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Moore appearance set at U, but no student funds to be used
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Michael Moore, the director of "Fahrenheit 9/11," is on a "Slacker Uprising Tour" of 60 cities in 20 battleground states in an effort to get nontraditional voters to the polls. (Photo by Donald Weber/Getty Images)

Minneapolis, Minn. — (AP) - Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore will speak at the University of Minnesota on Friday, an appearance that had been in doubt after campus Republicans objected to any use of school funds to pay for the event.

Moore will speak at 8 p.m. at Williams Arena, with his appearance sponsored by the Minnesota Alliance for Progressive Action. Tickets are $6 for the general public, $5 for students. The arena holds 14,000 people.

MAPA said it anticipates putting $30,000 into security, audiovisual needs and other event costs. MAPA spokeswoman Heather Foster said Moore is not getting a speaking fee, but her group will cover travel expenses for him and his staff. She said the university will be reimbursed for all costs of the event.

Moore, the director of "Fahrenheit 9/11," is on a "Slacker Uprising Tour" of 60 cities in 20 battleground states in an effort to get nontraditional voters to the polls. His latest film was released this week on DVD.

Republicans have criticized Moore because his film ridicules President Bush's response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and his decision to invade Iraq.

Last week, before Moore's speech was nailed down, the Minnesota College Republicans chapter said it would fight if his appearance involved the use of school money. University officials then said no public or student money would be used if he appeared.

The university bookstore had been interested in sponsoring the speech, but Foster said it dropped out and MAPA was the sole sponsor.

In a statement, the Republican Party of Minnesota said the John Kerry campaign was bringing shrill surrogates into the state, citing both the planned Moore speech and Tuesday's live broadcast from Minneapolis of Al Franken's radio show.

"Michael Moore and Al Franken hardly represent the views and the values of the vast majority of Minnesotans," said party spokesman Randy Wanke.

Kerry's Minnesota spokeswoman, Stacie Paxton, said the campaign has had nothing to do with Moore's visit, though Franken was to appear at a Democratic National Committee fund-raiser. She fired back with a reference to one of Franken's most famous "Saturday Night Live" characters, a new age cable TV self-help guru.

"Given their angry rhetoric, it sounds like the staff over at the Republican Party might benefit from a counseling session with Stuart Smalley," Paxton said. "But then again, if my job was to defend this administration's record of failure on jobs, health care and Iraq, I'd probably be angry too."

Moore is competing with two other big events Friday: the first playoff home game for the Minnesota Twins and the second presidential debate.

"We're encouraging people to tape the presidential debate and come see Michael Moore live," said C. Scott Cooper, MAPA's executive director.

George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., last week canceled plans for Moore to speak on campus five days before the election, after Republicans objected to the school's plan to pay him $35,000 for the appearance.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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