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Mrs. Cheney plays education card to crowds in Michigan

Lynne Cheney, the wife of Republican vice presidential candidate Richard Cheney, campaigned across Michigan yesterday, talking about education in a town meeting in Port Huron, touring state campaign headquarters in Lansing, and celebrating Halloween at a children's museum in Muskegon.

Her campaign tracks nearly match the travels of Vice President Gore, who foraged for votes in the state Sunday.

The race for president in Michigan is too close to call, a new poll commissioned by The Blade shows. The daily tracking poll shows Mr. Gore with 46 per cent support compared to 44 per cent for George W. Bush - a difference well within the margin of error.

At her town meeting, Mrs. Cheney, a former congresswoman, told a mixture of students and adults at St. Clair Community College that she believes “teaching to a test” is acceptable as long as the test is good. Concern has been raised about the practice in some quarters because elementary school students who do poorly on proficiency tests are sometimes not allowed to progress to the next grade level.

She criticized a recent analysis of the Texas public education system that was critical of the state system, saying it was biased and not based on objective data. And she said Mr. Gore was exaggerating the benefits of a proposed tax credit for families who spend money on college tuition.

She said Mr. Gore and his running mate, Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, continue to say families would receive a deduction up to $10,000 for college expenses.

But their plan proposes only to raise the amount of an existing tuition tax credit from 20 per cent to 28 per cent on up to $10,000 in college expenses, she said.

According to a 200-page outline of the Gore-Lieberman economic plan, released by Mr. Gore in Cleveland earlier this fall, Mrs. Cheney is right.

Later in the day, she toured the headquarters of a program in Lansing that provides counseling for parents and children who have lost a family member to death.

She also attended a coffee social with about 45 women in Muskegon after the holiday event at the children's museum there.

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