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  •   Lott Teases Gore on Internet Claim

    By Michelle Mittelstadt
    Associated Press Writer
    Friday, March 12, 1999; 7:24 p.m. EST

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Prompted by Vice President Al Gore's claim that he created the Internet, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott made a surprising revelation of his own Friday, taking credit for inventing the paper clip.

    Firing off the latest salvo in a game of political tit-for-tat begun a day earlier, Lott issued a tongue-in-cheek news release saying he "created" the paper clip.

    "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the paper clip," said Lott, R-Miss., echoing nearly word for word Gore's pronouncement about creating the Internet. "Paper clips bind us together as a nation."

    He also provided some "early designs" for the paper clip, including a straight line and a V-shaped model. And the news release stated: "Lott refused to answer questions about whether or not he was also the Fifth Beatle."

    Republicans have been having a field day with the vice president's claim, made Tuesday during a CNN interview.

    Asked to cite accomplishments that separate him from another Democratic presidential hopeful, former Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey, Gore said: "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."

    The Internet, originally called ARPANET, dates to 1969, when the Defense Department began funding the project. Gore, then 21, was still eight years away from joining Congress.

    Gore aides say their boss has a rightful claim, having promoted the Internet and government funding for the project while in Congress.

    They're returning Republican fire with some humor of their own.

    "It's no surprise that Senator Lott and his fellow Republicans are taking credit for an invention that was created a long time ago," said Gore spokesman Chris Lehane. "After all, they're the party whose ideas will take us back to the Dark Ages."

    © Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

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