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Demos, GOP spar over fund-raising tapes

Senate Republicans and Democrats presented dueling videotapes of presidential fund raising Wednesday and not surprisingly came to much different conclusions.

Republicans said the tapes of President Clinton talking to supporters demonstrated that he skirted campaign spending limits, met with shadowy characters connected to foreign money and raised funds on White House grounds despite a legal prohibition.Democrats countered that their tapes of Ronald Reagan addressing supporters in the White House - and Bob Dole's comments about spending limits - were no different.

Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, said that Clinton violated federal spending limits by using nearly $45 million in issue-based ads to help his campaign - without counting their cost in the spending ceiling. He said the committee would send Attorney General Janet Reno a legal memorandum making that point.

"Magically, they found their way to have their cake and eat it, too," Thompson said. "They were able to come up with a legal opinion by someone who worked for them" that the ads did not have to be counted.

But ranking committee Democrat John Glenn, D-Ohio, said "transgressions on the Republican side were absent" in Republican analyses of the Clinton tapes. He said Dole used the same tactic with issue ads in 1996 as Clinton did.

In a controversial Dec. 7, 1995 tape, Clinton tells donors, "We realized we could run these ads through the Democratic Party, which meant we could raise money in $20,000 and $50,000 and $100,000 blocks."

Dole, in a television interview in June 1996, said, "We can, through the Republican National Committee, run television ads and other advertising. It's called generic."