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Inside Politics

Poll Numbers Show McCain, Bush Even in New Hampshire; Bradley Shifts Strategy, Takes Shots at Gore; Democracy Triumphs Over Forces of Nature

Aired January 28, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET



SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: New Hampshire voters have been known to change their mind seven or eight times in the 24 hours prior to going to vote.



JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some Granite-staters do seem to be changing their minds about John McCain. Stay tuned for our new poll numbers.


BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to listen very carefully, because all politics uses words in a very tricky manner.


BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: As Bill Bradley's attacks on him get tougher, Al Gore hones his stays-the-course strategy in New Hampshire.

WOODRUFF: Plus, who or what has a snowball's chance of winning the political "Play of the Week?"

ANNOUNCER: From primary headquarters in New Hampshire, site of the first-in-the-nation primary, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff, and analysts Jeff Greenfield and Bill Schneider.

SHAW: Thanks for joining us.

Here in this state where voters are fond of upsetting the apple cart, the Republican presidential contest has taken a new turn.

WOODRUFF: Four days before the primary, our daily tracking poll now shows John McCain and George W. Bush are neck-in-neck in New Hampshire. Bush actually is ahead by one point, which is statistically insignificant, but perhaps comforting to his campaign. Yesterday, our tracking poll showed McCain leading by five points. If the new numbers are discouraging the senator, CNN's Jonathan Karl reports, he isn't showing it on the trail.


JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): McCain's aides say you don't need to look at the polls, just look at the crowds. McCain's New Hampshire town hall meetings are growing in size and enthusiasm.

More than 800 people packed into this event in the town of Exeter. Back on the bus between events, McCain shrugged off his slide in some polls here.

MCCAIN: Well, I don't know. As I have said before, they bounce back and forth, up and down, all over the place. So -- and I've always predicted this is going to be a very close race.

KARL: Further stepping up his attacks on Democrat Al Gore, McCain ridiculed the president's offer to forego TV commercials in exchange to frequent debates.

MCCAIN: I look forward to asking him why he debased every institution of government in the '96 campaign. I look forward to debating him in every possible venue. But to say that you're therefore not going to purchase any television commercials, you know, that's just crazy, particularly since he's been in recent weeks just excoriating Bill Bradley with his commercials.

KARL: McCain says he's glad he didn't have to sit through the president's State of the Union Address.

MCCAIN: I would never have proposed such a huge new laundry list of spending. I would have been before the Congress proposing a long list of spending cuts that are needed.

KARL (on camera): McCain is irritated by George W. Bush's suggestion that he mimics Gore and Clinton. In response, McCain is forcefully reminding people at every opportunity that he is no fan of the president's.

Jonathan Karl, CNN, Manchester, New Hampshire.


WOODRUFF: Now to George W. Bush's day in New Hampshire and his response to our new poll.

As CNN's Candy Crowley explains, Bush's new unofficial motto may be: Governors just want to have fun.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you done this before?

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Never have. CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Friday, George Bush crept cent up in the polls, picked up an endorsement and perked up on the trail. The admittedly homesick governor of Texas may be getting into the New Hampshire swing of things.

BUSH: One of the things that's important that I have found in life is, it's important for people to figure out how to have fun, and this was fun.

CROWLEY: The indoor activity Friday included the endorsement of former New Hampshire governor John Sununu. Sununu helped deliver the state to George Bush the father in '88.

JOHN SUNUNU (R), FMR. NEW HAMPSHIRE GOVERNOR: I think it would be a shame, since Governor Bush is going to be elected president, to have anyone elected president without first winning the New Hampshire primary.

CROWLEY: Sununu is a former Quayle supporter and relatively late to this game, but the son doesn't mind.

BUSH: There's also something called timing, if you know what I mean, and this is a well-timed announcement.

CROWLEY: Bush was less enthused by a well-timed editorial from "The Union Leader," which labeled bush "Governor Smirk," and sizzled him for -- quote -- "his smug attitude and smart remarks."

BUSH: "The Union Leader" said what?

I think "The Union Leader" has made this decision to support Steve Forbes, and I disagree with their decision.

CROWLEY: If he was bothered, it didn't show. More upbeat than he's been since arriving this week in New Hampshire, Bush was sympathetic when a questioner rose to ask what he would do about racism in the country, only she said, racism in her company.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will not live down that slip. I...


BUSH: You deserve a...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Country, country!

BUSH: Yes, I know how you feel. Some of the best of us mispronounce words.

CROWLEY: The Bush camp feels their candidate is moving in the right direction. They view as pivotal the debate moment when Bush suggested John McCain's tax plan was like Bill Clinton's. You could hear the optimism returning to the candidate's answers.

BUSH: First of all, I don't think I'll have a bump in the road here. I believe I've got a very good chance. I'm -- my spirits are lifted by the size of the crowd and what I'm hearing when people come up and to talk me.


CROWLEY: It was George Bush the president who first coined the term "big mo" -- momentum. Of course this is merely an upward tick in uncertain preprimary days, but you can call it "mini mo" -- Bernie.

SHAW: Thank you, Candy Crowley.

Now let's take a closer look at our updated poll, the numbers in the Republican presidential race. For that, we turn, as always, to our senior political analyst Bill Schneider -- Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Bernie, all the interviews in today's tracking poll were conducted post-Iowa. And on the Republican side, the trend lines meet -- Bush, 37, McCain, 36. Statistically speaking, now, that's a dead heat. We see McCain steadily sliding during the week, with both Bush and Forbes picking up.

Four other tracking polls here in New Hampshire also show a close race, although all of them show McCain ahead of Bush by between two and seven points. And the trends in the other polls, McCain down, Bush up, are not quite as strong as they are in the CNN tracking poll. The bottom line: The race between McCain and Bush is nose to nose.

SHAW: Bill, what's behind these trends?

SCHNEIDER: Well, it could be Al Gore, of all people. Gore has been picking up support here in New Hampshire, and that could be moving some votes in the GOP race. By better than four-to-one, Republican primary voters say Bush has a better chance than McCain of beating the Democratic candidate in November. Among registered Republicans who feel that way, Bush has gained six points and McCain has lost seven. The more Al Gore looks like the Democratic winner, the more Republicans worry and begin to think twice about voting for John McCain.

SHAW: Speaking about the Democrats, what about their race?

SCHNEIDER: Well, our latest tracking figures show Gore's lead stabilizing at 16 points -- Gore, 56, Bradley, 40. The other tracking polls all show Gore ahead by between nine and 11 points, with Gore making gains during the week. Now our 16-point reed for Gore is the biggest, but all of the polls but one have a Gore lead outside the margin of error.

We're finding more and more Democrats saying Gore, rather than Bradley, has a vision for the country's future, and more and more Democrats saying Gore has the better chance of beating the GOP candidate in November. Iowa made Gore look like a winner to Democrats.

SHAW: Thank you, Bill Schneider. Over to Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Well now, inside views of the Bush-McCain contest. We're joined by former White House chief of staff under president bush and former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, who, as we reported, endorsed George W. Bush today. He's here in Manchester. And with us from Washington, Dan Schnur, communications director for John McCain's campaign.

Gentlemen, thank you for being with us.

John Sununu, to you first. You originally did endorse Dan Quayle. You said he was the smartest and the most experienced running in this campaign. What does that make Governor Bush?

JOHN SUNUNU (R), FORMER NEW HAMPSHIRE GOVERNOR: Well, it makes Governor Bush the best candidate out there today that has a best chance to win the presidency and, in fact, the candidate I think that will win the presidency.

I'm just impressed that when I made the endorsement today, he was five down. Now you're telling me he's one up. We work fast in New Hampshire.

WOODRUFF: Let me give a quote that you gave. "The Arizona Republic" quotes you in June of last year, as saying, "George Bush is running with the rhetoric of the Clinton campaign that was successful for Clinton in '92 and '96." And you said, "Electing George W. Bush as the nominee will drive the party into a train wreck."

SUNUNU: Well, one of the things that has impressed me about the governor is that in the last few months, he has firmly established himself as a conservative candidate. The new -- the issues that he has put forward lately are clearly conservative -- cutting taxes, downsizing government, strong life position improving the defense posture of this country and having a real focus on foreign policy. So the governor now has put forth a package that clearly will reunite and reinvigorate the old Reagan coalition.

I was looking for somebody to run on a Reagan platform. The governor is doing it, that's why I have endorsed him and that's why I think the conservative Republican votes and the conservative independent votes in New Hampshire will take a good hard look and make sure on Tuesday the governor comes out the winner in New Hampshire, as he is going to be across the country.

WOODRUFF: Dan Schnur, to you now, as you heard Bill Schneider tell us just moments ago, the polls are now showing John McCain, your candidate, losing ground to Governor Bush. What do you make of this?

DAN SCHNUR, MCCAIN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Judy, you've got to remember, you're talking to a campaign that a few months ago was running behind about 39-to-4. So most of the polls, yours and others, as Bill Schneider noted, are showing the race very close. The others are showing us slightly ahead. This one shows us slightly behind. But we know, going into the last weekend, it's a very close race. So John McCain's out there talking about saving Social Security, about paying down the debt. And George Bush, for any New Hampshire voters whose biggest problem with Governor Bush is that he doesn't have quite enough endorsements from Washington insiders, well, they have the former White House chief of staff now.

WOODRUFF: Well, what do you say to Governor Bush's repeated statements now that John McCain's tax cut looks a lot like President Clinton's and neither one of them is conservative enough?

SCHNUR: John McCain's tax cut is over double the size of Bill Clinton's. The real similarities here that strike me, Judy, are the similarities between George Bush and Bill Clinton,

Neither one of them is doing nearly enough to pay off Social Security. Bill Clinton is putting up part of the trust fund. George Bush is putting up the trust fund, but not a dollar more. Neither of them have outlined a single spending cut they'd make. And both of them are looking to move power over education spending from the states to the federal government.

So if there are two budget twins here, it's Bush and Clinton.

WOODRUFF: What about that, John Sununu?

SUNUNU: The fact is, is that when you look at the -- not only the magnitude of the Bush tax-cut, but the details in it, including dealing with some of the issues associated with the marriage penalty, cutting the rates across the board and reducing those, those are the kinds of things that make a difference in an incentive to the economy as well as putting money back in the pockets of people. That's a conservative tax cut.

This idea of playing games with trying to fund things dealing with what people call loopholes but turns out somebody's loophole is somebody else's important incentive is, I think, just a smoke screen that really does sound like what I would expect to hear from Clinton. And I'm really disappointed in hearing that kind of rhetoric from the campaign of my good friend Senator McCain.

WOODRUFF: Dan Schnur, just quickly, Al Gore is now talking at points as if John McCain's his new best friend. He's saying, "I'm sure he's the only Republican who would debate me twice a week in the fall." He's talking about his tax plan is the best among the Republican's. How do you explain that?

SCHNUR: Well, say what you will about Al Gore, but he knows how to read a poll. And if you look at the polls, your own poll, Judy, about a week ago showed that nationwide Republicans preferred John McCain's plan to save Social Security, pay down the debt and give a tax cut over Governor Bush's

And the "L.A. Times" poll just last weekend showed in New Hampshire, Republicans preferred the McCain plan by 25 percent. So what I think it means is Al Gore knows how read a poll. And we'll see on Tuesday, but I think most Republicans will agree then that paying off Social Security like John McCain wants to is the way to go.

WOODRUFF: All right, we're going to leave it there. Dan Schnur, representing the McCain campaign, John Sununu, speaking for Governor George W. Bush. Gentlemen, thank you both -- Bernie.

SHAW: Still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS the Democratic race heats up: a look at Bill Bradley's new campaign offensive. And Al Gore, on track and on message: a look at his post-State of the Union campaigning.

INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.


WOODRUFF: Here in the Granite State, Democratic hopeful Bill Bradley is lagging behind Al Gore in the polls. Now the former New Jersey senator has changed his strategy and taken direct aim at Gore.

Our Jeanne Meserve reports.


JEANNE MESERVE, CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New Hampshire's motto may be "live free or die," but for Bill Bradley it might more appropriately be "do or die," and he is responding accordingly.

BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Virtually every day in this campaign, it's attack, attack, attack, attack, attack, attack, attack.

MESERVE: Now that Bradley has decided to fire back on Al Gore, he is following his own prescription for big and bold responses rather than nibbles around the edges.

His manner mild, his volume soft, he delivered verbal hammer- blows to the vice president.

BRADLEY: And I think that when you listen to Al Gore speak, you have to listen very carefully, because old politics uses words in a very tricky manner. It's not simply this is what I believe, and this is where I am, and this is what I want to do. You have to look at every word and every clause.

MESERVE: Bradley says Gore -- quote -- "pulls the wool over voters' eyes," and gives the illusion that he and Bradley take the same stands. For instance, says Bradley, Gore says he supports universal access to health care but offers no way to get there.

BRADLEY: Al Gore says he's put out a program, too, but then he says, "I'm for universal health care." But of course, there's no beef there.

MESERVE: Piling on, on the health care issue, former U.S. Senator and Connecticut Governor Lowell Weicker.

LOWELL WEICKER, FMR. CONNECTICUT GOVERNOR: Eight years ago, eight years ago, the health care ball was handed to the Clinton-Gore administration. And what did they do with it? A total bust.

MESERVE: Weicker, who endorsed Bradley Friday, served in the Senate as a Republican, but became an independent when he ran for governor. Last year, he flirted with running for the presidency on the Reform Party ticket.

He has been brought in here to help corral New Hampshire's independent voters, some of whom are supporting Republican John McCain rather than Bradley. Weicker urged them not to waste their votes.

WEICKER: Do not confuse independents with the Republican Party. That is not a quality inherent in that group.


MESERVE: And a potential complication for Bradley: Today he revealed that he has had another episode of atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat, in the past week -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: And Jeanne, the people around Bradley are talking to you about what they're doing after New Hampshire?

MESERVE: They certainly are, giving every indication that no matter what happens here, they're going to plow ahead. They released the schedule for the three days after New Hampshire, which includes stops in Connecticut, New York, California, Maryland and Florida.

And they certainly have the money to put up a stand. The campaign says that as of February 1st they expect to have $20 million on hand -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jeanne Meserve with the Bradley campaign -- Bernie.

SHAW: For front-runner Al Gore, the strategy of the day was clear: focus on the economy and ignore the attacks of his rival.

Our John King has the story.


JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Stay the course was Al Gore's message the day after President Clinton's final State of the Union address.

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We need to keep our prosperity going. We have just begun to prosper. We've just begun to fight for the kinds of policies that'll enable us to prosper.

KING: This energy business is on the grounds of a former Air Force base whose 1991 closing cost an already struggling New Hampshire thousands of jobs.

The state is booming now, but Gore warned a wrong choice in the presidential race could put the rebound at risk.

GORE: Who has the experience and the skills to keep our prosperity going?

KING: He answered his own question, taking after Republican front-runner George W. Bush...

GORE: No risky tax schemes that squander the surplus and put us right back into deficits again.

KING: ... and Democratic rival Bill Bradley.

GORE: There are those who say we should instead just lurch into a bidding war on how we can spend the surplus as quickly as possible on the first ideas that come down the pike.

KING: That was a shot at Bradley's call for immediate universal health care coverage. Gore says it would cost too much too soon and perhaps scare financial markets.

GORE: We need to get to universal health care in a practical, step-by-step way.

KING: Gore was in the president's shadow Thursday night and returned Friday to a more bruising New Hampshire campaign. Bradley says the vice president is distorting his record and can't be trusted.

Gore shrugged it all off.

GORE: I'm going to emphasize the positive.

KING: The vice president's strategy reflects his lead heading into the final weekend of the New Hampshire campaign, his constant focus on the economy designed to remind the voters how devastated the state was at the start of the Clinton-Gore years. Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin was along to help make the case, as was New Hampshire's Democratic governor.

GOV. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE: We're creating about 16,000 jobs a year. The economy has really turned around.


KING: In addition to the good news in the New Hampshire polls, Gore campaign aides today distributing copies of the latest NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll showing the vice president now in a statistical dead heat with the Republican front-runner, George W. Bush. Gore aides insisting now that their campaign has improved and he is the best Democrat to go up against the Republicans in November -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: John King traveling with Al Gore.

Well, our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield, joins us now.

Jeff, I know you've been talking to a number of people here in New Hampshire, including folks in the Bradley campaign, about among other things why Senator Bradley has waited so long to go on the offensive. JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: To paraphrase John Kennedy, victory has a thousand fathers, and the possibility of defeat has a thousand backseat drivers. And all through the political community, the question is why did the Bradley campaign not get material that would have given him ammunition?

Today's "Boston Globe," in looking at Gore's 1988 presidential run has two very interesting quotes. One of them is from Arlie Schardt, who was a communications director, warning him in 1988, quote, "Your main pitfall is exaggeration." And another quote from a press aide saying, "Your image may continue to suffer if you continue to out on a limb with remarks that may be impossible to back up."

And old political operatives say, you know, if Bradley had had that months ago, the first time he was attacked, to turn to Gore and say, you know, in effect, there you go again. This was your campaign that warned you about this, would have been effective.

And there was an abortion quote from 1987, a very well-known one, where Gore as a senator said that "I have consistently opposed federal funding of abortions. In my opinion, it is wrong to spend federal dollars for what is arguably the taking of human life." And the question is, why didn't Bradley use it early and often?

WOODRUFF: And, Jeff, you were also were talking to the Bradley folks about what would happen if Senator Bradley loses New Hampshire by a significant margin.

GREENFIELD: Yes, Jeanne told us -- and I think they've been saying all along -- we're going into New York, we're going into California. I heard the possibility for the first time today that should it be a loss -- if it should be a loss of blowout proportions, as one fellow said to me, we might have to look ourselves hard in the eye and ask some tough questions. They don't expect that. They plan to go on to March 7. As Jeanne said, they have the money. And one of them said to me, you know, did we ever show we wanted to fight for the job? Well I guess we'll find out on Tuesday. So I think there's some thinking of, gee, what happens if it's disaster?

WOODRUFF: Let me ask you about the Republicans. The Bush campaign, as you know, has been saying South Carolina is going to be a firewall for them. What are you hearing? Can they be so confident about that?

GREENFIELD: Let me honestly say that what I am hearing is thanks to Michael Kramer, who is one of the best political reporters in the country, who has a piece coming out in "The Daily News," in 1988, '92 and '96, South Carolina was a place where the establishment gave the nomination to their candidate, Bush in '88 and '92 and Dole in '96. And what Michael is saying the Republicans, the pro-Bush Republicans, are worried about is this. In all three campaigns, they were saying, the Republicans to their voters, look, this is the new South. It's not the old South. You don't want to give your votes to a fringe candidate like Pat Robertson or Pat Buchanan. If John McCain is the opponent to the establishment candidate, it's much harder to make the argument that this is somehow a vote that will reflect poorly on the mainstream South Republicans.

It's not that they're panicked, it's not that they think they're not well ahead, but there's that cloud no bigger than a man saying, gee, if McCain wins, is there a prairie fire and does it worry us? Maybe.

WOODRUFF: Very interesting reporting. Jeff Greenfield, thank you.

And coming up next, an update on the rest of the president -- Republican presidential pack. We'll tell you which candidate is getting some flack for something he said to grade school students.


SHAW: Here in New Hampshire, the second-tier Republican presidential candidates are trying to one-up one another this day in touting their conservatism. Steve Forbes said if he had to choose between implementing his proposed flat tax and outlawing abortion, he would ban abortion.

Gary Bauer took aim at President Clinton's State of the Union address. Bauer contends Mr. Clinton's proposals are liberal and prove the nation needs a conservative president.

Alan Keyes pressed his allegation that John McCain is not strong enough in his opposition to abortion. Keyes is facing some fallout for his statements on the issue. Some adults at a New Hampshire elementary school were stunned yesterday by the way Keyes explained his position to fifth graders.


ALAN KEYES (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now tell me something. If I were to lose my mind right now and pick one of you up and dash your head against the floor and kill you, would that be right?


KEYES: It's wrong to kill children, isn't it?

SHAW: Keyes never actually said the word abortion. When asked if it might be a little heavy handed to broach the subject with 10- and 11-year-old children, Keyes responded absolutely not.

SHAW: There's much more ahead here on INSIDE POLITICS.

WOODRUFF: Coming up, Al Gore is not alone. Our John King on why all the candidates are running in President Clinton's shadow.


SHAW: ... the television campaign for New Hampshire support -- a look at what the candidates are airing and spending.


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Democracy has triumphed over adversity many times in this country. It has triumphed over depression, disorderly and demagoguery. But this week, democracy triumphed over the most powerful and uncontrollable force of all.


WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider with a triumph that earns the political "Play of the Week."


SONIA RUSELER, CNN ANCHOR: We'll have more of the day's political news coming up, but now a look at some of the other top stories.

Attorney General Janet Reno has issued a statement indicating she still believes Elian Gonzalez should be returned to his father in Cuba. The statement came after Reno met with her longtime friend, the Catholic nun who provided neutral ground for the child's recent meeting with his Cuban grandmothers.

Sister Jeanne O'Laughlin took her appeal for the child to stay in the U.S. to Reno, telling her the child had bonded with his American family.


SISTER JEANNE O'LAUGHLIN: I only can see that a child has been here for two months and has bonded deeply with the family, who at this point would cause him to accept another death if he had to leave.


RUSELER: Reno says she listened to Sister Jeanne's observations and still concludes the father is the one person who speaks for the child. And the father wants the child with him in Cuba.

Now, the weather is making it difficult for some Super Bowl fans to get to the host city, Atlanta, Georgia. No snow has fallen yet, but Atlanta-based Delta Airlines has canceled hundreds of flights into and out of Hartsfield International Airport as a precaution. Other carriers are reporting sporadic cancellations.

A powerful storm moving eastward across Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama is on track to hit Georgia with a mix of snow, ice and rain.

Already as much as a foot of snow blankets Arkansas. Ten South and Central Arkansas counties have been declared state disaster areas.

Like much of the Southeastern U.S., portions of Israel and the Middle East are seeing their heaviest snow in years. The biggest snowstorm to hit the holy land in half a century has dumped at least 15 inches of snow on Jerusalem and nearly three feet in other areas. President Clinton leaves for Switzerland tonight. He'll be attending an international economic conference there. He also plans to meet with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at the Swiss ski resort, Davos.

Mr. Clinton is trying to help Israelis and Palestinians reach a peace accord outline by a mid-February deadline. Arafat is at the Swiss economic forum lobbying for investment in the Palestinian- homeland.

NASA may have to delay Monday's scheduled launch of the Shuttle Endeavor. Engineers are re-examining seals on the main engine. A seal on the Shuttle Discovery was found damaged after it returned from a recent mission. It caused no apparent problem, but NASA says it is simply troubleshooting to make sure seals are secure on Endeavor before the shuttle is launched.

When INSIDE POLITICS returns, from New Hampshire, Bob Novak has his ear to the ground in the Granite State. So find out what he's hearing about the Bush/McCain race.



WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Last year, the vice president launched a new effort to make communities more liberal -- livable.


Liberal -- I know.


No, wait a minute.


I've got a punch line now. That's this year's agenda. Last year was livable, right? That's what Senator Lott's going to say in the commentary afterwards.


SHAW: The president flubbing one of his references to Al Gore in his State of the Union address last night. Mr. Clinton mentioned the vice president five times last night. Now, in past State of the Union speeches, he mentioned Gore four times, at most. That was in 1997.

In his first joint address to Congress shortly after taking office, Mr. Clinton did not mention Gore at all.

But this year, of course, Gore is running for president. And as CNN's John King explains, Mr. Clinton is helping shape the election dynamic.


GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our military is challenged by aging weapons.



ANNOUNCER: Leading the way. Navy officer, congressman.



STEVE FORBES (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But I need and want your support to make these possibilities a reality.

ANNOUNCER: To find out more, visit



BUSH: Today we live in a world of terror.



CLINTON: ... has ever been.


KING (voice-over): Every big applause line brought Mr. Clinton's chosen successor to his feet, but the president's impact goes well beyond forcing Al Gore off the New Hampshire campaign trail for a night.

BUSH: When I put my hand on the Bible to swear in, I will swear in not only to uphold the laws of the land. I will swear to uphold the honor and the dignity of the office.

KING: There are the obvious reminders of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and they're not limited to the Republicans.

BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think elections will always be about something broader issues. I think an election will always be about who people trust.

KING: Mr. Clinton's shadow is hardly limited to the personal. He's the president who signed the first balanced budget in a generation and a national welfare to work program.

LEON PANETTA, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: If this were a Republican president with this kind of economy, he would probably be recommended for sainthood.

KING (on camera): Mr. Clinton's policy proposals face an uncertain fate in a Republican Congress, but the debate among the candidates to succeed him here in New Hampshire reflects how dramatically the political environment has changed during his seven years in office.

(voice-over): From the top Republican contenders, plenty of criticism of the tax code, but no talk of eliminating the Education Department.

PANETTA: Of the leading candidates that are out there, there isn't one who's attacking government.

KING: The Democrat who has spent years saying a big tax cut would endanger Social Security and education is playing a big role in the Republican race. Governor George W. Bush says Mr. Clinton is wrong and he pushes a 10-year nearly $500 billion tax cut. But Arizona Senator John McCain sees an electorate more in tune with the president's assessment and echoes the administration in calling for a smaller tax cut and using the federal budget surplus for Social Security and debt reduction.

How to spend the surplus is just one of the controversial debates spilling over from the Clinton years into campaign 2000.

Free trade with China is another, not to mention whether Social Security and Medicare need major changes.

LEE HAMILTON (D), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: You're either going to have to reduce benefits or increase taxes, and those are really about the two choices you confront and they're not choices that politicians like.

KING: Just how big of an issue Mr. Clinton's personal conduct will be in the fall is an open question, as is just how active a campaigner the president will be. But long-time friends like David Leopoulos say Mr. Clinton won't willingly fade away.

DAVID LEOPOULOS, CLINTON FRIEND: He will not stop until he flies away in that helicopter the day of the inauguration of the next president. He's totally motivated.

KING: John King, CNN, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.


WOODRUFF: Now, let's talk about election 2000 and how it's playing out here in New Hampshire with Bob Novak of "The Chicago Sun- Times.

Bob, I know you've been reporting all day long. Is George Bush truly gaining ground here?

ROBERT NOVAK, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": Everybody thinks so. I was with Senator McCain in the town of Plaistow last night and they were supremely confident then. But things happen fast in New Hampshire. And based mostly on the polls but also on feel, everybody now thinks it's a very close election, but the momentum is in Bush's direction.

WOODRUFF: How do you explain that? I mean, are there problems in the McCain campaign?

NOVAK: Yes, I'll talk about those in a moment, but I think the biggest reason for the change, as Bill Schneider suggested, when they see Al Gore standing behind the -- sitting behind the president at the State of the Union, people say, my goodness, we're going to get Gore as president, we better get somebody who can beat him. And the establishment candidate seems more reliable.

They've also made very good use of surrogates. That got Jack Kemp endorsement, much to the astonishment and dismay of Steve Forbes. They got -- never a great friend of George W. Bush -- to endorse him.

But I think one of the most interesting things is Elizabeth Dole has been campaigning in the state. And she, who doesn't like negative campaigning, had an edit page piece in "The Manchester Union Leader" this morning, saying that the McCain loophole closers would hurt charitable contributions.

WOODRUFF: Because of the taxes.

NOVAK: That's right.

WOODRUFF: That's right.

Where does all this leave Steve Forbes, Bob?

NOVAK: Steve Forbes is -- it's a great surprise. I thought for sure, that he would come out of here with a head of steam, but they're just not buying him.

Let me say a word about McCain. You know, there was an interesting story in "The Washington Times" by Don Lambrough (ph) that was overlooked, that Vin Weber, who is a former congressman from Minnesota, a strong supporter for McCain, said if he were a member of Congress, he would vote for the Bush tax cut. There's a lot of feeling that Senator McCain has made a mistake in not going for a more Republican-style tax cut. The word is, if you add up the figures, it's a smaller tax cut than President Clinton's.

WOODRUFF: Finally, the Democrats -- what are they saying about the Bill Bradley campaign?

NOVAK: The Democratic politicians I talked to here are saying that Bill Bradley has probably lost New Hampshire by not hitting harder against Al Gore in the first place. And they compare him to a man named John Rowe (ph), who is a supporter of Bill Bradley, very beloved liberal here, but not a hard fighter. And in 1992, he lost to the Republican, Judd Gregg, by three percentage points because he wouldn't hit back.

Judy, in this nice, lovely New England state, you've got to be a tough guy to win, and Bill Bradley found that out, started it five days ago, maybe too late.

WOODRUFF: All right, ain't beanbag here.

All right, Bob Novak, thanks -- Bernie.

SHAW: Thank you. And up next: surrounding New Hampshire voters, a look at how the candidates are using television to get out the message.


SHAW: As was the case in Iowa just before the caucuses, New Hampshire voters are finding political ads inescapable. In nearly every commercial break, candidates and their supporters are touting endorsements, and initiatives, and issuing charges and counter- charges.

We begin our ad reel segment today with a look at the latest campaign spots.


SHAW (voice-over): Al Gore's latest ad has the self- congratulatory tone of the president's State of the Union -- with a local twist.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our country's economy is on the right track: 100,000 new jobs in New Hampshire alone. America's economic strategy is working, and Al Gore has the experience and the plan to keep it going.


SHAW: Bill Bradley has three new ads out today, including this one, listing more than a dozen local newspaper endorsements.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bill Bradley has the character to restore dignity. He's the superior man to have in the Oval Office. A vision of leadership. The best candidate.


Republican insurgent John McCain's new ad asked Granite State voters to stand up to politics, as usual.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New Hampshire can send a powerful message to America.

MCCAIN: You have lost your representation in Washington. It's been taken over by the special interests. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SHAW: But McCain also plays political hardball, by criticizing his chief opponent by name.


MCCAIN: I guess it was bound to happen. Now my opponent has started the political attacks, after promising he wouldn't. Mr. Bush's attacks are wrong.


SHAW: The independent Republican leadership council takes a similar line against Steve Forbes, warning Forbes against going negative.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Bob Dole speaks out on the effect Steve Forbes' negative ads had in 1996, and how they could harm the party again: "I emerged the Republican nominee, battered, bruised and broke."


SHAW: But unlike '96, Forbes has run a mostly positive ad campaign. His latest spot attempts to generate some excitement from his second-place Iowa showing.


FORBES: I want to deeply thank the people of Iowa who've made their own decisions, who listened to our message. This is not a good night for the power brokers in Washington D.C.

SHAW: Bush, too, is hoping to build a sense of excitement for his campaign this week. Along with traditional endorsement and message spots, Bush ran this realtime ad, filmed as he touched down in New Hampshire.


BUSH: Yesterday it was, Thank you, Iowa. Today it is, We're ready in New Hampshire.



SHAW: Joining us now from Atlanta, David Peeler of Competitive Media Reporting.

David, the Bush campaign, in particular, is directing a lot of attention to its realtime ads here in the Granite State. Give us a sense of how much these candidates are spending on this style of ad? DAVID PEELER, COMPETITIVE MEDIA REPORTING: Well, Bernie, it's interesting, you know, we call these in the industry crash ads, because you kind of come into the market, you create the ad, you go right into the television station. It's funny, the media's picked up you on it quite heavily, and you're getting a lot of free airtime. However, in real media spending dollars, George Bush has only spent about $9,000 for about 18 runs in these types of commercials. Generally, they only run once or twice in the market. He's focused them clearly only in the Manchester market; he's not running them in Boston or in Portland.

Interestingly, Steve Forbes tried the tactic a little earlier in the campaign. He used some of them also in Iowa, but he's spent about $30,000 over 43 runs in the state of New Hampshire on these types of crash ads.

SHAW: Well, this New Hampshire primary is just four days away. What are the candidates spending on ads overall here?

PEELER: Well, Bernie, just what you'd expect to see in a couple of days right before the primary. We see that John McCain, on the Republican side, is outspending George Bush. This is from a couple of days prior to the Iowa primary, on the 18th through the 25th, over $400,000. George W. Bush isn't far behind him, with $350,000-plus, and we expect to see a pickup over the weekend as we lead into Tuesday's primary.

SHAW: One other question, David...

PEELER: Let's look at -- the two front-runners, while we focus on them, are not the only ones spending money. Steve Forbes is still in New Hampshire. He's picked up -- recently in the last couple days, he's at $166,000. hand for the first time, we see Alan Keyes in the market, with $36,000. So there's a lot of spending on the Republican side in this market.

SHAW: Indeed. What about the Democrats? How much are they spending?

PEELER: Again a competitive race. You know, we've talked all through the process that the Democrats have been running all of their ads either in Iowa or now in New Hampshire. Bill Bradley's spent almost $500,000 in the past week. Al Gore at almost $400,000. So both of those two Democratic candidates are very, very heavily spending in the New Hampshire market.

SHAW: David Peeler, you're in Atlanta. Can I go to the Super Bowl with you?

PEELER: Bernie, actually, with the weather here, we may have an extra ticket for you, so come on down.

SHAW: OK, I wish we could.

David Peeler, thanks very much.

And when we return, the New Hampshire primary, the weather and the political "Play of the Week."


SHAW: You know, there's been so much talk about the front-loaded primary season of this 2000 election. And this week, the presidential hopefuls, along with some members of the news media, found out just how closely bunched the early contests truly are.

Our Bill Schneider once again to explain why -- Bill.

SCHNEIDER: Bernie, Democracy has triumphed over adversity many times in this country. It has triumphed over depression, disorder, demagoguery. But this week, democracy triumphed over the most powerful and uncontrollable force of all: the force of nature. Score a victory and a "Play of the Week" for the political process.


GORE: Thank you, Iowa! On to New Hampshire!

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Monday night, Iowa votes. Tuesday morning, on to New Hampshire. The process moves east. No, it doesn't. A huge snowstorm shuts down the entire East Coast, airports closed, the press diverted -- a terrifying thought. What if they gave a primary, and nobody covered it? Would it really happen? But the show must go on.

7:00 a.m. Tuesday: CNN's intrepid political staff takes off for Manchester and ends up shuffling off to Buffalo. Buffalo? Has anyone in history gone to Buffalo in January to escape bad weather.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Providence may not be an option any longer. There are no other places on the east coast where can land at this point.

SCHNEIDER: What a catastrophe -- reporters without a story, analysts with nothing to analyze, anchors without a ship, producers without a show.

In Washington, the federal government shuts down, but not the New Hampshire primary. Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these candidates from the swift completion of their appointed soundbites.

BUSH: This is what New Hampshire politics is all about, and we're excited to be here. Would you please do a snow angel for the people?

SCHNEIDER: The candidates are pressed to take a position.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Do you like the snow?

BRADLEY: Do I like the snow? I do like the snow.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I love the snow.

BRADLEY: I don't like it every day, but I do like the snow. And you know, when you're in New Hampshire.


BRADLEY: Do I eat it? No, no, no, no, I don't eat the snow.

SCHNEIDER: What about the boys in the bus? What do they do if the bus gets stuck. Hey, this is John McCain's bus, he can deal with adversity. I think I can, I think I can -- back on the road again.

One candidate trying to become a non-candidate took the weather as a sign.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R-UT), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I had intended to resign yesterday, but we had to cancel because of the largest snowstorm to hit this city in 10 years, and I said to Elaine, I said, well, maybe I shouldn't resign, maybe the snowstorm is a sign from God. And Elaine responded, she said, no, Orrin, the Iowa caucuses were the sign from god.


SCHNEIDER: The process did carry on. The candidates stumped and debated. The press pressed on. The campaign stuck their claims in the snow. Some of them even got rewarded for their valor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wanted to present this "caught you caring" trophy to Governor Bush in recognition of his perseverance for coming from Texas to snowy New Hampshire.

SCHNEIDER: We think the whole process deserves a reward -- Democracy beats Mother Nature, the political "Play of the Week" to the unstoppable New Hampshire primary.


SCHNEIDER: Now there is another big snowstorm forecast for Atlanta this weekend. We'll see if those wusses in the Super Bowl can cope half as well as us tough guys up here in New Hampshire -- Bernie.

SHAW: Bill Schneider. I actually liked the two-hour bus ride Tuesday night from Rhode Island to here -- Manchester.

WOODRUFF: You mentioned that in your piece.

SCHNEIDER: That was the most exciting part.


SCHNEIDER: But we won't talk about what happened.



Well, that's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. But please, these programming notes: Tonight on "MONEYLINE NEWS HOUR," an exclusive interview with Vice President Al Gore. That's at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

WOODRUFF: And Bill Bradley will be the guest tomorrow on "EVANS, NOVAK, HUNT & SHIELDS" at 5:30 p.m. Eastern. John McCain will be among the guests at noon Eastern Sunday on "LATE EDITION." And we'll have a special edition of INSIDE POLITICS from here in Manchester on Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

SHAW: And as always, of course, you can go online all the time at CNN's

I'm Bernard Shaw.

WOODRUFF: And I'm Judy Woodruff.

"WORLDVIEW" is next.


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