ever-classy Cher, screaming at them and "cursing like a sailor." After engaging them in a bit of debate, the singer reportedly concluded angrily, "So it's a baby. So what?"

Triangulation, Gore-Style -- When Bill Clinton enjoyed his greatest political successes, he kept liberals quietly supportive of him at the same time gently bashing the excesses of liberalism in pursuit of moderate votes; this new political practice came to be known as "triangulation." Al Gore had eight years of training in this art, but still can't pull it off. Three quarters of the way through the convention, the Gore Democrats find themselves still pandering to the lifestyle left, rather than courting soccer moms.

As pink triangles and rainbow-colored gay pride flags blossomed around the hall, speaker after speaker Wednesday referred to gay issues like hate crimes laws and "don't ask, don't tell." Some, like Dennis and Judy Shepard, the parents of slain gay college student Matthew, told emotionally compelling stories. But then there were the speakers like Rep. Sam Gejdenson (D-Conn.), who seemed so determined to work the word "gay" into his speech that he offered the following non-sequitur: "No country-not even the United States-is so rich that we can afford to leave behind blacks, Hispanics, gays or others because of their religion or the color of their skin."

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Radio Activity -- Talk Show Row in the convention center is a safe harbor for conservative crosstalk.

Among the sea of liberal media stationed in the Convention Center and an adjoining parking lot, one conservative bastion stands out: Talk Show Row. Some 40 radio talk shows from all across the country occupy a double row of tables stretching across the front of the West Hall. At various times of day, the shows go live, and hosts start barking into their microphones, aiming their barbs, more often than not, at Al Gore and the Democrats. Walking along Talk Show Row is like attending a taping of the McLaughlin Group: Everyone shouts their opinions, with no one listening to what the others are saying.

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