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Larry King Live

Iowa Caucuses: Gore Beats Bradley; Bush Declares Victory 'Huge'

Aired January 25, 2000 - 0:00 a.m. ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Al Gore beats Democratic rival Bill Bradley in the Iowa caucuses, and he says he's just begun to fight. Iowa does OK by George W. Bush too. The GOP front-runner calls his caucus victory "huge" and says he's humbled.

We'll hear from the Texas governor and his wife, Laura, later.

And joining us live in Washington, Bob Woodward of "The Washington Post." In Austin, Texas, Democrat Ann Richards, former governor of Texas. Here in Des Moines, Jack Kemp, former GOP vice presidential nominee and co-founder of Empower America, and CNN senior news analyst Jeff Greenfield.

We're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We're back, and this is a live edition, part two of LARRY KING LIVE. We will be doing it again in New Hampshire next week so that we bring you when the results are complete and final at the bottom of the hour.

Senators Tom Harkin and Charles Grassley, the two senators from Iowa will be with us. And Alan Keyes, who ran a pretty good race here tonight in Iowa, will be with us.

But for this half hour, Bob Woodward, Ann Richards, Jack Kemp, and Jeff Greenfield.

We'll start with Mr. Woodward. Now that the night is over and we have caught our breath, are the two big winners the two big winners?

BOB WOODWARD, "THE WASHINGTON POST": They're indeed the big winners, obviously, but the Iowa caucuses are so preliminary. If you go to the race track, there is a ritual in which the horses come out before they get in the starting gate. And there are people who go and watch the horses and think they can tell who's going to win by the way they look.

In a way, we are at that stage, very, very beginning race. As has been pointed out time and time again, and I think it's critical to understanding this, the last three elected presidents, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton, all of them did not win the Iowa caucuses in the year they were elected president.

KING: A good sports analogy.

And speaking of sports, we can ask Jack Kemp, is this -- as a former football star, is this preseason? Is this the first game of the preseason?

JACK KEMP (R), FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Well, I don't know if that's a good analogy...

KING: First game of the season?

KEMP: ... and I hate to, you know, cross brother Bob Woodward.

KING: Cross.

KEMP: But with all due respect, someone said earlier on CNN that it doesn't pick the winner. Iowa doesn't pick the winner, they just narrow the field. And I think John McCain, at least, was hoping that the field would be narrowed to just John McCain and George Bush. And clearly Steve Forbes is in there. So that changes the mix of New Hampshire, and there's no doubt about it, Al Gore two to one over Bill Bradley.

I think Bill Bradley is not out of it, but that's a pretty -- for someone who had the momentum going not so long ago, it's a pretty tough battle uphill for Bill Bradley, who I like very much.

KING: Ann Richards, was this a whupping tonight that Gore did to Bradley?

ANN RICHARDS (D), FORMER TEXAS GOVERNOR: Well, I don't really think that you could describe it that way. I think Bill Bradley went into Iowa because he thought it was important for him to be there, and I think he conducted the kind of race that he wanted to conduct, that is, very civil, very -- what is it, professorial. And the question is, does that work with voters?

And there -- the reality is that I don't think that it can, because the media is not going to allow it. You know, unless you have a real contest, a head-to-head, there's nothing to report. And so if you don't give them some kind of meat, unless you give them something tough and cutting-edge, they're not going to talk about you, they're not going to report what you're doing, and they're not going to make you look like an energetic and viable candidate.

And everybody's giving him the credit, Bradley, tonight, for energizing Al Gore. Well, the reality is, is what he gave Al Gore was a race. But what Al Gore put together was a campaign. And I give credit to him and to Donna Brazile, Carter Eskew, moving that staff down to Nashville. And now he's going to be a real contender.

KING: In 1984, Jeff Greenfield, Walter Mondale beat Gary Hart in Iowa, 49 percent to 17 percent. Hart won New Hampshire.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Eight days later, that's true.

KING: Eight days later. So can Bradley come back?

GREENFIELD: Sure. And now we've had a -- we have a former pro football player, a former basketball player, and a horse race analogy. I guess we're in the first frame, and Bradley needs a 7-10 split.

But to be slightly more serious...

KING: A bowler, like you.

GREENFIELD: Yes, that's me, that's my sport.

KING: Blue-collar Jeff.

GREENFIELD: Yes, yes, Bill Bradley can come back. But I think it's on a broader scale. Gore and Bush were the likely nominees before tonight, they are the likely nominees after tonight. However, first, Bradley can come back, but the question is, what does he say to change the playing field? And Wednesday's debate for Bill Bradley, I think, is critical.

The one thing I disagree with Congressman Kemp about is, the McCain camp, according to what they told me, is perfectly happy that Steve Forbes did well, because they want Forbes in New Hampshire to peel conservative votes away from George Bush, because the fewer votes Bush gets, the more likely it is McCain to win.

McCain and Forbes, opposite though they are, have a confluence of interest right now. Forbes ain't going after McCain, he's going after George Bush, and a good showing in Iowa marginally helps McCain. But to look at it down the road, nothing that happened tonight has altered the probability of who will be the nominee.

KING: Bob Woodward, do you agree that this was a very good night for Mr. Forbes, as Jack Kemp says?

WOODWARD: Well, the got that 30 percent of the vote, and that's a big number. The question is, can that be translated in New Hampshire and beyond? And if -- you have to fast forward to the New Hampshire primary a week from now, eight days from now, and how many people are going to be interested in focusing on or even remembering what happened in Iowa?

What's going to be important is what happens the next week. And as somebody suggested, these Wednesday night debates are going to be very, very important, particularly for former Senator Bradley.

KING: We'll be right back with more of our panel on this edition of -- live edition of LARRY KING LIVE. This is not a repeat of an earlier broadcast. Don't go away.


ALBERT A. GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Senator Bradley is a good person and a tough competitor. And he asked the question here in Iowa, Are you better off than you were seven years ago? And the answer is clearly yes. But that's not really the question that the American people are addressing in this election in 2000. The question is, Can we do even better?

I believe the answer is yes.



KING: Jack Kemp, is it significant that while Governor Bush did well, he just eked over 40 percent a little, right?

KEMP: I guess about 41.

KING: Because normally, if this were another kind of race and there were a runoff, you'd say he'd be in trouble.

KEMP: I do want to clear up one thing, though. I was not a football player. I was a quarterback.

KING: Well, they are different.

KEMP: Big difference.

KING: They don't get hurt.

KEMP: Oh, no.

KING: No, no.

KEMP: Look, 41 percent, 42 percent, whatever it was, biggest in the history of the Republican primaries, the biggest vote, the biggest victory. He's not -- you know, it isn't over, but it's clear that he goes into New Hampshire with a real great edge. And Steve Forbes, I think, established himself as the conservative.

KING: Ann...

KEMP: So it's of help to Steve. I -- you guys all think McCain is helped. I don't see how it helps to get a headline, he finished fifth with 5 percent, even though you're not in the race on the ground.

GREENFIELD: He didn't compete. And it doesn't help him, it doesn't hurt him. He's said for eight months...

KEMP: ... a lot of publicity. And to get 5 percent with all that publicity, irrespective of having a -- it's just not...


GREENFIELD: ... primary he didn't competed (ph) in. A caucus state, you have to have a field operation.

KING: Ann Richards, it was you that said on this program some months back to not take George W. Bush lightly. He is a tough campaigner. Is he showing that to you?

RICHARDS: Yes. But the main reason is that he's very disciplined. You know, he get -- he's got his specific lines. He's going to say "compassionate conservative" until you want to retch, but you'll still -- you know, you'll remember the phrase.

I thought it was interesting tonight, though, Larry, when they made their speeches, that the difference between the styles of Bush and Gore. Gore stands there with the microphone, he tells them, you know, that he's going to fight on, and we've just begun. And we saw Bush with a prepared, read speech, because he stays very scripted.

I am wondering, over time, whether or not that's going to work with the public. You know, it's kind of going to dawn on somebody that there's a lack of spontaneity here, and he's going to have to get off that printed page and just speak from his heart.

It's -- it is hard to make those written words sound like something you just thought of. You know what I'm saying?

KING: Agree, Jeff? Jeff, do you agree? And then Bob. Jeff first.

GREENFIELD: I think a presidential candidate come to office simply on prepared speeches, yes. And he will have -- now, I think he's...

KING: (inaudible) prepared acceptance speeches.

GREENFIELD: Yes, but that's OK. I mean, you know, his father had a pretty good acceptance speech in 1988. It may have won him the presidency. But I do think when you talk about debates, which are going to happen throughout the primary process and in the general election, you can't get along on script. I just think we have -- I just think we don't know yet.

The best question I heard asked about George W. Bush was by my former colleague Peter Jennings, who said, "What we don't know yet is, can he take a punch?" We still don't know that.

KING: Would you bet right now that Gore would be the better debater, going in?

GREENFIELD: How many times have you asked me to make predictions, and I don't do it.

KING: (inaudible) sports fan.

GREENFIELD: Yes, but I'm willing to put $50 on the Super Bowl but not on this. I think Gore has had more experience in tough debates, absolutely. But I think George W. Bush -- you know, he -- the reason why the party united around him so early is they saw a kind of very attractive political animal there. And I think what Ann said on your show a while ago is, true, do not sell this guy short.

KING: Bob Woodward, what does that look like to you if it goes along this way, and it is Gore-Bush?

WOODWARD: Well, you don't know. But I think there was something new, and an important theme that Governor Bush suggested in that prepared -- it really wasn't an acceptance speech, it was a declaration of victory. He said, "This is the first day of the end of the Clinton era." And there has been much debate in Republican circles how much the presidential candidates from the Republican side can run against Clinton in this election.

There are a number of people who have been urging that, the editorial page of "The Wall Street Journal," for example, has been clamoring for some time...

KING: Hardly the most impartial view.

WOODWARD: No, exactly. But it clearly has its appeal to a certain segment. And for Bush to say that at this point, I thought, was perhaps signaling something.

KING: If Clinton's policies, Jack, are popular, while his character is not, shouldn't Gore inherit the good without the bad?

KEMP: Yes, well, he'll inherit some of (inaudible).

KING: Does the public want to see...

KEMP: No, he...

KING: ... a Clinton era go?

KEMP: ... to be sure, to be sure. If Alan Greenspan and the Fed decide to raise interest rates because the economy is growing too much, and they want to slow it down, I wonder what Al Gore would have to say about that. But with all due respect to Ann Richards' statement about George Bush preparing his speech, what do you think it was when Al Gore said he's going to fight to end the Freedom to Farm Act? He's going to fight to federalize education...

KING: But he hadn't written -- it wasn't written.

KEMP: ... he's going to fight to nationalize health care. He's going to fight to keep taxes where they are. Does anybody want to defend this tax code? Can anybody defend it? It taxes the family, the poor, the worker, the single mother, the entrepreneur. It overtaxes.

And I think Bush has a great issue if he's willing to do what Ann said he shouldn't do, and that's be a Johnny One-note on the future of the economy, the future of education, the future of the restored military, and the future of restoring respect for the White House.

KING: You agree, though, we do not have an unhappy America? Not a da -- it's not a Jimmy Carter 1980 America.

GREENFIELD: No, it isn't. And I think that actually zeros in, if we're jumping the gun a little bit, so be it. But the broader terrain on which this campaign is going to be fought out, just on the series of facts, ask any pollster, this is the most contented electorate since 1956. Some people aren't alive who've ever seen an electorate this contented -- seriously.

And you could see Al Gore or Bill Bradley, even, you could see the Democrats turning to the Republicans and saying, Look, seven years ago, every Republican in the House and Senate voted against Clinton's tax and budget. You all said it would lead to deficits, recession, and inflation. And when you took over the Congress, you didn't change one line of that.

Now, are you really going to tell us that things have been that terrible for seven years?

I'm not saying Republicans can't win. I'm not saying they can't make an argument. It's tough. And we haven't seen a campaign where the out party has had to confront an electorate that thinks on policies, Hey, not bad.

KING: Let me get a break and come back. More on New Hampshire, and we'll be back with lots more. And later we'll be talking with Senator Tom Harkin, and Alan Keyes will be here, who got 14 percent tonight in Iowa.

Don't go away.


GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am humbled and I am honored by your outpouring of support. Tonight marks the first election night of the new millennium, the beginning of the process by which America will choose the president to lead us into the 21st century. And tonight also, and tonight also marks the beginning of the end of the Clinton era.



KING: We're back.

Ann Richards, are we going to see -- are we going to have to see a different Bill Bradley in New Hampshire, and will it have to start Wednesday night in that debate?

RICHARDS: Well, you know, earlier this evening, Larry, I said that I thought Bill had a very serious decision to make. And that's part of what all these primaries are about. You test out your message, you test out your organization, and you see what works.

Well, obviously Bill Bradley has got to make some decisions about trying to change what did not work in Iowa.

But listen, I want to say something about some of that discussion that went on a while ago about this message of bringing down taxes. You know, the middle class and the lower class, they're not confused about this issue. And the peculiar thing about it with Republicans is they never had it so good. Republicans never made so much money as they've made under Bill Clinton.

And the hue and cry is, I made a bundle, now let me keep all of it. So we are going to see, I think, a very good debate...

KEMP: That's so ridiculous.

RICHARDS: ... between...

KING: Have you done poorly, Jack?

KEMP: No, I -- you know, with all due respect...

RICHARDS: ... between...

KING: Hold on...

KEMP: You know, it's unbelievable. With all due respect, again, to the -- to Governor Richards, that is the typical approach, that we are somehow in a perfect tax situation. I've done well, my wife and I have done well out here, and I'm paying 50 percent of my income. Lord Maynard Keynes said that in peacetime, no one should pay higher than 25 percent.

Do you want -- what's the point about soaking people? Why not encourage people to invest...

KING: How about the deficit? How about bringing down the deficits?

KEMP: Ann is laughing. You know, that -- it's unbelievable.

GREENFIELD: Let me -- let me...

KEMP: Class warfare doesn't work in America any more than it did in Texas, that's why she lost.

KING: Now, let Mr. Woodward in after Mr. Greenfield.

GREENFIELD: Well, just a small nonpartisan point, if I might. One -- the Republicans have marched to the tax-cutting mantra for at least 20 years, aided in no small measure by people like Jack Kemp. As a purely, you know, neutral observer, I hope, I'm not sure this year that message is going to resonate quite as much.

And it's one of the reasons why I think John McCain, who has put a tax proposal on the table that would make Jack Kemp, I think, horrified, might not be doing as badly as he would have with Republicans (inaudible). We don't know. But it may be that Ann Richards is making a point here.

KING: How would this score, Bob? Is the public giving a great demand for a tax cut?

WOODWARD: It seems not. If -- with all due respect to Jack Kemp, I think to a certain extent he couldn't convince in 1996 Bob Dole to take seriously...

KEMP: Oh, come on, Bob.

WOODWARD: ... the proposed tax cut that was put forward, as I recall intimately talking with Dole about it, he was kind of for it, and then kind of backed off and didn't drive that issue home. I don't think it's...

KEMP: But I was indefatigable.

WOODWARD: Yes, you did not give up. You -- as is -- as you are known for.

But I think there's something that can be laid out, some of the parameters of one of the conditions, in which the campaign will be conducted over -- in the next week, and that is, if you look at the rhythms of journalism and the way campaigns are covered, and go back to the beginning of the Bill Bradley decision to run, and all of the attention that Bradley got, it was quite serious. There were many very thoughtful articles written, many thoughtful interviews. And he seemed to thrive in that atmosphere, and in fact it gave birth to his candidacy.

Now we are in the period which I guess could be called the daily skirmish, where there is a fight about one issue or what somebody said, did they really mean it, do they take it back, is that an attack, how has the attack been answered or not answered?

And in that kind of a campaign, as we've seen this month, Bradley does not function as well. And so he's got to find some way to bring the campaign and some of the issues and some of the discussions back to that high road that he had in 1999.

In the intensity of what we're going to experience the next week, I think that will be difficult.

RICHARDS: I think that comment's good.

KING: We got our final thoughts up (ph).

RICHARDS: I think that's a good comment, Larry.

KING: I'm get -- OK, we'll be back, get the final thoughts of our panel, and then talk with Senator Tom Harkin, who led the very successful Gore campaign in Iowa. And then Alan Keyes, who got 14 percent of the vote tonight in Iowa. And then we'll repeat the earlier interview with Governor Bush and his wife, victorious tonight here in Iowa.

We'll be right back.


BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've always said that running for president requires a mixture of humility and confidence, humility because you're only one person and you're running for the most powerful office in the world, confidence because you have to know that you can lead this country in a world that's still dangerous.

Tonight I have a little more humility, but no less confidence that I can win and do the job.



KING: Back with our remaining moments with our panel of Bob Woodward, Ann Richards, Jack Kemp, and Jeff Greenfield, then we'll meet Alan Keyes, who got 14 percent of the vote tonight here in Iowa. We'll get the final thoughts of the panel until we meet again, which will be very soon.

Jeff, you have a sports analogy for us.

GREENFIELD: Can't help it. When you play basketball, you know at the end of the game, when the coach diagrams a play...

KING: Three seconds left.

GREENFIELD: Yes, and nine times out of 10, the play breaks down, and then somebody has to move and change direction and get the shot, and as Bradley said in that famous quote, have a sense of where you are.

Bill Bradley's game plan now requires now requires amendment, and we will find out in the next eight days, as Bob Woodward said, whether in the hothouse, whether in this enormously sped-up, overanalyzed world, Bradley has what it takes not just to say, I am a really impressive guy, but in this competition, I'm going to give you a reason why you can't go with the sitting vice president.

KING: Jack Kemp, has he been sacked tonight, Bradley?

KEMP: Oh, I don't think it's a sack. I think Jeff is right. I thought he did a very good job, by the way, out here in Iowa, and he laid the premise, or predicate for a New Hampshire campaign that might very well be different than what it was in Iowa.

As I said earlier on your show, telling everybody this is not taped, he needs to give a compelling reason why Al Gore is going to be the weaker candidate against the Republicans in 2000, and he hasn't done that yet, he needs to do it. Doesn't need to be mean or nasty, he just needs to give a compelling reason why he should be the nominee.

KING: Ann, are we going to see a very sprightly eight days -- well, now seven days?

RICHARDS: Yes, I think it's going to be a really intense time. Of course, I can't talk to you about what you do with basketball plays and whether you're a quarterback or a football player or all that garbage. But...

KEMP: Garbage? KING: Garbage?

KEMP: America.

RICHARDS: ... I can say to those women who are still awake that when you bake a birthday cake one year, you can't say the very next year, I don't have to do it again because I did one last year. You got to bake it every year.

So what's really going to happen is, they're going to have to bake a brand-new cake in New Hampshire. It's a different place, it's a different style, it's an actual primary, it's not a caucus state. And I think that Bradley and McCain have a real opportunity in this state to make this a contest.

KING: OK, now, I want to -- 30 seconds left, Bob Woodward, your look at New Hampshire.

WOODWARD: Well, I think the person to watch is McCain. You interviewed him earlier this evening, and we were all struck by how calm he was. There is a relaxed style there that may appeal to people in New Hampshire along with the reform message. McCain is the one, really, who has not been tested, and that's what we're going to see next week.

KING: We thank all of our guests for being with us, as always, Bob Woodward, the managing -- assistant managing editor of "The Washington Post," Ann Richards, the honorable Ann Richards, the former governor of Texas, Jack Kemp, the former vice presidential nominee and co-founder of Empower America, and Jeff Greenfield, CNN senior news analyst.

Alan Keyes, radio talk show host, big night in Iowa, back next.


KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE. And in this half hour, we'll talk first with Alan Keyes, then with Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, who helped elect Al Gore -- elect -- elect -- who helped Al Gore win this caucus tonight on the Democratic side. And then we'll repeat the earlier interview with the very successful Governor George Bush.

Was this a successful night for Alan Keyes?

ALAN KEYES (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, we feel very good about it, yes. I think it's the first step that we had to achieve in the course of this election. As I've often told people, listening to these phony polls is not the way to decide what one is going to do. I mean, everybody's touting Governor Bush's victory only because I guess we're supposed to forget that the phony polls gave him 60 and 70 percent in Iowa, and that is not where he ended up.

His votes are padded by the votes of people who were duped into supporting him...

KING: Duped? KEYES: ... based on the -- Duped, yes, based on the argument that there was something inevitable about his nomination, that he was the wild runaway winner in all of this. There are people stampeded into that kind of a conclusion based on these phony polls.

And I think that kind of strength which he showed here in Iowa will be eroded elsewhere, now that it has become clear that the choice that many people believe is right for the party in terms of effective articulation, in terms of really representing the heart of Republican principles in an effective way that can move the heart of Americans, that in fact, that choice is a choice that can perform well, that can win if people of conscience will vote their conscience.

KING: And if it's you, how do you combat the Forbes money? Because Forbes saying, that voice, the moral conservative voice, is his.

KEYES: Well, first of all, I don't trust anybody who says that, because he has seen the political expediency of saying it. And that's where Steve Forbes is. He's developed a position on these moral issues that is contrary to the stand that he took over the course of most of his lifetime, and yet he's given nobody an explanation of why he turned around, except that it was in his political interests to do so.

I don't trust that, and I can't trust it, and I don't think it's trustworthy in terms especially of going forward to defend these positions when we face Democrat opposition.

Everybody's saying G.W. Bush took a stronger stand on abortion. I don't care. He can take as strong a stand as he likes. The problem is, he doesn't have the conviction or the capacity to defend that stand when he's under attack from somebody like Al Gore. He won't be persuasive, and in doing so, I think he will actually do our cause more harm than good.

And that, by the way, is the cause that has to be addressed if Republicans are to win. We're fooling ourselves if we think we're going to win this election on economic issues. That's insane. We have the best economy that this country has seen in, what, over a generation. On the strength of that, they're going to kick the Democrats out of the White House? I don't think so. We have a...

KING: You have to convince them that moral issues relate to better government?

KEYES: Oh, I don't have to convince them of that. We've seen that over the course of the last couple of years. We've seen that the moral crisis has affected our presidency, has affected our Congress. Americans have gone through the most shameful and humiliating period in the nation's history because of the failure of moral stewardship of the Democrats.

KING: And why then the...

KEYES: We have to be able to show that that failure of moral stewardship directly relates to their abandonment of American principles on key issues like abortion and their corruption of America's heart, conscience, and moral judgment based on their abandonment of those principles.

KING: Does it disturb you that they appear to be, the American people -- and again, how do you have a -- classify a full group of people as content?

KEYES: Oh, I think it's very good that we're content on some material level. But I think most people recognize, this is kind of a respite from international pressure and from the pressure of economic life. When we reach a point like that in our lives, very often it's time to take stock, to see what we've sacrificed in terms of our moral, spiritual lives, and to get a grip on ourselves and get ourselves back on the right track.

That's what I think Americans can do with this providential period of prosperity and peace. We need to look inward at the moral, spiritual life of the country. What has happened to our families? What's happening to our children who are dying in the hallways of our schools? What's happening to their sexual conduct? What's happening to their attitudes and behavior?

I think a lot of Americans know, because they experience it every day in their homes, in their neighborhoods, in their schools, that this country needs to have a period of moral reaffirmation.

Get back to the fundamental principle, rights come from God, and must be exercised with respect for the authority of God.

KING: What do you have to do -- do you have to do anything different in New Hampshire?

KEYES: Not at all. I think we've been building a very strong base in Iowa. I think it did -- produced results here that were just a first step. We were fighting against all kinds of odds, the lack of attention in the media, all kinds of other presumptions that were out there.

I think some of that is overcome by the good work that has been done by the grace of God and the people of Iowa. I think we will build on that in New Hampshire, carrying this clear message of moral priority, which is the message on the hearts and minds of most Americans right now.

KING: Are you staying the course?

KEYES: We will stay the course, because the people who support us with their contributions and with their work I think want to see the right alternative presented to Americans. People can't vote for the right alternative if it's not offered to them.

KING: Do you expect Bauer or Hatch or both to leave?

KEYES: I think that's going to be entirely up to them. I have felt no compunction or difficulty with having competitors in the race. When people were able to see us side by side in the debates and make a judgment about who was most effective, who represented the views that were really on their hearts, I have won overwhelmingly in terms of those people who saw it. If I get a fair shot at the American people in New Hampshire and elsewhere, we'll see the same outcome in the nominating process.

KING: Do you think you'll get it?

KEYES: I think I will win this nomination, yes.

KING: Thank you, Alan.

KEYES: Thank you.

KING: Alan Keyes got 14 percent, a very strong third place finish in Iowa tonight, and now he's on to New Hampshire. We'll be there too.

Senator Tom Harkin, veteran of the United States Senate, Democrat of Iowa, will be with us next. Don't go away.


KING: He's an old friend, it's always good to see Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa.

Were you the chairman of Gore in Iowa?

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: No, not officially, no. I -- but I did a lot of work for him.

KING: You've been with Al from the get-go in this?

HARKIN: Well, I endorsed him on Labor Day, as a matter of fact, last year, and we've worked very hard, and my whole organization in Iowa, we pulled hard for him. And it was a great victory tonight, Larry, just great.

KING: We had invited him, but he is on the way to New Hampshire as we speak, right?

HARKIN: Yes, he is, already taken off for New Hampshire. And...

KING: We'll see him there. Are you going to continue to campaign for him, go around?

HARKIN: Oh, I'll be in New Hampshire on Friday night.

KING: All right. What did it for him tonight? In just convincing (ph)?

HARKIN: Yes, I think three things, Larry. First of all, his energy. I mean, Al Gore just exudes this energy and this enthusiasm. And I think that people caught on to it. You know, Bill sort of has a laid-back kind of style, and I think people want someone with energy. And so he energized the electorate. Secondly, I think his message and his vision was one sort of based on common sense. I mean, Iowans could grab hold of it. It wasn't some theoretical pie-in-the-sky kind of thing, it was a good, common-sense vision for America. And the third thing was organization. Labor came out, organized labor was great here. They really pulled together, the teachers. And we did our part too in organizing, (inaudible).

KING: And frankly, did the Bradley campaign tail off, disappoint? How do you rate it?

HARKIN: Well, I don't know...

KING: I mean, he's a friend of yours.

HARKIN: Yes, he is, he's a nice guy, I like Bill. He made this last surge. I think his game was, it was sort of, you know, do his thing in Iowa, and then at the last minute pour on the coal, sort of a last-minute surge. Which is probably a pretty good strategy, although it just didn't happen.

I think the figures are -- he's going to look like he outspent Gore about two to one in Iowa, and...

KING: Really?

HARKIN: I think so, that's what the figures look like now.

KING: This is an unusual state. It has a Democratic government, it's considered conservative and liberal, it has one of the more liberal members of the Senate, one of the more conservative members of the Senate.


KING: Explain that.

HARKIN: Well, I think Iowans like to make sure they have balance.

KING: Obviously.

HARKIN: Yes. They do, I really mean that. I think they like to have leaders with strong feelings who are committed. You're right, Senator Grassley's a committed conservative, I'm cons -- I'm a very committed liberal and progressive. And I think -- I always like that balance. But I think more than anything, they just like -- they want to understand that you believe something and you're willing to fight for what you believe in.

KING: Did Gore get better as a campaigner? Did things change with the move to Nashville, the different kind of dress, the more approach of up front?

HARKIN: Well, Larry, there's no doubt in my mind that Bill Bradley made Al Gore a much better campaigner. I think... KING: Forced him.

HARKIN: Well, I -- yes, I think in the beginning, you know, as vice president, he just sort of thought, Well, I'll just -- we'll just waltz into this. And that was sort of a staff attitude. And that changed when he brought Tony Coehlo on board, brought Carter Eskew on board. And then he moved to Nashville. But I could see the whole thing just change, and it was a great change for the better, I'll tell you that.

KING: What -- do you have fears about New Hampshire?

HARKIN: Well...

KING: It's closer.

HARKIN: ... don't want to lose, obviously.

KING: I mean, it is closer, obviously, everyone thinks that.

HARKIN: Yes it's going to be closer. And as Al said tonight before he left, he's going to fight for every vote in New Hampshire. Not going to rest on what he did in Iowa. He understands it's a whole new campaign in New Hampshire, and I think he's going to energize New Hampshire just like he energized Iowa.

KING: You once wanted this job. But when you wanted it, you kept...

HARKIN: When I was young and foolish.

KING: Yes, you kept even Iowa caucuses out, right?

HARKIN: Well, I -- they could come in, no one bothered to come in, Larry.

KING: No one bothered to come in. What is that feeling when someone gets that thing to want to be president? What is -- what happens?

HARKIN: Well, I think if you're in the business of government and politics, and if you're aggressive and you've got ideas on how you want this country to be, you sort of gravitate, I think, towards that position.

KING: You mean, you should want to be president if you're in the Senate or a governor or a...

HARKIN: Yes, I think so, it should be something to aspire to. Not everyone does. But let's face it, the presidency is the one office where you can really move this country, and you can focus the public's attention. The president speaks for all the people of this country.

It's like in any business, you want to get to the top, you want to be the CEO in the same way as the presidency. KING: George Bush says the beginning of the end of the -- George W. Bush said it's the beginning of the end of the Clinton era. Would that be smart, to run against Clinton?

HARKIN: I don't think so, because I...

KING: Despite the obvious character problems?

HARKIN: Obvious problems that he's had with his personal life, because the people understand that the economy, the way it is today, Larry, the fact we have the lowest unemployment in 30 years, we don't have deficits running our surpluses for the next 10 years, the economy's booming, everyone is getting a job.

Listen, people like this economy. People are content. And I don't believe, first of all, that Bill Bradley made a compelling case for any change here tonight in Iowa. And I don't believe Bush or any of the Republicans are making.

KING: Your candidate wants change. He said tonight he wants more health care, more, better education.

HARKIN: The change is, is that we're going to have these surpluses. Do we take the Republican tack of saying we're going to have these tax breaks that benefit only the wealthy? Or are we going to take this big surplus that we got because we had -- we made the right decisions on budget and taxes, and invest that in our kids and in Medicare, prescription drugs for the elderly?

That's going to be the difference, I believe, whether we're going to risk this on a risky tax scheme that George Bush has.

KING: Will it be -- couple of quick things. Bush and Gore look like (inaudible) to you?

HARKIN: Absolutely, that's it.

KING: Close race?

HARKIN: I think it's going to be a hard-fought race, and I think it's going to be close. I do, I think the presidential election is going to be close.

KING: How would Iowa go in that race?

HARKIN: We're going to go for Al Gore.

KING: Al Gore would beat George Bush in Iowa.

HARKIN: Oh, I believe it, absolutely, absolutely. I think -- I just think Al Gore understands rural America, he understands agriculture, he knows Iowa well. Yes, I believe Iowa will stay in the Gore column.

KING: Thanks, senator.

HARKIN: Thank you very much, Larry.

KING: Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa. He heads on Friday for New Hampshire. We'll be there next Tuesday with another two shows.

We'll take a break, and when we come back, we'll replay our interview aired earlier tonight, live interview with Governor Bush and his wife, Laura, who won tonight in Iowa. Don't go away.


KING: Earlier tonight, I spoke with today's Republican winner, Governor George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, from Bush headquarters here in Des Moines. We're going to replay that interview for you.

And I started by asking the governor if his early winning totals were what he expected.


BUSH: Well, I think it's a little better than I anticipated, Larry. I -- the highest vote total anybody'd ever gotten in the caucuses in the crowded field in the Republican Party was 37 percent. So I'm thrilled with this record-shattering victory. I'm grateful, and I'm humbled.

KING: Are you concerned at all that the totals of Mr. Forbes and Mr. Keyes exceeds you, and does that give you a tendency to think that the conservative or Christian right has made a strong statement here tonight?

BUSH: No, I'm not concerned at all. This was a crowded field of hard-working people. Everybody was out garnering the vote. We just did a little better job than everybody. I mean, to get over 40 percent of the vote in a crowded field is a tremendous victory. My message of compassionate conservatism resonated loud. The people of Iowa want a leader who can unite our party and our country. And that's exactly the signal they have sent.

KING: Laura, Mrs. Bush, what are your feelings tonight?

LAURA BUSH, WIFE OF GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, I feel great tonight. I'm really thrilled about this. I've loved having the opportunity to campaign in Iowa. We've got a lot of great friends here. And so this is a really, really nice night for us.

KING: Will you go with your husband to New Hampshire, or are you going to go back to Texas and...

LAURA BUSH: I'll be going with him to New Hampshire tonight and spend the next week there.

KING: And then go to South Carolina as well?

LAURA BUSH: And then go on to South Carolina.

KING: Governor, is this because you miss her so much, or you need her on the campaign?

BUSH: Well, she's responsible for half the vote, and she is a fantastic campaigner. The people who get to know Laura know her as a gentle, good listener, but also a very strong woman and a great mother. And so -- plus, I miss my family, Larry. The hardest thing about this campaign is not being around my wife all the time and our 18-year-old twin daughters. I even miss the cats and the dog.

KING: All right, to reiterate, you are -- and then a couple of other questions. You are saying that this total, if it holds at 44, is very gratifying to you, and even though Forbes got 31, if that holds -- and this is, again, a CNN projection of -- based in incoming polls -- and Alan Keyes 12, you're quite happy with that.

BUSH: I'm extremely happy. Not only am I happy, I'm thrilled. This is a huge victory, and it's a victory of message and organization. And I brought a positive message to Iowa and was able to attract a fantastic organization. And so I'm really happy.

KING: Do you think anybody will drop out after tonight?

BUSH: I don't know. That's what you need to find out. I'm not sure. I -- all I'm getting ready to do is go thank all the people who've worked so hard in this campaign, and to let the people of New Hampshire know that I'm getting on an airplane tonight, and I'm heading up east.

KING: A couple of other quick questions. Mayor Giuliani in New York, a strong supporter of yours, has criticized the New York Republicans for attempting, as he said, to leave McCain off the ticket. He said it doesn't help you, it helps everybody to have everybody on the ticket. Do you join him in that thought?

BUSH: Actually, what I believe is that there's a petition process not only in New York but in a lot of states. We knew the rules going into the petition process of finding registered voters who actually lived in the congressional districts and signed up a lot of really good New Yorkers to support my campaign.

And so what I do is, I support the rules of the party.

KING: So you don't agree with Mayor Giuliani.

BUSH: Well, I agree he ought to be the United States senator, and I wish him all the very best in his campaign. I look forward to working with him if I'm the president and he's the senator.

KING: The proposal today in Congress to make young Elian Gonzalez a citizen -- I know you've said you wanted that left up to the courts. What do you think of that idea?

BUSH: Well, I'd vote aye if I were in the Congress. That doesn't mean that the situation won't be ultimately resolved. All that means is citizenship gets him out from underneath the control of the INS. I still believe his dad ought to come to the United States, inhale the great breath of freedom, and then make a decision on our turf. I think it -- I think he -- I think...

Listen, the mom was coming to find freedom for her son, and it's that compelling, wonderful American freedom that I hope the dad is able to enjoy as well.

KING: So you would vote aye, though, in Congress to make him a citizen.

BUSH: I would, but as you know, I'm running for president, not the United States Congress.

KING: Now, to clear up the thing, there's been so many disparaging things on the abortion question. Let's get it clear so we can go on from here. The platform that you say you support of your party, couple of years ago said, "The unborn child has a fundamental, individual right to life which cannot be infringed." Doesn't say anything about rape or incest. Do you share that view?

BUSH: What I share is that for the Republican Party to be a pro- life party. The goal that I'm going to set if I'm the president is to convince Americans to respect life. The goal ought to be that every child, born and unborn, ought to be protected in law and welcomed into life. Our party is a pro-life party and ought to remain that way, and I support the platform.

KING: OK, therefore you -- what about rape and incest, since the platform says it cannot be infringed. And isn't a fetus, a product of a rape or a product of incest, still a living thing?

BUSH: Well, as you know, that if the country ever were to come to be voting on a constitutional amendment, that I would support three exceptions. I understand we've got a long way to go there, and so the next president must herald life and explain the value of life to the American people. And that's what I intend to do.

KING: But you would favor the exceptions.

BUSH: I would favor the exceptions.

KING: Any change of strategy in New Hampshire based on tonight?

BUSH: Not really. Listen, the message that I laid out is the same message I'm going to talk about in New Hampshire, is that I've got the capacity to lead. I'm a uniter, not a divider. I see an incredibly optimistic view of our future. I'm going to talk about education, I'm going to continue talking about cutting the taxes to keep economic growth alive. And I want to make the tax code more fair. And I'm going to talk about restoring morale in the military to keep the peace.

KING: Any comments on the Gore-Bradley race tonight?

BUSH: No, I frankly haven't been paying that much of attention to it, because I know that I've got a tough task ahead to win my party's nomination. I look forward to being the nominee to take on whoever their nominee is. But right now, the Republicans are making their decision, and I'm going to continue talking about my role as a leader for (inaudible)...

KING: John McCain apparently, according to projects, is going to get 5 percent here tonight. Is that about what you expected?

BUSH: Well, John didn't campaign here. I don't think he should -- we should hold him to a high standard. He didn't run a campaign in the state of Iowa.

KING: So therefore, it's wrong to say if he didn't finish third or fourth, it's a loss for him here.

BUSH: Well, he just didn't campaign. He chose not to campaign in this state. I believe it's important for the Republican nominee to campaign in all the states, but he made a different decision, and that -- you need to get him to explain why he made that decision.

KING: (inaudible)...

BUSH: John's a good man. I look forward to campaigning with him and against him in the state of New Hampshire. We've got a great race going on there, and I just -- I'm looking forward to getting there tonight.

KING: One other question for each of you. Laura, do you like campaigning? Do you like the -- this?

LAURA BUSH: I like campaigning. I like it a lot. I like people, and I like to be with people. I like to tell people about my husband. I've enjoyed it a lot.

KING: Was it as much fun as when he owned a baseball team?

LAURA BUSH: Well, I don't know about that. No, only kidding.

KING: And on that note, it is a national story, governor. What do you think should happen with John Rocker? You were a baseball owner. He said what he said. I guess no one sane could agree with it. What do you think?

BUSH: Yes, the guy -- the man needs to be -- I thought the Atlanta Braves are handling it well, that -- John got to understand that when you wear the uniform and a lot of kids are looking at you, you have a responsibility. And John needs to assume responsibility for the actions he took.

And I think the Braves are doing a fine job. Stan Cassen's (ph) a good man, as you know, Larry, and he is a sensitive soul. And John's going through -- getting the help he needs to be a responsible citizen.

KING: And the commissioner has announced that baseball will make a decision on punishment. Do you agree with that?

BUSH: Sure, that's the commissioner's job.

KING: By the way, you're in the heart of all old fans. You're the one who voted against the wild card, right?

BUSH: I did. I voted against the wild card because I'm a baseball traditionalist...

KING: The one owner that voted against -- you were it, right?

BUSH: I was the one owner, which goes to show I stick by my convictions and stick by my principles. And that's the kind of president I'm going to be.

KING: You leave for New Hampshire tonight, right?

BUSH: Yes, sir, I do. I'm looking forward to it. There's great folks up in New Hampshire. We got a fantastic organization. I look forward to campaigning with my buddy, Senator Judd Gregg, and Congressman Charlie Bass. I'm ready for the contest, Larry.

KING: We'll see you there next Tuesday. Thanks, Laura, and thanks, governor.

LAURA BUSH: Bye. Thanks, Larry.


KING: Governor and Mrs. George W. Bush earlier tonight, repeated now. And we'll be back with some closing comments after this. Don't go away.


KING: Tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE, Minister Jim Bakker will be with us. And then Wednesday night, we're going to be on one hour late because there are two debates Wednesday night, a Republican debate, a Democrat debate, both debates are on CNN. And we'll be on at 10:00 Eastern with a full panel to discuss that.

And on Thursday night, it's the State of the Union, and we'll be on following that with a full hour program as well at midnight Eastern on Thursday.

So lots of programming activity ahead. We'll be in New Hampshire next Tuesday as well.

Thanks for joining us on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. There's more late wrap-ups of the doings in Iowa ahead.

Thanks for joining us. From Des Moines, good night.



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