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Neither one took debate

Free advice for presidential candidates Bill Clinton and Bob Dole

And the winner is…nobody! The conventional wisdom is that neither Bob Dole nor Bill Clinton prevailed in the first presidential debate; the challenger connected with a few jabs, but the incumbent held his ground. If either wants to deliver a knockout blow in the second and final contest on Oct. 16 in San Diego, he might want to consider these bits of advice:

Bill Clinton

1. Whenever Dole needled you, you held back. Loosen up a little and show some passion — short of yelling ”Shut up, old man!”

2. Build a bridge to a better barber. Your helmet-head hair is even stiffer than Elizabeth Dole’s.

3. Avoid repeating the same phrases. It may drive home a point, but it gets annoying. You referred to Dole’s ”risky $550 billion tax scheme” almost as often as he called you liberal.

4. Share some credit. Dole mentioned running mate Jack Kemp several times, but you didn’t utter Al Gore’s name once all evening.

5. Don’t allude to your embarrassing brother, Roger, even if he is a good example of how drugs can nearly destroy a person. There’s a reason you never heard Jimmy Carter referring to brother Billy’s beer guzzling.

Bob Dole

1. Your flashes of humor were the only high points. But you’ve got to learn to smile when you tell a joke.

2. Leave the distant past in the past. Whenever you recall World War II, you only remind people how old you are.

3. You don’t fool anyone when you say things like ”…and I’m not even going to mention Whitewater.” You just did, Bob.

4. Don’t be such an old scold. No one else in the country noticed — or cared — that Clinton failed to address incumbent George Bush as ”Mr. President” during the 1992 debates. Get over it, already.

5. If you really want to speak to ”the young people,” as you said in your closing statement, learn their lingo. Even the most neophyte webhead could tell you left out the last ”dot” in the address of your home page.