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Friday, 28 April, 2000, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Barbie unveils education policy
Barbie: a safe pair of hands in the White House?
While Al Gore and George W Bush are fighting over the rights to the title of the "education candidate" - another contender is pitching in with her own views on the future of schools in the United States.

Barbie, the best-selling children's doll, has been launched as "President Barbie 2000", a style-conscious, media-friendly candidate appearing in a restrained blue outfit and a great deal of blonde hair.

And as any aspiring president, she has unveiled a raft of policy proposals - including her vision for education.

Barbie believes in education. From music to arts and maths to science. From sport to computers. Barbie plans to make sure every school offers kids the best.

'What Barbie Believes'
In an accompanying manifesto - What Barbie Believes - she says "Barbie believes in education. From music to arts and maths to science. From sport to computers. Barbie plans to make sure every school offers kids the best."

Other key-note policies present plans for world peace, animal kindness, equality ("follow your heart and reach for the stars") and the environment.

The 40-year-old - who is the only candidate who could not complain at being called synthetic - comes equipped with campaign essentials such as badges, placards, bumper stickers and a ball-gown.

And echoing the sophisticated polling techniques employed during the battle for the White House, Barbie is testing the water of public opinion with her own campaign website.

Former astronaut and singer

Young Barbie fans have identified "teasing and fighting" as the biggest problem in schools and "protecting animals" was named as the single most important issue.

As the campaign develops over the summer, Barbie intends to respond to the polling results and incorporate her supporters' concerns in future policy documents.

While both the leading candidates have had to contend with awkward questions about their past, Barbie has the most exotic track-record of any recent candidate.

Since her debut on the national stage when President Eisenhower was in the White House, Barbie has held down 75 different jobs, including ballerina, country and western singer and astronaut.

However despite her time spent as a teacher, her own website's history of the past 40 years has some curious omissions - with the assassination of President Kennedy not making it onto the big news from 1963.

The website also includes a serious lesson in how the presidential electoral system works - from primaries through to the final vote - and there is information about real female politicians, including congresswomen Loretta Sanchez, Maxine Waters and Jane Dee Hull.

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