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Lazio campaign starts with a flurry

Rep. Rick Lazio appeared on six TV talk shows, gave the commencement address at a Long Island college and flew to four upstate cities to rally support Sunday for his Senate campaign against Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"My challenge is to make sure that people know the real Rick Lazio before the other side gets out and tries to fool the New York people about who I am," Lazio said on CNN's Late Edition.

The four-term Republican congressman said he wasn't troubled by a new poll that showed Clinton ahead by 14 percentage points.

"I expect to be behind for a long time," Lazio said.

Elsewhere . . .

AIDS RESEARCH: Researchers at the Institute of Human Virology in Baltimore have announced plans to begin human tests of an oral AIDS vaccine that they say would be cheaper and easier to administer than injectable vaccines now being tried. Testing, which must be approved by the FDA, will be done on volunteers in Baltimore and Uganda, one of many African nations ravaged by the disease.

CANCER TREATMENT: A new drug shows promise in victims of colon cancer and head and neck cancer who have failed standard treatments, halting the growth of tumors and making them more vulnerable to chemotherapy. Researchers presented data on experimental use of IMC-C225 in New Orleans. The drug was discovered by Dr. John Mendelsohn at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

NRA CONVENTION: Charlton Heston is expected to be re-elected today in Charlotte, N.C., to a third one-year term as president.

GORE GUESTS ON "FUTURAMA': A cartoon version of Vice President Al Gore guest-starred on Sunday night's season finale of the Fox show Futurama. While his cartoon castmates flaunted potty-mouths, Gore, who led a band of "action ranger nerds" unsuccessful in saving the universe, spoke nothing saucier than a "darn."

MISSISSIPPI DEATH: Dallas Reinhardt Peeples, 7, went fishing with her stepfather and her 4-year-old brother, Garrett, earlier this month. The family's live-in friend, Troy Carlisle, tagged along. Police say both children fell out of the family boat and while Dallas' stepfather rescued Garrett, Carlisle swam out to Dallas. But instead of rescuing the girl, authorities believe, the strong currents caused Carlisle to panic and tear the girl's life preserver away from her to save himself. Dallas drowned. Carlisle, 28, is accused of murder.