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Dukakis and Bush Agree on How They’ll Stand Tall

Associated Press

Part of the negotiations for Sunday’s debate between Democrat Michael S. Dukakis and Republican George Bush came down to a spat over a few inches--resolved today with a compromise that will have the candidates standing at lecterns of different heights.

A Bush campaign source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was agreed that the tall, lanky Bush will stand behind a 48-inch-high lectern after his negotiators insisted that he would stoop no lower than a 46-inch one.

Dukakis, who stands 5 inches shorter than Bush, will stand at a 41-inch lectern with “some kind of riser” for him to step on, the Bush source said.

Dukakis aides did not immediately return a call today to comment on the agreement.

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The two sides have yet to agree on the moderator and three panelists to question the candidates during the debate at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Dukakis had suggested television anchors from ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN while the Bush campaign said that that would be unfair to print journalists and proposed a list of 10 journalists and four moderators from which to pick the panel.

Bush took the day off from campaigning today to prepare for Sunday’s debate.

Dukakis scheduled only one campaign appearance today, at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, near his Brookline, Mass., home, where he was to announce another health care proposal, this one to offer prenatal and infant care for all, guaranteed by the government. On Tuesday, Dukakis said that if elected, he will propose legislation to require that all employers offer basic coverage to working people and their dependents.

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