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Nancy Reagan backs Gov. Bush for president

Former first lady Nancy Reagan endorsed George W. Bush for president Wednesday, calling him "a candidate Ronnie would be proud of."

Mrs. Reagan said Bush, whose father was Ronald Reagan's vice president, "is doing a fine job carrying on Ronnie's legacy," according to an announcement by the Bush campaign. Using one of her husband's phrases, she said the younger Bush "will help America once more become a "shining city on a hill.' "

The Republican candidate, speaking with reporters after a speech in Everett, Wash., said he was honored by the former first lady's comments because "one of the things the president did was lift the spirits of the country."

He added: "I think it helps. Of course, the Reagans hold a place of honor in a lot of people's hearts and minds."

The former president, 89 and suffering from Alzheimer's disease, no longer appears in public.

"Issue ads' called more

negative than candidates'

WASHINGTON _ Candidates let their political parties do much of the dirty work in TV advertising, according to a new study that documents the pervasive use of unregulated and increasingly popular "issue ads."

Just 20 percent of the ads paid for by candidates for Congress in 1998 attacked their opponents, compared with 60 percent of those by political parties, according to the study being released today.

The study was conducted by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, an organization that advocates campaign finance reform.

Also . . .

GORE ON VIOLENCE: One week after feminist activists privately scolded Al Gore for not getting his message out on domestic violence, the Democratic presidential candidate pressed Congress to break a yearlong stalemate and reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which provides funds to shelters for battered women.

McCAIN ON GLOBAL WARMING: Sen. John McCain expressed concern Wednesday about the "mounting evidence" pointing to global climate change and the potential for harm, but said any action should be based on science "and not on rhetoric or political expedience." The former GOP presidential contender made good on a campaign promise and held a hearing before his Senate Commerce Committee on global warming. A half dozen scientists told him that the surface of the Earth is warming and that there's plenty of evidence humans bear some blame.