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Bugs Bunny caught in stew over his stamp

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What's debuting nationwide, doc?

A U.S. postage stamp featuring Bugs Bunny - a first for a cartoon character - goes on sale across the country today. But some collectors are decrying use of the wascally wabbit as blatant commercialism and a dumbing-down of the philatelic tradition."It's impossible for me to see that this is anything but a crass commercial campaign that takes away from the higher purpose of the stamp program," said Kathleen Wunderly, education director for the stamp collector group American Philatelic Society in State College, Pa.

But postal officials have no doubt that the 265 million Bugs stamps will be hot commodities.

The hare-raising unveiling took place Thursday at Warner Bros. studios, which markets Bugs Bunny toys and other products. First day sales were confined to the Tour Office at Warner Bros. and the Burbank Post Office.

"Bugs Bunny's timeless and ageless humor has entertained audiences worldwide over the years," Postmaster General Marvin Runyon said.

"Bugs Bunny is one of the most recognizable icons in the world, probably third to Elvis and Coca-Cola. He is a part of Americana," said stamp collector John Andrews.