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Inside Politics

Election 2000: The Iowa Caucuses

Aired January 24, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANNOUNCER: This is a CNN election 2000 special presentation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm excited. I'm anticipating what the good folks of this state are going to say tonight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALBERT GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope you'll participate in the caucuses. God bless you and thank you. Let's make this country a better place. Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: The last-minute push on this caucus day in Iowa: The presidential candidates are on the trail and we are on the scene.

BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Candy Crowley with the Bush campaign. John King covering the Gore camp. Jeanne Meserve with the Bradley team. And Jonathan Karl reporting on the Forbes campaign.

ANNOUNCER: This is INSIDE POLITICS. From Des Moines, Iowa, here now Judy Woodruff and Bernard Shaw, with CNN election analyst Jeff Greenfield and Bill Schneider.

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us at our caucus headquarters in Des Moines. Three hours from now, tens of thousands of Iowans will gather in private homes and public places to reveal which candidate is their choice to be their party's presidential nominee.

SHAW: The first official contest of the election year may not be a dramatic affair, if polls showing George W. Bush and Al Gore with big leads pan out. Nonetheless, candidates have been working all day to generate enthusiasm and strong turnout at caucus sites this evening.

CNN's Candy Crowley begins our coverage with the Republican front-runner's day on the trail.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BUSH: Good morning. I'd like to buy a cup of coffee please.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The price of being the front-runner by so much for so long is that tonight it's not enough to win: He has to win well enough.

BUSH: Well, you know, it's been great expectations surrounding me ever since I got started. And so I'm used to it, but this is a long process.

CROWLEY: On the morning of the nighttime caucuses, there is nothing to do but more of the same. So George Bush worked a Des Moines restaurant and the rally crowds in Ames and Perry. You never know when a morning handshake will turn into nighttime vote.

BUSH: My only butterflies is if people don't go to the polls. And we've laid the groundwork for a great evening tonight. We have got a fantastic organization. My message has been heard. And the only thing now -- the only thing we can do is just work hard to get the people to the polls.

CROWLEY: Butterflies or no, Bush, with his wife now at his side, seems relaxed, even playful, as he goes through Iowa's final paces.

BUSH: I can't tell you how happy I am...

(APPLAUSE)

... how happy I am to have her here. One of the toughest things about running for president is I miss my family. I miss our girls. I miss the cats.

(LAUGHTER)

They don't miss me.

I miss the dog. She does miss me.

CROWLEY: To a packed room on the campus of Iowa State, Bush delivered a permutation of his standard stump speech, laced with the pressure of the moment and the urgency of the hour.

BUSH: I must confess I'm a little nervous when I hear people say, I've been reading all of those polls, governor. You don't need my help. The only poll that matters is the one that's taken tonight. That's the only poll that matters. The only one that's going to count, when people around the country say, what does Iowa think, who does Iowa want to carry our message, is the one when the actual folks show up. And to my friends who are here who are going to be for me, thanks and take a friend and a neighbor with you. It's really important.

CROWLEY: You meet a lot of people along the way to the Iowa caucuses. Monday's close encounter of the unexpected kind: the Democratic senator from Nebraska who has just announced he will not run again.

SEN. ROBERT KERREY (D), NEBRASKA: Governor Bush. Bob Kerrey.

BUSH: Hey, Bob. How are you, buddy? How are you doing?

KERREY: That's a very good speech.

BUSH: You sound shocked.

KERREY: No, I'm not shocked at all.

BUSH: I am -- I am sorry you're leaving the Senate.

KERREY: You're very kind. Thanks.

BUSH: I meant that.

KERREY: Thanks.

CROWLEY: A Bradley supporter, Kerrey dropped in on Bush from a nearby Bradley event.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHAW: Candy Crowley with the governor's day. Now, to Bush's main rival here in Iowa.

Steve Forbes has invested a lot of time and money in his campaign here, and as CNN's Jonathan Karl reports, he is hoping for a political payoff in these caucuses tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEVE FORBES (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Steve Forbes. How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good to see you, Steve.

FORBES: Nice to meet you.

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The candidate makes a quick stop at Scruffy's Pizza in Des Moines.

FORBES: Good to see you. How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pretty good.

FORBES: Hope you'll be out tonight. I've got some good ideas on taxes and other things.

KARL: Most polls may show Forbes trailing by more than 20 points in Iowa, but he seems to be winning the Scruffy's straw poll, nonbinding, of course.

FORBES: We're going to do well. We're going to have a strong showing tonight. KARL: In the morning, Forbes dropped by WHO radio for a couple of interviews. Afterwards, he talked to reporters.

FORBES: Our people are principled and committed. They're not here for a horse race. They're here for a cause. They believe in my bold and strong proposals.

KARL: Later, Forbes kept up the radio barrage with telephone interviews from his hotel room.

FORBES: I am the true conservative candidate. I think in the days and weeks ahead, more and more Republicans are going to rally around me, and that's why I'm going to win: because I'll be running against two moderates.

KARL: By caucus time, Forbes will have done more than 20 interviews today with Iowa radio stations. His campaign claims that's a record and a tactic, he hopes, will get supporters to turn out for him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KARL: Publicly, the Forbes campaign has been saying that they are hoping to get about 20 to 25 percent of the vote tonight. But privately, Forbes strategist say that they have a grassroots network in this state that they hope can get 30,000 of their supporters to the caucuses. If that holds and depending on the turnout, they could get close to 30 percent of the vote, something they would clearly spin as a better-than-expected second place finish -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jonathan Karl with the Forbes campaign.

In a moment, we will talk to Forbes campaign manager Bill Dal Col. But first, we are joined by the Bush campaign manager, Karl Rove.

Karl, thank you for being with us.

KARL ROVE, BUSH CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Happy to be with you.

WOODRUFF: If Steve Forbes gets 30 percent or even better, what does that say about the challenge to Governor Bush here?

ROVE: Well, look, we're focused on getting the biggest vote possible for Governor Bush, and we'll let the others worry about their percentages. But our object is to get the largest vote that we possibly can for Governor Bush, and hopefully to meet and exceed the record for the Republican side of the Iowa caucus, which is 37 percent.

WOODRUFF: Well, now you say 37 percent, but you know, there are a number of folks who are saying that's really laughable, because if Governor Bush is only able to get 37 percent, the front-runner nationally all the time, the money you've spent in this state, isn't that really going to be seen as a big disappointment? ROVE: Well, that's like saying it really didn't matter that we beat the four-minute mile, because it was an Englishman, it was 1942. If we beat the record, we beat the record, Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Let me ask you about an allegation from the Forbes camp today. They are saying that you all are behind a negative phone campaign in collaboration with the moderate Republican Leadership Conference. What do you all say to that?

ROVE: Well, that's laughable. It's simply not true. And what was interesting was the press reports then revealed that the Forbes campaign admitted they were conducting push polls with negative phone calls to Bush supporters, saying would you vote for Governor Bush if you knew that, and then proceeded to trash him on his record as governor on taxes and education.

So -- but as to the original allegation, absolutely not true. There's an allegation a minute from the Forbes campaign, and this is just another one of them.

WOODRUFF: Well, Forbes, Gary Bauer and Alan Keyes all say that Governor Bush is insufficiently anti-abortion. All three of them talk about it almost daily, and they say they're going to continue to talk about it.

ROVE: Well, talk is what they can do. Governor Bush has actually done it. He's the only one of those four who signed a significant piece of anti-abortion legislation. In fact, National Association for Abortion Rights says he signed 18 pieces of pro-life legislation as governor of Texas, including a parental notification law that's a model for the country.

So they can talk. That's what campaigns are about. But Governor Bush has a proven record.

WOODRUFF: But from your competitors on the right in the Republican Party, their point is that your governor would impose no litmus test on a Supreme Court nominee and he's not pledging to overturn Roe versus Wade.

ROVE: Well, the governor's made it clear that he will appoint strict constructions, people who are not judicial activists but instead realize that there's a limited role to the judiciary to strictly interrupt the law and not legislate. And if that's insufficient for our opponents, fine, but that's where the governor's view is.

WOODRUFF: How worried are you and the other folks in the Bush campaign about John McCain's doing better in the state of South Carolina?

ROVE: We're doing great in South Carolina. John McCain has spent a million and a half on television, and he's gone from 21 to 24 in the polls. We've gone from 52 to 51. So we feel very good about South Carolina.

South Carolina is Bush country.

WOODRUFF: And another question that's just come up in the last day or two, Governor Bush was holding regular news conferences, answering reporters' questions almost daily -- some questions about abortion, some other subjects that people say are uncomfortable came up. Now you're not holding those anymore. What does that say about what he would do if he were president?

ROVE: No, I don't think that's accurate. We held a news conference today. We'll hold news conferences and make ourselves available to members of the press every day that we're on the campaign trail.

WOODRUFF: All right, Karl Rove, thank you very much for being with us. Appreciate it. Bernie.

SHAW: Thank you very much, Judy. Now, as promised, we're joined by Steve Forbes' campaign manager Bill Dal Col.

You just heard Karl Rove say that you have admitted to making push calls to Bush supporters.

BILL DAL COL, FORBES CAMPAIGN MANAGER: That's a typical Bush statement, just taken out of context. What we did is we released our strips to the press. Any calls we make, any polling we do we give to the press, let them make the judgment.

What's happened here is the Bush campaign, as is typical, is using an outside, third-party, pro-abortion liberal group to attack Steve Forbes. The calls are being made by the Republican Leadership Council. All the contributors to the RLC are contributors to Bush. And their executive committee is made up of pioneers. And the FEC will answer that question after the investigation.

SHAW: And you heard Karl Rove on this very set -- he's sitting 3 feet away from me -- say that your charge is laughable.

DAL COL: Well, consider the source. This is the same campaign who will not admit that Governor Bush broke a pledge to not raise taxes and he broke it; same campaign that says he signed a tax cut but their own agencies in Texas report six out of 10 school districts didn't get the tax cut; the same campaign who brags about education, yet SAT scores since Governor Bush was there went from 40th to 46th in the nation.

SHAW: Up and down this state of Iowa and across east to west, Steve Forbes has been shelling the governor on his abortion record and his statements and his positions. Is it paying off?

DAL COL: Absolutely.

SHAW: How so?

DAL COL: People are seeing now that Governor Bush does best as hedge and duck. Let's take the abortion issue, he will not commit to appoint pro-life judges, he will not commit to appoint a pro-life running mate, he will not even defend the Reagan plank in the platform. He's ducked again on that issue. The other day he kind of seemed to do so on Bob Novak's show, then he comes back and says, oh, no it's a state's rights issue.

What he's done in Iowa, Bernie, is prove to the American voters, particularly in New Hampshire and Iowa -- which are going to be coming up pretty quick, one tonight, one next week -- that he is not a conservative and he is willing to duck and weave and not answer the questions.

SHAW: Tell our viewers how much is support from social conservatives being diminished by the campaign's -- vigorous campaigns of Gary Bauer and Alan Keyes?

DAL COL: I think it's better to point out that Governor Bush never had that base.

SHAW: No, I am talking about your guy, Steve Forbes. How much is...

DAL COL: We're not being hurt at all.

SHAW: You're not being hurt at all?

DAL COL: We're not being hurt at all. We're going to get more than our fair share. Tonight, we'll come out a strong second in Iowa. We'll be the conservative in the race going into New Hampshire. And I'll predict cone again that New Hampshire Governor Bush will come in third.

SHAW: Percentagewise, what do you call strong?

DAL COL: Mid 20s. I believe Governor Bush will be between 41 and 43, he should be getting over 50 percent. He's the only moderate in the race. If you look at history, that's the number, that's the benchmark.

SHAW: Do the mid 20s for Steve Forbes, your campaign, constitute an Iowa bounce into New Hampshire?

DAL COL: Clearly a bounce, because we have the support of the "Union Leader," which is the strongest paper in the state of New Hampshire, that has set the benchmark and delivered Pat Buchanan's victory in '96.

SHAW: Last quick question, if Governor Bush has the majority of delegates by the morning of March 15, will Steve Forbes drop out?

DAL COL: I'll look at it this way, we plan on being the nominee. We plan on being in Philadelphia in August.

SHAW: Thanks very much.

DAL COL: Thank you, Bernie.

SHAW: Bill Dal Col, good to have you -- Judy. WOODRUFF: Very interesting.

Well, looking beyond the rivalry between Forbes/Bush, three other presidential hopefuls have been actively campaigning here in what has turned into a spirited contest for third place.

CNN's Charles Zewe is covering the battle at the back of the pack.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHARLES ZEWE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the closing days of the campaign, former U.N. official Alan Keyes has drawn increasingly larger crowds. At one, he was swept up mosh-pit style.

ALAN KEYES (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That was definitely the first time. According to my security guards, it's going to be the last time too.

I don't think the federal government should have any role.

ZEWE: Keyes Monday went on talk radio in Des Moines, still condemning the tax code, abortion and a general decline in morals, while urging supporters to turn out. In 1996, Keyes drew over 7 percent of the vote here. This time, polls show Keyes vying for third place in Iowa, with activist Gary Bauer, who's courting the same bloc of Christian conservatives, and John McCain, who has opted out of campaigning here.

KEYES: If we can do well in the states where grass-roots organizing makes a difference, then I think it will demonstrate both the appeal of the message that I represent and the effectiveness with which we're getting that message across.

ZEWE: Analysts say the consolation prize in Iowa is critical for candidates like Keyes.

STUART ROTHENBERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It means a modicum of credibility. It establishes them as at least a serious candidate.

ZEWE: It also means more money and media attention.

GARY BAUER (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I got to finish higher than any other candidate my size tonight.

ZEWE: The diminutive Bauer is counting on anti-abortion rights voters to come in third.

BAUER: We've got our chartered plane tonight to head to New Hampshire.

ZEWE: On the Republican side, no third-place finisher in Iowa has gone on to win the nomination, with the exception of George Bush in 1988. Most candidates who finish in the back of the pack, drop out within weeks of the Iowa contest. This year, that could mean Orrin Hatch, who is struggling to keep his campaign alive. The Utah senator has said he might drop out of the race if he doesn't place in the top four in Iowa.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZEWE: Here in a hotel in Des Moines, workers for Keyes are busy preparing the room where he's expected to talk to his supporters tonight. All around Des Moines today you heard the so-called Keyes buzz that he's going to do a lot better than is expected. If he does, that might be one of the stories to come out of this caucus tonight -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Charles Zewe, thanks very much.

And now let's bring in CNN's senior analyst Jeff Greenfield. Jeff, picking up on Charles' report, you know, there are people in this state and elsewhere who say somebody like Alan Keyes, Gary Bauer, they really don't have a prayer at finally winning the presidency. So how much do they matter in this process?

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Interesting you say they don't have a prayer, since they're appealing to faith-based conservatives. I think here's where they may matter when fused with the money of Steve Forbes to make their same argument.

From the moment he has announced for president, George W. Bush has made it clear in his speeches that he's trying to separate himself from the image of Republicans as too conservative, too harsh. That's what compassionate conservatism is about. That's when he argues with some conservatives that there is a role for strong if limited government.

And the more that Bauer and Keyes, and obviously with his money, Steve Forbes, push George W. Bush, call him a "squish," which is the term that conservatives will use for suspiciously moderate folks, the more it may force Bush to appeal to more conservative people. Right now, he's saying he's for the abortion plank and he's also for an exception for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. I am not sure you can square that circle.

WOODRUFF: And for states rights and all these other things. But hasn't he been pretty successful so far, Jeff, in walking that very, very fine line?

GREENFIELD: Yes, he has. And I think we're going to see tonight that the governor is going to do OK with social conservatives unlike say Bob Dole in '96 or George Bush in '88. But the question is the more he has to keep talking about this to reassure those folks, the harder it is to move back to the center. And one of Bauer's top aides said, "We know we're not going to do well, we have pushed George W. Bush on abortion and that's what we want to do."

WOODRUFF: All right. Jeff Greenfield, thanks very much.

And still ahead on this special 90-minute edition of INSIDE POLITICS, the Democratic race. Al Gore takes his voter appeals down to the wire, as Bill Bradley hopes for a surprise and makes plans to move on to New Hampshire. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHAW: Democratic hopeful Al Gore has a strong lead in the Iowa polls and barring unforeseen circumstances, he is expected to win the Iowa caucuses. But, the vice president isn't leaving anything to chance, spending this day with supporters and pushing for turnout.

Our John King reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One last lunch-hour stop for a vice president counting on a big caucus victory. Gore's morning visit to Washington High School in Cedar Rapids included a lesson on Iowa's power in presidential politics.

GORE: You have a chance in this caucus process to have a lot of leverage on the rest of the country.

KING: Anyone who will be 18 by November can caucus, so Gore ended a talk on school violence with a brief pitch for support.

GORE: I hope you'll participate in the caucuses. God bless you, and thank you. Let's make this country a better place.

KING: Twenty-two Gore campaign offices across the state were wired to turn out the vote, and the vice president's pitch in the closing days often included tributes to those helping out.

GORE: You know I'm pro-union and pro-organized labor.

KING: The toned-down criticism of Bradley reflected Gore's confidence of a win here. But every busy day of rallies and pot luck dinners still urgent to shape the campaign that moves onto New Hampshire after Iowa's big night. Gore now leads in New Hampshire, too, and back to back wins would put Bradley on the ropes. But Iowa's favorites often find trouble at the next campaign stop.

PETER HART, POLLSTER: I think New Hampshire is more contrarian than ever, and that is, that looking at Iowa to say that you'll get a big bounce in New Hampshire, watch out, you may get a big surprise.

KING: The vice president's Iowa strategy was anchored on organization. He countered Bradley's push here by calling the former senator's health care plan too expensive and risky to those on Medicare, and he reminded Iowa farmers Bradley repeatedly voted against disaster relief ethanol subsidies.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Here at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, they are preparing this room for what not only will be a victory celebration but a big Gore victory celebration, and already planning a new strategy shift for the next stop in New Hampshire. Look for the vice president to more and more stress the economy when he campaigns there. New Hampshire had nearly eight percent... WOODRUFF: We're sorry to have lost the last moment or so there of John King's report. Thank you, John.

For his part, Bill Bradley continued his pre-caucus campaigning in Ames today. After a get-out-to-the-caucus rally at Iowa State University, Bradley planned appearances on three local newscasts. The Bradley campaign released an ad today, touting his endorsement by "The Des Moines Register." Bradley says that regardless of tonight's outcome, he will continue his campaign through the huge primary day on March 7. We'll have more on Bradley's day on the campaign trail later this hour from CNN's Jeanne Meserve.

A number of prominent Democrats around the country lost a trusted friend and adviser today. Bob Squire, a filmmaker, an ad man, who became one of the most successful and sought-after media Democratic strategists in the country, died today of cancer. He was 65. Squire began his career as director of television for the Hubert Humphrey in presidential campaign in 1968. He went on to develop media strategy and to produce ads for a host of Democratic candidates and officeholders, including President Clinton and Vice President Gore. Just a few months ago, he left a major role in the Gore campaign. Bob Squire leaves a wife and two sons.

Jeff Greenfield joins us again now. Jeff, I knew Bob Squire. You knew him very well over the years. He is someone who was a major figure in the party?

GREENFIELD: He also had a love of the process that kept him at it. In another life, I was a political operative. But in 1988, when I was with ABC, and Bernard Shaw asked Michael Dukakis that famous question about Kitty Dukakis, and the governor did not really handle it well. Afterwards in the spin room, I had a camera with me, and Bob started to try to talk about how this was really a good answer, that it humanized Dukakis. In the middle of the answer, we both started the laugh, and he said, please, don't, and I didn't, because there's a certain respect for each other. Even he couldn't explain that.

So he had a certain amount of distance from the process. But he was a passionate man about politics, a delightful companion, and I think everybody in this political business is really going to miss him a great deal.

WOODRUFF: An extraordinary sense of humor and an extraordinary talent, in terms of putting pictures with the story of the campaign.

GREENFIELD: He was a hardball player, not in any way dirty, but when he got into a campaign, he could spot a weakness in an opponent like a brilliant military tactician, and he could really aim at that vulnerable spot with great effect. So he played the game hard, but I think he had respect even of his adversaries.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jeff Greenfield. Once again, Bob Squire dead today at the age of 65.

This special edition of INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: There's much more ahead on the next hour of INSIDE POLITICS. Coming up...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Go -- the candidates make their final appeals.

FORBES: I urge you, make that extraspecial effort in these final hours.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Patty Davis, on the last-minute efforts to make sure candidates' support turns into caucus night votes.

Plus:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have been praying the Lord would just show me who to vote for.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just don't feel comfortable in voting Monday night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: From committed to undecided to not voting, the people of Indianola weigh-in on tonight's contest.

And later: one state ahead, a look at John McCain, on the trail and in the lead in New Hampshire. This is INSIDE POLITICS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHAW: Joining us here again in Des Moines, Margaret Carlson of "Time" magazine and Tucker Carlson of "The Weekly Standard." You have just come in off the streets in this state. What are you hearing, what are you sensing, as we have just a matter of hours before the caucuses begin?

MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME": I spent most of the day in Ames, and Bradley and Bush had a student union at the university. Bradley seems more spirited, a little more cheerful, probably thanks to "The Des Moines Register" endorsement. And Bush is Bush -- he always seems to be having a good time. He ended his talk today, as he does sometimes, as if he's president. He said, "I'll be a free trade president," and then somebody nudged him, and he said "to be," and then he does the thing at the end where he raises his hand and says, you know, I want to put my hand on the bible and promise to be the best president you ever had, so help me God, and that's the end of it. And it's as if he's president.

TUCKER CARLSON, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": He has rehearsed that inauguration many, many times, and it work, crowds love it. But I don't think he puts on -- I don't think anybody puts as good a show as Alan Keyes, who of course dived off stage into the mosh pit last night. And I think, you know, not to belittle the judgment of voters in this or any state, but people like a good show everywhere. And I have heard 15 people say to me today, Keyes in third, which of course...

SHAW: Keyes in third?

T. CARLSON: Keyes in third -- right, after Forbes. And Keyes, I think, has potential to hurt Forbes, who also incidentally puts on a pretty great show: lots of, you know, this enormous bus and lots of chum -- you know, shirts and buttons.

M. CARLSON: His show is all the atmospherics as opposed to Forbes, and Keyes is the entire show himself. And the press is kind of rooting for this third-place show, so we -- we have Keyes to kick around.

SHAW: By the way, we had a Forbes guy here on INSIDE POLITICS moments ago, preceding you. He said they expect to finish in the strong 20s. Apparently, these campaigns are beginning to seep out with what their expectations are tonight.

One two, three: Where do you see them Republican side?

M. CARLSON: Well, Forbes has a great ground organization, and he's literally, you know, I think going to drag the people out of their houses, onto his very comfortable buses and SUVs and where they need to go. And I'd say mid-20s, because 20 has been what we've been talking about, and they're very confident. So I -- wouldn't say mid- 20s?

T. CARLSON: I would -- boy, you'd hope so, maybe even better. I don't know. I mean, there's a much talked about historic lag between last-day poll numbers and actual performance, especially for people who are appealing to religious conservatives. They make up, obviously, a huge percentage of the voters here. I think Forbes could do better. I wouldn't be surprised if he was in the 30s.

Boy, are they well-organized? I mean...

M. CARLSON: If I could quote Tucker here, to be taken as a serious candidate after Iowa, he should get a hundred percent.

T. CARLSON: That's pretty mean, but maybe true.

M. CARLSON: Yes. Yes.

SHAW: Well, Forbes has had people in the state for more than a year. Even though he didn't work this state -- he's been in New Hampshire -- would you be surprised if John McCain got 5 percent?

M. CARLSON: No. I wouldn't be surprised if he got five. If he got 10, I think that's amazing, and maybe he will.

SHAW: What about Gary Bauer? What about Orrin Hatch? Is this 11th hour?

T. CARLSON: Orrin Hatch, I think it's hard for Orrin Hatch to wake up in the morning and see a sort of clear rationale for his campaign, and Bauer, who I think from the beginning has -- whatever his faults -- has offered a very articulate defense of basic conservative principles never seemed to have caught on. I don't really know why, but I think it's going to be over soon.

M. CARLSON: Well -- yes. Well, it's a fractured vote, and just as somebody wins, you know, probably a couple of people will drop out. Hatch, I think, pretty much for sure will end it tomorrow.

SHAW: Margaret, Tucker, if Iowa is the stage, New Hampshire has to be the backdrop. Take it from there.

T. CARLSON: Well, I mean, I think a lot will depend -- look, all of it has to do with spin and perception. So the McCain people have been brainwashing, or attempting to, the press for the past six months Iowa doesn't matter. But I think if Bush comes in considerably under 50 -- and Keyes could affect that. I mean, if Keyes brings new voters in, that could push, in the aggregate, that could Bush's percentage down, then the McCain people will say, well, gee, you know, he couldn't even get 50 percent in a state that he dominated. What does it say about his ability to win? Vote for McCain. It could be compelling.

M. CARLSON: And then there will be the New Hampshire people who want to keep McCain in the race. They're not going to want to end it, so they'll be that additional vote that McCain will get in New Hampshire. New Hampshire will be very interesting.

SHAW: And for Bush-Forbes, does the road show go on, the battle?

M. CARLSON: Well, Forbes is a good place-holder for McCain here. I don't think -- I don't -- I don't see this benefiting Forbes in the long run, but Forbes' strong showing here, if it is in the mid-20s, helps McCain. It keeps Bush from being coronated.

T. CARLSON: And at some point, will plays a role in this. I mean, I was just with -- at this press...

SHAW: Forbes guy says his guy is going to get the nomination.

T. CARLSON: Well, that's absolutely right. I mean, at every press availability with Forbes, there's this relentless barrage of questions, the point of which is essentially, you know, why are you here? They're almost mocking, and they're almost kind of mean. Forbes bears up under it completely, sort of smiles his enigmatic smile. And I'm here to the end. And he may be.

M. CARLSON: Nobody is better at staying on message than Forbes. He just almost never varies from it. The only poll that counts, you know, they don't like...

T. CARLSON: That would be election. Is that the only poll that counts? M. CARLSON: Yes.

T. CARLSON: Yes, I think -- OK.

M. CARLSON: You must have heard that.

T. CARLSON: I have.

SHAW: We're going to leave you talking, Margaret Carlson, Tucker Carlson, thanks very much.

M. CARLSON: Thanks, Bernie.

SHAW: And now for a look at other things happening other than politics here in Iowa and elsewhere, let's go to CNN Center in Atlanta. Here's Joie Chen with a news update -- Joie.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Bernie, thanks. We'll have more of the day's political news ahead, but first, we're going to look at some of the other news making stories this hour.

Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez is expected to be reunited with his grandmothers tonight. They arrived in Miami just a little over two hours ago, their last stop before their return to Cuba.

They were accompanied by five people from the National Council of Churches, which is sponsoring their visit. In the meantime, 6-year- old Elian spent the day at school and returned home to his Miami relatives.

The international tug-of-war is also on the minds of congressional Republicans. Florida Senator Connie Mack is set to introduce a bill that would make the boy a U.S. citizen. The votes on that could be cast as early as Wednesday. Similar legislation is coming up in the House.

As the political year gets into full swing, the Supreme Court hands down a couple of rulings that could influence state and local elections. The high court ruled that states can put limits on campaign contributions, and it limited federal authority to change the way state and local elections are run.

CNN's senior Washington correspondent, Charles Bierbauer, explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHARLES BIERBAUER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Supreme Court said Missouri could impose a limit on contributions as a means of keeping corruption out of politics. Justice David Souter, writing for the majority: "The cynical assumption that large donors call the tune could jeopardize the willingness of voters to take part in democratic governance."

The other side of the political coin is the guarantee of free speech. Zev Fredman, a 1998 candidate for state auditor, complained Missouri's $1,075 limit on individual contributions prevented him from effectively getting his message out.

ZEV FREDMAN, MISSOURI CANDIDATE: I had no reasonable chance of winning without challenging the law.

BIERBAUER: Three justices agreed with Fredman. Justice Clarence Thomas, leading the dissent, wrote: "Political speech is the primary object of First Amendment protection."

Justice John Paul Stevens replied sharply: "Money is property. It is not speech."

The court's decision strongly affirms its landmark 1976 ruling known as Buckley versus Valeo. That allowed a $1,000 limit on individual contributions in federal campaigns, but said any limit on spending would be a free-speech violation.

Soft money, the unregulated millions flowing to parties, not candidates, is the core of campaign finance reform efforts led by presidential candidate John McCain. He called the opinion "marvelous."

Neither the Buckley nor the Missouri ruling touches soft money, yet reformers say this gives them momentum.

SEN. JACK REED (D), RHODE ISLAND: It's an opportunity to maintain what little structure we have left in campaign finance reform contribution limits, and it's an opportunity for us to build on that with responsible reforms, such as the elimination of soft money. So we've been given a chance. I just hope we take that chance up on behalf of the American people.

BIERBAUER: Conservatives in Congress have repeatedly blocked efforts to pass campaign finance reform legislation.

(on camera): Those opponents were remarkably mute following the court opinion, though the matter is not entirely moot.

Three justices said the underlying Buckley opinion should be re- examined and a fourth said, perhaps, but not at this time.

Charles Bierbauer, CNN, the Supreme Court.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHEN: Also in the news this hour, much of the Southeast remains shivering in the aftermath of a savage ice storm that blew in over the weekend. The storm caused massive power outages, closed schools, created dangerous road conditions, and caused trees to collapse.

Georgia's governor has declared states of emergency in 20 counties, including parts of metro Atlanta. And a winter storm warning remains in effect in the Carolinas.

Just ahead, we return to Bernie and Judy in Des Moines for more coverage of the Iowa caucuses. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: We're showing you the weather forecast there. The pretty routine winter weather on this caucus evening here in Iowa should mean one less excuse for voters to stay home. State party leaders have estimated that more than 200,000 people will attend the caucuses, or roughly one out of every nine registered voters.

CNN's Patty Davis reports on the presidential campaigns' efforts in the trenches to boost turnout tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVIS (voice-over): Friday night at Bradley campaign headquarters.

KHADIJAH SHARIF (ph), BRADLEY VOLUNTEER: Do you know who you will be voting for?

Oh, Bush.

DAVIS: Not quite what volunteer Khadijah Sharif is hoping to hear.

SHARIF: Bush.

DAVIS: With the caucus fast approaching, the campaign is relying on its phoners and foot soldiers to gain ground on Al Gore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And your wife, has she made any decisions?

DAVIS: The message: turn out the vote and think big.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Local 164, and I know what Al Gore's all about and I intend to fight for him.

DAVIS: Big labor puts its muscle behind Gore, holding this mock caucus over the weekend to encourage union members to vote for Gore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just called to remind everybody to go to the Democratic caucus.

DAVIS: Twenty-eighty-thousand phone calls to go out across the state by union members on Gore's behalf. Gore supporters went to new heights to get his name out.

STEVE HILDEBRAND, GORE CAMPAIGN: We'll keep persuading voters up until 6:00, you know, 7:00 on Monday night, right as the caucuses begin.

DAVIS: Just finding the caucus site can be a challenge. A new Bradley campaign Web site directs you. Texas Governor George W. Bush's campaign will even pick you up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you need a ride or anything? You don't.

DAVIS: Mindful that his big lead in the polls could result in complacency and low voter turnout, the campaign is leaving most of its last minute voter appeals to Bush himself.

BUSH: I hope people understand that the only vote that really matters is the one that takes place on caucus night.

DAVIS: Over at the Forbes campaign, every second counts.

GREG MUELLER, FORBES CAMPAIGN: You know, you're into the last 20 minutes before the big game. It's all get out the vote. And we're up against a strong Bush machine that knows how to do this.

DAVIS: Volunteers press supporters to speak up for Forbes at the caucus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'd ask you if you would be willing to give a few words on Mr. Forbes behalf at the precinct.

DAVIS: Just hours to go, the candidates make their final appeals.

FORBES: I urge you make that extra special effort in these final hours, phone calls, get your friends to come out.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DAVIS: Now, the last-minute get-out-the-vote efforts are crucial, since a victory in Iowa is much less about the polls than it is about a candidate's ability to persuade supporters to come to caucuses like this one. I'm at a Democratic caucus site, where supporters of both Bill -- Mr. Bradley and Mr. Gore expected here in a little over two hours to choose their delegates -- Bernie.

SHAW: Thank you, Patty Davis.

Well, once Iowans have had their say and the caucus results are in, the focus will shift almost immediately to the New Hampshire primary. How much will tonight's contest influence the one next week? Our Bill Schneider joins us now. And, Bill, question number one, the so-called Iowa bounce -- is it a myth?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Bernie, you might think so, because look, ever since Jimmy Carter -- every time Iowa comes up with a winner, New Hampshire voters say, yeah, right, and then they vote for somebody else.

Well, "The National Journal" looked at the polls in New Hampshire before and after the Iowa caucuses each presidential election year, and lo and behold, they discovered there is an Iowa bounce or at least a jiggle. In 1980, for example, Ronald Reagan started out with a 42 point lead in New Hampshire. Then, George Bush won Iowa and started picking up support in New Hampshire. Reagan still won New Hampshire, but by a narrower margin than first expected.

Same thing happened in 1988. Bush's lead in New Hampshire was cut in half after Bob Dole beat him in Iowa. On the Democratic side, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis saw his lead in New Hampshire cut in half after Dick Gephardt won Iowa. Now, Ronald Reagan and Michael Dukakis started out strong enough in New Hampshire to survive a setback in Iowa. And Reagan's popularity helped George Bush do the same thing in 1988.

SHAW: So the Iowa winner does get a bounce?

SCHNEIDER: Well, not so fast. Sometimes it's not the winner, but the candidate who does better than expected in Iowa who gets the bounce. Now, that was Gary Hart in 1984. His second-place finish in Iowa gave him momentum in New Hampshire. Same thing happened to Pat Buchanan in 1996. He surprised people by coming in a close second to Bob Dole in Iowa, and that gave Buchanan a bounce into New Hampshire. So, yes, Iowa does usually produce a bounce, but not necessarily for the winner.

SHAW: Well, that was then, this is now. What does that mean for 2000?

SCHNEIDER: Well, Bernie, what it means is that winning tonight may not give George W. Bush and Al Gore much of a bounce in New Hampshire, unless they win by unexpectedly big margins. Now, if, say, Bill Bradley or Steve Forbes or Alan Keyes does unexpectedly well tonight, they could get the Iowa bounce the same way Hart and Buchanan did. Now, John McCain is betting against bounce. His game plan is for New Hampshire voters to look at what happens in Iowa tonight and say, "yeah, right" -- Bernie.

SHAW: OK, we'll see. Bill Schneider, thank you.

And still ahead, talking to the people of Indianola -- a look at their opinions on the candidates and the caucuses.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Since tonight's caucuses are the first chance for actual voters to weigh in on the presidential race, we decided to talk to some Iowans about the candidates and about just how interested people here really are in the political process. We went to the town of Indianola, just south of Des Moines, where residents we found had a variety of opinions.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF (voice-over): It's basketball season at Indianola High School, and these Iowans have already cast their vote for the home team. With an almost even mix of Republicans, Democrats, and independents, this small college town, population 13,000, is a blend of agriculture, small business, and folks who work in nearby Des Moines.

At the counter of a popular coffee shop, The Cottage Inn, three generations of Democrats, starting with grandmother, Lagatha Higbee (ph), who likes Al Gore.

LAGATHA HIGBEE, GORE SUPPORTER: I think he is honest and he has been in the White House long enough. He knows what the people's needs, what they are wanting, and he is very honest with the poor people, as well as the rich.

WOODRUFF: Daughter Bonnie Miner (ph), a secretary at a realty company, also leans Gore, but hasn't finally made up her mind.

BONNIE MINER, INDIANOLA RESIDENT: I have been praying the lord will just show me who to vote for.

WOODRUFF: Granddaughter Becky Baughman (ph), a health care receptionist, agrees with her mother and grandmother about Gore, but isn't sure she'll make the caucus.

At a nearby table, more Democrats, one sure for Gore: contractor Frank Rasko (ph).

FRANK RASKO: I think with the condition of our economy and the way things are, I think it would be a shoo-in if not for that little episode in the White House.

WOODRUFF: Retire computer programmer Shannon Salveic (ph) is a former Republican, who will vote for either Gore or Bill Bradley, because she says the GOP has changed.

SHANNON SALVEIC: I just don't appreciate the Christian right, and they're trying to interfere with the lives of people. You know, we're going to be judged in Heaven; we shouldn't be judged on Earth.

WOODRUFF: A few blocks away, at Bake's Barber Shop, customer Larry Keller says his job and farm responsibilities will keep him from voting Monday night, while owner, Deb Verwers (ph), a Republican, says indecision will keep her away.

DEB VERWERS: I'm beginning to think right now that it matters, but the fact that I haven't paid any -- as close of attention, up to Monday night, I just don't feel comfortable in voting Monday night.

WOODRUFF: Customer Doug Keller, no relation to Larry, says he is put out with John McCain for not campaigning in Iowa.

DOUG KELLER: Well, I personally feel that if you're in for the long haul, you need to be in as many as you can be in. And unfortunately, I think one of the key players in the Republican Party is not here.

WOODRUFF: For all his strong GOP leanings, Keller will skip the caucus because he has a meeting to attend.

One more must stop this weekend: Indianola High School basketball games, where the talk was as much about politics as the action on the court. Sharon Clearman has twin nephews on the team, she works for a surgeon, is a fourth-generation Republican, and is leaning George Bush.

SHARON CLEARMAN: I like what he says. It doesn't bother me so much of his background and his history as the fact that he does seem to have the simple answers sometimes.

WOODRUFF: She has eliminated the other GOP candidates, even ones she agrees with, like Alan Keyes.

CLEARMAN: I would very much enjoy going listening to Alan Keyes speak somewhere, just to hear him speak. His values and the way he thinks about things are a lot like mine. Do I think he's presidential material? I'm not sure.

WOODRUFF: Engineer and sales manager Kent Stille (ph) has been through a similar process of elimination.

KEN STILL: If I could put them all together into, you know, one candidate: I like Keyes morality. I like McCain's feistiness. I like Bush's appeal.

WOODRUFF: But we found some equally determined Democrats, like men's basketball coach Bert Hanson (ph), supporting Bill Bradley.

BERT HANSON: I like the way that he understands people, and I like his humanizing effect that he has on people, and I think he cares a lot about people, and I think if we need anything in this country, it's people that care about each other.

WOODRUFF: Teacher and mom Linda Hunt also likes Bradley, as does her son, Nate, a recent college graduate.

NATE HUNT: Bradley just seems to be more socially polished.

WOODRUFF: Both mother and son say the caucuses are important, and they'll be there Monday night. But husband and father, Dennis, a college administrator, disagrees, and will definitely not take part.

DENNIS: For the first time in a number of years, we're not faced with higher inflation rates, higher unemployment rates. We've got a strong economy. People are pretty happy. And so there is a lot more now coming from the candidates, particularly on the Republican side, about morality, and family values and ethics, that. But frankly, I'm not, as an individual, interested in the political process.

WOODRUFF: Unlike Iowans, who revel in the national attention, the fact that the candidates have been campaigning hard in Iowa for so long has turned off Dennis Hunt.

DENNIS HUNT: It's been going on for two years, and it's hard for me to stay enthusiastic about the whole process. And I think I can make a decision about what I want to do in a much shorter timespan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Well, maybe one of the reason Mr. Hunt is sick of it all is that the candidates, together, have literally spent hundreds of days in Iowa, and every one of them, except for John McCain, has visited Indianola.

When we return, Iowa caucus history through the eyes of our own Bruce Morton. We'll take a look back at some of the contest's most memorable moments.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Joining me now, our own Bruce Morton, with some of his memories of Iowa caucuses past. Bruce, you were here for the very first ones, 1972, the Democrats wanted to stir something up, the Hart campaign.

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, George McGovern, the South Dakota senator, had headed a commission studying the rules, looking on. So they figured out, hey...

WOODRUFF: Hart was managing McGovern's campaign, right?

MORTON: Yes, and Ed Muskie was the front-runner, but McGovern came here and campaigned, flying around in two little airplanes, one of which had heat. We voted the candidate ought to get heat. There maybe a dozen reporters on caucus night, maybe one or two networks. And everybody wrote in a surprisingly strong second place showing, and somewhere down in Georgia, Jimmy Carter said, ah-hah, and four years later, when he was an unemployed ex-governor -- he couldn't have done it if he had a regular job -- he came and lived in the state. You were here that night.

WOODRUFF: I was here.

MORTON: And you know, you'd go, and people would stay over the house -- you know, Jimmy stayed at the house. And the first time we went to find him, we were out at some farmhouse, and we really wanted to talk to Tim Kraft (ph), who was organizing the state. We had to listen to the whole Carter speech first, delivered to me and one colleague, and then we finally got to talk to Tim.

WOODRUFF: All right, that was 1976. Move on -- by that point, Iowa was critical. If you wanted to run for president, you had to make appearance there.

MORTON: Yes, you had be here -- you didn't have to win, but you had to sort of emerge. It was a winnowing process here.

Eighty was the year -- there's a political consultant in Alexandria named Rich Bond, who was there because his great success was in the '80. On the George Bush letter he said, Here are the names of some neighbors who will be going to the caucus for George. You might want to with him. And Bush beat Ronald Reagan. He, of course, never threatened for the nomination after that, but that was his moment in the sun.

WOODRUFF: And '80 was also the year that Ted Kennedy got 30 percent, Jimmy Carter beat him, but he still gave him a scare.

MORTON: I think most of us thought that was a bad beating. I wouldn't be very happy with 30 percent, would you?

WOODRUFF: Eighty-four -- Fritz Mondale?

MORTON: That's the one I, to this day, don't understand. Mondale came out here. Gary Hart was running. Mondale got 49 percent I think. Hart got 16 I think. And we all wrote "trounced, beaten, whipped." And somehow he got enough bounce to win the New Hampshire primary and almost won the nomination.

WOODRUFF: And really hurt Mondale...

MORTON: Oh, really damaged Mondale.

WOODRUFF: ... in the process.

Now, the last time we had two contested primaries was '88.

MORTON: I think that's really what the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) show -- you have to finish at least third. Dick Gephardt, congressman, won, but Michael Dukakis, the eventual nominee, was a respectful third. And that was OK for a Greek-American Massachusetts that no one here had ever heard of.

George Bush, who would be the nominee, was third in a big surprise. That was the stunner that year: not that Bob Dole, farm state next door, beating him, but that Pat Robertson finished second. And if we didn't know Christian conservatives were powerful here before that, we surely knew it after that.

WOODRUFF: And in terms of the numbers of press people here, Bruce, I mean, you've gone from literally a handful to...

MORTON: '88 was wall-to-wall. They've all been wall-to-wall lately. I have a feeling, which I couldn't possibly prove, that there were some fewer of us this time. I don't think I see quite as many satellite trucks on the street.

WOODRUFF: Oh my goodness, that's -- I think we may have committed news if that's the case...

(LAUGHTER)

... because everybody else has been saying there are more of us than ever before. You may be the only one saying there are fewer.

MORTON: I've been to the best (ph) steak house twice. There can't be as many as there used to be.

(LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF: All right, Bruce Morton, thanks. I love hearing about the history of this place.

SHAW: Absolutely.

WOODRUFF: Bernie.

SHAW: Thanks, Judy.

There is still so much more ahead here on this special 90-minute edition of INSIDE POLITICS. Coming up, as Bill Bradley prepares for a likely Iowa defeat, our Jeanne Meserve takes a look at his caucus day strategy. Plus, the GOP hopeful who left Iowa far, far behind: a look at the campaign of Senator John McCain. And later, kissing up to Hawkeye State voters: a look back at the month's lead-up to tonight's caucuses.

Stay with us for an extra half hour of INSIDE POLITICS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHAW: Welcome back to this extended edition of INSIDE POLITICS, as we count down to the Iowa caucuses now just two hours away.

Democratic front-runner Al Gore is continuing a caucus-day campaign blitz. A dinner in Davenport was one of several stops where he encouraged his supporters to take part in the first presidential contest of election 2000.

Gore's only Democratic rival, Bill Bradley, is doing his utmost this day to try to limit the vice president's likely margin of victory and perhaps spring an Iowa surprise. And as CNN's Jeanne Meserve reports, Bradley had a little help from some friends.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His strategy is to win the White House wearing a white hat. So even with polls auguring a big Al Gore victory, Bill Bradley refrained from criticizing or even mentioning his opponent. Senator Bob Kerrey, on the other hand, gave the vice president a rhetorical sock on the nose.

KERREY: Remember what happened in 1995 and 1996. Remember Dick Morris. Remember the financing of that re-election campaign. Remember how bad you felt, because if you don't remember, I guarantee you'll hear an awful lot about it in this general election.

MESERVE: Bradley not only has Kerrey throwing punches in Iowa. He has Paul Tsongas' widow taking jabs in a New Hampshire ad, where Tsongas won in 1992.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, BRADLEY CAMPAIGN AD)

NIKI TSONGAS: Just as with Paul, Bill's record is being distorted. But we don't have to listen to the distortions. On February 1st, let's tell the rest of the nation it's time for truth, it's time for courage, it's time for Bill Bradley.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MESERVE: The best piece of news Iowa has given Bill Bradley is the endorsement of the "Des Moines Register." In the final hours, Iowans are hearing a lot about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, BRADLEY CAMPAIGN AD)

NARRATOR: The "Register" says...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: "Bradley's vision is compelling. There is a fundamental decency about him that would bode well for healing the festering partisan wounds that have produced virtual stalemate in our national government."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm calling to remind you that the caucus is tonight.

MESERVE: In anticipating a loss here, Bradley has blamed what he calls Gore's entrenched power, but today, Bradley's alternative organization was getting a workout, making calls, sending Internet reminders. And of course, the candidate had a final rally, where he urged his supporters to mobilize their friends for the caucuses.

BRADLEY: It started with now. And now it's this. By tonight, I want it to be that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MESERVE: The Bradley campaign acknowledges it hurt itself in Iowa by not pushing back at Al Gore. It's learned a lesson. But expect the hard pushing to be done by surrogates so Bill Bradley's white hat will not be dislodged -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jeanne Meserve reporting with Bradley crowd.

Republican presidential candidates also made a concerted effort today to prod supporters to attend tonight's caucuses. At a high school in Perry, Iowa, George W. Bush stressed his theme of the day: that supporters should not take his wide lead in the polls for granted. Bush's leading rival in Iowa, Steve Forbes, is predicting a strong showing in the caucuses. He's hoping that a solid No. 2 performance will seal his bid to be the candidate of conservatives heading into the New Hampshire primary.

Meanwhile, Republican John McCain has been looking forward to New Hampshire since days one of his campaign, and that is where he is stumping today, having decided to pretty much ignore Iowa.

CNN's Bill Delaney is covering Senator McCain and his close race with Governor Bush in the Granite State.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At Army National Guard headquarters in Plymouth, New Hampshire, John McCain marked the 100th time he's convened another of the Q&A free-for-alls he calls town hall meetings, celebrating the loose personal campaign style that's helped him steadily win a bigger and bigger slice of the Republican electorate in New Hampshire.

As much as McCain's ignored Iowa, he's wooed New Hampshire: and not just in person. The McCain camp released a new add...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MCCAIN CAMPAIGN AD) NARRATOR: As a senator, he's already one of the nation's leaders in knowing how to keep the peace.

MCCAIN: And if America is to lead then America's leader...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DELANEY: .... highlighting McCain as a leader: the theme the campaign says will be stressed most from now on, with less of an emphasis on the tax debate with George W. Bush that's dominated lately -- as the Arizona senator's strategists braced for an expected onslaught of ads in New Hampshire from Bush post-Iowa.

Speaking of Iowa, as for McCain's expectations there, you couldn't spin much lower.

MCCAIN: I hope that in the Iowa caucuses that McCain will break a half a percent.

(LAUGHTER)

We'll try and convince everybody that's a victory.

DELANEY: Beyond Iowa, he hailed a new Supreme Court ruling upholding the $1,000 limit on campaign contributions.

MCCAIN: It's a great victory for us reformers.

The enemies of campaign finance reform have been saying that's not constitutional. So, that is going to help us along the way.

DELANEY: As for a weekend CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll, with McCain nine points ahead in New Hampshire, the senator said he expect a much tighter race, pointing out a poll one day earlier had him nine points behind.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DELANEY: As for another finding in that poll that even a majority of McCain supporters thinks George W. Bush would be more electable nationally. John McCain says that perception will change overnight when he wins New Hampshire -- Bernie.

SHAW: Bill Delaney in New Hampshire, and we'll join you this time there tomorrow. Thank you.

And when we return, we're going to talk to Mike McCurry and Tony Blankley about the road to the White House. And coming up at the half hour, the "MONEYLINE NEWS HOUR." Here's Willow Bay with a look at what's in store.

WILLOW BAY, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks. Coming up on "MONEYLINE," the Dow and the Nasdaq start the week with triple-digit dives: the market down nearly $400 billion. We'll look at who's selling. And with more then two-thirds of companies beating their earnings estimates, we'll try to find out why. That's on "MONEYLINE," 6:30 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Caucuses start in less than two hours.

But joining us now from Washington, former Clinton White House press secretary Mike McCurry, and former Newt Gingrich press secretary Tony Blankley. Gentlemen, let's talk about the Republicans first. How well does George Bush need to do to count this as a big success? How worried should he be about Steve Forbes, Tony?

TONY BLANKLEY, FORMER NEWT GINGRICH PRESS SECRETARY: I don't know. I mean, you know, if he wins, he wins. My guess is that the conventional wisdom if he gets over 38 percent, then he considers it a good night. If he gets less than 35 percent, then it's not a good night for him.

I think the interesting vote that I'm going to be watching tonight is going to be Keyes. If he should happen to do pretty well, and maybe come in third, close to 7 or 8 or 9 points, that presents an interesting opportunity for the Republicans to paint a picture of a more inclusive party than we've previously have been able to do. So, I think that will be the interesting vote down ticket a little bit.

WOODRUFF: You know, 7, 8, or 9 points away from number two?

BLANKLEY: No, no, no. From zero. In other words, if he is able to get somewhere close to 8 to 10, come in third, then it's the first time that a African-American will have been doing that well in a Republican primary. So it will be an interesting little niche to add to the collection of issues.

WOODRUFF: Mike McCurry?

MIKE MCCURRY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: You know, Judy...

WOODRUFF: Go ahead.

MCCURRY: Iowa is all about how the media reports this event. I think only about 2 percent of the delegates that you need to win the nomination are really at stake tonight. But if the big story tonight, if Tony is right and the big story on the Republican side is, yes, Bush won like he was supposed to. But hey, look at this, we have suddenly some new voice springing up from the conservative wing of the party who's going to play a role here.

That may be in fact even better news for Governor George Bush. Why? Because John McCain, who needs this, you know, moment between Iowa and New Hampshire to really crystallize his argument against Bush, will suddenly have someone there that he has to compete for electrons with.

This is going to be a hard week for these candidates in between Iowa and New Hampshire going forward. They've got the president giving the State of the Union Address. They have a debate that will sort of focus everyone's energy on Wednesday night, and then there is the Super Bowl on Sunday, which I think -- I don't know about you -- that's what most people are going to be watching. So it's going to be hard to get a big bounce coming out of Iowa tonight.

BLANKLEY: But there is another little fact there with Alan Keyes should he do well. That is that George Bush has wanted to try to run a campaign that reaches out to African-American voters. This will give him an opportunity I think in the general election to do that more effectively. So, even though it doesn't -- it's not going to be determinative of any person getting a nomination, it could be an interesting piece of the larger puzzle.

WOODRUFF: All right. I'm going to get you all to move quickly to the Democrats. Mike, how well does Al Gore need to do here, and what if Bill Bradley doesn't do as well as he'd like to do?

MCCURRY: Well, you know, again, I will be counter conventional here. I think it would be a bad thing for the vice president tonight if everyone in the media in Des Moines tonight tries to bury Bill Bradley. In a way both of these candidates are doing better because of the competition between them. The country is just starting to pay attention. I think it would probably be good for our party for their contest to go on for a little while, so -- one way or another.

Now, the good thing for the vice president is his co-conspirator tonight are all you reporters who are out in Des Moines, because you're going want to have a contest to report in the weeks ahead. My guess is that the vice president's substantial victory tonight will be discounted somewhat. Of course, the Bradley people are going to be out there telling you how this really doesn't matter anyhow and discount the result tonight. The vice president's people will be telling you how Bradley really spent a lot of time and a lot of money in Iowa, so it really does count. But I think in the long run it's probably a good thing for the vice president to continue the debate with Senator Bradley and just as long as it doesn't get too negative it will be good for the party.

WOODRUFF: But, Mike -- I was going to ask Mike, Tony, are you saying the vice president's people want Bradley to stay in longer, or are you saying from a disinterested Democrat?

MCCURRY: I think I will pretend to be disinterested and just say I kind of -- I enjoy watching the two of them debate. They are talking about education, they are talking about health care, they are not talking about fringe issues like they are over in the other party. I think that is good for us.

WOODRUFF: Tony.

BLANKLEY: I've never been in a campaign where you didn't want to be a winner as soon as possible. But I think the thing to look -- that I'm going to look for on the Democratic side is not the margin of victory. Gore is going to win a handsome victory tonight, and you can argue over the details, but rather what Bradley has learned from this campaign so far and whether he decides to come out swinging in the kind of campaign that Gore has been running against him, or whether he has sort of the gentleman's campaign that he's been running so far so ineffectively. So, look in the next couple of days for the rhetoric on Bradley. If Bradley hasn't learned his lesson, then we are coming to a quick finish, I think.

WOODRUFF: Are the voters in New Hampshire going to be affected dramatically by what happens in Iowa, Mike?

MCCURRY: You know, they will be affected to this degree. If everyone wakes up tomorrow morning and tries to tell the citizens of New Hampshire that on the Democratic side it's all over, the vice president is waltzing off to the nomination, he's back to be the front-runner -- there is a capriciousness to the voter in New Hampshire. They may just say, well, you pundits are wrong, we want to see more of Senator Bradley and then he's well positioned to kind of come and surprise. New Hampshire loves to give, you know, at least a bone to the underdog, and I think that they will be in a position to do that if, as I expect tonight, the wave of media coming out of this is to try to anoint again Governor Bush and Vice President Gore as the runaway front-runners.

WOODRUFF: And, Tony, a quick post script?

BLANKLEY: Well, one last look at the Gore vote. I was talking to a Democratic player this afternoon who said that normally when you got the union support in the Democratic side in Iowa, you can expect about 55 percent. So that's the base for Gore. So if Gore only gets to 58, 59, he's really not doing much above his base. He needs to break 60 to -- 61, get in that zone and above before it's an impressive victory from this fellow's point of view.

WOODRUFF: All right. Mike McCurry, Tony Blankley, we like the trend with the dark blue shirts, very handsome. Thank you both.

MCCURRY: We got the memo.

(LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF: Still to come...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: You guys are going have to get back so I can campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: The trials and tribulations of campaigning in the Hawkeye State -- a look back at the months spent stumping for the Iowa caucus vote.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHAW: Iowa's caucuses have drawn the attention of presidential hopefuls for many, many months now. As voters prepare to make their decisions at the thousands of precinct gatherings tonight, we take a look back at the sights, the sounds of campaign 2000.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BUSH: I'm running for president of the United States. There is no turning back. And I intend to be the next president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

FORBES: We're going to win the nomination and win the election. [

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: Bauer! Bauer! Bauer! Bauer!

HATCH: I have 23 years experience. I have more experience than any candidate running for president today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to vote for Keyes?

BRADLEY: How are you? Hello. How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: Steve, Steve, Steve!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whoa, pass those out.

BUSH: I'm passing them out.

BAUER: Gary Bauer. Nice to see you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are you?

BAUER: I'm Gary Bauer. Who are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a big one, aren't you?

BRADLEY: That's right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No R&B or rap. If so, who is your favorite artist?

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD (singing): Bauer, he's the only candidate for us!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's my deal? Straw poll, Ames.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, it all starts in Iowa. And on this stage is the next president of the United States!

(CHEERING)

BUSH: We must encourage character, education in schools. We must have after-school mentoring programs. We must have maternity group homes and prison fellowships.

KEYES: He's got lots of money, which proves nothing. Is this country run by money now? I thought it was government by the people of, not government by the money.

BRADLEY: To provide access to affordable, quality health care for all Americans, guarantee all children coverage with health care.

BAUER: My pro-life message, my pro-family message, my tax relief aimed at working class families are all issues that are resonating here in Iowa.

GORE: We need to look, and see and understand the suffering of the family farmers in Iowa, and do something about it!

BRADLEY: Is there a lawyer?

(LAUGHTER)

FORBES: We think that'll take us all the way to the nomination.

BRADLEY: I hope that if you're a supporter of mine, I want you to know, go out. And I'll tell you something right now, I love you. If you're not a supporter of mine, I love you anyway -- not as much as I love the other person.

(LAUGHTER)

GORE: I want to ask for your votes, and your support and your willingness to go to the caucuses at 7:00 p.m. on Monday night and stand for me.

BUSH: And make sure you go to your caucus, and bring somebody with you.

GORE: Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Well, before we close this edition of INSIDE POLITICS, we turn once more to our colleague, CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield. The candidates love to be here, some of the voters like to be here, but you've written in "Time" magazine this week, you've talked about it again on CNN last night -- the caucus process, in your view, is not so healthy.

GREENFIELD: I think what I'm -- that's right, and I also think, that traditionally, it hasn't mattered very much. And there's one more thing about tonight. I might as well finish this off. It is conceivable that one of the big losers tonight, in actually more than eight days, may be the Iowa caucuses, and I think that will depend on what happens in New Hampshire. Just consider this: Suppose Bill Bradley, who has spent 60 days in Iowa -- I think that makes him eligible to vote -- and well over $2 million, loses badly, as the pre- caucus polls indicate, and then he goes on and loses New Hampshire because, you know, there's been that kind of dispirit. Now suppose John McCain, who has skipped Iowa, wins New Hampshire, in which case what happened to George Bush in Iowa I think becomes largely irrelevant.

It is not unthinkable that the next group of candidates may look at this state, and say you know, that's a lot of money we can save and a lot of time we can save and concentrate on New Hampshire, which does start the process. So depending on what happens in New Hampshire, this may be the last really high point of the Iowa caucuses.

WOODRUFF: So assuming something happened to these caucuses, assuming in 2004, they went away for some hypothetical...

GREENFIELD: Diminished.

WOODRUFF: ... were diminished, what does that do to the whole process?

GREENFIELD: Well, it goes back to the place where it used to start, which is New Hampshire, until somebody figures out that New Hampshire, too, may not have the right to be the first in the nation every time.

WOODRUFF: And so some of the same arguments apply in New Hampshire.

GREENFIELD: Fewer, because it's a primary, not a caucus. That's the key. A primary is a much, in my view, much more sensible way to start picking a president than a caucus. I like caucuses as events, just not the way to pick a president. On the other hand, something could happen tonight that makes all of my opinions look like -- well, look foolish, and I think a lot of people in Iowa would say, Good for you.

WOODRUFF: I can't imagine that anybody would be thinking that.

GREENFIELD: We'll see.

WOODRUFF: Jeff Greenfield.

And despite what Jeff said, we're here for the duration, we're here tonight, we're here through it all.

SHAW: And what if Iowa switches to primaries four years from now?

GREENFIELD: Then they can't be first in the nation, and they lose all of our money.

WOODRUFF: All right. You heard it here first.

And that is all for this special edition of INSIDE POLITICS. But of course, our coverage of these caucuses will continue throughout the evening, including a special edition of "CROSSFIRE," from here in Des Moines, at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. Among the guests, Sen. Tom Harkin, a Gore supporter, and Sen. Paul Wellstone, who back Bill Bradley.

SHAW: Judy, Jeff Greenfield, Bill Schneider and I will be back here at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and throughout the evening with results from these caucuses. And of course, you can get complete coverage online at CNN.com.

I'm Bernard Shaw.

WOODRUFF: And I'm Judy Woodruff. The "MONEYLINE NEWS HOUR" is next.

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