Dems to rap tobacco

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Democrats at the party's National Convention in Chicago will hear at least one blast at tobacco advertising; on Thursday Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles will take on the tobacco companies in an afternoon session that won't be covered by most TV networks. Vice President Al Gore could also mention the issue in his speech Wednesday night and President Clinton is expected to touch on the issue in his acceptance speech Thursday night.

Meanwhile, the White House on Wednesday said statements from officials on Tuesday about hopes for a deal to avoid a long court fight over new tobacco regulations were meant to reiterate the administration's hopes for an agreement, not an indication of new negotiations.

Separately, Target Stores, Minneapolis, said on Wednesday it will discontinue the sale of cigarettes in its 714 stores. The chain described the move as "a business decision driven by declining profitability and increased capital requirements."

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