Mr. Gore Goes to Hollywood

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BEVERLY HILLS: Murphy Brown was Dan Quayle’s nemesis, but could Ellen save Al Gore? Mired in the White House phone call investigation, and hit by fresh allegations of improper donations (first reported in TIME Daily), the Vice President came to Hollywood Thursday — not to bury the entertainment industry, but to praise it.

Keeping Hollywood sweet is an important part of Gore's re-election plan: Remember, Dole attacked it in '96 and lost; Clinton said it was "moving in the right direction" and the campaign dollars rolled in. Gore praised Archie Bunker, Oscar the Grouch, and even threw in a "Mr.Smith Goes to Washington" finance-reform reference for the Jimmy Stewart fans.

But he reserved his highest praise for one Ellen DeGeneres. "When the character Ellen came out, millions of Americans were forced to look at sexual orientation in a more open light," Gore told the Hollywood Radio and Television Society.

The Veep's decision to side with the highly-rated sitcom was potentially controversial, given the angry letters ABC received over Ellen's coming out episode. But millions more watched the show without complaint — and Al wasn't about to win any votes from the Christian Coalition, anyway. Now if only Tipper could watch MTV without flinching, her husband would be home and dry.