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Inside Politics

Ted Kennedy Endorses Al Gore; Elizabeth Dole Endorses George Bush Jr.; McCain Faces Questions About Assistance to Special Interest

Aired January 5, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET



SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Gore has demonstrated -- both by experience, by commitment, by record day in and day out -- that he's the man to lead our party and to lead our nation.


BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: With Ted Kennedy behind him, Al Gore heads into another debate with Bill Bradley.

John McCain faces questions about whether he helped one of those special interests he rails against.


GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it's really important for people who advocate reforms live to the spirit of the reforms they advocate.


SHAW: Plus, Chappaqua, New York gets ready for the real-life Clintons as they prepare to spend their first night in their new home.

ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Judy Woodruff and Bernard Shaw.

SHAW: Thanks for joining us. Judy is off today.

We begin with Bill Bradley and Al Gore, set for their first debate of the new year in New Hampshire, where their contest is close. And primary day? It is getting close, too.

As CNN's Patty Davis reports, both Democratic presidential contenders spent the day highlighting their differences and signing on new campaign allies.


PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It was a day of dueling political endorsements. First, powerful and liberal Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy threw his support behind Vice President Al Gore.

KENNEDY: I welcome the opportunity to give my wholehearted and complete support to a great friend, a magnificent vice president and the next president of the United States, Al Gore.

DAVIS: Later, Gore's Democratic opponent Bill Bradley picked up the endorsement of 600 abortion-rights activists in New Hampshire.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is the essence for me of Bill Bradley. Not a quitter, not a flim-flam man, but a decent man who can lead us into new worlds, and help us to solve ever-more-pressing problems.

DAVIS: Both endorsements came on the day Gore and Bradley meet face-to-face to debate in New Hampshire. With the New Hampshire primary less than a month away, both are doing all they can to attract voter's attention.

The Gore champaign hoped Kennedy's much-anticipated endorsement would shore up his liberal credentials in the state where Bradley is running even or ahead of Gore in most polls. Kennedy, a respected Democratic leader on health, labor and education issues, praised Gore's education and health care plans.

BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I thought all along that he would have more of the establishment support. And I think this is yet another example. All I have are the people.

DAVIS: Bradley, whose competing $65 billion-a-year health-care plan is at the heart of his campaign platform, chose instead to tout his long-time support for abortion rights at his endorsement to appeal to women who right now support Gore in large numbers.

Gore also supports abortion rights.

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: Go, Bill, go. Go, Bill, go.

DAVIS: They are expected to highlight their differences in tonight's debate. In the last meeting, Bradley refused Gore's offer to stop running television ads and debate twice a week instead.

Gore charges Bradley's proposal for universal health care would bust the budget, and that the country needs a tested leader. Bradley calls Gore the big spender, saying his proposals would exceed the projected federal budget surplus by $350 billion.


DAVIS: At tonight's meeting, the debate here in New Hampshire, their fourth face-to-face meeting here in New Hampshire, expected to begin about two hours from now. As you can see, behind me some die- hard fans already lined up here, greeting the candidates as they arrive.

And the candidates, both of them hoping that those endorsements that they received yesterday will go a long way with voters here in the state -- Bernie. SHAW: Patty, quick question for you: How much interest is there in this event?

DAVIS: There is a lot of interest here. Some 400 journalists have signed up. The group that's organizing this has put in some 250 phone lines to handle all of the demand. Major interest here tonight.

And an interesting thing about this particular location, it will also be the host of the Republican debate tomorrow night, all six candidates taking part -- Bernie.

SHAW: Patty Davis in New Hampshire.

Tonight's Democratic presidential debate will feature questions from journalists, and the candidates will have an opportunity to question each other. This will be the fourth time Gore and Bradley have squared off on the same stage.

Our Bill Schneider has been looking back at their past performances -- Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Bernie, as you said, we've seen three Democratic debates so far. And in them, an evolving campaign strategy for each candidate. Al Gore is getting more visionary, to match Bill Bradley. And Bill Bradley is getting tougher, a lot tougher, to block Al Gore.


SCHNEIDER: First debate: October 27th, Hanover, New Hampshire. Bradley sets out his central theme: I'm a visionary.

BRADLEY: And you ought to have big solutions to big problems, because that's what America's all about. It's about dreaming and being able to fulfill those dreams.

SCHNEIDER: Bradley won't even criticize Gore when offered the opportunity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As a Democrat, sir, would you comment on the behavior of the '96 Clinton-Gore campaign as it relates to fund- raising?

BRADLEY: I think there were obviously some irregularities that have been addressed. I'm not going to get into the details at this stage of the game.

SCHNEIDER: But Gore was poised to attack, saying Bradley's biggest idea, expanding health coverage, was risky.

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You give two- thirds of the money to those who already have health insurance, you're going to hurt, you're going to shred the social safety net.

SCHNEIDER: Second debate: December 17th, New Hampshire. For the first time, Bradley staged a counterattack. BRADLEY: Who is he going to leave out? Who is he going to leave out?

GORE: No one.

BRADLEY: That's not true. You've not proposed a plan that covers all Americans.

GORE: Bill, look -- with all due respect...

SCHNEIDER: Third debate: December 19th, Washington. Bradley went after Gore big time.

BRADLEY: If you're involved only in trying to go against someone, trying to hammer someone about "this is wrong, that's wrong," whether it's my health-care plan or what, then you only have a negative message.

SCHNEIDER: Bradley was no longer shy about criticizing Gore's involvement in the 1996 fund-raising controversy.

BRADLEY: I thought that a lot of people in politics were embarrassed by it, quite frankly. I think Republicans and Democrats were disgraceful in that fund-raising program in 1996.

SCHNEIDER: When Gore attacked Bradley on health care, it quickly degenerated into a squabble.

GORE: He eliminates Medicaid and replaces it with little $150-a- month vouchers, which also limits the access.

BRADLEY: That's wrong. That's not correct.

GORE: Let me just finish, if I could.

BRADLEY: It's not a voucher.

SCHNEIDER: You got the idea these guys kind of don't like each other.


SCHNEIDER: So what will we be looking for in tonight's debate? While Bradley is acceptable to most Democrats, they're happy with Gore and see no reason to reject the vice president. Gore has to convince them that Bradley is not a good Democrat, and therefore they should not find him acceptable.

Now, Bradley has to give Democrats a reason to vote against Gore. Like maybe the one Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan gave when he endorsed Bradley a few months ago, that Gore can't be elected. I wonder how long it will be before Bradley tries to make the case that Gore is a loser.

SHAW: Interesting.

Bill Schneider, thank you.

Now let's talk more about what we may be able to expect from Gore and Bradley tonight. David Broder of "The Washington Post" joins us from Manchester, New Hampshire.

David, with that big primary less than four weeks away, how important is tonight's debate?

DAVID BRODER, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, I think it's going to be very important, Bernie, because it's clear now that the voters are interested, they're engaged, but many of them tell us that they have not yet made up their minds. So I think this event, particularly taking place at the state university, heavy coverage in the local television, will be a major event in this campaign.

SHAW: For the last couple of days, I know you have been watching Bill Bradley up close. How is he doing?

BRODER: He looks a little worn to me, to be honest with you. He had a major speech yesterday -- or at least what was billed as a major speech -- here in Manchester, where he was supposed to lay out a pretty stinging indictment of corporate tax breaks. He decided to sort of fit the message paragraph of that long speech into a fairly rambling, discursive version of his standard stump speech. And when he did a press conference afterwards, he seemed like a tired candidate to me. May have just been an off day. I am going to be watching with interest tonight to see how much energy and drive there is in Bill Bradley tonight.

SHAW: Tactically, Dave Broder, what are the Bradley attack lines against Gore, and are they playing? Are they working?

BRODER: The main line that he is stressing, since he can't really fault the record of the Clinton-Gore administration, the main line that Bradley is using is that Gore is a Washington insider, which today, as always, is an epithet that draws a pretty negative reaction from voters.

SHAW: What's the temperature of the vice president's campaign? We all know that he had heretofore tried to portray himself as an underdog.

BRODER: And they are still doing that.

But he was very much buoyed today by getting the support of Senator Kennedy. Even though Kennedy lost the New Hampshire primary here in 1980 to Jimmy Carter, he is a very large figure in New Hampshire Democrat's minds. If this were a state where endorsements were really important, this is probably about as good an endorsement as Al Gore could get. But frankly, these voters see so much of the candidates personally that they tend to make up their own minds. They don't look to others to tell them who to vote for.

SHAW: But overall, the Kennedy endorsement has high party symbolic value? BRODER: Absolutely. And it says to people in the Democratic Party that this is an authentic Democrat, somebody that you can feel comfortable and even proud of supporting.

SHAW: David Broder, "The Washington Post," Manchester, New Hampshire, thanks a lot.

Well, even as the Democrats focus on New Hampshire, a new poll shows their race in Iowa has tightened. The Iowa Project 2000 poll of likely Democratic caucusgoers shows Gore leading Bradley by 13 points, 45 percent to 32 percent. Now back in November, Gore was 28 points ahead in the same poll, conducted for Capital Communications.

INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.


SHAW: When the Republican presidential candidates debate in New Hampshire tomorrow night, John McCain may face questions that surfaced today about whether he has practiced what he has preached about campaign finance reform.

CNN's Pat Neal has more on the Republican race, beginning with McCain's day in New Hampshire.


PAT NEAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the day Senator John McCain outlined his vision of citizenship for all Americans.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Judge us as well by the example we set, by the way we conduct our campaigns, by the way we personally practice politics.

NEAL: But the candidate who's made getting special interests influence out of Washington the centerpiece of his campaign had to answer questions about letters he wrote the Federal Communications Commission. He pushed the FCC for a decision on issues involving a communications company that had donated to McCain's campaign. The FCC was considering whether to approve the sale of a Pittsburgh television station license. McCain wanted action by a certain date.

In what is provided by the McCain campaign, the Senator wrote, "I emphasize that my purpose is not to suggest in any way how you should vote, merely that you vote."

MCCAIN: I did not ask for a decision. I asked for action. And as the chairman of the committee that oversights, I have every reason to expect that a government agency would act after two years.

NEAL: In response, the FCC chairman wrote, "I must respectfully note that it is highly unusual for the commissioners to be asked to publicly announce their voting status on a matter that is still pending. Campaigning in Iowa, Governor George Bush said:

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it's really important for people who -advocate reforms live to spirit of the reforms they advocate.

NEAL: The biggest reform Bush is advocating is sweeping tax cuts, something he continued to push on Wednesday. Bush showcased middle class families he said would benefit from his tax reduction plan. McCain has criticized the governor's proposal as one that most benefits the wealthy.

Steve Forbes, who's currently running third in the New Hampshire polls, also criticized Bush on taxes.

STEVE FORBES (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's already surrendered the fight to change the IRS, so it's unrealistic to think you can do anything about getting rid of this code and getting rid of the IRS as we know it. I don't believe in surrendering in advance. I intend to fight and win on that issue.


NEAL: Tomorrow night, as you said, Bernie, the Republicans will debate again in New Hampshire. Look for lots of talk on taxes as these candidates try to distinguish themselves before the February 1 primary -- Bernie.

SHAW: Pat Neal, in New Hampshire.

The fund-raising figures in the 2000 presidential race easily dwarf those of past races. As Republican candidates dropped out early, several, including Elizabeth Dole, cited the inability to keep up financially.

Well, a new book by Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity raises the question: Is the White House for sale to the highest bidder? Joining us now for more on this subject and his new book, "The Buying of the President 2000," Charles Lewis.

What's the scope of this book?

CHARLES LEWIS, CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY: Well, we looked over the entire careers of all the presidential candidates, looking at all the special interests that they have been associated with and tracking all the money, literally just following the money at all the different government repositories, where records are kept, hundreds of interviews. Tens of thousands of records, 24 researchers, 18 months. And this is basically whatever you wanted to know but you were afraid to ask about special interests behind and around the candidates, the special interests that they all don't have. None of them will acknowledge in any way. They're shocked that you would even suggest that they have special interests. And this lay out in great detail by name, by amounts, and shows what they have done, favors that they have done on occasion, frequently sometimes, for various folks.

SHAW: Were the politicians cooperative?

LEWIS: You know, they weren't.

SHAW: Surprise, surprise.

LEWIS: We did a book, "The Buying of the President" in '96. Half the presidential candidates talked to us back then. This time, none of them talked. I tried not to take it personally.

SHAW: In American politics, who are the biggest contributors?

LEWIS: Well, we also looked at party patrons over the '90s. The biggest supporters of the Republican Party in the last nine, 10 years have been the tobacco companies. Four of the top 12 soft money donors to the Republican Party are the tobacco companies. Six of the top 10 for Democrats are unions. But generally, it's Wall Street and business interests. If you're asking for a sector of the economy, that's always the largest group as an industry sector that gives.

SHAW: How much?

LEWIS: Well, this election will go over $3 billion. To give you a way of comparison, it was $2.2 billion in '96. I'm not an economist, but I don't think inflation went up that much in four years. To give you a different way of saying it, George W. Bush is going to raise close to $70 million. Last time, in 1995, the year before the election, Clinton raised $26 million. So this fellow, Governor Bush, has gone 2 1/2 times higher than the all-time record in four years. That's astounding. So we're seeing numbers that we have never remotely dreamed of, you know.

SHAW: Let's take a look at two candidates in both parties, individual presidential candidates -- Bush, McCain?

LEWIS: Bush, obviously a prolific fund-raiser, who inherited his father's network of some 20 years in terms of fund-raisers as well as donors, an oil man himself, very close to oil interests. Four of his top 10 career patrons are from oil companies, or oil interests.

SHAW: We're looked at the Enron Corporation, Sanchez family, on down through the Bass family.

LEWIS: Exactly. And Ron Sanchez, Vinson & Elkins represents a lot of oil companies, including Enron. Bass, of course, is a big oil company -- a big oil interests. And so maybe as Americans, we're not shocked that a Texan is close to oil, but just in case you're wondering, that's there. George W. Bush has also made an awful lot of money and been in a lot of business deals, and a lot of people who are close to him personally are also his donors. Some of them are in the top 10 by name, and his baseball team and all of that stuff. He is -- we show in the book how he has made a lot of money with friends and how they have gotten some favors while he's been governor.

SHAW: Let's look at John McCain.

LEWIS: Well, McCain is a really interesting case, obviously, because he talks a lot about reform. His largest all-time contributor is Charles Keating, from the Keating Five Scandal. McCain, in fairness to him, gave back $112,000 to the U.S. Treasury because of the humiliation of that scandal. His top all-time donor is U.S. West. He has a lot of interest in telecom. As you know, he's a Senate Commerce Committee chairman. All the telecom companies, thousands of them, have to come through John McCain, and he has tried to help them, including U.S. West, his top patron, and many other companies, including the one mentioned today, clearly.

SHAW: To the Democrats. Bill Bradley?

LEWIS: Bill Bradley is a really fascinating situation. Bill "I'm on a journey, not a campaign" Bradley has -- more than half of his contributors in the top 10 are from Wall Street. In fact, eight or so out of 10 are from Wall Street interests of one sort or another. Citigroup by far is his largest donor.

He did legislation to help these various securities industries, interests while he was senator.

The most interesting thing we found is that he introduced 45 bills for chemical companies to help them avoid import taxes on chemicals into this country.

So all of them have entanglements. All of them have done favors. All of them are in up to their neck with special interests, to be very blunt.

SHAW: Vice President Gore?

LEWIS: Well, Al Gore has been on the scene with this administration for seven years. We all know from the Buddhist temple to the no controlling legal authority he's had all kinds of problems with fund raising, getting tide up in problems. He has ties everywhere from Silicon Valley to Wall Street to Hollywood.

And his -- the most interesting thing to us is he has a close personal relationship and financial relationship with Occidental Petroleum. His father worked for Armand Hammer, and we know that Occidental got rights to the Teapot Dome scandal oil fields called Elk Hills, the largest privatized land ever given away. Occidental got it. They're going to make millions of dollars. They have given hundreds of thousands to Gore and to the Democratic Party.

Again, there's lots of these relationships and that's what "The Buying of the President 2000" lays out in enormous detail.

SHAW: That's the title of the new book. Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity, thanks for joining us.

LEWIS: Thank you.

SHAW: Quite welcome.

An important story now concerning the fall presidential debates: INSIDE POLITICS has learned that the bipartisan Presidential Debates Commission will abandon, will abandon its 1996 criteria for deciding who gets into those debates and instead the commission will adopt a purely objective standard. In the last election, you might recall, the commission used a complex formula to decide, even asking news professionals whether they thought a candidate had a chance of winning. The commission ended up excluding Ross Perot, a decision Perot supporters claim killed his candidacy. Perot sued and lost, but the commission was stung by that criticism.

This time, sources are telling INSIDE POLITICS the commission will take the subjectivity out of the process, relying instead on a set of clear standards.

Now, we're going to find out what they are -- what those standards are when the commission makes its criteria public tomorrow. One big question: Will this year's Reform Party nominee make the cut? Pat Buchanan and Donald Trump will no doubt be watching, as will we.

When we come back, the New Hampshire primary from the unique perspective of this man, comedian Will Durst.


SHAW: PBS will augment its political coverage this fall with a post-convention election special called "Citizen Durst." It will star who else but comedian Will Durst.

He joins us now here in Washington to discuss the upcoming start of the primary season.

First question: Why does New Hampshire have such power in electoral politics?

WILL DURST, COMEDIAN: I have no idea. It's this tiny little state up in the Northeast corner. It's hidden in the upper right-hand corner of America. It's 1.1 million people.

I mean, in California we have 12-step programs that are larger than New Hampshire and much more culturally diverse. If this state were any more Caucasian, it would be translucent. It is whiter than "The Osmond Family Christmas in Norway Special."

SHAW: For the folks in the Granite State, the No. 1 issues is?

DURST: Taxes: taxes, taxes, taxes. They have a thing called "The Pledge," and it's actually two capitals -- capital T, capital P -- which is unusual when you consider that God only gets one capital. But The Pledge is kind of like the marriage oath. Unless you take it, you don't get the honeymoon, which Bob Dole found out in 1988.

SHAW: They take their politics there very seriously.

DURST: They take everything seriously. I mean, their state motto is live free or die -- you commie pinko yellow rat you. But that's -- only the first four words fit on the license plate.

No, they are fiercely independent. And that's why an underdog has a chance in New Hampshire. They don't want to be taken for granted.

SHAW: Tell me, have you been up for any of the recent debates? DURST: I got to go to the last Democratic debate, the December 19th in Nashua. It was riveting. It was like listening to golf on the radio in Mandarin.


I don't know. Al "The Human Dial Tone" Gore versus Bill "The Product Reverse Taxidermy" Bradley. I don't know what these guys are fighting about. And now, I don't know if you saw that today, that their supporters are getting in fights. I mean, the difference between the two is so infinitesimal. It's like the difference between nonalcoholic beers.

SHAW: Can't let you leave this studio without asking you what are your predictions.

DURST: I actually think the underdogs are going to take New Hampshire. I think it's Bradley and McCain. And then the real -- the general election will be Gore and Bush, the son of a senator versus the son of a president, proving that anybody in America can grow up to be president as long as he's an Ivy League graduate whose father was either in a position to nominate or confirm a Supreme Court justice.

SHAW: Hillary Rodham Clinton moving to New York, your thoughts?

DURST: What must Bill think? I mean, Al moves to Nashville: He moves his campaign to Nashville. Now Hillary gets out. This -- I bet you Bill is going to get a complex. I think we're talking therapy pretty soon.

SHAW: Will Durst, he said it, not I.


Presidential politics 2000. Good to have you on INSIDE POLITICS.

DURST: Thanks for having me, sir.

SHAW: Thank you.

Well, there's much more ahead here on INSIDE POLITICS. Coming up...


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I told you when we started this that I would do my best to keep this decision out of politics.


SHAW: President Clinton had no say in the fate of a young Cuban boy, but the Republican hopefuls have plenty to say out on the campaign trail.

Plus, more on the vice president's newest supporter. A look back to a time when Teddy Kennedy had presidential ambitions of his own.

And later...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These people are whipping around like lunatics trying to see a White House.


SHAW: Get out of the way, curiosity hounds. The Clintons are moving in.


SHAW: We will have more of the day's political news coming up, but now a look at some other top stories.

Israeli and Syrian peace negotiators have been at it in earnest for more than eight hours now, talking mutual security concerns and normalization of relations. The first full day of the West Virginia peace summit follows Tuesday's trilateral meeting with President Clinton, which helped jump-start the process.


JAMES RUBIN, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: ... indicated yesterday we were on track. I think we're chugging along, we're not on a fast track, and so we're chugging along in a professional manner. But these are very difficult issues and we've just gotten started in that kind of serious way.


SHAW: At the heart of negotiations: Israel's withdrawal from the Golan Heights.

Many investors are breathing easier. One day after stock prices plummeted, blue chips rebounded on Wall Street. At the close, the Dow Jones industrials were up nearly 125 points over yesterday's finish. Over on the Nasdaq, however, technology stocks extended their losses, but nowhere near Tuesday's record drop. Today, the Nasdaq was off 24 points.

Authorities say there is no hope of finding any more survivors from yesterday's train collision in Norway. More bodies were found today, bringing the death toll to at least 16. Twenty others may be missing. Survivors and rescuers say the intense flames forced them to leave people trapped in the cars, while the fire burned out of control for hours. Investigators are looking into why the trains collided.

Some Jenny Craig weight-loss franchises have decided against using the new diet ads featuring Monica Lewinsky. Owners say Lewinsky is not an appropriate role model. Lewinsky is part of the new Jenny Craig ad campaign touting the benefits of a low-carbohydrate diet.

When INSIDE POLITICS returns: President Clinton and Democrats in Congress, pushing a prime election-year issue: education.


SHAW: President Clinton is trying to defuse the political fallout after today's decision by U.S. immigration officials to send a Cuban boy back to the homeland he fled. The Immigration and Naturalization Service determined that 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez "belongs with his father" back in Cuba and should leave Miami by January 14.


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would do my best to keep this decision out of politics. We have done that, we have not been involved in it. And they, I'm convinced, followed the law and the facts, did the best they could with the decision.


SHAW: But the two leading Republican presidential candidates condemn the INS decision.


BUSH: That's a mistake. What ought to happen is the Cuban boy's dad ought to come to America, and he ought to get a taste of freedom in America, and then he ought to make his decision on what's best for his boy.



MCCAIN: This is a great tragedy. This young man's mother gave her life in the effort to give him freedom, and now the United States government is sending him back to a life under communist oppression.


SHAW: Elian Gonzalez was rescued at sea on Thanksgiving day after his mother and nine others died during their escape from Cuba.

President Clinton was on the offensive today on the subject of renovating America's schools, and he enlisted the help of congressional Democrats.

CNN's Chris Black joins us with details from the White House -- Chris.

CHRIS BLACK, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Bernie, the two top Democratic leaders from Capitol Hill came to the White House today to discuss the Democratic agenda for this election year and Bill Clinton's final year in office. The president will be proposing a variation of last year's unsuccessful plan to help finance public school renovations, a $1.3 billion proposal to fund grants and interest-free loans to renovate and repair the poorest schools in the country.


CLINTON: President Kennedy once said, the time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining. Well, today, the sun is shining on America, and the roofs that need most fixing in America are the roofs of our nation's schools. Anyone who visits schools regularly as I have, will not be surprised to learn that a third of all our schools need extensive repairs or replacement.


BLACK: But getting any presidential initiative through the Republican-controlled Congress is still a challenge. House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt looked back at the difficulties Democrats had last year.


REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: As we begin to work on new approaches, we're still aware of how much of our agenda from last year is undone. This unfinished agenda was a casualty of last year's raw, partisan politics.


BLACK: There's some debate going on behind the scenes among Democrats about a middle-class tax cut. White House officials apparently still prefer using a tax cut that would help people encourage savings, but Democrats on the Hill say that they would rather use the money to fund a long-term tax cut or get rid of the marriage penalty.

For all the differences, however, Democrats say they're unusually unified going into this election year and they're quite optimistic about getting another increase in the minimum wage, and because of changes that are going on in the industry, a patient bill of rights. They are much less optimistic about any new gun control, or about getting prescription drug coverage for senior citizens, but they say the issues that they can't get through Congress are issues they'll use in an election year.

Meanwhile, even though this meeting was supposed to be about domestic priorities, the sources in both White House and Capitol Hill say that the president and his domestic -- his national security adviser, Samuel Berger, spent about half their time briefing the two leaders on the progress of the Israeli-Syrian peace talks. President Clinton briefed Republican leaders by telephone last night -- Bernie.

SHAW: Thank you, Chris. Chris Black at the White House.

And still ahead, before he endorsed presidential candidates, he was one. A look back at Ted Kennedy's journey down the campaign trail.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SHAW: Just 24 hours after Elizabeth Dole gave her endorsement, the Bush campaign has a new ad ready to go: the so-called "crash ad" consists mainly of film from yesterday's event.


ELIZABETH DOLE (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The next president must be a person with the vision, the integrity, the executive experience to lead us.

Governor George Bush, the next president of the United States.



SHAW: The Bush campaign says this ad will air once during the 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. newscast on WMUR-TV in Manchester. It may also air once before tomorrow's GOP debate. There are no plans to run this ad in Iowa.

Bush's media consultants have said this style of ad is intended to lend a sense of immediacy to the governor's New Hampshire campaign.

This afternoon I spoke with Margaret Carlson of "TIME" magazine and Tucker Carlson of "The Weekly Standard," and I asked for their thoughts on the Bush campaign, specifically whether the dynamics have changed in his battle with Senator John McCain.


TUCKER CARSON, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": I think they could. I think a lot is going to depend on Iowa. If Bill Bradley loses significantly in Iowa to Gore, I think it's possible that a lot of independents in New Hampshire who plan to support Bradley will become disillusioned. The idea will be that Bradley's hopeless, he can't win, and a lot of them may switch their votes to McCain. So it's sort of this domino effect based in Iowa.

So yes, I mean, that could make a big difference, and I think the Bush people now recognize that not sending the candidate to New Hampshire more regularly a couple of months ago was a mistake.

MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME": And they're trying to make up for it. Yesterday, he says, well, I'm here now, I've got to go to Iowa, but I promise I'll be right back and then I'll be here over the weekend and then I'll be here on Monday -- which is as good a way as any to admit that he hadn't been there enough and he's going to spend a lot of time there.

But he and McCain are also engaging for the first time, really taking on each other. At the end of one of the last debates, it looked like -- looked like they were so in love they were going to do a body slam in the endzone at the end of the debate. Now, they're engaging for the first time, and I expect that that's going to be the case for the next four weeks as Bush tries to take New Hampshire back. T. CARLSON: And you see that. I mean, I've been talking to a lot of Bush supporters out here, and it's amazing the degree to which so many of them have anti-McCain talking points, clever talking point, sophisticated talking points. And it's very obvious that they've been talking to Austin and sort of getting this sort of rhetorical ammunition. It's evidence that the Bush people are -- you know, don't think McCain's a joke anymore.

SHAW: Another Gore-Bradley debate, Margaret. You're going up there.

M. CARLSON: You know, I expect more of the same. Unlike Bush and McCain, they've been engaged for a long time. It's actually a little unpleasant. We now have the Gore sigh, which you hear him on the mike while Bradley is giving an answer in his disdainful sigh, and then you look at Bradley who seems to have contempt for Gore and tries to contain it but really can't. He's wondering, why am I here in this low company?

The dynamic between the two of them is so unpleasant, in part because the difference between them is so small.

SHAW: Tucker?

T. CARLSON: Really, I have to disagree with Margaret. I just love it. I think it's one of the more entertaining things to watch. And I think that three months from now it will be clear that Gore's decision to really pound Bradley and to try and turn him into this wild-eyed, spendthrift, left-wing, wacko nut-case, irresponsible-type person, was actually a pretty good strategy. And I think he's going to win the nomination because of that. Going negative works, and I think it's going to work for Gore.

SHAW: What about all this talk that Gore is in trouble in New Hampshire?

T. CARLSON: Well, there may be some truth in that. I mean, certainly, you know, the feeling about the Gore campaign is that it's in trouble. Again, I think he's going to get the nomination. But I mean, even in California, you know, Gore's California state director resigned yesterday. And you know, page 1 above the fold in the "San Francisco Chronicle" this morning, you know, "Gore Campaign in Trouble in California." It's hard to erase that perception once it begins to build.

M. CARLSON: Campaign in disarray has been the leitmotif of Gore's candidacy. He keeps trying to correct it. Whether anybody cares but us that the California campaign director resigned, I don't know.

But certainly, that's been the theme of his campaign so far.

SHAW: Before you leave us, let's go to Chappaqua, New York: the first lady moving in, unpacking. Margaret?

M. CARLSON: That moving van, what's in the moving van? You know, there's a lot of rooms to fill there. There's something kind of sad about moving to a big house in the suburbs when nobody's home. In my neighborhood, we always used to ask when the moving truck pulled up, hey, do they have any kids, because we wanted somebody to move in with some kids. And they're moving into the suburbs and it's an empty house.

Clinton has now decided -- the president has decided to spend the night there so that at least the story line isn't that Hillary, the Senate candidate, spends her first night in the new house alone.

SHAW: And Tucker, before we leave you.

T. CARLSON: Ooh, what a depressing picture. Margaret actually made me feel sad just hearing that.

M. CARLSON: Oh, I know.

T. CARLSON: I don't know. I think it's -- I mean, good for her. She should have run for Senate three years ago. I think this is, you know, evidence of her taking command of her life. I'm not much of a feminist, but I have to say I support this. You know, I think she should have done it a long time ago.

SHAW: Tucker Carlson, Margaret Carlson, thank you.


SHAW: And we go live now to Chappaqua, New York. Gary Tuchman has more on the big move -- Gary.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bernie, for the first time in 17 years, Bill and Hillary Clinton will be spending the night in a home that they own. Some are calling it the Westchester White House. After all, it is in Westchester County and it's a house that is white.

It's a $1.7 million house that the Clintons closed on two months ago, but they're officially moving in this very evening. They're flying here from Washington right now. Expected arrival at Westchester County Airport, any minute.

This is where Hillary Clinton will spend much of her time as she prepares for a likely U.S. Senate run from the state of New York. We're told both Clintons will unpack boxes together tonight and sleep here for the very first night of their house's life.

Now, the last house they owned was in 1983 back in Little Rock before the last 10 years of Bill Clinton's governorship of the state of Arkansas.

Now, here in the hamlet of Chappaqua, which is in the town of New Castle, New York, the town supervisor says this couple's arrival is an awful big deal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARION SINECK, NEW CASTLE TOWN SUPERVISOR: There obviously is a lot more traffic. We hope that once the first excitement wears off that some of that will simmer down. I mean, we've had evidence from other communities where presidents or former presidents have lived that that is the case, that that happens after a while.


TUCHMAN: Now, some businesses are getting in the spirit of the Clinton couple arrival. One stationary store has cardboard cutouts of the Clintons in front of the store to try to attract customers. A delicatessen has a menu item it calls Hillary chili. We've been told by one person who ate the chile that it tasted pretty good.

Now, neighbors here have very different opinions about the Clintons coming here. Some are very excited, but others are very worried about it. Many say they're concerned about the onlookers who will be coming into town.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a town that's heavily populated with lots and lots of small children, and these people are whipping around like lunatics trying to see a white house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're -- what? -- two blocks away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But we had signed a contract to buy the house next door, which I believe is 10 Old House Lane 14 years ago, and the deal fell through. So we would have been the next-door neighbors of the Clintons.


TUCHMAN: All agree that this town will never be quite the same while the Clintons are here.

Bernie, back to you.

SHAW: Thank you, Gary Tuchman, with the very latest there. When we return, on the day that Teddy Kennedy endorsed Al Gore for president, we'll look back at Kennedy's own run for the White House: the tumultuous 1980 Democratic primary, after the break.



GORE: Senator Kennedy has never turned his back, has never walked away, has never stopped fighting for the people who most need a fighter.


SHAW: Twenty years before endorsing Al Gore, Ted Kennedy was running his own campaign for president. At the time, he was the brightest star in the Democratic Party, twice as popular among Democrats as the sitting president, Jimmy Carter. Here now, a look back at Kennedy's run.


SHAW (voice-over): 1979 -- with the economy in the dumps and Jimmy Carter's poll numbers there too, Ted Kennedy's time seemed to have finally arrived. It was his one and only shot at the White House. Today, Kennedy endorsed Al Gore, but two decades ago, his campaign looked a lot like Bill Bradley's -- both boosted by liberals and by deep fears that the party's standard bearer might be unelectable in the fall.

CNN's Chris Black covered the campaign for "The Boston Globe."

BLACK: One was that Ted Kennedy had this sense of obligation to run for the presidency, his brother John had been president and been assassinated. His brother Bobby had been seeking the presidency and been cut down the night of the California primary just when it looked like he might go the distance. So there were a lot of people, sort of veterans of the new frontier that were really pressuring him to pick up the gauntlet and run.


CROWD (chanting): We want Ted!


SHAW: But as soon as he announced, Kennedy's poll numbers began to slide. He simply couldn't match the expectations.

Exactly one year before the election, Jimmy Carter got a political gift. A mob of Iranian revolutionaries seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, holding the occupants as hostages. Americans rallied around the flag and their president. Carter used the crisis deftly, canceling an Iowa debate so he could stay at the White House, and effectively refusing to campaign. The Carter campaign machine swept the Iowa caucuses, then went on to win primary after primary. By the party convention at Madison Square Garden, Carter had the nomination sewn up. But still, Kennedy refused to give up.

At the convention, Kennedy made his move, trying to get rid of the rules that prevented Carter's delegates from switching sides.

BLACK: They sort of thought that they could score these, you know, win these floor battles and somehow convince the convention to, you know, crown Ted Kennedy and Camelot would be alive again. But it was -- they were totally mistaken.

SHAW: It failed. Carter held his delegates and won the nomination. In defeat, Kennedy was eloquent.


KENNEDY: And someday, long after this convention, long after the signs come down and the crowds stop cheering, and the bands stop playing, may it be said of our campaign that we kept the faith. May it be said of our party in 1980 that we found our faith again. And may it be said of us, both in dark passages and in bright days, in the words of Tennyson, that my brothers loved and quoted, and that have special meaning for me now: "I am part of all that I have met. Too much is taken, much abides. That which we are, we are. One equal temper of heroic hearts, strong in will to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield."


SHAW: It was an impossible act for Carter to follow. And his plea for party unity came off as weakness.


JIMMY CARTER, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ted, you are a tough competitor and a superb campaigner, and I can attest to that. I reach out to you tonight and I reach out to all those who have supported you in your valiant and passionate campaign. Ted, your party needs, and I need you.


SHAW: After the speech, one more embarrassment: Kennedy kept Carter waiting on stage for what seemed ages for Kennedy to join him. When the senator finally arrived, he refused to raise his hand with Carter's in the traditional show of unity. Kennedy shook his hand, then left the stage.


SHAW: That convention left the Democratic Party deeply divided. Ronald Reagan easily won the fall election and the Democrats were shut out of the White House for the next 12 years.

That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. We'll see you again tomorrow, when Candy Crowley will preview the Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire. And you can go online all the time at CNN's

And this programming note: CNN will have live coverage Saturday of the Democratic presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, that's at 2:00 p.m. Eastern.

I'm Bernard Shaw. "WORLDVIEW" is next.


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