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Clinton, Dole Duel On Prime Time -- On Separate Channels

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By Candy Crowley/CNN

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, July 16) -- President Clinton Monday dismissed polls indicating that a majority of Americans believe he and first lady Hillary Clinton are not telling the whole truth on Whitewater and suggested that the investigation by Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr was "highly politicized."

Appearing on MSNBC, the new cable and Internet news service, Clinton said the evidence on Whitewater "fails to demonstrate any wrongdoing by either one of us."

"I think the American people are fair-minded. They've heard a lot more negative than positive," Clinton told interviewer Tom Brokaw on "InterNight," a nightly prime-time news program on the NBC-Microsoft joint venture.

Brokaw was referring to a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showing that Americans by a 55 percent to 24 percent margin didn't believe Clinton was telling the truth on Whitewater. For Hillary Rodham Clinton, 62 percent believed she was not telling the truth, against 18 percent, he said.

Clinton's prospective Republican presidential rival Bob Dole appeared on CNN's "Larry King Live" Monday and announced the selection of an abortion rights supporter as the keynote speaker at next month's GOP convention.

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Interviewed with his wife, Elizabeth, Dole said he had chosen Rep. Susan Molinari of New York to deliver the address.

"She's dynamic, she's young, she's bright, she's articulate," Dole said. "She'll bring the Republican message all across the nation."

The selection of Molinari -- whom Dole had not formally asked -- seemed to indicate that the former Senate majority leader was reaching out to women voters and trying to bridge internal differences over abortion.

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"Let's be realistic, we cannot be a one-issue party," Dole said. While citing his own longtime opposition to abortion, Dole said, "We want to win the election." (102K WAV sound)

Molinari, who called the show from a restaurant in Buffalo, New York, later on the same program, said her selection was a complete surprise. "I'm delighted," she said.

Clinton has good words for Dole

Dole won praise from unusual quarters Wednesday -- the president himself.

Taking questions from Brokaw, from callers and from E-mail via the Internet, Clinton praised Dole for his integrity. (298K WAV sound)

The president complimented Dole for backing him "when I had to do unpopular things" in foreign policy, even when Dole didn't wholly agree with him.

Both Clinton and Dole discussed a hot-button election issue -- taxes.

The president promised to "do everything I can" to simplify the tax system, but reiterated his opposition to a straight flat tax, saying it would either result in huge tax increases for the middle class or a larger budget deficit.

Dole said Monday night that he would propose a broad-based economic package by the end of the month and that it would include a tax cut.

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On his search for a running mate, the Kansas Republican acknowledged that Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge was under consideration. "He's been contacted," Dole said. "But others have been contacted. Others will be contacted."

Asked if there were any women under consideration, Dole replied: "Yes, obviously."

A Republican source told CNN that the list of possible running mates is no larger than five.

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