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The BBC's Nick Bryant in Los Angeles
"Los Angeles does have the feel of a Clinton convention"
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The BBC's Rob Watson in Los Angeles
The Democrat's vice presidential candidate has criticised the Hollywood film industry
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Monday, 14 August, 2000, 05:11 GMT 06:11 UK
Gore tries to escape Clinton shadow
The Clinton family, at a Los Angeles party
Applause: President Clinton was guest of honour at a series of Hollywood parties

As America's Democratic Party gathers in Los Angeles for its convention, President Clinton has been cutting back on his public appearances amid concerns that he is over-shadowing the party's White House nominee, Vice-President Al Gore.

The president cancelled several interviews and took Sunday morning off from the campaign. But his attendance at several lavish Hollywood parties received widespread media coverage.

The president will be giving the opening night speech to the four-day convention, which will officially endorse Mr Gore as the Democrat's presidential candidate. Mr Gore - who spent Sunday campaigning in America's midwest - is not due to arrive until Wednesday.

We're going to be staying out of sight. Really. We want there to be nothing but a focus on the convention.

Hillary Clinton

The week ahead is crucial for Mr Gore and his running mate, Joseph Lieberman, because they are trailing in the opinion polls behind their main rival, the Republican candidate, George W Bush.

Hollywood stars

In the run-up to the convention, Mr Clinton, together with his wife Hillary and daughter Chelsea, were the guests of honour at a series of parties attended by big-name Hollywood stars, many of them long-time Democratic party supporters.

Al Gore
Al Gore will arrive at the convention on Wednesday

Hillary Clinton raised around $1m for her campaign for a seat in the US Senate at the biggest party of the weekend.

President Clinton was expecting to collect at least $10m for his presidential library at an exclusive gathering organised by the singer Barbra Streisand.

A BBC correspondent attending the Democratic convention said it is difficult for Mr Clinton to avoid taking attention away from Mr Gore because as president, he is America's pre-eminent political superstar.

Everything Mr Clinton does or says attracts attention, our correspondent said.


Democratic party convention centre
Gore needs a boost from this week's convention

But in an interview with the New York Times on Sunday, Mrs Clinton acknowledged the danger that the Clinton family could steal the limelight from Al Gore.

She said they planned to be out of the way by the time Mr Gore arrived in Los Angeles.

"We're going to be staying out of sight. Really. We want there to be nothing but a focus on the convention."

In a poll conducted on the eve of the convention by CNN and Time magazine, Al Gore was supported by just 39% of likely voters compared to 53% for Texas Governor Bush.

The American people vote for a new president on 7 November.

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See also:

13 Aug 00 | Americas
Gore facing crucial week
12 Aug 00 | Americas
Democrat Playboy venue dropped
07 Aug 00 | Election news
Gore seeks comeback formula
04 Aug 00 | Profiles
Al Gore: Groomed for power
11 Aug 00 | US Elections
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