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Inside Politics

On King Holiday, Al Gore Promotes His Own Presidential Dream; Top Republican Urges Bush and McCain to Take Stand on Flag Controversy

Aired January 17, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET



AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: "We shall overcome" has got to be more than a line we sing. It must be a fight to make things right so all God's children can hear the freedom they'll ring.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Al Gore pays holiday tribute to Martin Luther King, and promotes his own presidential dream in the process.

Amid protests against South Carolina's embrace of the Confederate flag, a top Republican urges Bush and McCain to take a stand.


WILLIAM BENNETT, EMPOWER AMERICA: Yes, I think it is a mistake. I think it's a mistake for the other candidates who are not saying much about it either. Of course it's an issue that the state has to decide. A candidate doesn't have a right to decide that nor does the president. But we have a right to know where people stand on it and I think they should stand.


WOODRUFF: Plus, the get-out-the-vote action in Iowa, a week before caucus day.

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

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. Bernie is off today.

Iowa and New Hampshire may be on Al Gore's mind, but on this holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr., the vice president clearly felt Atlanta was the place for him to be.

CNN's Jonathan Karl reports on Gore's King Day remarks, and how they fit into the battle for black support in the Democratic presidential race.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The honorable Albert Gore.


JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Al Gore took his Martin Luther King Day message to Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, the place Dr. King called home.

GORE: And as Dr. King revealed in his life, here in this world God's will must be our work. So with God's grace and in the unquenchable light of Martin Luther King Jr.'s memory, let us go forward to finish the job.

KARL: For his part, Bill Bradley, who has made racial healing a major theme of his campaign, talked about race relations at Drake University in Iowa. He offered rare praise of Bill Clinton, his rival's boss, but also someone extremely popular among African- Americans.

BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that I am more similar to the policies, particularly on the issue of race, to Bill Clinton than I am to any other politician that I have seen.

KARL: Bradley trails Gore badly among African-American Democrats. In the latest CNN poll, 63 percent of black Democrats said they'd support Gore; 20 percent said Bradley. Outside the Ebenezer Baptist Church, almost everybody had something positive to say about the vice president.

DAVID BOSITIS, JOINT CTR. FOR POLITICAL & ECONOMIC STUDIES: President Clinton and Al Gore have done a lot for America, not just black America, but America period, and one would be hard-pressed not to continue to give him an opportunity and support him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think Bill Bradley is virtually unknown in this area. I think certainly Gore has name recognition. We're excited. I am personally excited about Al Gore as the next president. And he's been here. He's present here.

KARL: Gore and Bradley have been spending most of their time before predominantly white crowds in New Hampshire and Iowa, but the primary states that follow are far more diverse.

(on camera): Georgia votes in the very next round of Democratic primaries after New Hampshire and here during the last competitive Democratic primary nearly one out of every three voters was an African-American.

(voice-over): In addition to Georgia, that next round includes New York, California, Missouri, and Maryland, all states with large black populations. One week later it's Super Tuesday's primaries in the South, where in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, and Tennessee, black voters figure prominently in Democratic politics.

If Gore stumbles in either Iowa or New Hampshire he'll be counting on African-American support in the next round of primaries to carry him to the political promise land: the Democratic nomination.

Jonathan Karl, CNN, Atlanta.


WOODRUFF: Gore took advantage of his vice presidential powers, making an announcement that might further persuade African-Americans that he is committed to their causes. He said the administration would ask Congress for $1.5 million to preserve and to maintain Dr. King's birthplace.

Gore flew from Atlanta to Iowa, where in about an hour, he and Bradley are due to take part in a forum sponsored by black and Hispanic groups.

CNN's Candy Crowley joins us now from Des Moines with a preview of the debate, exactly one week before caucus day.

Candy, first of all, how is this debate tonight different from all the other debates they have participated in?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, this is called the brown and black debate, and it's -- the questions will come from Hispanic and African-American questioners, so we can expect that these particular questions will be more geared toward Hispanic and minority problems. But also, we'll hear some of the same thing, education, the generic issues, health care, that kind of thing.

But these are -- this particular debate is specifically skewed to try to get more minorities to participate in the Iowa caucuses as well as to put some focus on so-called minority issues.

WOODRUFF: Candy, clearly at this point, Bill Bradley is running behind the vice president among Democrats in Iowa. What do the Bradley people see as their -- the main job that he has before him tonight?

CROWLEY: Well, you know, the main job is to do a credible job. I think we saw, really, in the clip that you heard from Jonathan that came from Bill Bradley out here, which was basically that he's closer to Bill Clinton particularly when it comes to race than any other politician he knows. That pretty much sets up -- I think if you look at it -- a debate that will maybe be less -- have less conflict than it has before.

But remember that Bradley does have what's considered at least more liberal policy plans for bringing children up out of poverty, disproportionately, that means minority children. I expect we'll hear a lot about that. So he has to make a strong showing and make the case for his policies, which are considered more liberal than Gore's are, and therefore, one would expect, since that they are more liberal that they would attract more of the minority audience.

But by and large, what they're expecting is just, again, get Bradley's face out there. They don't expect that they're going to win here in Iowa, but what they would like is to put in a pretty good showing. This is their last debate before the caucuses, so this is the last time he has a chance to reach the broader Iowa audience.

WOODRUFF: And on the other hand, Candy, what about Gore? What do his people believe he's got to do tonight and in the days to come?

CROWLEY: Well, you know, again this is sort of an expectation game. If you look at, you know, where Gore has to be, he has to -- he would like to soundly beat Bradley, the idea being that then he can sort of stifle the Bradley boom in New Hampshire. Again, a lot of people question whether Iowa has that much effect on New Hampshire, but that's certainly how the candidates play it, so Gore wants to do as well as he possibly can. He would like to smash him here in Iowa if he could and therefore weaken him in New Hampshire and beyond.

WOODRUFF: All right. Candy Crowley reporting from Des Moines. Thanks, Candy, and we'll be getting your report tomorrow on how things went tonight.

Well, during Bill Bradley's King Day events in Iowa today, the former senator was asked about an issue that is racially and politically charged: the continued flying of the Confederate flag over the South Carolina statehouse.


BRADLEY: It offends me. It should be taken down immediately and absolutely. We should move forward, not look back, move forward.


WOODRUFF: Vice President Gore has expressed a similar view, noting that African-Americans view the Confederate flag as a painful reminder of slavery.

Thousands of people who share that view of the stars and bars rallied in the South Carolina capital today.

CNN's Brian Cabell has been covering the protest in Columbia -- Brian.


What we saw on the streets of Columbia this afternoon was a little bit of that old-time civil rights fervor, this in a state that does not actually celebrate Martin Luther King Day as a state holiday nor -- and of course it flies the Confederate flag over the capitol dome and in the state assembly.

Twenty five thousand to 50,000 people marched in the streets, this according to estimates we've heard. Department of Public Safety said 46,000. That's quite a crowd. Ninety percent to 95 percent I would estimate were African-American. A week ago, 6,000 people marched in defense of the flag, so this was considerably larger than that one. A recent poll indicated that 57 percent of all South Carolinians want the flag taken down, and the NAACP says the time is now to take it down.


KWEISI MFUME, NAACP PRESIDENT: And we stand here now in Y2K, under the symbol of hatred and bigotry and segregation and Klan activity, to proclaim we will not be moved.


CABELL: Now this issue of taking the flag down is before the state legislature, which just opened last week. It will face some tough going, even though there are a lot of senators who would like to dispense with the issue immediately. One state senator, you might recall, referred to the NAACP last week as the "National Association for the Advancement of Retarded People." He has yet to take back that insult. He says he has nothing to apologize for.

The governor is trying to mediate that dispute, but without little -- with little success so far. So clearly this is a political hot potato. It's an issue that a lot of politicians simply don't want to come down on, one side or the other. They all want it resolved, but nobody, or very few of them, want to say, yes, take it down or, no, leave it alone -- Judy.

All right, Brian Cabell reporting from Columbia, South Carolina.

Well now we focus on the way the leading GOP presidential candidates are handling the Confederate flag controversy. George W. Bush and John McCain have refused to call for the flag's removal, saying it is up to the people of South Carolina to make that decision.

I spoke earlier today with Republican values advocate and former Education Secretary William Bennett. He's now with the organization Empower America. I asked Bennett if Bush and McCain are making a mistake by not taking a stand against the flag.


BENNETT: Yes, I think it is a mistake. I think it's a mistake for the other candidates who are not saying much about it either. Of course, it's an issue the state has to decide. A candidate doesn't have a right to decide that, nor does a president. But we have a right to know where people stand on it. And I think they should stand for the removal of that flag.

That flag was put up not in 1862 but 1962. Certainly, if people want to fly a flag in their homes or in their cars, put that symbol up anywhere they want, that's fine. But when you put a flag up in a state capital, it's a symbol of approbation. It's a symbol of what the state stands for. And although there were great individuals who fought for the Confederacy, and their individual memory should be honored, what that flag stood for was slavery and the separation of the union.

And that, I think, is not something to be flown or to be hailed or to be saluted. And that's -- you know, this is not a matter of disrespecting the flag, but it's a matter of saying what do we stand for? We no longer stand for what that flag stands for.

WOODRUFF: But they say -- I mean, we know John McCain in particular said again today, this would be interference in the business of the people of South Carolina. In fact, he said today people from the outside come into their state.

BENNETT: Judy, Judy, try to be an honest broker. If I hadn't spent time with the candidates, those two candidates and other candidates, listening to them on other issues involving states, I'd accept that argument. But candidates have not been reluctant to talk about what they'd do about education in a state. They haven't been reluctant to talk about the Vermont Supreme Court decision on gay marriage. They haven't been reluctant to talk about Medicare in the states, so on.

If you, as Governor Bush or Senator McCain, offer advice to a state on education or on welfare or on taxes or on any other issue, you've crossed the line. That is, you've given your opinion. No one suggests their opinion is dispositive, but I do think for people who want to hold that office we have a right to know what their opinion is, what their conviction is on this issue. That doesn't due to say that's up to other people to decide.

WOODRUFF: Well, Senator McCain went on to say that when there was outside interference when Arizona was dealing with this issue some years back, he said this sort of outside roiling the waters set things back in Arizona.

BENNETT: Well, what constitutes outside interference? I mean if you came down and tried to stuff ballot boxes or if you came down and tried to remove the flag. But as a citizen, and as a person who wishes to be first citizen, to express your opinion, I don't think that's an interference.

John McCain has had me in Arizona come down, carpetbagger that I am, yankee that I am, to come down and give my view about school choice and about teaching of certain subjects in the curriculum, hardly more sensitive issues than that. Look, John runs the Straight Talk Express. I like him and admire him very much. We need more straight talk on this.

WOODRUFF: Does this make them racists...


WOODRUFF: ... that they're not willing to denounce this?

BENNETT: No, I think what that is about is the South Carolina primary. And, you know, maybe John McCain's campaign, George Bush's campaign could talk together and say, you know, let's together go forward together with our convictions on this. I just don't this it looks very good for them. And they're not...

WOODRUFF: So political expediency is what we're talking about? BENNETT: I'm talking about saying the right thing. I'm saying what deserves to be said, even though it may bother or offend some people in South Carolina, saying the right thing, doing the right thing. In addition, however, I think in the general election this is going to come back and hurt John McCain or it's going to hurt George Bush. And that's something they need to consider as well. But the first reason you do it is because the people have a right to your convictions.

And this is an important matter. And one need not offend the South. One need not offend the memory of Robert E, Lee by saying we fly flags to say what we stand for. And that's not something we stand for anymore.

WOODRUFF: Just finally, Bill Bennett, a quick question about taxes. As you know, there's a raging debate right now between George W. Bush and John McCain over how big a tax cut, what the tax cut -- or rather what the surplus should be spent for. John McCain says we need to be concerned about the have-nots in this country. George Bush has a very different view. Where do you come in?

BENNETT: Well, I'm much closer to the Bush position on these tax cuts. It's a bigger tax cut, I think a more appropriate tax cut, and you can also do something about Social Security given the surplus we're talking about.

Politically, I don't think John McCain's getting -- winning any friends here in the Republican Party, or many friends, by coming out with this position to cut taxes because taxes are too high. And I think McCain has given Bush an issue here. I don't think there's a clear and obvious demarcation issue on this line as there is with the issue we were talking about earlier. But on all these issues, we have a right to know our candidates' minds and where they stand. And they need to be straight up on this.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Bennett, thank you very much.

BENNETT: Thank you.


WOODRUFF: Well, as for Bush and McCain themselves, the Texas governor heads back to New Hampshire tonight. But McCain has had a full day of campaigning there.

As CNN's Bob Franken reports, the senator responded to Bill Bennett's criticism even as he kept working for a win in the lead-off primary state.


BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On this first official commemoration of the Martin Luther King holiday in New Hampshire, John McCain was fielding questions about South Carolina and the Confederate flag. To critics who say he should call for the flag's removal, McCain said, thanks for the advice but no thank you. MCCAIN: I was in the state of Arizona when we had a huge controversy over Dr. Martin Luther King and this recognition. People coming in and telling us what to do in Arizona hurt our effort to recognize Dr. King rather than help it.

FRANKEN: It is an issue that's dogged McCain lately, but he's taking it all in stride.

MCCAIN: I'm not afraid to lose it, not afraid of losing this campaign.

FRANKEN: The latest polls show McCain is leading the Republican race in New Hampshire. The new Dartmouth College/Associate Press poll gives him a nine point edge over George W. Bush, a turnaround from October.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like the way you answer questions, but the best answer I heard and the answer that made me -- will make me vote for you is the answer that you don't have all the answers.

FRANKEN: But the good poll showing presents a problem for McCain, who's enjoyed his underdog status so far. He doesn't want to fall victim to the expectation game.

MCCAIN: I don't think I'm the front-runner because there's one poll that shows me ahead. I think most people view this as a very close race, and I think that that's an accurate description of it.

FRANKEN: But McCain is clearly enjoying himself, even joking about past controversies, like letters he wrote to government agencies on behalf of big contributors. The humor came in handy on Sunday night when Continental Airlines on Sunday night lost his luggage.

MCCAIN: I'm writing a letter to the FAA immediately on behalf of a major campaign contributor -- me.


FRANKEN: McCain is all smiles because things are going well here. He told reporters that his entire campaign plan was in the luggage: win New Hampshire, win South Carolina. Both of which, observers say, he must do if he's going to stay in for the long haul -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Thanks, Bob. That makes the rest of us feel good, that even the candidates can get their luggage lost. Thanks.

Still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, getting ready for the big day in Iowa.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're just calling around to remind folks that the caucus is a week away.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just seven days to call supporters, get out the mail and turn out the vote.


WOODRUFF: John King on the last-minute preparations as the Iowa caucuses draw near.


WOODRUFF: With the Iowa caucuses now a week away, almost everyone involved is redoubling his efforts to insure voter participation. Now, an inside view of the work at hand for the campaigns and the caucus staffers in both parties.

We have two reports, Bruce Morton follows John King.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're just calling around to remind folks that the caucus is just a week away.

KING (voice-over): Just seven days to call supporters, get out the mail and turn out the vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'd be more than willing to help you find a ride there.

KING: There are volunteers by the bus load. These young Democrats from Denver here to help Vice President Al Gore. Older Democrats who drove to Iowa from Maryland to help check the voting list for former New Jersey senator Bill Bradley. The nuts and bolts matter most in the campaign's final week and Gore is banking on his deep institutional support to make the difference.

SEN. JOHN KERRY, (D), MASSACHUSETTS: You and I are fellow Vietnam Veterans of America members.

KING: Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts is among the big-name Democrats helping Gore in Iowa. Organized labor is making a big push too, another mailing to 100,000 union households and a busy final weekend of phone calls to those on labor's list.

MARK SMITH, PRES., IOWA AFL-CIO: Now what you try to do is get those people that are ID'd -- just remind them how important it is to go to that caucus, and that's -- that'll be the final push.

KING: The vice president leads big in Iowa polls. His campaign is touching base with every possible supporter in the final days.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Good. Yes, I am really glad you decided to go for Gore.

KING (on camera): Support for Bradley is easy to come by in conversations with Iowa voters, but many say they have never been to a caucus before and aren't positive they'll show up next Monday. Getting these potential new voters to participate is a major goal of the Bradley campaign's final week of organizing. (voice-over): Young faces are everywhere at Bradley headquarters, and his organizers include high school seniors barely old enough to vote.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've gotten a lot of friends to pledge though, you know, work with me, and a lot of people are going to caucuses here, a lot of high school seniors, which is really cool.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you could sign in.

KING: House parties are an Iowa organizing tradition, a chance for campaign workers to explain the state's arcane caucus process. A dozen Bradley supporters were expected for this one, only three showed up. Voting lists are as old as democracy itself. But there are new twists in the age of the Internet. These bar codes allow the Bradley campaign to scan every voter contact into its database.

But computers can't replace the foot soldiers critical to caucus organizing, every knock an effort to sign up another supporter. Sometimes the news isn't so good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. You leaning in any particular direction? Gore?

KING: A maybe certainly beats a no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I like Bill Bradley because I'm a sports fan. I'm old enough to remember when he played basketball.

KING: Another check on the Bradley list, another knock in hopes of organizing an upset.

John King, CNN, Des Moines, Iowa.



JIM KURTERNBACH, STORY COUNTY GOP CHAIRMAN: I want to make it real clear. This isn't for any one of the candidates, right? This is caucus training for everyone in Story County, Iowa.

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jim Kurternbach is the Republican chairman in Story County, home of Iowa State University. And this is a class where volunteers will be temporary chairman in charge of getting the caucuses started.

There's a conflict.

KURTERNBACH: Sorry if we interfered with the men's basketball game today. Didn't realize I was doing that. So any basketball fans I apologize to.

We won. It's over, we won. We beat up on Colorado.

MORTON: Kerternbach explains that temporary chairs usually end up permanent chairs because they know what to do. He suggests doing the Republican Party's fund-raising, passing the muck bag early, because if you wait until after the presidential vote folks will have left. Only Republicans can caucus, but you can register as you walk in the door.

KURTERNBACH: That's why you have an application form -- or an enrollment form for voter registration, so they can mark Republican that night, all right? They have to do that before they can participate.

MORTON: The Republicans, unlike the Democrats, cast a simple ballot vote for president called a straw vote.

KURTERNBACH: We do a presidential straw poll, if you will. We don't elect a presidential candidate, but we have straw poll.

MORTON: All six candidates are on the ballot, no write-ins allowed. Each candidate can have one backer make one two-minute speech.

KURTERNBACH: Not everybody gets to talk or we'll be there all night, all right? This isn't a debate, this is a caucus.

MORTON: It's a caucus, and organization is key. Republican Party insiders say Gary Bauer is a candidate who may prize.

MARLYS POPMA, BAUER CAMPAIGN WORKER: So it's very important that you have people in those rooms supporting your candidates. And organization, I think, is probably 75 percent of this whole process here in Iowa.

MORTON: It is politics at its most local -- call them, get them out.

POPMA: The only way you can get them out is making sure you have your local organizers calling them. I think to get a call from someone within their own county is much more profound then getting a call from a paid telephone bank.

MORTON: How many Republicans will caucus?

IOWA GOP ACTIVIST: Statewide, we're expecting around 110,000 people. That's about 20 percent of the registered Republicans in the state of Iowa.

BUSH: What are we doing? A little mailer?


BUSH: That's great.

MORTON: So the candidates are encouraging the troops and hoping for the best. It is much more cumbersome than a primary, but Iowans like it.

KURTERNBACH: Is it a lot more work? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes, because you get to know your neighbors, you get to know the people around you a little better. You get to share and articulate your views. And I think it's a real test of your presidential candidate's strength, their organizational strength.

MORTON: Unless it snows.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Ames, Iowa.


WOODRUFF: And that's why all of us are looking forward to being out there starting tomorrow night it.

INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.


WOODRUFF: We'll have more of this day's political news coming up, but now a look at some other top stories.

The highest-ranking American general in Kosovo has promised the father of a murdered ethnic Albanian girl that the Army will -- quote -- "spare no effort to see that justice is done." Staff Sergeant Frank Ronghi is charged with the girl's killing last week in the town of Vitina. He also is charged with committing indecent acts.

In contrast to some of the early accounts, U.S. officials say there is no existing evidence of a rape or sexual assault.

In a letter to the father, Brigadier General Ricardo Sanchez writes: "I did not know your daughter, but as a father I feel a deep sense of loss and can imagine your pain."

He continues: "I cannot say that I know how you feel, but I know how I feel. The Department of the Army will spare no effort in bringing this matter to justice." End quote.

The accused was moved today to an American military detention center in Mannheim, Germany.

Security problems at the State Department. According to The Washington Post, more than 200 sensitive intelligence reports are missing and some 140 offices that handle the documents have never been swept for listening devices. "The Post" report is based on a Senate- ordered internal audit.

Mideast peace talks between Syria and Israel are on-hold. Round three was scheduled to begin Wednesday. But U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says that both Israel and Syria are reviewing their status. Syrian officials are said to want assurances that Israel will -- Israel will withdraw completely from the Golan Heights before the talks continue.

NASA says that it's giving up hope of locating the Mars Polar Lander. Its last attempt to communicate with the craft this morning was unsuccessful. It should have touched down on Mars December 3rd, but something went wrong with the $165 million mission. NASA engineers say that it is an expensive lesson learned.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How we do these kinds of missions, how we build them, how we test them, how we validate that what we build will work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where would you have added -- had additional tests? You know, ask that question. If you had another $10 million, where would you have spent it?


WOODRUFF: This is NASA's second loss of a multimillion dollar Mars probe in less than three months.

Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham plan to join forces to become one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies. The transaction is worth around $72 billion. The two would share complementary product lines, including treatments for asthma, diabetes, AIDS and depression.

When INSIDE POLITICS returns, the Clintons, the president and the Senate candidate: Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday.


WOODRUFF: President Clinton marked this Martin Luther King holiday by helping school children spruce up a youth center in the nation's capital. Mr. Clinton traditionally has taken a hands-on approach as he's tried to help make Dr. King's vision of America a reality.

As CNN's Chris Black reports, the president has succeeded in some ways and come up short in others.


CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Clinton has set racial harmony as a priority for his administration.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have done my best to remind the American people of the truth of that at every single opportunity for seven years now.

BLACK: With only one year left to his presidency, Mr. Clinton has not yet realized the ambitious goals of his major initiative on race. The final report of his race commission is 15 months behind schedule, reportedly delayed by conflicting advice.

CLINTON: You know, I'm not going to put it out until I have lots of time personally to spend on it.

BLACK: The president has moved ahead with some recommendations: establishing office for one America in the White House and requiring each Cabinet secretary to make weekly reports on racial initiatives. Commerce Secretary William Daley is in the midst of a 12-city "digital divide" tour, focusing on the need to bring high technology to poor communities. And Mr. Clinton has opened the doors of the White House to black Americans, honoring the Little Rock Nine, inviting a 100-year-old former housekeeper back to the mansion for a visit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he exudes a certain empathy that resonates well in the black community. He has visibly identified himself with African-American leaders and hopes and aspirations of African-American people.

BLACK: The president often boasts of...

CLINTON: ... the lowest African-American unemployment and poverty rates ever recorded.

BLACK: Some initiatives, particularly welfare reform, were criticized by minority groups.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His record is mixed. There's no question about that. But then in our society, unless you have all of the power on your side to make things happen the way you want it to happen, you will always have a mixed record.


BLACK: But the president can still count black Americans as among his most loyal supporters. A recent CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll showed almost 9 out of 10 have a favorable impression of him -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Chris, is there very much else in the way of policy that the Clinton administration thinks that it can enact, bring into being somehow before this president leaves office?

BLACK: Well, the problem, Judy, is this president faces a very hostile Congress on these issues. And what they're trying to do is really in a way bypass Congress. They're trying to institutionalize racial consciousness in the government by having this office here in the White House, by having a weekly reporting system, and hoping in that way, and through also large numbers of minority appointees, to sort of change the government from the inside out.

WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's Chris Black reporting from the White House. Thank you, Chris.

And up next on INSIDE POLITICS, the disinterested youth: Why generation X is not plugging into campaign 2000?



MARYANN SIMPSON: I want a president that has courage. I want a president who is willing to step forward and say, you, Maryann Simpson, have not been treated fairly by your country. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: The controversial issue facing the presidential hopefuls and California's gay voters.


WOODRUFF: The New Hampshire primary is just two weeks away, but you might be surprised to know that not everyone in the Granite State is tuning into campaign 2000. A new poll shows one age group likely to be uninterested and uninvolved, even in the home of the first-in- the-nation primary.

Our Bill Delaney reports.


BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On Main Street in Concord, New Hampshire, two weeks from the state's first-in-the-nation primary, inside the Bagel Works, 21-year-old Abby McGonigle sheltered from the 2 degrees above zero outside while pretty much summing up much of her generation's attitude toward said primary.

ABBY MCGONIGLE, NEW HAMPSHIRE RESIDENT: I'm not -- I haven't heard anybody even discuss it. I probably don't even know all the people who are running. I'm really not paying attention to it at all.

DELANEY: About right according to a new poll conducted on behalf of a new generation X advocacy group by Brent McGoldrick and Russ Freyman. Only 18 percent of 18-34-year-olds in New Hampshire say candidates this year are paying a lot of attention to issues young people care about, in contrast to 46 percent of voters 65 or older who feel their issues are being addressed.

RUSS FREYMAN, PROJECT DIRECTOR: Our generation, we've had a very good economy. We haven't had a single type of event that has really forced a generation of young adults to go to the polls and say, I am unhappy with the way things are going.

DELANEY: With seniors three times more likely to vote than the young, guess who campaign strategists worry more about.


GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our greatest generation deserves our greatest respect.


DELANEY: Guess why so many TV ads up in New Hampshire mention Social Security.

BRENT MCGOLDRICK, PROJECT DIRECTOR: It is a vicious cycle, and it is a chicken-egg, you know, scenario where you have young adults, you know, tuning out because they're not hearing about the issues. Politicians don't address those issues. DELANEY: It's not even that the young feel government doesn't work: 46 percent do while only 34 percent of seniors think government solves problems well. But the young here mostly talk of taxes on the Republican side, a lot of talk of health care from the Democrats. And the young say those issues just don't matter as much to them as jobs, education. And so they tune out like millions of others this election cycle of all ages.

(on camera): After the recent blitz of debates, a Harvard study showed the percentage of voters describing themselves as paying quite a bit of attention to the debates rose from an anemic 8 percent to a merely pathetic 11 percent. And the young were the least likely to have watched the debates.

(voice-over): One gen Xer who did plan to vote said attitudes among the young just mimic what's dished out in the media.

DAVID MAHEU, ENTREPRENEUR: We sort of treat the candidates like they treat us, little sound bits, you know. Someone will say something incredibly stupid and we'll comment on it.

DELANEY: In New Hampshire, two weeks from the first primary, all indications are the old will decide the first winners of the still so young millennium.

Bill Delaney, CNN, Concord, New Hampshire.


WOODRUFF: A group called the Third Millennium Project plans to track young people's attitudes about the campaign through the primary season. We'll keep tabs on what they find and we'll report it here. But be sure to check their Web site at

In just seven weeks, voters in California will cast their primary ballots. Along with choosing among the presidential candidates, voters will decide another ballot issue, one that could affect the lives of many gay voters.

As Rusty Dornin reports, it is an issue that the presidential hopefuls may have to face.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you make that at school?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want some glue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want some glue?

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Partners for 15 years, Jim Emory and Charlie Spiegel adopted Nora three years ago. As far as these three are concerned, they're a family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And your glue and some paper. DORNIN: But in California's March primary, they will be asked to vote not only for a presidential candidate but to decide a ballot initiative that would ban the state from recognizing gay marriages. As Democrats, Jim and Charlie want the presidential candidates to speak out.

JIM EMORY, GAY FATHER: In the fall, I was waiting for one of them to do so, and Bill Bradley did first. And it was that courage that made a big impression on me.

DORNIN: Gore also spoke out against the proposition, although neither Democratic candidate supports gay marriage per se.

(on camera): Pollsters say 10 to 15 percent of Democratic voters in California are gay. The anti-gay marriage ballot issue may even bump up those figures, meaning the candidates had better be paying attention.

MARK DICAMILLO, FIELD POLLS: Any time you get a 10 or 15 percent constituency that may feel or share common traits and may look at issues in a similar way, I think the candidates would have to pay attention to that constituency.

DORNIN (voice-over): As a voting bloc gays and lesbians are more urban than suburban, more liberal than conservative, more Democrat than Republican, and pollsters say driven by more than just gay issues.

DICAMILLO: They're the kind of issues that progressive Democrats might consider important: health care, education, the environment.

DORNIN: As for gays in the military, gay voters will ask and the candidates better tell.

Both Gore and Bradley say they want to abolish the current "don't ask, don't tell" policy and let gays serve openly. But Gore was forced to back off a statement that he would require a candidate for joint chiefs of staff to personally support that policy.

EMORY: I am not disappointed he backed down, but the change reflects something less than sincerity.

CHARLES SPIEGEL, GAY FATHER: I was gratified they took the position. And if they need to modify it, that to me is OK.

DORNIN: Waffling by candidates is expected. So is forgiveness by gay voters.

TOM AMMIANO, SAN FRANCISCO SUPERVISOR: You sort that out, you know? I love you, I hate you. I need you, I don't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a pawn in a chess game. You're a card in a card game. You know, you're political fodder.

DORNIN: A game that exasperates many gay and lesbian voters. MARYANN SIMPSON: I want a president that has courage. I want a president who is willing to step forward and say, you, Maryann Simpson, have not been treated fairly by your country.

DORNIN: In waiting for that recognition, some gay voters have learned to be patient.

Rusty Dornin, CNN, San Francisco.


WOODRUFF: Right now in delegate-rich California, a new poll of likely Democratic voters shows Al Gore with a better than 2-to-1 lead over Bill Bradley. The poll by the Public Policy Institute of California shows Gore with 48 percent; Bradley at 21 percent.

When we return, winning support Donald Trump-style. A look at the billionaire's gala attempt to sway Reform Party leaders.


WOODRUFF: On this Martin Luther King Day, we have seen how the politics of race have affected the presidential primary contest. Now let's take closer look at how racial politics are playing out in one U.S. Senate race, New York's.

CNN's Maria Hinojosa reports on Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani's pitches today to African-American voters.


MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Hillary Clinton, the Martin Luther King holiday was her day to visit some of New York City's black communities.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's time to march to the voting booth.

HINOJOSA: In all of her time spent campaigning in New York, the first lady has made only a handful of visits to black neighborhoods. Today there were three. At each stop, Mrs. Clinton's thoughts about what Martin Luther King would say about America today.

HILLARY CLINTON, FIST LADY: Racism still divides the human heart in America. Discrimination and hatred still rear their heads in too many communities. Despite what some claim, there is still a need for affirmative thinking and action in America.

UNIDENTIFIED SINGER (singing): Lift every voice and sing.

HINOJOSA: There was talk of justice and equality and King's legacy, but the politics of her forthcoming Senate race seeped in.

CLINTON: I would like to be the kind of leader that is defined not by who I push down but who I lift up.

HINOJOSA: Mrs. Clinton even shared the stage with Reverend Al Sharpton, once the controversial outsider, now the consummate African- American insider.

REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: It's a sad day when even Strom Thurmond has better rapport with the African-Americans in South Carolina than Rudy Giuliani does with the African-Americans of New York City.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And, Lord, please try to find somebody like Mayor Giuliani to take over the mayorship after he becomes senator.

HINOJOSA: Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Clinton's likely opponent, held a small prayer breakfast and planned to attend a Congress of Racial Equality dinner. He, too, claimed King's legacy.

RUDY GIULIANI (D), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: He did something that very, very few people ever get to do. He changed the entire direction of America.

HINOJOSA: But even the mayor's backers recognize his black support is thin according to polls.

FRED BROWN, NATIONAL BLACK GOP: No question there's going to be crossover. It's going to be surprising to a lot of people. Look at the black and Puerto Rican neighborhoods in this city. You see crime is down, you see more jobs.

HINOJOSA: Hillary Clinton inserted herself into the heart of city politics. She addressed the mother of Amadou Diallo, the African immigrant killed by police officers.

CLINTON: I know that your effort to seek justice is ours as well.

HINOJOSA: The likely candidates may have focused on black voters, but Martin Luther King's vision of racial complexity is alive in New York. That means that now winning the black vote is only a part of the challenge.

Maria Hinojosa, CNN, New York.


WOODRUFF: Finally now, the story of another New Yorker with political aspirations, Donald Trump. Over the weekend, Trump reached out to Reform Party leaders in the posh setting of his Palm Beach mansion-turned exclusive country club.

Our Pat Neal has the story.


PAT NEAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The invitation was enticing, an evening at Mar-a-Lago, the private, ultra-exclusive club owned by Donald Trump. Memberships here begin at $100,000.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, we came here to see Donald Trump. We drove 36 hours from Oklahoma. NEAL: But on Trump's A-list this night are national and state Reform Party leaders. If Trump decides to run against Pat Buchanan for the nomination, he'll need the grassroots support of these people.

Some came with advice.

ANN MERKEL, GEORGIA REFORM PARTY CHAIR: I would love him to show just a wee bit of humility and less arrogance.

NEAL: Georgia's state party chair, Ann Merkel (ph), had other tips, too.

MERKEL: What I would like you to do is to relate more to the American people out there, because this is what you're going to need to do if you expect to win.

DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER: OK, I'm going to remember that

NEAL: Trump made it clear to this crowd he'll only jump in if he believes he can win the presidency.

TRUMP: It's about winning. And it's also about winning now. We're saying we're building a foundation. Well, what? It's going to take us 100 years like them? It's going to take us 132 years? I don't want that.

NEAL: But these are party faithful.

RON HOWARD, FLORIDA REFORM PARTY: I'd like to see him make a commitment that he's in the Reform Party for the long haul, that he wants to build the state parties up.

NEAL: In order to build himself up, Trump believes he needs the help of Russell Verney, former head of the party and a close ally of founder Ross Perot.

RUSS VERNEY, FORMER REFORM PARTY CHAIRMAN: I think that if Mr. Trump were to make the commitment to run for president, he would bring that vision, focus and determination with him.

NEAL: Despite the fact that Trump is allied with Governor Jesse Ventura and there's a rift between Perot and Ventura backers, Verney says he's encouraging both Buchanan and Trump to seek the nomination. Trump says he'll make that decision in about a month.

NEAL (on camera): This week, Trump takes another step closer to becoming an official candidate when he announces his proposal for a universal health care system. Aides say it will be bigger, bolder and probably more expensive than Bill Bradley's, but simpler.

(voice-over): And there's more in the month ahead.

ROGER STONE, TRUMP POLICY ADVISER: He very well may announce his choice for a running mate, for a vice presidential running mate. I think he will outline for the American people his idea of an ideal Cabinet, and I think he wants to see how people respond to that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a present for you.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, I've been looking forward to seeing you.

TRUMP: Nice seeing you, thank you very much.

NEAL: But this night it was all about how members of the party responded to an unconventional man strategically planning whether to run.

Pat Neal, CNN, Palm Beach.


WOODRUFF: And that is all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

Before we go, congratulations to Ohio Congressman John Kasich and his wife on the birth of twin daughters yesterday. The proud father and former Republican presidential candidate says the girls are doing great.

I'm Judy Woodruff. "WORLDVIEW" is next.


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