Late night laugh man wants candidates debate

WASHINGTON - Maybe ''Late Show'' host David Letterman is hoping for some ''stupid candidate tricks.''

He's asking Al Gore and George W. Bush to debate on his show.

Gore, who has challenged Bush to a debate a week, quickly accepted the invitation. The Texas governor didn't immediately respond to Letterman.

''Do you want a guy that doesn't return calls?'' a supposedly angry but smiling Letterman asked Wednesday night. ''We don't care who wins. We just want to know what the deal is.''

Bush campaign spokeswoman Mindy Tucker said Thursday the governor would consider the invitation, but he has ''not made any decisions on any debates at this time.''

Both Bush and Gore have been on the show. But in an appearance via satellite earlier this year, Bush's jokes fell rather flat.

Letterman has been known to publicly badger politicians into appearances, including New York Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton who eventually agreed to visit his studio last January.

What if Bush doesn't show?

''We'll work feverishly against you for the rest of the campaign,'' Letterman promised.

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