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BUSH RADIO SPOTS STRETCH THE FACTS
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BUSH RADIO SPOTS STRETCH THE FACTS

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Regional radio ads produced by the Bush-Quayle campaign charge that presidential candidate Bill Clinton supports environmental taxes.

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The Bush-Quayle campaign has launched a wave of regional radio ads that accuse Bill Clinton of proposing ``radical environmental taxes,' although the Clinton campaign has never made such a proposal.

An internal Bush campaign memo says the ads are designed to ``demonstrate the horror of a Clinton presidency.'The radio spots, which say Clinton's policies will lead to ``cutbacks and layoffs,' are based in part on projections about a ``carbon tax,' or tax on fuels, that the Democratic nominee has never advocated. One ad, airing in South Dakota, says ``Clinton-Gore radical environmental taxes would drive up our annual utility bills $438.'

Similar ads say Clinton's proposals ``would threaten 200,000 jobs in Illinois,' ``would threaten 24,000 jobs in Maryland,' ``would cost 19,000 Ohio auto workers their jobs' or ``would threaten 13,000 jobs right here in Maine. It could cost you your job.'

James Ciccone, a senior adviser to the Bush campaign, acknowledged that Clinton has not explicitly endorsed a fuel tax. But he said the ads are justified because the Democratic nominee said earlier this year that he supports the principle that polluters should pay for the damage they cause and that ``a carbon tax is one way to do this.'

Ciccone also said the Arkansas governor has called for reducing carbon-dioxide emissions by 2000 and that Sen. Albert Gore Jr. has proposed a carbon tax in a book written before he became Clinton's running mate.

``Is it a direct, complete, 100 percent endorsement of it? No,' Ciccone said. ``Did Clinton say he would find it acceptable? Yes. ... He's never disowned the Gore idea. And he has said that Gore will be in charge of environmental policy.' (Gore's book says a carbon tax would be completely offset by decreases in other taxes.)

The Bush campaign became embroiled in a similar controversy after airing a television ad charging that Clinton ``could' raise taxes on middle-class workers by as much as $2,000. The ad was based on a series of assumptions that Clinton's fiscal plans would prove inadequate and he would have no choice but to raise taxes.

Ricki Seidman, a Clinton campaign official, called the ads ``inaccurate, misleading and cynical.'

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