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[IP] Stephens story was in USA today!

A friend who was traveling told me he saw Stephen's name in the paper 
Wednesday about him meeting Al Gore.  Here is the article, a copy of the 
letter he gave to Gore is attached:                 
                 Gore takes his campaign to new level:
                 By Jill Lawrence 
                 Wed., Oct. 27, 1999
                 FINAL EDITION
                 Section: NEWS
                 Page 16A

                 NASHUA, N.H. -- Al Gore stood very close to 13-year-old 
                 Neckorcuk, who has juvenile diabetes, as he read Stephen's 
                 asking him to support more money for research into the 

                 ''When I was 6, I wrote a letter to God asking for a cure. I 
                 unaware at the time that it would never reach him,'' Gore 
read aloud,
                 then stopped. ''How do you know it will never reach him?'' 
he asked
                 the boy gently. ''We'll talk about that in a minute.'' 

                 And the vice president did talk about faith and God and 
tragedy and
                 hope, all through a town meeting Monday night that swung 
wildly from
                 esoteric policy to high-spirited quips to intensely personal 
discussions of
                 death by gunfire and tobacco. 

                 ''I loved it,'' Gore said three hours later, standing in the 
                 Junior High School auditorium after 200 fans and undecided 
voters had
                 trickled out. ''It's almost like coming home . . . coming 
back to a forum
                 that I always enjoyed in the past.'' 

                 And one that he's missed, he says, in seven years as vice 

                 The town meetings Gore began holding last week are but one 
sign of
                 how the vice president is working to reconnect to voters, to 
his roots as
                 a congressman and senator, even to himself as an individual. 

                 In a strategic about-face, he is no longer running as a vice 
                 Now he's a job applicant who must prove himself in the face 
                 surprisingly stiff competition from former New Jersey 
senator Bill

                 On its most superficial level, this has meant wearing 
comfortable clothes
                 -- khakis, casual shirts and windbreakers -- and not playing 
down the
                 high-tech junkie that he is. Only a month ago, Gore started 
wearing his
                 Palm Pilot, a computerized organizer, conspicuously on his 
belt. He's
                 had one for years, however, and in fact is a ''beta 
tester,'' an avid tech
                 consumer who tests computer hardware and software so 
                 can fix bugs and improve products before putting them on the 

                 On another level, the shift in Gore's campaign has taken him 
to union
                 halls and suburban sidewalks to sell himself and his 
candidacy to small
                 groups, to individual families, even to people who aren't 
home when the
                 vice president of the United States unexpectedly knocks at 
the door.
                 He is cuddling babies and signing autographs for kids as he 
                 neighborhoods far from Washington. 

                 ''Are there any questions you need answered?'' Gore asked 
the LaVoie
                 family at 75 Linwood St. in Manchester. Down the block, no 
                 home, he slid a Gore pamphlet behind the door. ''Sorry I 
missed you,''
                 he had written on it, then signed his name and added: ''P.S. 
I'd like your

                 On the most profound level, the ''new'' Gore recognizes that 
he must
                 reveal more about himself to voters. He has been highly 
partisan at a
                 series of Democratic functions, and he has been mounting 
                 attacks on Bradley. But he displays a different side of 
himself at town

                 There were moments Monday night when Gore lapsed into plain
                 politics, such as hauling out his mother's French roots for 
the fourth time
                 that day to claim common ground with French-Canadians in 
this area.
                 But he also demonstrated command of issues and an ability to 
say no to
                 some questioners, kept his promises to a minimum, and 
perhaps most
                 important, given his image as scripted, came off as patient 
and caring. 

                 ''I really wasn't sure what I was going to do, but he got my 
vote,'' said
                 Robert Vaughn, 48, a salesclerk at Wal-Mart. ''He spoke from 
                 heart about issues that are affecting the people all around 

                 One of the most striking things was how often Gore brought 
up faith,
                 prefacing his remarks more than once with an apologetic 
''Forgive me,
                 I'm not proselytizing.'' 

                 Gore suggested to Stephen, the letter-writer with diabetes, 
that his faith
                 in God at age 6 was not misplaced. ''I believe that all of 
us are called
                 upon to put our faith into action, and when we do, I think 
that is the
                 way that God acts here on Earth,'' he told him. At another 
point, Gore
                 said he found his themes for a Columbine victims' memorial 
service in
                 Scripture. When tragedies occur, the former divinity student 
said, ''I go
                 back to my roots'' to make sense of them. 

                 ''He's not afraid to talk about God,'' said Janet Erickson, 
48. ''I'm very
                 touched by him.'' 

                 Gore managed to encourage Stephen without promising any extra
                 research money for juvenile diabetes. He also refused to 
sign a petition
                 calling on the government to redirect money toward juvenile 
                 He said all his proposals have to fit in a balanced budget, 
and if this is
                 redirected money, ''I need to know where it's reallocated 

                 Gore told another woman he does not favor abolishing the 
estate tax,
                 as she would like. ''There are some candidates out there who 
want to
                 do away with the estate tax,'' he said. ''You may want to 
look at them.''

                 He said he would work toward passage of the nuclear test ban 
                 tough campaign finance reform, prescription drug coverage 
                 Medicare and gun-control measures, including a photo ID 
                 system for handgun buyers. 

                 The audience included nervous students and the parents of a 
girl whose
                 best friend was killed by a suicidal gunman. Gore lightened 
the mood
                 by asking Robert Vaughn, 14, what starts fights at his high 
school. ''Do
                 you use the word dis?'' he asked. ''Dis me. Use me as an 
                 Said Robert: ''Your accent stinks.'' 

                 At one point, Gore asked Manish Antani, 16, ''What grade are 
you in?''
                 ''I'm a junior,'' Antani replied. ''What grade are you in?'' 

                 ''I'm in the seventh year of my vice presidency,'' Gore 
said, convulsed
                 with laughter. ''And I'm about ready to graduate, and I hope 
I do.''