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At A Glance

on 10/27/00.

NASHUA -- Democratic congressional candidate Barney Brannen received the endorsement of the Washington, D.C. -based, nonpartisan National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare yesterday while visiting a Nashua nursing home. Brannen, who is running against Republican Charlie Bass for the 2nd District seat, told a small group of elderly residents of The Courville at Nashua that, if elected, he will vote to preserve Social Security benefits for seniors and against any plan to privatize the program.

"I think that my opponent just doesn't understand how important this issue is," Brannen said. "We still need this comprehensive, national social insurance."

Brannen was critical of the plan endorsed by Republican Presidential nominee Gov. George W. Bush that would allow people to divert part of their Social Security taxes into private accounts. Bass has been an advocate of Social Security reform.

"That will undermine the security in Social Security," Brannen said of the plan.

Robert Mahaffey, executive director of communications for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare said the group, which has 22,000 members in New Hampshire, endorsed Brannen because he is "right on the issues." "We're dedicated to protecting Social Security and Medicare for current beneficiaries and all future beneficiaries," Mahaffey said, adding that the plans should not be means-tested and Medicare should include an optional prescription drug benefit.

"I think that to fulfill the promise that we made when we created Medicare 35 years ago, we have to make a voluntary, supplemental coverage available (for
prescriptions) as a part of Medicare," Brannen said.

At the start of his remarks, Brannen brandished a pair of red boxing gloves handed to him by Mahaffey, which he said were symbolic of the battle he is waging.

-- Peter Carvelli Union Leader Correspondent


Duprey blasts.

CONCORD -- State Republican Party Chairman Steve Duprey complained yesterday that Democrats are using a pre-recorded "prank call" to scare Social Security recipients into thinking their benefits will be cut under a George W. Bush Presidency.

The calls, being made in a number of state's including New Hampshire, feature the voice of actor Ed Asner, who says "George W. Bush has a proposal that would undermine Social Security. Even threatening current benefits."

Asner warns that Bush's plan, to take $ 1 trillion from the Social Security Trust Fund for young workers to invest, takes money needed to pay for current benefits.

Duprey said the call is "despicable . . . the $ 1 trillion will come from a surplus beyond what is needed for current retirees. The attempt here is to scare senior citizens into voting for Al Gore or against George W. Bush."

Democrats say the call is scary because "George Bush's proposal on Social Security, quite frankly, is scary," said Ramsay McLauchlan, communications director for the state Democratic Party. The New Hampshire Democratic Party is paying for the calls, he said. "He says he'll take $ 1 trillion out of Social Security and he has no plan on how that trillion dollars will be covered. He's said that when he's elected he'll figure that out . . . If that scares people, it should," he said.


Chowder Fest.

Brown's Lobster Pound of Seabrook will once again host Bruce Brown's traditional Chowder Fest and Republican Rally on Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 6 p.m.

Brown has hosted the GOP Chowder Rally for the last 25 years at his business on Route 286. The public is invited to sample a bowl of chowder while listening to candidates for state and local offices.


Charlie Bass wins.

CONCORD -- Citizens for a Sound Economy said Congressman Charlie Bass is among the winners of its 2000 Jefferson Awards for the 106th session of Congress.

The award recognizes members who support lower taxes and less government. CSE tracks votes on issues that include taxes and the federal budget, tort reform, environment, health, labor, education and technology.


NH Republican party.

CONCORD (AP) -- New Hampshire's Republican Party has asked the attorney general to investigate an independent state Senate candidate.

The GOP is accusing George Epstein of not disclosing who is paying for his political ads and Web site. Epstein, of Madison, is challenging Republican Sen.
Carl Johnson. Republican Chairman Steve Duprey said Epstein shows little regard for the state's election laws. Epstein agreed that his advertising should list his fiscal agent. Epstein said the source of money is on signs and brochures and must have been deleted from his Web page when a volunteer updated it.


DeStefano wants

CONCORD -- Democratic state Senate hopeful Steve DeStefano of Bow is proposing a plan to help those who cannot afford to pre-buy home heating fuel to participate in a state-sponsored start-up bulk-buying program. In a press conference yesterday in the Legislative Office Building, DeStefano noted that consumers who could afford to pre-buy heating oil for the coming heating season locked in their supply at the most favorable price during the summer.

DeStefano's plan calls for consumers to estimate and commit to the amount of oil they will need and then pay for three months' worth with the balance to be paid in nine monthly payments. Meanwhile, a pre-buy would be made for those signed up for the program through a loan from the general fund. This fund would be paid back by the following spring, DeStefano said.

Participating dealers would lock in a supply of fuel at an agreed-upon price, and a small profit margin would be built into the overall price participants pay back to cover costs and create seed capital for subsequent years, DeStefano said.

There are no particular income limits to the plan, DeStefano said.

A former House member, DeStefano lost an election bid in 1998 for the District 16 seat to Republican Pat Krueger by five votes.