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Inside Politics

McCain Looks to Turn New Hampshire Bounce into South Carolina Boom; Bradley Focuses on Gore's Character

Aired February 4, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET



GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What I need to do is make it clear and not let Senator McCain get away with this Washington double-talk.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: George W. Bush tries to stop John McCain's surge. Will he appear determined or, as McCain charges, desperate?

McCain, meantime, is casting himself in the mold of a past Republican president. Is he really Reaganesque?



CHRIS BLACK, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another day, another charge from Bill Bradley.


WOODRUFF: Chris Black tells us what Bradley is dishing out this time.

ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff, thanks for joining us. Bernie is on assignment.

We begin with the leading Republican presidential candidates and their role reversal. For a third straight day, John McCain is basking in the glow of his New Hampshire primary win and acting like the man to beat. George W. Bush, in contrast, is trying to show a scrappier side than he did in the days when his front-runner status was more secure.

First to the Bush campaign and CNN's Candy Crowley.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There is a new theme in the Bush campaign. His name is John McCain.

BUSH: What I need to do is make it clear and not let Senator McCain get away with this double talk.

CROWLEY: With an eye on South Carolina, George Bush campaigned through Michigan. The primary here comes three days after South Carolina, on the same day as Arizona. Bush hopes to throw up early roadblocks here to prevent McCain from making any inroads. Bush was fueled on his Michigan trek by a "Wall Street Journal" report that McCain receives more of his money from the Washington area and political action committees than any other candidate.

BUSH: It's important on campaign funding reform that we have campaign funding reform. But it's also important for people to know that my friend is raising money from people who have business in front of his committee. Nothing illegal about that, but I just want to make sure the facts are laid bare.

CROWLEY: A staffer calls Bush's harder edge evidence of fire in the belly -- that's political speak for showing you want the job. Bussing his way through South Carolina, John McCain called it something else.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Why doesn't Governor Bush explain the positions on the issues and the differences that we have. That's what's important to the American people and he knows it. You know, in all due respect, I think it's beginning to show a little sign of desperation.

CROWLEY: On the issues, Bush is equally tough, scoring McCain for a tax plan more Democratic than Republican and for criticizing the Bush plan as too risky.

BUSH: That may appeal to the people of New Hampshire, but that's not going to appeal to the people of Michigan.

CROWLEY: Bush also sought to trump McCain on the issue of who can broaden the party. He pocketed the endorsements of several African-American pastors in the morning.

BUSH: Why here? Because I'm going to be the president of everybody who lives in America.

CROWLEY (on camera): Despite the worst week in the campaign and poll numbers that are closing in, Bush aides say they are contemplating no change in strategy, no change on core issues. As for the mood of the campaign, Bush says, I'm riding high. You bet I am.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Troy, Michigan.


WOODRUFF: Well for his part, John McCain stumped again today in South Carolina. A second poll shows McCain has turned the tables and now holds a slight edge over Bush in the Palmetto State.

CNN's Jonathan Karl is on the road with McCain.


JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Facing his largest South Carolina crowd ever, John McCain said he is the candidate who can win the presidency by bringing new people to the Republican Party, like Ronald Reagan did 20 years ago.

MCCAIN: What Ronald Reagan did was he moved the Republican Party, sticking to our conservative base, our conservative principles. But we moved the base out and managed to win overwhelming victories.

KARL: One 81-year-old man was so moved by McCain's message, he hopped on the stage to give him a copy of the Constitution and a $50 donation.

MCCAIN: Yes, sir.

KARL: Back on his bus, McCain seemed genuinely move by the enthusiasm of the crowd.

MCCAIN: It's incredibly humbling to me, a person of fairly significant ego, it's very humbling that people would become as emotional and connected to this campaign as they became in New Hampshire and obviously they're becoming here in South Carolina. It puts a huge responsibility on me.

KARL: As if on cue, McCain's top California adviser ducked his head into the back of the bus with an update.

KEN KHACHIGIAN, MCCAIN ADVISER: We just talked to our California folks. We now have 7,000 people signed up for you on the McCain interactive in California. That's up to 1,500 just in the last 10 days. And, you know, we set a goal to re-register 30,000 people to the party. We think we're going to hit that.

KARL: At the next event, a town hall meeting in Florence, McCain said that Republicans will need more than money to win in November.

MCCAIN: Ideas, ideas, ideas, a vision for the future of America. That's what the Republican Party needs to articulate, not to see who can get the most money.

KARL: McCain said he relishes the possibility of a political fight with Al Gore.

MCCAIN: I eagerly look forward to the combat. The old fighter pilot in me is coming out.

KARL: This weekend, McCain will campaign in California, Arizona and Michigan before returning to South Carolina early next week.

(on camera): McCain is guarding against overconfidence, reminding people he's only won one primary. But some of his top aides can't resist. As one said, "We're winning. There's no doubt about it." Jonathan Karl, CNN, Florence, South Carolina.


KARL: Among Republicans nationwide, our new poll shows McCain has gained some ground, but he still trails Bush by 26 points. Bush has 54 percent, McCain 26 percent in a CNN/"Time" magazine survey taken after McCain's primary victory in New Hampshire. Back in mid January, Bush led 61 percent to McCain's 16 percent. Well, for more on these new numbers, we turn now to CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider.

Bill, what is happening, tell us, behind these numbers nationally?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Judy, it is what George W. Bush's father 20 years ago labeled, memorably, "the big mo." Only this time, it's going against his son.

After his huge victory in New Hampshire, John McCain is becoming a political sensation. What's dangerous in this poll is not the fact that McCain has picked up support among Republicans nationwide -- he's still running two to one behind governor Bush -- it's the fact that Bush's support has dropped seven points. And that's a bad sign. Bush is still an unfamiliar quantity to most Republicans. What they liked best about him is he looked like a winner. Now there's some doubt. If he were to lose again in South Carolina, he could start hemorrhaging support.

WOODRUFF: Now, Bill, this is a poll of Republican nationwide, but does it tell us anything about what might happen in South Carolina?

SCHNEIDER: Well, it tells us a little bit. It tells us that Governor Bush's strongest support comes from Southern Republicans. Bush is running 42 points ahead of McCain in the South, which is a lot larger than his 26 point margin nationwide. Bush is the governor of Texas and his brother is the governor of Florida.

Now here's some more good news for Bush. McCain's strongest support comes from self-described moderate Republicans, where he's nearly even with Bush. Among conservative Republicans, however, Bush leads McCain three to one. And South Carolina has one of the most conservative Republican parties in the country. That's why Bush is stressing his conservative credentials in South Carolina and trying to depict McCain as a moderate and why McCain is trying to say he's just as conservative as Bush. The ideological difference works against McCain.

WOODRUFF: Does the poll show any gains for McCain among -- advantages for McCain among Republicans?

SCHNEIDER: Well, here's one. We asked Republicans, if you had to choose, would you prefer a larger tax cut and a smaller amount of money from the surplus used for Social Security and for paying down the national debt, or a smaller tax cut with more money for Social Security and the debt. Two-thirds of Republicans nationwide take the second choice, a smaller tax cut. And that's McCain's position. Tax cuts just aren't selling very well right now, even among Republicans. And guess what George W. Bush has been trying to sell?


WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider, thank you.

Well, let's talk more about this Republican race and the candidates' strategies with William Kristol of "The Weekly Standard" and E.J. Dionne of "The Washington Post."

E.J., first of all, just how worried should the Republican establishment backing George W. Bush be right now?

E.J. DIONNE, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I think they should be extremely worried. A mutual friend of ours said they were drinking a lot of Maalox at the Republican National Committee recently.

I mean, I think the establishment shouldn't be surprised. They spent two years saying that candor and character and corruption were the reasons why they were waging this campaign against Bill Clinton. And then all of a sudden, the candidate of candor, character and reform comes along and rank-and-file Republicans say isn't that what we're supposed to believe? Isn't that what we've always believed? So McCain has tapped into something that goes very deep in the Republican Party.

And I think what Bill pointed out on taxes, that issue isn't selling. It didn't sell among New Hampshire Republicans. Bush will be helped a little bit by the weakness of Forbes -- some of the anti- tax Republicans vote for Forbes -- but it is not a central concern of this Republican electorate right now.


WILLIAM KRISTOL, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Well, the D.C., the Washington, D.C. Republican establishment wants to unleash the doomsday machine on McCain. But that is not the case around the country. I've talked to Republicans, establishment Republicans, national committee men, you know, senior state representatives, those types, in Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, South Carolina today. Most of their attitudes is, I was for Bush, everyone was for Bush. He was inevitable. My governor told me to be for Bush. I like Bush, but, you know, he hasn't done that well in the debates. And when you look at New Hampshire, McCain looks like he could be a stronger candidate in November.

I disagree, most of these people say, with McCain on some of these issues, but look, they're moderate conservatives. McCain looks a little more impressive. You know what? McCain is fine with me. So you're seeing a split in the establishment. The D.C. establishment wants to crush McCain, but around the country an awful lot of Republicans are awful happy to jump off Bush's ship and get on McCain's.

WOODRUFF: Why the discrepancy?

KRISTOL: Because the D.C. establishment hates McCain for campaign reform and really in general just dislikes his unwillingness to be unorthodox. He doesn't play by the rules of the game here, but if you're out in Wisconsin, or North Carolina or South Carolina, you look up to -- you know, John McCain's impressive.

They don't dislike George W. Bush, incidentally. We shouldn't -- I don't think George W. Bush has a high unfavorable rating among Republicans, but for the first time Bush isn't inevitable. They're looking at the two of them, and they're saying, you know what? McCain looks a little more impressive. And this is the thing that's really going to kick in over the next week or two -- and if it does Bush is in deep trouble -- if they start saying McCain can win in November and Bush can't. That...

WOODRUFF: "They" being?

KRISTOL: Republicans around the country. They may have signed on to Bush, their governor told them to be for Bush, but they want to win in November. They want to hold the House, they want to hold the state legislative chambers, and they look at New Hampshire and they say, what does a Republican presidential candidate need to win? Independent votes. Bush and Dole in '92 and '96 got all the Republican votes. They didn't get independents. And McCain seems to have an ability to get independents.

DIONNE: I was very struck up in New Hampshire, when you ran into rank-and-file Republican voters, not independents, not raving liberals, good, conservative Republicans. And it was as if they hadn't gotten the message that McCain was supposed to be unacceptable to the Republican Party. They viewed him as plenty conservative enough and they viewed him as a strong person candidate. How could a Vietnam POW be some sort of liberal was the kind of feeling you got out of the New Hampshire Republicans.

WOODRUFF: Well what we're seeing now, E.J., is Bush, George W. Bush, going after John McCain in a way that he did not up until the New Hampshire results. Is this smart on the part of Bush?

DIONNE: I'm not sure he has much of an alternative. I think when you look at the Democratic race and the Republican race, you see one big difference. Al Gore got a very serious warning in the polls back in October, November. And he said, I've got to reorganize this campaign or Bradley's going to beat me in New Hampshire. And he did reorganize the campaign. He went after Bradley early so it didn't look like last-minute desperation. And you can say that this -- he beat Bradley in way that wasn't pretty. He beat him narrowly, but he did manage to beat him.

I think the Bush people never took the McCain said challenge seriously possibly until the last couple of days. Even then they were saying they were going to win. And so now he's got to attack him because there is a surge which he has to stop, and it doesn't look very good to do it after you lose a big primary like New Hampshire.

WOODRUFF: Do you agree, Bill, he doesn't have any alternatives?

KRISTOL: No. no, well, he does. Look, the Bush campaign has decided to try to redefine John McCain as a liberal and a hypocrite and god know what else.

WOODRUFF: Selling out to lobbyists.

KRISTOL: Right, all that. What the Bush campaign's problem is George W. Bush. It's not John McCain. And they need to redefine Bush. And I think they could still do what Al Gore did a few months ago -- or they could try to.

Al Gore, when he was doing badly, kicked out the handlers, kicked out the advisers, moved to Nashville, put on the new shirts. It was all a little hokey, we all made a little fun of it. The truth is, it worked. Walter Mondale did this in '84 after Gary Hart beat him. And again, he had a rough patch but it ultimately worked.

What's most amazed me about this week is not that Bush lost badly Tuesday night, it's the Bush campaign's reaction over the subsequent three days. They are just continuing with the same game plan, and I think what they'll do is go to Austin this weekend and you may see a change in the Bush campaign early next week.

WOODRUFF: Well, that was going to be my question. E.J. and Bill, I mean, they are going to Austin. Should we expect some changes?

DIONNE: Well, if George W. Bush wants to win the election, there better be some changes. I think that they -- you know, they looked at McCain and said campaign finance reform isn't a good Republican issue. They said, if you have a smaller tax cut it's not a good Republican issue. And I think Bush's problem is he was stuck between two messages and, therefore, had no message. Sometimes he seemed to be running in a Republican primary, sometimes he seemed to be running for the general election. And in the end, I don't think Republican voters were given a lot to vote for. McCain had a lean but clear message, and that worked a lot better.

WOODRUFF: Just quickly to the Democrats, should Al Gore be losing sleep at this point about Bill Bradley? Bill Kristol?

KRISTOL: Yes, I think so. I think Bradley's showing in New Hampshire has been underrated against an incumbent vice president with the accomplishments of this Democratic administration in terms of the economy and crime and welfare. For Bradley to get 46 percent suggest to me that Gore has a lot to worry about. And I think Bradley could do damage to Gore the next four or five weeks.

WOODRUFF: Damage, E.J., but...

DIONNE: Damage, but I still think it's very difficult after the two defeats for Bradley to win the nomination. But I think it's very bad news for Gore that Bradley did well enough that Democratic leaders can't say to Bradley, it's now time to fold up your tents. And there's clearly a lot of personal hostility not only between Gore and Bradley but also between the Gore camp and the Bradley camp. This doesn't translate down to voters. My impression of both Iowa and New Hampshire talking to people is that Democrats kind of like both of these guys and they'll support him. But I think at the top there's a lot of hostility...

WOODRUFF: But why does that matter? Or does it matter?

DIONNE: Because a lot of terrible things will be said about each of those guys by the other guy between now and March 7th. There will be things said that could easily go up in Republicans commercials around October of next year.

KRISTOL: Some terrible things but some true things. I told Bradley about Al Gore.

WOODRUFF: That we might see in commercials later this year.

KRISTOL: Sure, I mean, I do think Bradley -- look, he came back a little at the end in New Hampshire, and he seems to have caught a bit of a weak spot in Gore on the integrity issue, I think, on Gore's fudging lots of what he stood for in the past, all of that. I think Republicans will try to take advantage of that. And again, Bradley will take advantage of it over the next four or five weeks. And he got a little momentum on that issue. I think he could keep it up.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Kristol, E.J. Dionne, thank you both. Appreciate it.

And still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS:


GARY BAUER (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that the performance I've given in this state, in spite of some of the asinine questions I've been asked, will speak for itself.


WOODRUFF: We'll talk with Gary Bauer about the end of his presidential campaign and get his views on the contest that still remains.


WOODRUFF: There is one less candidate in the Republican presidential race. This morning, conservative Gary Bauer announced the end of his White House bid. And he joins us now.

Mr. Bauer thank you for being with us.

BAUER: Hi, how are you doing?

WOODRUFF: You seemed -- I'm doing fine. You seemed to pour your heart into this. What went wrong?

BAUER: Well, look, Judy, I was a first-time candidate for president. And we did better in Iowa than almost any other first-time candidate in the last 30 or 35 years. So I think we did well given the circumstances. I got down to one of the last five candidates. I think we've built an incredible grassroots following, and I think we've changed the debate. Some of those presidential debates we have had, I've listened to my own words being repeated back to me out of speeches by the other candidates.

WOODRUFF: Well given that, was -- strong Christian conservative you are seen as, you got, what, 9 percent of the vote in Iowa...

BAUER: Right.

WOODRUFF: One percent in New Hampshire. Was it the message or the messenger?

BAUER: Well, we invested almost everything in Iowa. We needed that to catapult us to the next level, just like what happened for Senator McCain has catapulted him on. We had virtually no money for television in New Hampshire, and I really hadn't spent that much time there. But the last week before the vote in New Hampshire, we had an incredible reaction from people. And most of them had already signed on to one of the other candidates.

But I was told time and time again that we had defined the debate, whether it was the China issue, where I think the trade wings in the two parties are leading this country to a disaster with China down the road because our own national security's being ignored, to some other issues.

WOODRUFF: But if you're saying that the message was getting out then it was the messenger that wasn't well received?

BAUER: Well, I'll have to see. You know, I'll have to review in the weeks ahead what the reaction was to me. But I think, again, what would be surprising is if I would have done any better than this. This is the first time I have run for president. Where are the other well-known politicians?

WOODRUFF: And you don't have the name Bush or Dole or...

BAUER: That's right. But you know, at the end of the day, Judy, I really think what we have done on a governing vision in this campaign, on the right to life issue, on China, on an economic policy that recognizes that our wealth is in our families and in our values and not in things, those ideas are going to make a difference.

WOODRUFF: Well, which of the candidates still in the race is carrying those ideas forward?

BAUER: I -- the jury is out. A lot of people are after me for an endorsement obviously, but I am going to wait and see. I'm not in it for any kind of political gain for myself.

The ideas that I have talked about I think are important for the country, and quite frankly, the two front-runners right now have a policy on trade with China that resembles Bill Clinton's. They think that trade can solve this problem. I believe we're facing the biggest challenge...

WOODRUFF: But they're getting the lion's share of the vote. If you're saying it's important, then why isn't it gaining more credence with the voters?

BAUER: Well, you know, Judy, when -- in the hotel in New Hampshire I was in was the same hotel Senator McCain was in. On the night of his victory I was mobbed by his supporters in the hotel lobby telling me to keep the pressure on Senator McCain on China. I think he was a more known quantity to a lot of people and for now they couldn't see me as the nominee, but I think we helped set the debate of this campaign.

WOODRUFF: Just quickly, any advice for George W. Bush, who seems to be struggling as the front-runner right now?

BAUER: I think at the end of the day the American people want to know what your governing vision is, what would your presidency mean for their lives, their families and their children, their schools, their health care? Quit talking about process, quit talking about firewalls, quit talking about how much money you have got, start trying to touch the hearts of the American people. That would be my advice to all the candidates.

WOODRUFF: At this point, could you support either Bush or McCain, if either were to win the nomination?

BAUER: Any of the Republican nominees would be better than the likely Democrat, but I am going to keep pressing them on the important issues this country needs to face.

WOODRUFF: And you'll go back to the Family Research Council, or no decisions?

BAUER: I have made a change in my life, Judy, I have entered the political arena, I'm going to stay there, I'm not going away, so it would be unlikely that I will be in a nonprofit organization like the Family Research Council.

WOODRUFF: All right. Well, Gary Bauer, we thank you very much.

BAUER: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: And we applaud the race that you ran as far as you ran it.

BAUER: Thank you. I appreciate that. I appreciate the fair treatment and coverage you have given me.

WOODRUFF: Thank you.

BAUER: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Best of luck to you, too.


WOODRUFF: There is much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. Coming up, Bill Bradley launches another attack against the vice president as he prepares for a coast-to-coast campaign.

Plus: days away from an announcement in the New York Senate race. We will talk to supporters from both camps.

And later...


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): What was the secret behind John McCain's spectacular victory in New Hampshire this week? Was it the issues? The TV ads? The debates? A sudden voter passion for campaign finance reform?


WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider on the campaign weapon that is worth a political play of the week.


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

Investigators are deciding what to do about the bodies of 80 people buried in the fuselage of Alaska Airlines Flight 261. Some family members already are saying their good-byes at sea. Today, the Coast Guard cutter Steadfast escorted a boatload of mourners to the site of the crash for a memorial service. Airline investigators will determine if the bodies should be recovered or allowed to remain in their watery grave off the California coast. In Washington, the flight data recorder is being analyzed in an attempt to piece together what caused the plane to plunge into the ocean. So far, information about the tapes is limited.


JIM HALL, NTSB CHAIRMAN: Obviously, it appeared gone through many of the procedures that were in the Alaska Airlines manual in order to address the problem they were encountering, and the pilot merely asked the maintenance base, are there any things that we don't know about. Little tricks of the trade, possibly, that might help us, and the response was negative.


WOODRUFF: For the next two or three days, the Navy will map the wreckage of the plane and possibly determine the location of the bodies.

Divers have retrieved one of two flight recorders from the Kenya Airways jet that plunged into the ocean off Africa's Ivory Coast. One- hundred-and-sixty-nine people died and 10 survived Sunday's crash. Kenya Airways says relatives of the victims will be quickly compensated. Most of the victims were Nigerians headed for the capital city, Lagos.

The United States is expressing deep concern over Austria's new government. Austria's president swore in 12 new ministers today, half represent the right-wing Freedom Party led by Joerg Haider, who's been known to support Nazi policies in the past. Anti-Haider protesters staged violent demonstrations during the swearing-in ceremony. The U.S. is temporarily summoning home its ambassador to Austria.

And INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.


WOODRUFF: Al Gore now has a 40-point lead over Bill Bradley among registered Democrats nationwide, according to our new CNN/"Time" magazine poll. Gore has nearly doubled his lead since mid-January, buoyed by his wins in the New Hampshire primary and the Iowa caucuses.

As Bradley tries to counter Gore's gains, he increasingly is looking at the vice president's past for ammunition.

CNN's Chris Black reports from Maryland on Bradley's latest jabs and his long-term strategy.


CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another day, another charge from Bill Bradley about Al Gore's character and political style.

BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The watchwords of this kind of politics is attack, deny, distort. It's the old politics that says the ends justify the means -- any means to win an election.

BLACK: Bradley is resurrecting a 1991 interview to make his point.

BRADLEY: In 1991, Al Gore told his hometown newspaper the following: that in order to win an election, you have to rip your opponent's lungs out and then move on.

BLACK: And Bradley aides handed out transcripts of an interview Monday night with former Republican Senator Alan Simpson. Simpson suggests then-Senator Gore voted in favor of the Persian Gulf War in 1991 in exchange for a prime-time speaking spot on the Senate floor.


ALAN SIMPSON, FMR. SENATOR, (R-WY): He called the secretary of the Senate that night, Howard Green, and said, I want to know with expletive deleted that if I don't get 20 minutes I'm going to vote the other way.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLACK: Bradley's spokesman says Bradley who served in the Senate with Gore had no firsthand knowledge of this trade-off. Gore's spokesman denies what he calls an old false allegation. He says Bradley made the wrong vote in opposing the war and "now he is borrowing Republican National Committee talking points. There is no question where Al Gore stood on this issue."

In addition to pointed criticism of Gore, Bradley campaign advisers tell CNN, Bradley intends to run a thematic general election type of campaign in the next five weeks, rolling out new policy initiatives, including a proposal on education next week, and reaching out to black voters and other strong Gore supporters.

The Bradley strategy is two-pronged: to raise questions about Gore's truthfulness and character and give voters a reason to vote for him by offering specific proposals.

(on camera): After one day off, Bill Bradley hits the campaign trail again with another campaign swing from New York to California in his quest to convince Democrats that he is the more electable candidate in November.

Chris Black, CNN, College Park, Maryland.


WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, Vice President Gore took a break from the campaign trail today to attend a memorial service in Washington for Democratic media consultant Bob Squier (ph), who died last week of cancer at age 65. Gore is scheduled to campaign in New York, Florida, Michigan, and Ohio next week.

Now, to the New York Senate race, as Hillary Rodham Clinton prepares officially to announce her candidacy on Sunday. A new Marist College Poll of registered voters in New York State shows Mrs. Clinton trailing her likely Republican rival, Rudy Giuliani, by 7 points. Mayor Giuliani was ahead by 9 points last month.

Well, joining us now from New York, Howard Wolfson, the communications director for Mrs. Clinton's campaign, and Giuliani campaign manager Bruce Teitelbaum. Gentlemen, thank you for being with us.

Howard Wolfson, to you first, what is Mrs. Clinton going to say in her announcement that the voters of New York have not heard her say before?

HOWARD WOLFSON, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: Well, she's going to talk about why she wants to run for the Senate. She wants to go to the Senate to continue her life's work on behalf of children and families. You know, since the listening tour began in Senator Moynihan's farm in July, Hillary has traveled all over the state.

She's gone to more than 40 counties listening to New Yorkers and it turns out that the issues that Hillary has been working on her whole life, education, health care, the needs of children and families, are the issues that New Yorkers care about the most. So she is going to be laying out her positive vision for the future of New York.

WOODRUFF: Bruce Teitelbaum, are those the issues New Yorkers care about most?

BRUCE TEITELBAUM, GIULIANI CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, New Yorkers care about a whole host of issues. They care about job creation, about cutting taxes, improving the quality of life, education, these are things that Mayor Giuliani not only has worked on, but has an actual record of accomplishment.

For anyone who has visited New York in the past four or five years there is a real tangible, visible difference in the city. More people are working, people are moving from welfare to work, crime is down. We're the safest, largest city in America, and the mayor has led the turnaround of the city. It is now recognized as probably the greatest urban center in America. That's his record, that's what he'll talk about and that's what New Yorkers want to hear.

WOODRUFF: Well, Howard Wolfson, if that's what the mayor is talking about, is Mrs. Clinton going to address those things?

WOLFSON: Well, the mayor has been talking a lot about himself, I'm not sure he's been talking a lot about what he wants to accomplish in the Senate on behalf of New Yorkers.

Of course Hillary Clinton is going to be talking about creating jobs in upstate. She's been talking about that. She's been upstate more than 30 times since the start of the listening tour. And Hillary Clinton is a balanced budget, tax-cutting, welfare-reforming Democrat and, of course, she's going to talk about those things.

But again, the issues that Hillary has been working on and has a record of success, education, health care, are the issues that New Yorkers care about the most. And I would ask Bruce, if people coming to New York City would see the crumbling schools, would see the classrooms that are overcrowded, if they would feel the same way that the mayor has done such a great job here?

TEITELBAUM: You know, Judy, there is a difference between talking about something and actually doing something. While Mrs. Clinton has been talking about these things, Mayor Giuliani actually has a record, has a record of cutting taxes, of creating jobs, of transforming our education system, historic changes in the educational system in New York. So while Mrs. Clinton has been talking about these things, the mayor has a record, a record that's been unmatched.

WOODRUFF: But is Mr. Wolfson right, that people who come to New York city would see crumbling schools and crowded classrooms?

TEITELBAUM: No, Mr. Wolfson is wrong. Mr. Wolfson is engaged in typical Clintonesque style of campaigning, it's twist, it's distort, it's unfair. What people who would come to New York and if they looked at our school system they would see a very, very fine school system. It could be better. It's a system where $11 billion are spent. It's a system where we have some of the best schools in the country and we have some schools that need help. Now, Mayor Giuliani has been...

WOLFSON: Bruce, why did the mayor try to cut the school budget by $7 billion, Bruce?

TEITELBAUM: Mayor Giuliani -- Howard, let me just finish, Howard.

WOODRUFF: Just a moment.

TEITELBAUM: Mayor Giuliani has been working very, very hard to try and transform the school system. In fact, the mayor has asked for more control and accountability. What Howard's talking about is the typical kind of let's spend more money, another billion, two billion, five billion. The mayor is talking about accountability. The mayor wants accountability, and when the mayor gets accountability he achieves positive results.

WOLFSON: Bruce, let me ask you...

WOODRUFF: Well, let's ask -- let me ask Mr. Wolfson to respond. I mean, it sounds like you are describing two different -- totally different school systems.

WOLFSON: Well, the record speaks for itself. The mayor cut $7 billion from the school construction budget, he has kicked three chancellors out of their jobs, and the other day the "New York Times," I believe, reported that the new chancellor, Harold Levy (ph), called the mayor, wanted to talk to him, to sit down and work together to improve the schools, the mayor wouldn't take the call. Bruce, if the mayor disagrees with someone in the Senate, will he refuse to take their call, will he put the call on hold, or not respond in any way?

TEITELBAUM: Judy, what the reality is, is that in 1999 and the budget for the year 2000 we spend in New York $11 billion in school system. That is more money than has ever spent before in the school system. Maybe if Howard actually knew what the facts were he wouldn't be distorting reality. The city of New York spends more money on the school system today, $11 billion, than ever before, so Howard is just wrong on the facts.

WOLFSON: Why won't the mayor talk with the chancellor, Bruce?

TEITELBAUM: Judy, once again, we have here an example of attack politics, distort, twist, bend the truth. The reality is, is that the mayor has asked for it, he wants more accountability. He's trying to make positive changes in the school system and that's what the mayor will be talking about.

WOODRUFF: Let me ask you, Howard Wolfson, we're in this whole business of attack and so forth. There are those who say Mrs. Clinton isn't tough enough for this race, that Rudy Giuliani has the stomach for a contest like this one, but they're not sure the first lady does.

WOLFSON: Well, I'm glad you asked. I mean, it's true that Rudy Giuliani has been engaged in a negative below-the-belt campaign since day one. You know, he went up with a Hillary No Web site before even putting on a positive Rudy Yes Web site, and that set the theme for the whole race.

WOODRUFF: But what about Mrs. Clinton?

WOLFSON: She is plenty tough. You know, Mrs. Clinton has been through the fire in the last seven years and Rudy Giuliani hasn't seen anything yet.

WOODRUFF: And are we going to see relentless attacks on the part of Mayor Giuliani? Mr. Teitelbaum?

TEITELBAUM: No, you're not going to see relentless attacks. What you're going to see is the mayor moving around the state and talking about his positive record of accomplishment. His record of creating jobs and cutting taxes, improving the quality of life.

Those are the kinds of things the mayor will talk about. It's a positive message. It's a record that we want to embrace, and we'll take that message everywhere across the state.

The mayor's message will remain the same, whether he is in Brooklyn or in Buffalo. Whether he is in Rego Park, or he is in -- he will just talk about the issues, about the positive message and about the great changes that he's been able to achieve with the help of others in the great state of New York.

WOLFSON: Bruce, all this week, he's been attacking Hillary Clinton on a daily basis. Is that the kind of campaign that we're going to see?

TEITELBAUM: No actually, actually, Howard, this week, we raised some very, very serious questions about your campaign finance filing.

In fact, your filing reveals that Mrs. Clinton has only reimbursed the taxpayers for $34,000 of trips over 30 trips she's taken to New York alone. And the questions that we've raised, is why haven't -- why hasn't the Clinton campaign reimbursed the taxpayers for those trips?

WOODRUFF: Let's give Mr. Wolfson a chance to respond, quickly.


WOLFSON: Well, Bruce -- I think Bruce knows what the law is, and he knows that we've been complying with it in the same way that the Reagans complied with it when they were in the White House, the same way that the Bushes complied with it.

I have a question for Bruce, though. When the mayor...

WOODRUFF: Well we're just about out of time, and we're going to have to continue the discussion at next interview, which we look forward to having with both of you any time. We can tell this is going to be a nice, quiet contest up there in the Empire State. WOLFSON: Thank you.

TEITELBAUM: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Thank you, both. Bruce Teitelbaum, Howard Wolfson, thank you both.

And stay with CNN for more on the New York Senate race. Tonight at 10:00 Eastern on "NEWSSTAND," Frank Buckley will look at the key moments in the countdown to Hillary Clinton's soon-to-be-official campaign.


FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is election night in 1998. Democrat Charles Schumer is voted in as U.S. senator from New York. Three days later, New York's senior senator, esteemed Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan, decides to retire after 24 years in office.

(on camera): Democrats wondered who could replace him? Who could beat the Republican likely to run for the seat? Rudy Giuliani, already a national figure. Some Democrats began to say aloud what they've been saying quietly to each other. What about the first lady?


WOODRUFF: More of that report, tonight on "NEWSSTAND."

And Sunday, Mayor Rudy Giuliani will be a guest on "LATE EDITION" with Wolf Blitzer. That's at noon Eastern.

And when we return:


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm glad to tell you we just heard the news on the bus on the way over, that the governor of New York has ordered the party chairman to let me on the ballot.


WOODRUFF: John McCain's fight to see his name on the ballot and the reason it's all over now.



MCCAIN: I also think it was important not only for my campaign, but hopefully we will see the disappearance of machine politics controlling the choices of the voters of the state of New York. And I'm very happy about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WOODRUFF: GOP hopeful John McCain talking today about his fight to get on the New York primary ballot statewide. This afternoon, a federal judge ordered all four Republican hopefuls listed on the March 7th ballot across the state, regardless of the GOP's access rules. This comes after Governor George Pataki reversed himself yesterday and said the party should stop fighting McCain's effort to get on the ballot.

Joining us now from New York, Joel Siegel of "The New York Daily News."

Joel Siegel, first of all, how big a victory is this for John McCain?

JOEL SIEGEL, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": Well, I think it's a very significant victory. First of all, it opens up the New York primary ballot fully to him, and that's an important win. And it also plays into his message of being sort of an insurgent, fighting against the machine, a new kind of politician. And he basically forced the state GOP apparatus to surrender their very, you know, cherished rules that keep insurgents like himself off the ballot.

WOODRUFF: Any way this could have happened if he hadn't won New Hampshire and won it big?

SIEGEL: Well, Steve Forbes faced the same fight in 1996 and he eventually won, so it's possible and probable that McCain would have had this result. But certainly the magnitude of his victory in New Hampshire totally forced the hand of the state Republican leadership, in particular Governor Pataki and Governor Bush down in Texas, and they basically had to surrender.

For New York voters, the idea that McCain could win so big in New Hampshire yet could be -- yet New York voters would be denied the opportunity to support him or to vote for him, it was just inconceivable to a lot of people in New York, and there was intense pressure for this change.

WOODRUFF: Was it just a miscalculation on Pataki and Bush's part?

SIEGEL: Well, if -- you have to go back several months ago. I don't think anybody foresaw that Senator McCain would be doing so well. You know, normally the parties do this kind of thing with, as we say in New York, "shlameel" kind of candidates who are lower down on the ballot and nobody ever cares. But they did it this time, and they -- McCain caught lightning and it all blew up. It was the wrong person at the wrong time in the wrong election, and it became a national issue.

I mean, Don Imus -- Don Imus was making this an issue on his radio show, telling people across the nation to phone Republican state committee headquarters in Albany and voice their displeasure.

WOODRUFF: Yes, some of us were actually listening to that.

Joel Siegel, what exactly does it gain John McCain getting on these additional ballots? What really does he get?

SIEGEL: Well, that's a good question for one reason. Instead of being in half the state or a little more than half the state, he can be throughout the state. And that makes his, you know, media campaign a little bit more effective. But, you know, this could be a short- lived victory, because even though he's now on the ballot, he faces a very tough road to win in New York. It's a very expensive media market. The question is, will he have the money? Right now, it's going to be very difficult for him.

Organization: The Bush forces are going to have the entire apparatus of the state Republican Party behind them. These people can pull out voters, they can contact voters, drive people to the polls. That's very important.

And third, the New York primary ballot is very, very complicated. People don't vote for the candidate, they vote for the delegate for the candidate. And for the most part, the Bush delegates are very well-known and very well-liked politicians, whereas the McCain voters are steamfitters and veterans and secretaries and doctors. They're not well-known in the communities where people are voting.

WOODRUFF: Last question: What does this do to any hope that Governor Pataki may have had to be running mate for George Bush if he wins the nomination?

SIEGEL: Well, it's not clear. Certainly it gave the governor a black eye here, but it's not like he was acting without the consent and approval of Governor Bush. They would not have done this unless the people in Austin wanted this strategy. It had been thought going into this that the governor, Governor Pataki, had kind of a long shot to be the VP choice, and I think that's probably still the case.

WOODRUFF: All right, Joel Siegel, "The New York Daily News," thanks very much.

SIEGEL: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Good to see you.

And just ahead, our Bill Schneider with the political "Play of the Week."


WOODRUFF: We've heard some concerns expressed about the Bush campaign this hour, but the Texas governor is set to get another endorsement on Monday. Aides to conservative Senator James Inhofe say the Oklahoma Republican will endorse Bush in Greenville, South Carolina. The Bush campaign says that Inhofe will be the 38th senator to endorse the Texas governor. Despite some philosophical differences, Inhofe aides say the senator decided to endorse Bush as -- quote -- "the best way to unify the party and get a Republican back in the White House" -- end quote.

WOODRUFF: Well, even as the votes were being counted in New Hampshire Tuesday night, political analysts and pundits were looking for ways to explain McCain's win. With a few days of reflection, our own Bill Schneider has an answer of his own -- Bill.

SCHNEIDER: Yes I do. What was the secret behind John McCain's spectacular victory in New Hampshire this week? Was it the issues? The TV ads? The debates? A sudden voter passion for campaign finance reform? No. We think it was something else, something McCain used in his campaign in a new way -- something that merits this week's political "Play of the Week."


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Whistle-stop train tours used to be a staple of American politics. From William Jennings Bryan, who covered 18,000 miles, delivering as many as 30 speeches a day in 1896, to Harry Truman, who gave 'em Hell on a whistle-stop tour in 1948.

But once jet airplanes became commonplace, candidates could fly right over the voters' heads. It took Bill Clinton and Al Gore to invent a new version of the whistle-stop campaign. Their bus tour after the 1992 Democratic convention sent a message: They were in touch with the people.

This year, busing has been all the rage. Bill Bradley had a bus. So did George W. Bush. Steve Forbes traveled all over Iowa and New Hampshire by bus. But John McCain's bus, the "Straight Talk Express," became a campaign icon. Look at all those reporters jammed on the bus with McCain -- writing, shooting, questioning, joking.

MCCAIN: The fact that we do this on the bus is in complete consonance and part of this campaign of the hundreds of townhall meetings and the interface with average voters. It's all part of a package. And I'm proud that it's succeeded. It can implode at any moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have busloads of press following us, and John McCain gets right in the middle of it and talks about whatever they want to talk about.

SCHNEIDER: And what did they want to talk about? Everything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Confederate Flag run in newscasts in South Carolina every day. People want a stance -- leave it or take it down, heritage versus hate.

MCCAIN: Actually, I saw a poll that showed that 82 percent of the people in South Carolina said that they wanted outsiders to stay out of it.

QUESTION: Is this the most intense political week of your life?

MCCAIN: No, no, no. It's fun. It's fun. The more intense life gets, the more enjoyable it is.

SCHNEIDER: "Straight talk" -- sure doesn't sound like Bill Clinton. Was there a campaign strategy behind the bus rides and the straight talk? Of course there was. McCain had limited resources and a powerful personal story. Why not use the press to get that story out? And what better way to do it than by getting them on the bus?

MCCAIN: There was lots more room on this bus earlier on. In fact, you could have come on the van with us. In fact, you and I could've had hours of one on one.

SCHNEIDER: It's a free-media strategy: the press carries your message; they give you momentum; they're on the bus with you, literally and figuratively. And guess what? It worked. McCain won an astounding victory on Tuesday, an intensely personal victory.

MCCAIN: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!


SCHNEIDER: The bus became the symbol of the McCain campaign -- tireless, relentless, determined, and ultimately triumphant. McCain won the primary, and the "Straight Talk Express" wins the political "Play of the Week."


SCHNEIDER: You want to be president? Get a bus. Know how we'll find out if Donald Trump is serious about running for president? For the first time in his life, he'll take the bus.

WOODRUFF: Didn't Bill Clinton and Al Gore have a bus back in '92 or buses.

SCHNEIDER: We showed that. They invented the new kind of whistle-stop.

WOODRUFF: That's exactly right.

Bill Schneider, thank you.

And that's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. And I'm Judy Woodruff.

"WORLDVIEW" is next.


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