Do or Die: Super Tuesday Poses Critical Test for Campaigns of McCain and BradleyAired March 7, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The bare facts on this Super Tuesday.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): It's the final countdown.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BLITZER: The last minute stumping.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How you doing?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And phoning. And strategizing on a megapresidential primary day that may be decisive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I hope I'm smiling tonight. We're about to find out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Our Candy Crowley is covering the Bush camp. John King is with McCain. Chris Black is following Gore. And Jeanne Meserve is with the Bradley campaign.
ANNOUNCER: This is INSIDE POLITICS, from election headquarters at CNN Center in Atlanta, with Wolf Blitzer.
BLITZER: Thanks for joining us for this special two-hour edition of INSIDE POLITICS. Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff will be along later with CNN's primary night coverage.
Whether you call it super, titanic or some other superlative, the political importance of this day seems difficult to overstate given the numbers: contests in 16 states and a total of nearly 2,000 Republican and Democratic delegates at stake. We begin with the candidate who, by some accounts, has the most to lose when the results come in, Republican John McCain. CNN's senior White House correspondent John King is with the McCain camp in California.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John McCain worked the talk radio circuit from California today, hoping for a Super Tuesday surprise, but even he sounded uncertain that his campaign would survive.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're doing fine. We've had a great run. We're having a lot of fun. Like you said, get out the vote today and we'll win.
KING: Few expected the Arizona senator to get this far, and he reminded his audience he has been counted out before.
MCCAIN: It's just not predictable. When you have -- again in Michigan, 28 percent of the people that voted, voted for me had never voted before in their lives. The dynamics are just not predictable.
KING: But McCain wrapped up his California campaigning knowing George W. Bush was favored here and in most of the dozen other states with GOP contests on the biggest day of the primary campaign.
The senator's survival strategy banks on a sweep in the five New England states and winning New York and the majority of its 93 delegates. But that's the bare minimum. Most advisers believe it would be worth soldiering on only if McCain also scores an upset in a big state like Ohio or Missouri, and runs ahead of Bush in California's overall vote count.
The underdog faces a sobering choice if Bush has a big night. McCain is advertising in Colorado, which holds its primary Friday, but Bush is comfortably ahead. And next Tuesday's choices for McCain range from bad to worse: Governor Bush is heavily favored in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and his home state of Texas.
If McCain survives Super Tuesday, he'll try to pick up delegates next week in Florida and perhaps Tennessee, but he'd focus most of his time and money on the March 21st primary in Illinois. And money now is nearly as much an issue as momentum. McCain aides tell CNN they have only about $4 million more to spend before hitting the $40 million spending cap imposed on candidates who accept federal matching funds.
McCain's relationship with Bush has been severely strained in recent weeks, but top aides say that won't be a factor in the senator's decision-making.
KING: What will be the leading factor, we're told, is simple delegate math. Senator McCain, after tonight's results are in, will add up the numbers to see if there's any reasonable scenario that if he stayed in the race could he win enough delegates to clinch the Republican nomination. He will make that decision back home in Arizona. The senator will wake up here in Los Angeles tomorrow, head to his ranch in Sedona. If there is a reassessment to be made, he will make it there at home -- Wolf.
BLITZER: John, what are you hearing from McCain's aides, if in fact things do not work out for the Arizona senator, doesn't get the Republican nomination? Would he be open to accepting the vice presidential running mate slot with George W. Bush atop the ticket?
KING: He has consistently said he has no interest in being the vice president. He said that again today on one of those radio talk show hosts. He says that the role of the vice president is to inquire every day about the president's health and that he would be much better off serving the people of Arizona back in the Senate.
So he says no to the vice presidential nomination. He says no to any talk that he would run as a third party candidate. And he also says no when asked if he would run again if it doesn't work out this time. Senator McCain says this will be his first and only run for the presidency -- Wolf.
BLITZER: OK. John -- John King, thanks for joining us. Governor Bush is home in Austin, Texas, where he's hoping to have plenty to celebrate tonight.
CNN's senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley, is covering the Bush camp. She joins us now live from Austin -- Candy.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, for the first time since the primary voting began, George Bush will be watching the results come in here at the governor's mansion here in Austin. I don't know whether that's a sign of confidence or fatigue or maybe a little bit of both.
In any case, the governor's last appearance was in California. He got here in Austin in the wee hours. He was up and at 'em rather early this morning for having gone to bed so late. He was in the governor's mansion talking with some of his staffers, many of whom he has not seen for some time. Later he talked to reporters who are awaiting the results with him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: I hope I'm smiling tonight. We're about to find out. I'm optimistic about what's going to take place, looking forward to seeing -- viewing the votes from -- as the votes move from east to west. I'm mentally prepared and will be physically ready to keep going.
There's going to be three western states that vote this week, and a week from today Texas and Florida. And three or four other states will be voting as well. And I'm ready to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Though the governor is reluctant to talk about what he might do should he cinch the nomination or at least look like the unstoppable front-runner after tonight, reporters of course want to know a lot of "what ifs," including what will he do to unite the party after this is all over. Bush seemed to say it won't be much of a problem so long as Republicans keep their eye on the ball.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: The ultimate mission is for our party and our philosophy to regain the White House, and obviously, if there's any personal issues between any of my opponents and me, that requires people to -- to sit down and talk. And I'd be more than happy to do so. But let's see what happens tonight first.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Despite the governor's reluctance to talk about a possible win tonight, there certainly is a feel in the Bush campaign that Super Tuesday will indeed live up to its name, at least for Governor Bush -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Candy, if, in fact, it is a big Super Tuesday, a big win for Governor Bush, what does he do next?
CROWLEY: Goes on to the next primaries. You know, one of the things that has been a problem for Bush all along has been the idea or at least the notion that he is somehow overconfident, that he thinks it's his. He has learned his lesson about that. He learned it in New Hampshire. What he talks about mainly is what you heard, which is, OK, I've got to go to some of the mountain states. There are primaries there. And then we go into the Sunbelt. There are primaries there.
Clearly, if this is a big win, clearly even more if John McCain bows out at some point, they will be looking toward the general campaign. And certainly, if it's a very good night, you can expect to hear him talk a little bit about Al Gore tonight when he gives his speech here in this Austin hotel -- Wolf.
BLITZER: OK, Candy Crowley, covering the Bush campaign in Austin, thanks.
Democrat Al Gore has even higher hopes than Bush of emerging from today's primaries and caucuses with his presidential nomination all but sealed. The vice president is spending the evening in his home state of Tennessee.
CNN White House correspondent Chris Black is there too, and she joins us now live from Nashville -- Chris.
CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the vice president flew home to his home state of Tennessee earlier today and is now, like everyone else, waiting for those polls to close and the election returns to come in. The vice president is hoping that he'll have a big election-night celebration. And in fact, you can see the bustle behind me here in the ballroom of the Loews (ph) Hotel in Nashville where people are setting up and getting ready. But Gore's advisers are expecting the vice president to emerge from tonight's balloting as the prohibitive favorite for the Democratic nomination.
Mr. Gore can count on at least one vote. Earlier today in New York, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton cast her first ballot as a resident of New York State.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I voted for Al Gore because I think he'll be the best president we could have to begin this century.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: The vice president is not expected to take a lot of time to savor his victory. Gore advisers say the vice president will begin the process of reaching out tonight to independent voters, to moderate Republicans and to Democrats who voted for Mr. Bradley. He will try to take advantage of the high voter interest and the press attention tonight to outline the issues for the fall campaign.
The polling that was done by the Gore campaign last summer show that Republicans in general, and George W. Bush in particular, are vulnerable on what they call the kitchen table issues: domestic social issues, like prescription drug coverage for Medicare recipients, gun control, education funding. And they hope to exploit that. They feel that Mr. Bush was pushed to the right by his rough-and-tumble primary campaign. And they think that that makes him ripe for exploitation.
Gore aides also say that they think the vice president is in pretty good shape right now, that he managed to move out of the shadow of President Clinton in the course of this primary campaign. They say that process is not complete. He will continue to stay on the road, continue to campaign and try to do a lot of events involving voter contact, like town meetings -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Chris, as the Gore campaign looks back over these past several months, is there any one decision the vice president made that they now say helped turn the situation around for him as he was engaging in this fierce battle with Bill Bradley?
BLACK: Probably not one decision, Wolf, though, the vice president told me the other day in an interview that his biggest lesson was learning that being the best vice president in the world wasn't always the best thing to do when you wanted to be a presidential candidate. He said he had to learn to not react as a member of the administration and more like a person who wanted to lead the country. And also he says his move to Nashville probably was a smart thing to do.
BLITZER: OK, Chris Black, thanks for joining us in Nashville, where the vice president is spending the evening.
Bill Bradley made a final campaign push in New York this morning, trying not to appear as though the handwriting is on the wall, but as CNN's Jeanne Meserve explains, Bradley did encounter writing of another sort in some unusual places.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me a B!
UNIDENTIFIED MALES: B!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me an R!
UNIDENTIFIED MALES: R!
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A little rah rah sis boom bah from barechested Bradley staffers this morning as their man glad-handed at New York commuter stops and polling places.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good to shake your hand and good luck.
BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Help me out today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
MESERVE: The response of some voters matched the morning air: chilly. But the candidate is predicting surprises in Tuesday's voting.
BRADLEY: I think we will win a couple and then we will move on, but we are far from the end.
MESERVE: Well, maybe. Bradley's staff says an assessment will be made after Tuesday's results are in, but they are already providing a rationale for losses to Al Gore.
ERIC HAUSER, BRADLEY CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: He's got the apparatus of the White House and the DNC, and all the party regulars and the traditional support, and it's always been uphill in that regard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say hello to Bill Bradley, Democrat for president, he is right here, right now.
MESERVE: Bradley's New York chairman played the part of carnival barker at Grand Central Station and he had no trouble drawing a crowd. Some said just what Bradley wanted to hear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got my vote, buddy, you got my vote.
BRADLEY: Thank you, thank you.
MESERVE: Others seemed to be bidding farewell to a man they have known and respected as a basketball player for the hometown team, as a senator from a neighboring state, and as a candidate who wanted to change a system. Good luck, they said. Keep the faith. God bless. Thank you for running. You are my hero.
(END VIDEOTAPE) MESERVE: No one in the Bradley campaign is wearing blinders. They are well aware of the prospects for their candidate tonight, but until the polls close, they are being tight lipped out of respect for their candidate and respect for the voters -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Despite that, Jeanne, what is the speculation that you're hearing about -- as to a possible announcement by Bill Bradley that he might withdraw?
MESERVE: Wolf, of course, as far as we know, no decision has been made by the senator on whether or not to draw out of the race. We have been told that Wednesday is a down day. We will not see the senator. We will not hear from him. That would seem to indicate that if there is a withdrawal it would happen on Thursday or perhaps even Friday of this week -- Wolf.
BLITZER: OK, Jeanne Meserve in New York, thanks.
Next on INSIDE POLITICS, sink or swim -- who will rise and who will fall in the turbulent waters of Super Tuesday?
BLITZER: This being Super Tuesday, the numbers tonight will come in waves and they'll deposit a virtual treasure map of political data. Here to tell us how to read it all, our senior political analyst Bill Schneider. All right, Bill, what should be looking for as these numbers come in?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, the signs to winners and losers, here are some questions we'll be trying to answer tonight: Can the McCain campaign continue? McCain is likely to end the night far behind in the delegate count. What he needs to claim a mandate to go on is a victory in New York and in California's all-party primary as opposed to California's Republican- only delegate contest. It's hard to call someone a loser, you know, if he just won New York and California.
Has the so-called McCain phenomenon worn off? Turnout surged in South Carolina and in Michigan last month. If it is still high in today's contests, that's a sign that McCain has ignited a real political brushfire.
Can McCain break into the Republican vote? Look at how McCain does in closed primaries like New York and California as compared with open primaries where anyone can vote like Ohio and Georgia. McCain has got to do something besides win open primaries. He's got to to carry Republicans somewhere, somehow to make the case that he should be his party's standard-bearer.
Did McCain's attack on Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell backfire, or is it paying off? Last week's Virginia result suggested that McCain's move backfired big-time there. We'll see today if there's any sign of a payoff for McCain among anti-religious rights voters in states like New York and California. Now, what about Bill Bradley? Can his campaign go on? Bradley will have to win at least one significant victory tonight to claim any justification for continuing his campaign. Now, that doesn't mean Maine or Rhode Island, where Bradley is running best right now. It means serious places like New York or California or Ohio.
But, how did Bill Bradley falter? Tonight's results should give us some clues as to what went wrong for him.
How will African-Americans vote? Polls show they favor Gore, but Bradley made a powerful pitch for black votes. Bush and McCain both say they want to make the GOP more inclusive.
Does George W. Bush make good on his appeal to Hispanic voters? We'll be able to see that in California's all-party primary where voters of any party can cast votes for any candidate.
And finally, can this issueless campaign continue? They say Americans always vote their pocketbooks, but there has been precious little evidence of that so far this year. Voters seem more interested in the candidate's personal qualities. We'll see today if there is any evidence that Americans are starting to vote the issues and what in the world those issues might be that they care about -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Bill, as you look at the numbers coming in over these past several months of this primary season, how much of a factor was Bill Clinton in the Democratic and perhaps even the Republican side of the story?
SCHNEIDER: I think he was a factor in both races and in opposite directions. In the Democratic race, I think he solidified Al Gore's support. And he's been the reason why Gore -- rather, Bradley has had trouble getting any traction. Democrats like Bill Bradley, even liberal Democrats...
SCHNEIDER: ... who don't agree with all his policies -- sorry -- Bill Clinton. Even liberal Democrats who don't agree with all his policies, they've rallied behind the president, and that's why Gore is likely to do well.
On the other side, McCain and Bush are both competing to be the anti-Clinton, and that's why Bush was surprised because McCain started out as the Straight-Talk Express. That's very un-Clinton. He attacked big money in politics. Big money is Clinton. He's the very opposite of everything Bill Clinton is supposed to be. They're competing for that title, who can be the anti-Clinton?
BLITZER: OK, Bill Schneider, get ready for a very long night. Thanks for joining us.
BLITZER: And coming up, battle-tested or combat-shocked? We'll look at the scars of political warfare in a punishing primary season. That and much more with political analyst David Broder and Ron Brownstein next on INSIDE POLITICS.
BLITZER: Welcome back to our Super Tuesday coverage.
We're joined now by two veteran political analysts, David Broder of "The Washington Post" -- he's in the "Post" newsroom -- and from our CNN bureau in Los Angeles, Ron Brownstein of the "L.A. Times."
David, first to you. If, in fact, at some point, the candidates are Bush and Gore, who will emerge in the general contest less bruised by his respective opponent in the primary?
DAVID BRODER, "WASHINGTON POST": I think you'd have to say Governor Bush has had a rougher passage to the nomination if it should end in the next couple of weeks. McCain, as you will remember very well, stung him badly in New Hampshire then came back from the South Carolina battle to win again in Michigan. Michigan particularly, I think, is the kind of state that represents a battleground in a general election. And losing to McCain there really did inflict some wounds on Bush, I think. Bradley never quite caught up with Gore in the early rounds, and I think Gore had an easier passage.
BLITZER: Al Gore, certainly, Ron, is going to be looking at what John McCain did right in this primary season to score points against George W. Bush if, in fact, that turns out to be the case. What lessons will he have learned from John McCain's experience?
RON BROWNSTEIN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": Well, I think they're both going to have to learn and prove they can adapt the lessons of John McCain's experience because I think neither Bush nor Gore is exactly a perfect fit for the kind of constituency that McCain is mobilizing in this primary, a kind of swing constituency that, in all likelihood, is going to be one of the decisive groups in November.
On the one hand, I think Bush has some policy problems with those voters: the tax cut that he has pushed that has become a centerpiece of his campaign since last December. I don't believe in a single Republican primary yet, Wolf, a majority of voters have agreed with Bush that cutting -- using the surplus primarily to cut taxes is the right way to go as opposed to paying down the debt and stabilizing Social Security and Medicare, which is what McCain was talking about, which is what Gore will be talking about. And if you can't sell it in a Republican primary, you've got your work cut out selling it in the general election.
On the other hand, when George Bush talks about a fresh start for America, he plays into, I think, the generalized desire for change, for sort of cleaning up Washington that many of those McCain voters feel and that is very hard for Gore as the sitting vice president of a president who has been impeached to really ever get to. So I think they're both going to have to struggle in different ways to make themselves acceptable to this constituency, although I do agree with David that Governor Bush, I think, has absorbed some more wounds in the primary than Gore largely because he's had to move right in a variety of ways to consolidate the base and win this nomination. BLITZER: And, David, are there lessons that Bush will learn from Bill Bradley in Bill Bradley's effort to go after Vice President Gore? Anything that he's going to be able to pick up to find a vulnerability of the vice president?
BRODER: Well, you will remember, Wolf, that perhaps the most cutting line that Bill Bradley directed against Al Gore came in that New Hampshire debate when he said to Gore: If people cannot believe what you're saying in the campaign, how can they trust you as president? I guarantee you we're going to see that sound bite over and over again in the Republican campaigns because, given the way in which the policy issues fall out, mainly, I think, on the Democrats' advantage on things like education, guns, health care, abortion, Bill -- excuse me -- George Bush is almost certainly going to have to attack Al Gore's character, and the way to get at that is to let that other Democrat do the dirty work for him.
BLITZER: Bush and McCain, Ron Brownstein, have very different -- excuse me -- Bush and Gore have very different positions on abortion rights. How big of an issue do you envisage that the issue of abortion will be if, in fact, it comes down to a Bush-Gore campaign?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, Wolf, I think the lessons of the last few campaigns that none of these issues by themselves are dispositive or decisive, but I think as part of a complex of issues, certainly what Al Gore is going to try to do, is use guns, abortion and the environment along the coasts, along the East Coast and the West Coast, if, again, they are the opponents in the general election, to try to make the case that Bush is not as moderate as you think; he is not really one of you.
Conceal-carry law in Texas, the Texas environmental record, all these things are wedge issues that are aimed largely at women voters and more moderate voters along the coast. It was what Clinton did to Bob Dole in '96. It's what Gray Davis did to Dan Lungren with great effect here in 1998. And until proven otherwise, I think it remains to be seen whether a Republican who opposes abortion rights and is skeptical of gun control can really compete for California in anything but a blowout national election.
BLITZER: David, lot of political analysts are now saying that John McCain's decision to go after Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell boomeranged, turned out to be a big mistake. Is it premature to make that conclusion?
BRODER: Well, we'll see what the voters in today's primaries have to say, but people that I talked to over the last three or four days, Republican consultants, other Republican politicians, think that that decision hurt McCain because it took him off of his own basic message, which was his biography, his character and his promise of -- to clean up Washington. None of those things were in the focus as long as he was at war with those two leaders of the religious right.
BLITZER: When you look back, Ron, on the campaign that Bradley ran -- waged against Vice President Gore, was this all foreordained or was there ever a moment when Bradley could have really been more competitive?
BROWNSTEIN: I think the space was narrower than we like to believe. I mean, for all of Clinton's personal problems, you have an approval rating among Democrats of about 85 to 90 percent. And more importantly, Wolf, you have in polling consistently about 85, 88 percent of Democrats saying they like his policies. When Bradley was bugling toward the end for sort of, kind of a left uprising to return the Democratic Party in some ways to a pre-Clinton philosophy, there just wasn't as much tinder there or as many supporters there as you thought.
You know, Al Gore and George Bush, I think, in this process have shown us that they are better politicians than many of us -- many people would have believed when they started. They have both been resilient, they've been tough, they have been hard-nosed. And they've not only been tough in taking on their opponents, they've been tough in taking on their own flaws and having the capacity to retool their campaigns on the fly: Gore in the fall and then Bush after New Hampshire when he came became with "Reformer With Results" and began to sort of flank McCain from both ends.
So I think we're going to have a general election, if it is these two men, in which we're going to see two very good politicians that I bet the country, by and large, likes and feels that they are being given a good choice and a reasonable set of alternatives for November.
BLITZER: All right, Ron Brownstein in Los Angeles, and David Broder in Washington, thank to both of you for joining us on INSIDE POLITICS.
There's so much more ahead on this special two-hour edition. Still to come, campaign strategy, spending and expectations. We'll ask our guest panel for their takes as Super Tuesday rolls on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD KURTZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The New York primary is usually a high-decibel, press-the-flesh, knish-eating extravaganza.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Howard Kurtz on what's different in the campaign for New York and why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARRICK UTLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): For those unhappy about the state of politics and campaigns today, we offer a modest perspective from the sidewalks of New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: Garrick Utley with a timely reminder of New York's political past.
BLITZER: We'll have more of the day's political news coming up, but now a look at some other top stories.
It was a bloody day on Wall Street, with the blue chips suffering their biggest loss this year. The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 374 points to close at 9796. That's the fourth largest point loss ever. The sell-off began after Procter & Gamble warned of a big earnings drop. The tech-heavy Nasdaq index did better for a while, making its first foray past 5000. But then the Nasdaq closed down 57 points at 4847.
Authorities in Vancouver, Canada are filing criminal charges in connection with a clubbing incident on the ice last month. Boston Bruins defensemen Marty McSorley faces one count of assault with a weapon. He's already serving a record 23-game suspension for striking a Vancouver Canuck in the head.
President Clinton is urging Congress to reach an agreement on gun control legislation. Among other things, such a law would require child-safety locks on guns in hopes of protecting children from firearms.
CNN White House correspondent Major Garrett reports.
MAJOR GARRETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Clinton put the question of stalled gun control legislation bluntly before Congress.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How many people have to get killed before we do something? We had a pretty rough week last week.
GARRETT: To underscore the need to act now, Mr. Clinton invited to the White House Veronica McQueen, mother of 6-year-old Kayla, shot to death in school by another 6-year-old.
Congressional Republicans have kept pending gun-control legislation, passed in the aftermath of the Columbine massacre, in limbo for eight months.
CLINTON: I want Congress to finish the gun bill and send it to me for the anniversary of the Columbine tragedy, April 20.
GARRETT: Senator Orrin Hatch, the Republican pointman on gun legislation, and three other key legislators met with Mr. Clinton on gun control. Hatch emerged pessimistic.
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: We're polls apart in what can and can not be done. GARRETT: In fact, most lawmakers support two of Mr. Clinton's three priorities: selling child-safety locks with all new handguns and banning importation of high-capacity ammunition clips, such as those used at Columbine. The key difference is regulating handgun sales at traveling gun shows. The Senate wants customers to wait three business days for a background check, legislation authored by Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg and passed with the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Gore. The House endorsed a one-day waiting period.
HATCH: To make a long story short, the Lautenberg Amendment would basically do away with gun shows and it would push these people out into the streets where we'd have more problems with guns.
GARRETT (on camera): The president said he's open to compromise on the gun show language, but first, lawmakers have to start talking. Even with another gun tragedy and renewed presidential pressure, there's no sign of that happening yet.
Major Garrett, CNN, the White House.
BLITZER: Sixteen French soldiers are among dozens of people injured in grenade attacks today in Kosovo. The shooting and grenade blasts broke out between Serbs and ethnic Albanians in a Serb-held part of Mitrovica. The attack is said to be one of the most serious outbreaks of violence there in recent weeks.
And Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat meets with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak in Jerusalem. They're attempting to break a deadlock in peace negotiations. The two leaders say they are committed to a full agreement by September. U.S. envoy Dennis Ross arrived back in the Mideast today to help in the peace negotiations.
And up next, a look at why political advertising is playing a bigger role in the Empire State.
BLITZER: One of the key primaries on this Super Tuesday is in New York. There, candidates of both parties have made their appeals to the voters of the Empire State. But this year the nature of the primary season often has forced candidates to deliver their campaign messages not in person, but through political ads.
Howard Kurtz of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES" explains.
KURTZ (voice-over): The New York primary is usually a high- decibel, press-the-flesh, knish-eating extravaganza. That's what happened in '88 when Al Gore stumped with Mayor Ed Koch, and in '92 when Bill Clinton went toe to toe with Phil Donahue. And in '96, Bob Dole made the obligatory stop at the stage (ph) deli. New York is just as important this year, especially for John McCain in his effort to overtake George W. Bush. But with California, Ohio and 13 other states voting today, the Empire State has become kind of a drop-by for the candidates who pass through as quickly as if they were riding the D train.
Bush didn't even do Manhattan. He headed for Long Island, did a health care event and then jetted off upstate. McCain dropped in from St. Louis, picked up Matt Lauer on his bus for a "Today Show" chat, then hooked up with morning man Don Imus. Next came the made-for-TV visual.
(on camera): This is what every candidate wants: a big crowd, pretty picture and a famous address. By staging a rally here on Wall Street, McCain guaranteed himself a spot on the local news and an image at least of local excitement.
But there's no time to buy any stock or catch a Knicks game or even visit Brooklyn. McCain is off from here to Connecticut, Massachusetts, upstate New York, Ohio and California.
(voice-over): As for the Democrats, Bill Bradley is using a couple of well-known New York characters for his latest ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, BRADLEY CAMPAIGN AD)
SPIKE LEE, DIRECTOR: When it comes to being real, Bradley wins hands down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Bradley did make a stop in the city that made him a basketball star, gobbling cheesecake.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is the cheesecake?
BRADLEY: Just what I needed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
... pizza, and what are known here as franks.
While Super Tuesday has made New York just another stop in a tarmac campaign, the battle of the airwaves shows just how important the state remains. McCain has been pummeled by a pair of commercials, one of which is being funded by the kind of unregulated big money which McCain says is ruining the political system. A wealthy Bush backer in Texas turns out to be the mystery man, accusing McCain of being bad for the environment
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, REPUBLICANS FOR CLEAN AIR AD)
NARRATOR: Last year, John McCain voted against solar and renewable energy. That means more use of coal-burning plants that pollute our air.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: There's also controversy over Bush radio ads accusing McCain of opposing breast cancer programs in New York despite the fact that the senator has repeatedly voted to increase spending for such research.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, BUSH RADIO AD)
NARRATOR: It's true: McCain opposes funding for vital breast cancer programs right here in New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: But don't forget this is also a tabloid town. When Bush backed out of an agreement to appear on "60 Minutes" Sunday, the "New York Post" taunted the Texan in its inimitable fashion.
(on camera): And if New Yorkers feel deprived of squabbling candidates, there's always that other off-Broadway show starring Hillary and Rudy.
This is Howard Kurtz of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES."
BLITZER: Joining us now, four experts in the world of politics. They'll be with us throughout the evening on this Super Tuesday coverage.
In Washington, Dwight Morris. He's of the Campaign Study Group. Here in Atlanta, David Peeler of Competitive Media Reporting, Stu Rothenberg of "The Rothenberg Political Report," and Scott Reed, who managed Bob Dole's '96 presidential campaign.
Let's begin with you, Scott Reed. As you take a look now, what should we be looking for as we go into this evening Super Tuesday?
SCOTT REED, FORMER BOB DOLE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Wolf, there are two big states to watch tonight. One is New York, where there are 101 delegates: 93 of them are chosen in each of the 31 congressional districts; eight are at-large. And this is a state where Governor George Pataki has put his whole muscle behind George W. Bush.
You know, there's never really been a competitive election in New York for the Republican delegates. It's something to watch. It's also a state where George Bush for the first time has run a campaign, a statewide campaign: a message on Long Island, a message in upstate.
BLITZER: And on the Democrat side, Stu, as you're looking at this Bradley-Gore race, what are you looking for?
STU ROTHENBERG, "ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT": Well, Wolf, I'm going to be looking to see the extent to which core Democrats have solidified behind the vice president. You know, Bill Bradley had hoped to make significant inroads among liberals, African-Americans, union members. If he does that, it suggests some dissatisfaction on the left with the vice president. And of course, that could show up in a general election.
BLITZER: David Peeler, we heard Howie Kurtz just report on the media buys of New York state. It's a big state. A lot of people, obviously; the candidates can't get up there and shake hands and meet with everyone as they try to do in New Hampshire and even in Iowa. What are you seeing with these media buys, the advertising strategy in New York?
DAVID PEELER, COMPETITIVE MEDIA REPORTING: Well, you know, I'm very interested in New York, because I think New York is going to be a mini-campaign that we're going to see in the fall. It's got all the campaign elements. It's got independent expenditure groups weighing in. It has a positive image campaign behind it being run by all the campaigns, plus some negative advertising, which is something we haven't seen in some of the other states.
Plus you've got the regionalization of it. You've got an upstate New York base, which is very different from New York. As we go through the evening, we'll show some of the numbers. But the media strategies in the city of New York are different than the media strategies in the burrows and outside in the upstate area.
So it's got all the elements of a mini-national campaign.
BLITZER: Dwight Morris, you spend a lot of time, obviously, looking at the money, how money is spent by these candidates. And record sums of money were spent certainly by Governor Bush, almost $70 million. What kind of numbers that we're talking about that the Bush campaign has spent so far?
DWIGHT MORRIS, CAMPAIGN STUDY GROUP: Well, if you take the four major candidates that are left and realistically have a shot at this, we're rapidly approaching $200 million among the four of them.
The Bush campaign has spent upwards of 60 million, and this is going to be the first real week where we get a sense of the national campaign that the governor has talked about since he declared for president nearly a year ago.
BLITZER: All right, Scott Reed, four years ago you were running Bob Dole's successful effort to capture the Republican nomination. Take us a little bit behind the scenes. What are these Republican campaigns right now, the Bush and McCain campaign, what are they going through as they wait for these numbers to come out tonight?
REED: They're closely looking at where they're going to have some positive strength tonight, like the McCain campaign tonight has to look at New England. Here we have a Sunbelt senator, a conservative senator that took Barry Goldwater's seat in the U.S. Senate, and it looks like New England is his base of strength.
Eight days ago, he went to Virginia Beach, gave that speech about Pat Robertson, and it wasn't as much for Virginia as it was for the independent and the moderate voters in New England.
BLITZER: Stu, what else are you going to be looking at as this night continues to unfold?
ROTHENBERG: Well, Wolf, so far we've talked only about presidential races, but have no fear, I'll be looking at congressional races, keeping an eye on the California Republican Senate primary, and in particular two congressional -- two members of Congress, incumbent congressman, Democrats: Jim Traficant of Ohio and Marty Martinez of California, who have very, very stiff primary challenges. We're going to see whether they survive or whether they're the first members of Congress to go down.
BLITZER: You know, David, at 7 o'clock Eastern, a little bit more than an hour from now, the polls will close in Georgia and Vermont, but neither one of those states has really attracted a lot of advertising buys by these two -- by the four campaigns really.
PEELER: Well, I think the media story there is that there is no media in those two states. Both of those states have been bypassed by both the Democratic side and the Republican side in -- in -- to move into some other areas that they wanted to buy. Bill Bradley, for example, spent an awful lot of money in New England. So one of the things I'm going to look for is how does he do in New England. He's outspent Vice President Gore almost three to one in those states. If he doesn't do well in those states, that's a bad sign for him.
BLITZER: From a standpoint of money, Dwight Morris, if it does turn out to be a race between Bush and Gore, who will be in better financial shape between the time that the primary season ends and the conventions in August?
MORRIS: Well, a lot of the burden for the campaign is going to immediately shift to the political parties. But if you look just at the presumptive nominees at this point being Governor Bush and Vice President Gore, you'd have to give the thumbs-up to Governor Bush. He is not taking matching funds, which means tomorrow he can get on a plane and go out and start raising another 20 million if he needs it. Mr. Gore does not have that luxury, since he is bound by a $40 million cap under the matching funds laws.
BLITZER: OK, Dwight Morris, Scott Reed, Stu Rothenberg, David Peeler, they're going to be with us throughout the night as we go through this Super Tuesday coverage. Of course, you'll want to stay with CNN as we see what happens tonight.
But coming up next, a place where elections are not for the faint of heart: New York, a past history of politics their way.
BLITZER: Beginning with the effort to exclude John McCain from the primary ballot, we've heard a lot in recent weeks about the brass- knuckled nature of politics in New York. As it is, the state and its biggest city have a history of playing the game by a different set of rules. And if you think it's rough now, CNN's Garrick Utley takes us back to the days of Tammany Hall.
UTLEY (voice-over): New York City at the turn of the last century, a city run by the political bosses of the Democratic party machine, Tammany Hall.
"Men ain't in politics for nothing," said one of its leaders, "they want to get something out of it." The words of George Washington Plunkitt, a Tammany Boss and legend who dispensed his political wisdom from Graziano's Shoeshine Stand in the county court building which still stands. At one point, Plunkitt held four public offices simultaneously, complaining only that it was fatiguing drawing four salaries.
(on camera): For those unhappy about the state of politics and campaigns today, we offer a modest perspective from the sidewalks of New York, a city which, for most of a century, was controlled, governed, built up and ripped off by Tammany Hall, which itself began as a reform movement.
(voice-over): It was retail politics at the street level, offering much-needed assistance to the poor and immigrants in exchange for their votes. What critics called vote buying turned into massive corruption. The infamous William "Boss" Tweed, in the mid-19th century, led a ring of cronies who plundered the city of tens and perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars. Tweed went to prison and died there, but Tammany Hall rolled on.
By the time George Washington Plunkitt rose to power and millionaire wealth as a Tammany leader, he was careful to distinguish between what he called honest graft and dishonest graft.
(on camera): Dishonest graft, in Plunkitt's view, was taking bribes. Honest graft was using his political position for profit, learning, for example, where the city might be building a new park or municipal building, and then buying up the real estate around it. If that struck some as abuse of power, Plunkitt said proudly, "I seen my opportunities and I took 'em."
(voice-over): Today, municipal employees are hired, in theory, according to the city's needs and the worker's skills. In Plunkitt's time, political patronage was rampant when civil service reform was mandated by the state constitution in 1894 over Tammany Hall's bitter opposition. "What is representative government for," Plunkitt complained, "if it does not reward those who won the election with government jobs?" And, he asked, "What is the Constitution among friends?"
But it was the emergence of primaries, the selection of party candidates by the voters that challenged and eventually destroyed the power of the old-time political bosses. "The men who put through the primary law," Plunkitt thundered, "are the same crowd that stand for the civil service blight." They want the destruction of government, the downfall of the Constitution, and hell generally." The so-called "good old days" in politics. Garrick Utley, CNN, New York.
BLITZER: There is much more ahead in our second hour of INSIDE POLITICS. We'll look at the morphing of Super Tuesday.
Plus, an hour-by-hour account of how this primary night may play out.
And later, three cheers for some of the best campaign pictures, heading into this monster of a primary day.
This is INSIDE POLITICS.
BLITZER: Welcome back to our second hour of INSIDE POLITICS, as we continue our coverage of this Super Tuesday round of primaries and caucuses.
In California and New York, and 14 states between -- and 14 states in between, voters still are heading to the polling places or caucus sites to help decide who will be the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees.
Our first sense of how this big and potentially decisive day will be play out should come about an hour from now. The first results are expected right here in Georgia at 7:00 p.m., 54 delegates at stake for the Republicans, 77 for the Democrats. Bush and Gore are expected to clean up. The only other polls to close at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, tiny Vermont.
At 7:30 Eastern, the night's third biggest delegate prize, Ohio. McCain is hoping to repeat his Michigan triumph in this open contest, but the latest poll numbers show him far behind Bush. At stake, 69 Republican and 146 Democratic delegates.
8:00 p.m., the old Yankee primary now incorporated into this massive Super Tuesday. This hour, polls close in Connecticut, Maine and in Massachusetts where McCain is strongest. If he's going to survive the night, McCain needs to win big here. Also at 8:00, the polls close in Maryland and Missouri, the state where Bill Bradley was born.
9:00 p.m., New York. The Empire State primary is second only to California in terms of delegates, but could be the most significant contest of the night. John McCain desperately needs to win most of New York's 93 delegates to offset Bush's anticipated wins elsewhere. Polls close in Rhode Island at this hour as well.
The big prize comes at 11 p.m. eastern when the polls close in California. All four major party candidates will be on one ballot, but only the votes of registered Republicans will count toward allocating the party's 162 delegates, more than a quarter of the Super Tuesday total. After the 11 primaries, party caucuses in five more states. In all, 605 Republican and 1,315 Democratic delegates, roughly 60 percent of the total needed to win the nominations in each party.
The Democratic contest almost certainly ends tonight. On the Republican side, it will be either a convincing close to a thrilling primary season or a kickoff to an even wilder ride.
Let's talk a little bit about what may happen tonight and after that with the chief strategist for the Bush campaign, Carl Rove. He joins us from Austin, Texas. We should note that McCain campaign manager Rick Davis was invited but declined our invitation to join us on INSIDE POLITICS.
Mr. Rove, thank you so much for joining us. Tell us a little bit what's going on in your campaign right now as you look towards the results beginning to come in on this Super Tuesday.
KARL ROVE, BUSH CAMPAIGN CHIEF STRATEGIST: Well, there's a lot of frantic activity here. You don't stop working until the polls are ready to close and we've got volunteer phone banks and volunteers working at the polls in all of these states that you talk about. And then, of course, we have the two caucus states tonight, Minnesota and Washington State, where we'll have an organized get-out-the-vote effort and an effort to generate a strong vote for Governor Bush in those two caucus states. So there's a lot of work yet to be done before the polls close, Wolf, and we've got a vast army of volunteers around the country who are involved in that effort.
BLITZER: And Governor Bush, what does he plan on doing, first of all, this evening?
ROVE: Well, he's going to be giving lots of interviews, but he'll be talking to people of Texas at a rally here at about 10:00 Central time, 11:00 Eastern, and hopefully by that point we'll have results in in most of these states and be able to describe the evening and what we think will be wonderfully positive terms.
BLITZER: How much bad blood is there right now between George W. Bush and John McCain?
ROVE: Well, I can't speak for the McCain campaign, but, look, Governor Bush is a competitor, but he doesn't take this personally. And the good news for Republicans is that these caucuses and primaries have ended with the polls showing that both these men and the states in which they've competed against each other have ended the campaigns in those states with relatively high positives and very low negatives. That is to say, people voted for somebody because they felt strongly about them in a positive vein and not because they were voting against somebody else, by and large, and that's good news for the Republican Party.
You know, one of the things that's going to be an interesting story to watch is, so far, there've been over a million votes cast in Republican primaries and caucuses. And in the Democrat contests in those same states, 650,000 votes have been cast. That's a big and growing disparity. We think that disparity will get even larger tonight between the votes cast on the Republican side and those cast on the Democratic side, and that's good news for the fall.
BLITZER: Well, why do you think so many people so far have turned out in this political primary season?
ROVE: Well, I think it's because the candidates and their messages have motivated them, and that's what's going to give, I think, Governor Bush a strong victory tonight. He's got a terrific record as a can-do governor in Texas whose compassionate conservative philosophy has made a real difference in people's lives. And his message of improving schools, of cutting taxes, strengthening the military and taking the next bold step in welfare reform by helping church and synagogue and mosque and charity and helping confront suffering in this country is a powerful message that's getting resonance from, literally, Maine to California today.
BLITZER: If you look back over these many months -- and it's been an ordeal, obviously, for you and all of the people who work for the governor -- if you could take back one decision, only one decision, that was made -- and with hindsight, obviously, everybody is a lot smarter -- I assume that one decision would be the Bob Jones University flap.
ROVE: Well, I think Governor Bush, were he to with hindsight go to Bob Jones, would do what he said he would do which is take advantage of the opportunity to disassociate himself from the school's policies and to make clear what was on his heart about their views on the Catholic Church. But look, no campaign is flawless. There are lots of things that, in retrospect, you'd like to do differently.
But campaigns are about not being flawless exercises or making no mistakes, they're about making the fewest number of mistakes, and Governor Bush has run a very strong campaign that is going to result in him winning the Republican nomination, and will result tonight, we think, in him winning the lion's share of the delegates at stake in the popular vote.
BLITZER: If, in fact, Mr. Rove, that does happen and Governor Bush does capture the Republican nomination, how much money do you estimate your campaign will have to raise between now and the August conventions when I assume you'll accept the public financing to run the balance of the election campaign?
ROVE: Well, not a lot. I mean, we have raised a lot of money so far and we've got significant funds in the bank. It depends on when the contest ends as to how much we need to raise. The great thing is that over 200,000 Americans have contributed to this campaign, an average of $300 each. That's a powerful grass-roots support from ordinary Americans, and they'll be able to -- many of those people will be willing and able to contribute again. They're all limited to contributing, as you know, $1,000, but there are a lot of Americans who are willing to help Governor Bush and are drawn by this very positive message of education and welfare reform and strengthening the military and cutting taxes. BLITZER: Some of the Gore campaign people say they have more cash on hand right now, or they will have within the next week, than the Bush campaign has. Can you share with us how much cash on hand you have right now?
ROVE: Well, I don't know what the figure is, but if that's what the Al Gore campaign thinks is their great claim to fame, let them claim it. Our great claim to fame is we've got a candidate with a positive message about education, cutting taxes, strengthening the military and taking the next step in welfare reform. If they want to spend their time declaring themselves king of the mountain when it comes to having cash on hand, so be it. That's their privilege.
BLITZER: All right, Karl Rove, the chief political strategist for Governor Bush's campaign, thank you so much for joining us on this special edition of INSIDE POLITICS. Always good to have you on our program.
ROVE: Great, thank you, sir.
BLITZER: Thank you.
And now let's get back to our correspondents' takes on the Republican race. John King, he rejoins us from Los Angeles where he's covering the McCain campaign, and Candy Crowley returns from Austin, Texas where she's covering the Bush campaign.
John, you just heard Karl Rove make the case why he thinks the Bush campaign is in very strong shape right now going into tonight's results. What are you getting? What is your sense that you're getting from the McCain campaign right now?
KING: Well, they are hoping very much, Wolf, to begin the night with a sweep in the Northeast. They make no bones about it. They say Senator McCain needs to win all of the five New England states and the majority of the delegates in New York to be able to reasonably present the rationale that it is worth going on. Some 300 delegates up next week in the South, the states of Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, governor Bush favored in all of those states. So Senator McCain needs to be able to do the math tonight and say there is a reasonable case that he can win the nomination. They have to start in the Northeast, but they also need some surprises. The polls show Governor Bush way ahead in Ohio, way ahead here in California. Senator McCain needs to win one of those states, most of his advisers say, if that math would ever add up.
BLITZER: Candy, behind the scenes in the Bush campaign -- you obviously covered that campaign, you spent a lot of time there -- give us a sense today what you're hearing from these advisers to the governor as opposed to, let's say, a week ago or two weeks ago. What is the mood behind the scenes right now?
CROWLEY: You know, I have to tell you that when you go to sort of gauge the mood of the Bush campaign, it really is the candidate himself that you can tell. There just is a body language about him. In New Hampshire on the morning of the vote, we took one look at him in a parking lot at a voting poll and said, OK, it's over, you know, he knows. South Carolina, exactly the opposite. I mean, he was out there and bouncing.
You know, strangely enough, this has been somewhere in between and I think he has been tempered, if you will, by the length of this race and by the ferocity of the fight that was put up by John McCain, and also by some of the surprises that John was just talking about. He has come to not take anything for granted, but I would tell you that this is a campaign that's feeling pretty good right now, although I wouldn't ever tell you that they're feeling over confident. I think that went away in New Hampshire.
BLITZER: John King, the McCain campaign is making plans to continue this campaign of theirs beyond tonight. I assume there's a whole schedule of events already in the works for the coming days.
KING: Actually, there's not a firm schedule. The senator did buy about $200,000 worth of TV time in Colorado. There was some talk yesterday that he would go directly from Los Angeles to Colorado tomorrow to campaign, but now they say he will go back to Arizona. He owns a ranch near Sedona. He wants to reassess there and decide when to go on. Advisers saying the senator would like to fight on but, again, they say, he will not fight on just to run against George W. Bush. If there is no way to realistically think you can win enough delegates, they say Senator McCain will get out.
We're told tonight's speech, he will lay out the rationale for what he thinks he has achieved in this race and for what he thinks the Republican Party needs to do if it wants to be competitive in the fall. Several times in the past few days, the senator has spoken in the past tense. It seems he's worried that tonight's results won't be enough to keep him in the race.
BLITZER: And John McCain has said for weeks that March 7, Super Tuesday, potentially was make or break.
Candy, if you take a look at the thrust, the message that George Bush has been delivering the last few days, he certainly is already looking beyond John McCain. He's looking toward Al Gore, is that right?
CROWLEY: Sure, and I think it's a good win for him tonight, you will definitely hear more of that. You will begin to see him taking on Al Gore. He's kind of gone back and forth on that. You remember in the final days of New Hampshire, we were talking a lot about Al Gore, and then of course it became John McCain. But I think now they're really ready to take him on. They feel very strongly that they can take the education issue away from the Democrats, if the governor's record in Texas, that his ability to speak on this subject with great passion is something that they're going to be able to confront Al Gore on, you know, head to head, so yes, you're going to see some of that, and you will see it, obviously, increasingly over the days ahead, if indeed Super Tuesday turns out to be super for him.
BLITZER: All right, Candy Crowley and John King, two of the best political reporters in the business, thanks. We'll be with you all night as well. Stay with us.
Just ahead, Al Gore versus Bill Bradley. We'll talk to Senators John Kerry and Paul Wellstone about their candidates and Super Tuesday.
BLITZER: There are Democratic contests in 15 states today, and more than the half of the delegates needed to secure the party nomination are at stake. For Al Gore, tonight's results could clinch his spot on the ticket. For Bill Bradley, Super Tuesday may be a last chance to prove his viability.
Joining us now to talk more about the Democratic matchup in Washington, Gore supporter Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, and from New York, Bradley supporter Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota. Senators, thanks so much for joining us.
Senator Wellstone, first of all, how gloomy is it over there in the Bradley camp?
SEN. PAUL WELLSTONE (D), MINNESOTA: It's not, and I think that's because of Bill. Yesterday morning, he was in South Bronx with high school kids, and it was magic, you know, Wolf it really was. I mean, that's Bills soul, and I think he feels good, and I think all of us feel good. There are a lot of issues that I think Bill has really put out there, and I think it will be part of what the Democratic Party stands for.
Win or lose, universal health care coverage will be on the table. Win or lose, both John Kerry and I care about this. Reform is not just going to be good government issue, it's going to be a living room politics issue. People are going to care about it between Bill Bradley and John McCain.
I feel good about this campaign, and you know, I don't give up until the election is over, until we see the results, but I haven't seen any gloom at all.
BLITZER: All Right, Senator Kerry, everyone seems to agree, including Vice President Gore's critics, he's a much better candidate now as a result of the challenge that he received from Bill Bradley, right?
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: There's no question about it. I mean, all of us who have been campaigning with him and for him, have noticed just a huge amount of growth in so many different ways. He's changed as a candidate. In many ways, I think he's kind of shed, you know, some of the encumbrances of Washington that I'm not sure are really Al Gore, but people have come to think are Al Gore, and now I think they are seeing a guy who is much more at ease, much more laid back. He's spending a lot of time with people.
I mean, one of the things that I think has changed the dynamic for him is the way in which he connected with people. He threw off the trappings of the vice presidency. He spent an awful lot of time in town meetings. He waited until the very end of the questions before he'd leave, and he went into people's living rooms, and ultimately, I think into people's hearts in a way that nobody thought he could.
BLITZER: Senator Wellstone, if in fact the vice president does capture the Democratic nomination, will you be an active supporter of the vice president, not just say you support him, but will you go out there and rally your wing of the Democratic Party, your constituents and try to do everything you possibly can to get Vice President Gore into the White House?
WELLSTONE: Well, let me do a one, two, three answer. First of all, Wolf, there's an if, because you know, again, until we see the results, I mean, I don't want to do a past tense. I'm not going to do that. I'm here supporting Bill Bradley. So first, let's see what the results are.
Then the second part is I certainly want to get a chance to talk to the vice president. There are issues that I think the Democratic Party has to be strong on. There are a lot of things that deal with equal opportunity for children, that deal with economic justice, that deal with reform.
But the differences between Al Gore, if Al Gore wins the nomination, and George Bush or John McCain are huge differences, and of course I will support Al Gore. I mean, in our primary, we've had a real contest and we've debated a lot of these issues, but when I see what George Bush has done to John McCain, I think the attack has been vicious, I think it has been outrageous, and I just think on the issues that families care about and are so important to the future of our country -- jobs, education, living wages jobs, doing better for our kids -- there's no comparison; of course I'll be there supporting Al Gore, if he's the one who wins.
BLITZER: And what do you say about, Senator Kerry, that this whole notion of the bad blood, if you will, the acrimony that was demonstrated earlier in the contest, not the last week, or 10 days, or two weeks, but earlier, there was some pretty strong accusations hurled by Gore against Bradley and vice versa. Can they mend the fence? Can these men go out an work together down the road to unify the Democratic Party?
KERRY: Absolutely. I don't think there's any question about it. I mean, look, Al Gore has enormous respect for Bill Bradley. Bill Bradley -- and I agree with Paul, incidentally, let's finish the job here, and none of us should be thinking in the past here. But if indeed tonight is a terrific night for Al Gore, as we hope it will be, there's no question that the differences, if you look at them between them, have really not been that great. I think it's one of the principle reasons that Bill Bradley had a great deal of trouble getting real traction against the vice president.
I mean, the vice president the has a wonderful success story to share with America. And as he goes around the country talking about 20 million jobs created, about the paying down of the debt, the extraordinary give-back to our citizens of the $19 billion reduction in interest payment, which is a big tax cut. And you look at the way he wants to help save Medicare, and put a priority on prescription drugs, and getting guns out of our streets and guns out of our schools and out of the hands of children, I mean, you measure all that, Bill Bradley and Al Gore have been really talking about many similar things, but obviously, some different style. I think on a couple of issues where there was a sharpness between them, I would take great issue with Bill Bradley.
I mean, Paul Wellstone and I are two of the strongest advocates of campaign finance reform in the Senate. And I can -- I can sit here tonight as the author of the strongest bill in the Senate and say that that's a bill that Al Gore supported a number of years ago.
It's an -- it's an -- it's an effort that he believes in deeply, and just like John McCain, who was chastened by a particular event in fund raising, Al Gore has learned that we must change this system in the country and he is committed to doing that. And no Republican, other than John McCain, is committed to doing that, certainly not George Bush, who's breaking the limits on campaign finance spending, throwing out what even Ronald Reagan and George Bush were willing to live by, and who is now spending extraordinary sums of money in the very way that they've criticized Democrats for doing it.
BLITZER: Senator John Kerry, Senator Paul Wellstone, unfortunately, we're all out of time. Always good to have both of you on INSIDE POLITICS. Thanks so much for joining us.
For more now on the Democratic hopefuls, let's bring back our correspondents. Chris Black is in Nashville. She's covering the Gore campaign. Jeanne Meserve is in New York with the Bradley campaign.
Jean, take us behind the scenes. What's going on right now in the Bradley campaign as they get ready for these results of Super Tuesday to come in? About 40 minutes from now, we should be getting the first results here on CNN.
MESERVE: Well, Wolf, first, let me give you a chance -- a glimpse of the state of play and what they think they are going to be doing in the days to come.
Senator Bradley is expected down here in this ballroom between 9:00 and 9:30 tonight to talk about tonight's results. We are told he will not be withdrawing from the race. One staffer told me that his comments here tonight would be upbeat.
Tomorrow is a down day on the schedule. We are not expected to see or hear the senator, but we have just been told there will be announcement tomorrow about the schedule Thursday and beyond. They had told us we would travel on Thursday to Florida. We are told those plans are now tentative. We will hear more tomorrow about exactly what the senator's plans are.
I can tell you that the staff tonight seems fairly upbeat, although they're well aware of what their candidate's prospects are here tonight. The candidate himself has also been quite cheerful in all of his public appearances here thus far. But in the last few days you've sensed the sensitivity. There have been times when reporters have said something about the last time we have a chance to take this picture, and you can see the staff bridle. A lot of them are very young people. They're true believers in this campaign. They're very much upset about how thinks things have evolved -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Chris Black, as far as the Gore campaign is concerned, take us behind the scenes. Tell us what we should be expecting tonight, tomorrow, the next few days.
BLACK: Well, right now, the senior advisers to the Gore campaign are with the vice president and they're putting the final touches on his speech, the speech he will give tonight a little after 9 o'clock Eastern Time. They're expecting to be a victory speech, though of course we don't know for sure until the polls close, but they're very, very optimistic about the results today, Wolf.
They think that the vice president will emerge from the balloting today as the presumptive nominee. And they say that the Democratic Party is extraordinarily unified given that there was a primary fight. And they feel that this gives the vice president the opportunity to reach out to other voters, to reach out to maybe some of the Democrats who supported Mr. Bradley, but also reach out to moderate Republicans and reach out to the independent voters, particularly people who were supporting John McCain.
BLITZER: Chris, we didn't see much of Bill Clinton on the campaign trail with Al Gore these last several months. Do you think that will change if in fact Gore captures the Democratic nomination?
BLACK: It certainly will, Wolf. I mean, it was very important. The president and the vice president both said both privately and publicly that it was important for the vice president to emerge -- become a candidate in his own right and to really move out from under the shadow of a president. This is something every vice president has to do.
But it's clear that it has begun to happen, and we actually hear that within the next month or two that the president and vice president will be appearing publicly to raise some money for the Democratic Party.
BLITZER: All right, Chris Black covering the Gore campaign, Jean Meserve covering the Bradley campaign. Looks like some music is getting ready behind you. Chris Black, thanks for joining us. Thanks to you, Jeanne, as well. And both of you will be back as our coverage tonight continues.
Just ahead, a volatile day for the Dow. An update from "MONEYLINE" in New York is next.
And later on INSIDE POLITICS, the other Governor Bush under fire in Florida: a look at the issue in question and its potential impact. Plus, Fat Tuesday brings out the revelers. But which candidates will be celebrating Super Tuesday tonight? We'll ask Mike McCurry and Tony Blankley.
Also, ready or not Super Tuesday is here and we'll take a quick look behind the scenes at the campaign so far. Stay with us.
STUART VARNEY, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. I'm Stuart Varney.
WILLOW BAY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Willow Bay.
Here's a quick look at the top business headlines in this abbreviated edition of MONEYLINE.
VARNEY: There was no bigger story today than the stock markets and the worst point loss for the Dow since the Russian financial crisis. The world's best-known stock index today skidded more than 3 1/2 percent, a gut-wrenching drop that erased more than $320 billion in market value.
Rhonda Schaffler has been in the middle of the action all day, and she joins us now from the New York Stock Exchange -- Rhonda.
RHONDA SCHAFFLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Stuart, around this time last week many analysts were saying the Dow had hit a bottom. Today they're wondering how much lower it will go.
The Dow slid 374 points, its fourth-biggest point loss ever, to close at 9,796, the lowest level in nearly a year. That slide came on the second busiest day for the big board with 1.3 billion shares swapping hands.
The Dow is now down more than 16 percent from its high, just a few percentage points away from what Wall Street considers a bear market. But at least one stock strategist expects a recovery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH MCALINDEN, MORGAN STANLEY DEAN WITTER: ... your basic materials -- the old -- old economy, boring smokestack companies that are the dinosaurs to the kids with the purple mohawks and the facial jewelry. These stocks are going to come back because you can't have a new economy without the old economy. And they are very, very cheap right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHAFFLER: The trigger for today's blizzard of selling: a profit bombshell from Procter & Gamble. The stock tumbled more than 27, cutting 136 points off the Dow. General Electric lost 7 1/2. J.P. Morgan sank about 4 1/4.
Winners were few and far between, but Microsoft gained 2 1/4 after a Goldman Sachs' analyst made positive comments on that stock. He predicted it would rally once the antitrust case is settled. And ExxonMobil climbed eight after another big spike in oil prices. Stuart, the sell-off today here was very broad, with twice as many losers as winners on the big board. Back to you.
VARNEY: Rhonda, I believe you spoke to Prudential's Ralph Acampora today. What's his take on today's action?
SCHAFFLER: That's right. He is not quite convinced that the selling is over. He thinks there's a little bit more for the Dow to fall. He's a technical analyst, so he looks at where the closes are quite carefully. And his sense was it would be at least another month until the selling was over.
And he also said -- and this has been echoed by others -- that some of the tech stocks would have to lose a little bit more too.
VARNEY: Ah, now he's talking. All right, Rhonda Schaffler at the big board.
BAY: Well, as Rhonda noted, P&G knocked 136 points off the Dow, but here's how bad it was for P&G: It wiped out $36 billion of the company's market value and drove the stock to its lowest level in nearly three years. The company behind such well-known brands as Tide detergent and Crest toothpaste said it would earn 64 to 65 cents a share in the third quarter. That's about 18 percent below analyst estimates.
P&G blamed higher costs for raw materials and a delay in the U.S. approval of its osteoporosis drug, Actonel. At the beginning of the year, P&G hit a high of $118. The stock is now trading at about half that level. Other consumer product stocks fell in sympathy: Kimberly- Clark, Colgate-Palmolive, Clorox, and Gillette all sharply lower.
VARNEY: Well, the Dow's disastrous day overshadowed an historic moment for the Nasdaq. The index that has been unstoppable -- it crossed 5,000 for the first time ever today. But the Dow's drag was just too strong and the Nasdaq turned lower.
Charles Molineaux has more on this volatile day from the Nasdaq market site -- Charles.
CHARLES MOLINEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You said it, Stuart. This is Nasdaq 5,000 day, but it's also an object lesson for market watchers who think the new economy stocks of the Nasdaq are on another planet than the old economy stocks of the New York Stock Exchange. Even technology investors were just too unnerved by today's Dow sell off.
The Nasdaq Composite surged up above 5,000 for the first time in early trading, but only spent a few minutes there before plummeting in a tidal wave of profit taking, which took it down 177 points from its high to its low. The composite ended the day down 57 points at 4,847. Biotechnology stocks had the roughest ride today, they were off 5.7 percent. Biotech big-cap Biogen hit the skids. And yesterday's biotech darling, NeoRx, got a 33 percent pasting today.
Computer stocks actually held off the downward draft for most of the day thanks to the strength in Microsoft. But Apple and Dell were more typical, down 2 percent. Chip stocks actually did buck the trend, they gained 1 1/2 percent. Xilinx gained ground. Rambus put in a healthy 10 percent gain. And after a nice recovery yesterday, Internet stocks lost 2 percent. Excite@Home and Inktomi sagged, and E*Trade fell off as well by about 6 1/2 percent, that also dragged down the financial stocks 2.5 percent -- Stuart, Willow.
VARNEY: All right, Charles Molineaux at the Nasdaq market site.
Two big movers on the Nasdaq were companies involved in the biggest Internet merger of all time. VeriSign is buying Network Solutions for $21 billion in stock. That works out to $532 per share, that for a company that had little over $200 million in total revenues last year. The deal creates a full-service Internet company, offering everything from Web site design to online security. Well, that rich price lifted Network Solutions to a gain of 46 1/2 points -- bit better than that. But VeriSign lost nearly 47 1/2.
BAY: Another problem for investors today: a runaway rally in oil, as prices hit $34 a barrel for the first time since the Gulf War. Traders blame fears that OPEC won't increase production enough when its current supply deal concludes at the end of the month. In New York trading, light sweet crude leapt $1.95 a barrel to $34.13, again, that is a new nine-year high.
VARNEY: All right, stay tuned to CNN for more political coverage on this Super Tuesday.
BAY: For more business news, you can catch MONEYLINE at 11:30 Eastern here on CNN, or at the top of the hour on CNNfn.
BLITZER: We call it Super Tuesday, the monster of the presidential primary season. But given its ever-changing lineup of contests, it is a different monster every four years.
CNN's Bruce Morton looks at the evolution of a creature of American politics.
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Super Tuesday started in 1984 as an effort to give Southern states more clout. Two weeks after the New Hampshire primary, Alabama, Florida and Georgia teamed up and held contests, though Massachusetts and Rhode Island did, too.
The Democratic race was the one to watch that year. After losing to Gary Hart in New Hampshire, Walter Mondale said he'd quit if he didn't win at least two Southern states. He won exactly two, Alabama and Georgia, stayed in the race and went on to win the nomination. 1988 was much more Super.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORE: This is a Super Tuesday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: Three weeks after New Hampshire, 16 states held primaries, still mostly in the South. Again, a big Democratic test. The two Southern candidates, Al Gore and Jesse Jackson, won the most delegates there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSE JACKSON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tonight we have won, America has won.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: But Michael Dukakis won his own Massachusetts, plus Maryland, Florida, Rhode Island and Texas, plus caucuses in Washington State. So he claimed he was the four-corner candidate, the one with national appeal, and was able to keep raising money and win the nomination.
In 1992, the South fielded a strong favorite son: Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton. Questions about draft dodging and Gennifer Flowers cost him New Hampshire, but then the big Super Tuesday Southern contests tripped up the New Hampshire winner, Massachusetts Senator Paul Tsongas, and Clinton went on to win the nomination.
1996? Clinton was the incumbent, so the South looked like the big test for the GOP -- eight states on March 5th, seven more a week later. But it didn't matter. After stumbling early on, Bob Dole won South Carolina and never looked back, rolling through Super Tuesday, winning everything.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT DOLE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think the only Tuesday that is going to be more super than this Tuesday will be Tuesday November 5. That's going to be a victory.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON (on camera): In 2000, Super Tuesday doesn't much resemble the original. It's more of a national primary, with heavily populated, diverse states like California, New York and Ohio all playing key roles. The big Southern test comes next week, but it may not matter. This vote could decide the nominee in at least one party, maybe in both.
Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.
BLITZER: Joining us now from Washington, two former rivals in the game of political spin, Tony Blankley, one-time spokesman for former House speaker Newt Gingrich, and Mike McCurry, who served for several years as White House press secretary under President Clinton. Thanks to both of you for joining us.
Put on your old Republican cap, Tony, and tell us where you think Al Gore would be most vulnerable, if he in fact is the Democratic nominee, in a contest against let's say George W. Bush?
TONY BLANKLEY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think, you start off looking at the polls as they exist today. Gore has had a pretty good last couple of months and Bush has been pounded pretty hard by McCain and to a certain extent by the media and they -- even in the polls. So that suggests that although Gore has had a very successful primary season, he does have some vulnerabilities, because he's only even right now. I think on the issues there is no doubt that, I think, he's better positioned than Bush is.
But on inheriting the negative side of the Clinton administration, on personality, on a fresh face, on change, I think those are the zones where he is going to be vulnerable. I think on the question of veracity, the famous statement by Senator Bradley challenging the vice president's veracity, that obviously will be played again and again in the fall campaign.
BLITZER: All right, Mike McCurry, let me flip the question to you, where do you think Governor Bush would be most vulnerable to a Democratic challenge?
MIKE MCCURRY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think so far in this political calendar he has lost sight of something that he really began the campaign with so long ago, the idea of a compassionate conservatism, a centrist message that might have appeal across a lot of different segments of the electorate. Governor Bush has proven that he can beat a Republican in a Republican primary, but really to win the national election in November he has to expand his constituency. So far in this campaign, not much of what he's said has really enlarged the group that he wants to appeal to when the general election comes around.
BLITZER: How does he start doing that, Tony Blankley? How does Governor Bush begin to broaden that coalition surrounding him?
BLANKLEY: Well, I think it's a challenge for both him and for Gore to reach what be called the McCain constituency. But I think Bush is at least better positioned in that he hasn't been an incumbent in Washington. He started off last year with the theme of the outsider who's reaching out to independents, to Hispanics, to women, to blacks. He has to return to that message, which I think is one that he's comfortable with.
He kind of got forced out of position going into South Carolina. That was the position that he wanted to campaign on. It's one that worked in Texas, and we'll see whether he can apply that nationally.
BLITZER: What does Gore do, Mike McCurry, on the whole issue of the campaign fund raising, the vulnerability that Tony Blankley spoke about -- the 1996 Buddhist temple visit. You know the Republicans are going to make that a huge issue. Bill Bradley made it a relatively big issue, but the Republicans are going to go much more aggressively on the offensive on that issue.
MCCURRY: Well, the best carrier of that message in the Republican Party was likely John McCain, and you know, whether or not he's still around to carry that message will be one of the stories that we watch tonight.
My guess is it's going to be awfully hard for Governor Bush, who after all has raised and spent $60 million from sources that I don't the press has really looked at that carefully yet. It's going to be much tougher for him to level that criticism.
In any event, that's not what national elections turn on. I don't think in the fall the American voter is going to be sitting there wondering about where these guys got their money four years ago in a national campaign. They're going to be listening to what the candidates are saying about issues that really they care about. And on that score, I think Vice President Gore is very well-positioned.
They've been talking about health care in the Democratic primary so far. They haven't been off on extraneous issues. I think Governor Bush is going to, first of all, have to, you know, demonstrate to the American people that he's really got what it takes to be president. And I think that's still up in the air right now.
BLANKLEY: It's always the case. Reagan had to face the question of presidential timber, which he probably crossed the threshold on no earlier than September of 1980. So when you're -- when you're not yet a vice president or a president, you do have to meet that timber test, if you will. I think Bush will get there.
There was an interesting poll that CNN announced earlier today, which was who do you give -- who do you have confidence in to keep the economy going strongly. And in that poll, I believe Bush slightly beat out Gore. They both had very good numbers, but Bush was about, I think, 3 percent ahead.
Now that was interesting because one would have thought, Gore being part of the incumbent administration, that he'd be getting the lion's share of credit for that. The fact that Bush is not only competitive but slightly ahead, I don't know what vulnerabilities Gore has there, but I would guess the Republicans will be probing that issue to try to figure out why isn't Gore doing better on the economy issue than he is.
BLITZER: Where, Mike McCurry, do the Democrats have the best opportunity to score points in a general election against the Republican, specifically on what issues, whether it's tax cuts, health care, abortion rights, gun control? Which issues will be most effective for a Democratic candidate?
MCCURRY: Well, I think on all of those issues you just cited I think right now the Democrats have got a natural advantage as they go into the general election cycle of the campaign. I think that, you know, in a way Senator Bradley, who's run a, I think, a very noble campaign, he had a hard time prosecuting a case within the Democratic primary that after eight pretty good years here we should turn out the incumbent party and the likely incumbent candidate, Vice President Gore. I think now in the general election it's really going to be hard for the out party to make the case that we throw out a group that has really brought us the kind of prosperity, the security that America has in the world right now. That's what the election turns on.
In the end, it's about peace and prosperity. I think Vice President Gore has a very, very strong position as he makes that case.
If I were the Republicans sitting there trying to figure out where do you go at Gore, you might go at these tangential issues, the campaign finance reforms things, some of the things you just mentioned, Wolf. But I'll tell you, it will be hard to get traction, those issues having been played out a little bit in this initial phase of the primary campaign.
BLITZER: I agree with Michael that you can't just go at those issues. That's part of the atmosphere. But you've got to deal with some substantive issues.
The one area that it's going to be interesting to watch is education. Normally, that's been a Democratic Party issue against Republicans. Bush has a very good record education in Texas. And that's the issue he started leading with.
Now, he got a little distracted during the primary season, but he's going to come back on that. If he can even break even with Gore on education, that's a big plus for a Republican. Republicans can do well on crime; they usually can do well on the economy, on foreign policy and defense. Education traditionally has been the Democratic issue. Breaking even would be a big victory for Bush.
MCCURRY: Wolf, one point -- I know we're running out of time -- but if we could get a campaign now, if we do in fact go into sort of more of a general election mode, around the issues that Tony was just talking about rather than some of the more tangential things that really national elections really get into, that would actually do all of America some real good.
BLITZER: All right, Mike McCurry and Tony Blankley, stand by. You're going to be with us throughout our coverage tonight: 15 minutes before the first results, before the first polls are closed. Stay with us. We have a lot more. This is INSIDE POLITICS.
BLITZER: As Texas Governor George W. Bush awaits the results of today's primaries, his brother, Florida Governor Jeb Bush, is dealing with a political firestorm of his own. Thousands of protesters jammed the state capitol grounds today to protest his order ending affirmative action in college admissions and state contracts.
Susan Candiotti reports.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outside Florida's capitol...
Inside the capitol, during his annual state of the state address, Governor Jeb Bush talked about unity.
GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: This governor will stand on principle and not allow discrimination and racism to exist in this state.
CANDIOTTI: Despite polls that show a slim majority of Floridians support the plan, protesters weren't persuaded.
They're rejecting the governor's executive order to end racial and gender preferences in university admissions and awarding state contracts. Bush says his plan would guarantee enrollment in a state college for the top 20 percent of high school graduates and that other incentives would even the playing field in awarding state contracts.
KWEISI MFUME, PRESIDENT, NAACP: One Florida doesn't unite; it divides. We want people to know that the top 20 still does not lift the bottom 80.
RANDALL OSBURN, SOUTHERN CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE: It's another case of white people knowing what's best for black people.
MFUME: It is a wolf in sheep's clothing.
CANDIOTTI: The NAACP and Reverend Jesse Jackson led the charge.
REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: This governor is yet using fear to divide rather than hope to unite.
CANDIOTTI: Among the marchers, 62-year-old Willie Hargrett (ph), a retired nurse who says she has felt the sting of discrimination when she was passed over for a job.
WILLIE HARGRETT, RETIRED NURSE: A lot of people fought, a lot of people died so that we could get to this point. And to me, it seems we're going backwards instead of forward. I really don't want to go back.
CANDIOTTI: Rally organizers say they're considering a statewide economic boycott.
(on camera): The controversy is not expected to impact next week's GOP primary in Florida. However, analysts say unless Governor Jeb Bush modifies his plan, it could hurt Republican chances of grabbing the crossover vote come November.
Susan Candiotti, CNN, Tallahassee, Florida.
BLITZER: When INSIDE POLITICS returns, snapshots and rallying cries from the Super Tuesday campaign trail.
BLITZER: Bernard Shaw, Judy Woodruff and Jeff Greenfield are all getting ready for this primary night special coverage. Only minutes away before the first polls close in Vermont and Georgia. We'll have complete coverage, of course, on this Super Tuesday on CNN.
I've moved into my new spot on this primary night as well. We'll have a lot of analysis. We'll have a lot of background, what's going on.
But for now, let's take a look back on the sights and sounds of what's been a remarkable opportunity to cover politics.
BRADLEY: Don't listen to the polls and pundits. Go to the polls and vote your convictions, vote your heart, vote for the future of this country.
MCCAIN: We need to send a message from Massachusetts and New England to America that change is coming, a new day is coming in politics in America.
BUSH: There's something in the air here in this good city. It's called victory on March the 7th.
VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hello, Buckeyes. It's great to be here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who you going to vote for?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill Bradley.
UNIDENTIFIED GORE SUPPORTERS: Hey, you!
UNIDENTIFIED GORE SUPPORTERS: Hey, you!
UNIDENTIFIED GORE SUPPORTERS: You know the story!
UNIDENTIFIED GORE SUPPORTERS: You know the story!
UNIDENTIFIED GORE SUPPORTERS: Tell the whole wide word this is Gore territory.
UNIDENTIFIED BUSH SUPPORTERS: We love him, we love him, we love him...
BUSH: This party needs to have a nominee who's willing to lead our education system to make sure nobody's left behind.
MCCAIN: I want every parent in America to have the same ability that wealthy parents, and that is to send their child to the school of their choice in their neighborhood.
BRADLEY: Double what the federal government spends on education, but hold schools accountable for results.
ALAN KEYES (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Accountability is wonderful, but it shouldn't be accountability to government.
GORE: If you want a president of the United States that will move heaven and earth to bring not just gradual, incremental changes to our schools, but truly revolutionary improvements to our schools, I ask for your vote so I can fight for you.
MCCAIN: And I think, when you look at all the highly qualified and talented women who serve in America today, that it would be very logical to have a woman vice president, and perhaps in the next cycle, a woman president of the United States.
BLITZER: Our election coverage begins in just two minutes. And of course, for complete coverage of this Super Tuesday night, you can also go to our Web site. That's at cnn.com/election2000.
For now, I'm Wolf Blitzer in Atlanta. Stay with CNN on this Super Tuesday.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
|CLICK HERE FOR TODAY'S TOPICS AND GUESTS|
CLICK HERE FOR CNN PROGRAM SCHEDULES
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.