Political briefs: Gore makes strides, according to polls

By Globe Staff and Wires, 1/20/1999

ASHINGTON - Vice President Al Gore is making inroads nationally among independents and has shored up his support among Democrats in his quest for the presidential nomination, polls showed yesterday. A poll conducted by Pew Research Center Jan. 12-16 showed Gore led his rival Bill Bradley by 73 to 22 percent among Democratic voters. That was a big jump from a similar poll in December in which Gore led 54 to 38 percent. The Pew poll showed Gore improving his standing among independents - 51 to 33 percent compared with 49 to 40 in December. (Reuters)

Bush relied on large Texas contributors

AUSTIN, Texas - In raising $41 million in two campaigns for governor, George W. Bush leaned on just 207 donors for nearly one out of every four dollars collected, according to a new study of the Republican's 1994 and 1998 races. Those 207 largely business-oriented donors gave at least $25,000 apiece, accounting for $10 million, or about 24 percent, of the total. Another 513 donors gave between $10,000 and $25,000, adding $6.7 million more. ''It's a lot of money from a very small handful of folks,'' said Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice, a nonprofit research group that studies campaign-finance issues and is releasing the study today. Bush campaign spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush does not grant favors to campaign contributors. (AP)

Firms awaiting OK's make big donations

WASHINGTON - While awaiting federal action on their proposed mergers, three companies have given six- and seven-figure contributions to committees raising money to pay for the glitz at the Republican and Democratic conventions. AT&T, trying to buy cable company MediaOne; Atlantic Richfield, trying to merge with BP Amoco; and Bell Atlantic, seeking federal approval to combine with GTE, are all among the big donors to the host committees raising money to cover costs at the Republican convention in Philadelphia and the Democratic convention in Los Angeles this summer. (AP)

Buchanan decries US border security

DOUGLAS, Ariz. - Reform Party presidential candidate Pat Buchanan walked through a hole in a fence on the Arizona-Mexico border yesterday to make a point, decrying thousands of illegal border crossings here as ''an outright invasion of the United States of America.'' With a dozen news media vehicles trailing him through the dusty border region near Douglas, 100 miles southeast of Tucson, Buchanan called dilapidated barbed wire fences a ''disgrace'' symbolizing Clinton administration apathy. (AP)

Mrs. Clinton faces personal questions

BUFFALO - The questions are getting more personal every day for Hillary Rodham Clinton: Has she been unfaithful? Used drugs? ''No'' and ''no,'' she said yesterday, a day after being asked in a TV interview if she really planned to leave her husband. It was ''no'' to that, too. Mrs. Clinton, submitting to more radio and TV interviews as she nears a formal announcement that she is running for the Senate from New York, made it clear she didn't appreciate the more personal lines of questioning. (AP)