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BE SUSPICIOUS OF CAMPAIGN CLAIMS

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Bob Dole is so wrapped up in his attacks on President Clinton's character and contributions to the Democratic treasury by non-American citizens that he hardly has time to get back into his routine about the president's so-called liberal judicial appointments.

This is prudent, since the Republican candidate was barking up the wrong tree anyhow.On several occasions earlier in the campaign, both Dole and the Republican National Committee have come out of right field to say Clinton has packed the federal bench with soft-on-crime liberals.

At least one press release from the RNC cites four of the 204 judges appointed by Clinton acting as liberals. Four of 204. Statistics and nonpartisan judicial studies work against Dole and the RNC.

If it is true that the federal courts are soft on crime, then it also must be noted that more than 500 of the existing federal judges were appointed by Ronald Reagan and George Bush, including seven of the nine members of the Supreme Court.

If one to were add up all federal judicial appointments from the inauguration of Franklin Roosevelt in 1933 to today, it would show a Democratic-Republican wash - about 1,100 each.

Even then, it is not possible to identify GOP appointments as conservative and Democratic selections as liberal. Recall that when Dwight Eisenhower appointed Earl Warren to the Supreme Court, Warren was seen as a conservative. His tenure on the court proved him to be one of the most liberal of all Supreme Court justices.

In September, a study by the American Judicature Society, presumably in reaction to Dole's attacks on Clinton's appointments, concluded that the president's appointments, once on the bench, have shown tendencies to be slightly to the right of center.

It compared decisions made by Clinton appointees to those made by recent Republican presidents and found that more than 50 percent of the Clinton appointees made decisions that could be seen as conservative.

Also staring Dole in the face is the fact that of the 187 nominations made by Clinton while the Republican candidate still was serving in the Senate, Dole voted to approve 184 of them.

Dole boasts of a litmus test he has for judicial appointments, thus one only can assume that those 184 passed his litmus test and are not the soft-on-crime liberals he has been complaining about.

The spurious Republican clamor over so-called liberal judges now has been followed by one about the Democrats accepting money from foreign nationals, citing an Indonesian couple who donated heavily to the Democratic treasury.

Only people who can vote for president, i.e., citizens, should be allowed to finance the campaigns, Dole is contending.

Somewhat muddled in that acerbic rhetoric is the fact that the GOP also has been accepting donations from non-citizens, including another Indonesian, as well as a Cuban-born sugar mogul in Florida who, despite his massive wealth and tenure in this country, is not an American citizen.

What all this boils down to is the reality that the American public is being fed a truckload of distortion by the campaign operatives for the Republicans - and Democrats as well, on other issues.

It's all part of the avaricious game of perverted politics that ranges from presidential campaigns down to very local races.

The voting public should see it as such.