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CLINTON SAVES BEST HYPOCRISY TO END HYPOCRITICAL CAMPAIGN

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In a campaign of breathtaking hypocrisy, President Clinton saved the best for last: Even as the attorney general mulls asking for a special prosecutor to probe Demos' political fund-raising, he called for campaign finance reform.

With the Democratic National Committee awash in cash and personally freed from the need ever to raise funds again, the president proposed banning "soft money" contributions of the kind John Huang raised in abundance.The reform measures the president endorsed are embodied in the McCain-Feingold bill, which co-sponsor Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., says Clinton never lifted a finger to help pass.

Exhibiting the kind of me-tooism that has dogged his campaign, Bob Dole joined the president in this leap into hypocrisy by endorsing the principles of McCain-Feingold, whose passage he blocked as Senate GOP leader.

That bill would ban contributions to the parties and federal campaigns from corporations, labor unions and political action committees. It would ban "soft money," a way of avoiding campaign contribution limits by giving directly to the parties.

There are problems with the McCain-Feingold bill. It would set voluntary spending limits on congressional races, limits which might be unworkable in practice, and calls for free and vastly reduced TV time for candidates, a way of pushing campaign costs off on broadcasters.

But now a bill that neither worked to help pass has the endorsement of the leaders of both parties, and since neither of them will run for president again, they can both devote their efforts - assuming, of course, they meant what they said - to campaign finance reform.