A Dec. 2 Politics column item about Vice President Gore's involvement in the Love Canal hazardous waste case quoted Gore as saying "I was the one that started it all." In fact, Gore said, "That was the one that started it all," referring to the congressional hearings on the subject that he called. (Published 12/07/1999)

Add Love Canal to the list of verbal missteps by Vice President Gore.

The man who mistakenly claimed to have inspired the movie "Love Story" and to have invented the Internet says he didn't quite mean to say he discovered a toxic waste site when he said at a high school forum Tuesday in New Hampshire: "I found a little place in upstate New York called Love Canal."

Gore went on to brag about holding the "first hearing on that issue" and said "I was the one that started it all."

But yesterday, the Democratic presidential candidate called an Associated Press reporter in upstate New York to play down his role and applaud local residents of the Niagara neighborhood who fought the long battle against the waste site.

"If anybody got the misimpression that I claimed to do what citizens in Love Canal did, I apologize," Gore said in a telephone interview he initiated.

As a junior House member, Gore held hearings in 1978 on the dangers of chemical contamination--two months after residents evacuated Love Canal.

N.Y. Union's Big Gift to Senate Democrats

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee collected a $500,000 October windfall from a politically connected New York union, making Senate Democrats the recipients of the year's biggest single "soft money" donation.

The Oct. 19 contribution from Local 1199 appears to be the largest check to a national party that the hospital workers' union has ever written and it comes as the election's highest-profile Senate race is taking place in New York between first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

Union officials said they gave the funds with no insistence that they be spent to boost Clinton's candidacy and said the check, which was first solicited this summer, was not meant to pay for a recent spate of DSCC-funded soft money ads in New York touting the first lady.

But Clinton's candidacy is clearly a priority for the union. "I'm not going to suggest this is not on our radar screen," said union official Jennifer Cunningham.

Party leaders and union officials gave credit for the eye-popping donation to New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D), who has close ties to union leader Dennis Rivera. "It's no secret that he's a close personal and political friend of the union," said 1199 spokesman Ken Sunshine. Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) did the asking at a meeting with Rivera this summer.

According to Public Disclosure Inc., only three others have given more soft money this year: AT&T, Chiquita banana king Carl Lindner and the Communications Workers of America. But rather than writing one huge check like 1199, they have spread their money around to various party organizations.

Fuming Over a GOP Primary Fund-Raiser

Conservatives are crying foul over the decision of National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Thomas M. Davis III (Va.) to attend a Washington fund-raiser for former representative Dick Zimmer (R-N.J.).

Zimmer, along with more conservative ex-representative Mike Pappas (R-N.J.), is hoping to unseat Democratic Rep. Rush D. Holt in New Jersey's 12th District. National Rifle Association director of federal affairs Chuck Cunningham said Davis, who is slated to attend the Feb. 9 event with House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), "is trying to anoint a candidate in a primary."

But Davis said he made the commitment when Zimmer was considering opting out of the race to launch a Senate bid. "This has nothing to do with philosophy and everything to do with electability," Davis said.

Pappas campaign manager Jack Grimes, while unhappy with Davis, was quite pleased that House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) had decided to back Pappas. "We're happy to have DeLay's support, because as everyone knows, he's probably the most powerful leader in the Congress," Grimes said.

Staff writers Susan B. Glasser and Juliet Eilperin contributed to this report.

CAPTION: Vice President Gore spoke of his role in toxic waste issues during a forum Tuesday in Concord, N.H.