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Inside Politics

McCain and Bradley Bow Out of Presidential Race; Bush Expected to Reach Out to McCain; Gore Doesn't Get Bradley's Endorsement Yet

Aired March 9, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am no longer an active candidate for my party's nomination for president. I congratulate Governor Bush. He may very well become the next president of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Not sounding ready for reconciliation, John McCain bows out of the Republican presidential race.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: As George W. Bush presses on with his campaign, we'll tell you if he is offering McCain any olive branches.

SHAW: Democrat Bill Bradley calls it quits, too. Has he put his disputes with Al Gore behind him?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL BRADLEY (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am not parsing words today. I'm saying very clearly, I've called him. I said I would support him. I intend to support him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Gore gets Bradley's support, but not his endorsement? Does it matter?

ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Judy Woodruff and Bernard Shaw.

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us, and a special welcome to our international viewers. For a time, their campaigns were on parallel tracks, both insurgents and both rising stars, giving their parties' establishments a scare.

SHAW: Today, John McCain and Bill Bradley are linked again, after they ended their presidential bids just an hour apart. But it is McCain's departure that is more likely to have a continued impact on the race, especially for Republicans, and as our John King reports from Arizona, that is exactly what McCain wants.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John McCain was subdued as he called it quits, offering congratulations to George W. Bush, but no endorsement, promising to fight on, even as he exits the presidential stage.

MCCAIN: Millions of Americans have rallied to our banner, and their support not just honors me, but has ignited the cause of reform, a cause far greater and more important than the ambitions of any single candidate.

KING: Suspending than officially ending his campaign allows McCain to give federal matching funds for any last-minute contributions, and he keeps control of his delegates for potential platform fights at the Republican convention.

MCCAIN: I will never walk away from a fight for what I know is right and just for our country.

KING: McCain's campaign trademark was straight talk, and he took no questions, in part, because he has so few answers about the road ahead. Intermediaries are trying to arrange a meeting with Bush, but the senator doubts the governor will move his way on McCain's signature issue of campaign finance reform.

Going back to the Senate will be awkward. McCain's maverick streak doesn't sit well with many of his colleagues, and Republican leaders were openly dismiss of his candidacy.

SEN. TRENT LOTT, (R-MS), MAJORITY LEADER: We left the light on for John McCain. We thought probably he'd be coming back.

KING: Some advisers want McCain to consider a third party run, but the senator says he is and will remain a loyal Republican.

MCCAIN: I love my party. It is my home. Ours is the party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan. That's good company for any American to keep.

KING: McCain won primaries in seven states: New Hampshire, Michigan, Arizona, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont. Along the way, he spent more than $36 million and won 225 delegates to the Republican National Convention.

MCCAIN: I am truly grateful for the distinct privilege of even being considered for the highest office in this, the greatest nation in the history of mankind.

KING: The McCain camp believes it has leverage because Democrats and independents who support the senator are critical to Governor Bush in the fall.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: But the senator's subdued tone reflected his new political reality: candidates bowing out can make demands and sometimes even get their way, but the nominee calls the shots and leads the party, and the Republican nominee will be George W. Bush, not John McCain -- Bernie.

SHAW: John, you mentioned leverage. Do we know any specifics about what McCain wants from the governor?

KING: Well, we know, first and foremost, Senator McCain would love for George W. Bush to swear off using any soft money, those unrestricted unregulated contributions in the fall campaign, but Senator McCain also knows Governor Bush has said he's not willing to do that if the Democrats are going to use soft money as well. He is trying to get a more detailed commitment to campaign finance reform. He also wants, at least in the view of his aides, some respect. The Bush campaign and the Republican establishment have said things about Senator McCain, saying he was not a Republican, comparing his economic message to President Clinton.

So look for him to press on campaign and political reform. Look for him, obviously, to seek a role at the Republican National Convention. He has said, however, he has no interest in the vice presidential nomination. That could hurt his leverage just a little bit. Those talks expected to begin after next Tuesday, when Governor Bush will get a mathematical lock on the nomination, assuming all goes as it looks as it will go in next week's primaries -- Bernie.

SHAW: John King in Arizona, thank you.

Well, for George W. Bush, reaching out to McCain is a part of the new political reality, but so is hammering Al Gore.

Our Candy Crowley is back on the road with Bush.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The governor of Texas and the next president of the United States -- George Bush.

(APPLAUSE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another rally, another state.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is still a primary on tomorrow. It's important to go vote tomorrow here in Colorado.

CROWLEY: From Denver to Provo to Cheyenne, same old, same old for George Bush, except for the delegate dance with John McCain.

BUSH: Both of us have just come off a tough campaign, and a tough travel schedule, and there needs to be some time settle out. John needed some time to think. I needed some time.

CROWLEY: Bush was to put in a phone call to McCain Thursday afternoon, but the effort to find cordiality and commonality in the two camps is largely led by intermediaries. A source close to the Bush campaign says Bush and company have been told to give McCain time and space to decompress, ruling out in the immediate future any kind of face-to-face rapprochement.

In a campaign that bulges with endorsements, this one, if given with any enthusiasm, might actually mean something. After all, since January, almost four-and-a-half million voters have pulled the lever by the name John McCain.

BUSH: What's going to win his supporters over is when they realize Al Gore is no reformer and Al Gore is no John McCain.

CROWLEY: On the stump, Bush talks tax reform, education reform, Social Security reform. He talks about campaign finance reform, too. He is particularly fond of discussing Al Gore's plan.

BUSH: On one day, he stands up in front of America and says, we need to get rid of soft money. At the very time, he's planning to go out and raise soft money. America is not going to be fooled by the difference between rhetoric and reality.

CROWLEY: It is unclear how far or whether Bush would move to synch up his ideas on campaign finance reform with John McCain's. Direct questions about that are met with mushy answers.

BUSH: We'll just have to see.

CROWLEY: Or non-answers.

BUSH: If there's an area of agreement, it's making sure Al Gore is not elected president.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY: Now, about that phone call that Bush was to have made to McCain this afternoon, it has in fact happened, shortly after 1:30 East Coast time. It just went on for a couple of minutes. Bush thanked John McCain for his gracious remarks this morning. That's a quote, went on to thank him for his decision. No discussion, we're told, of endorsements, no discussion of getting together.

As a Bush source says, look, George Bush believes that what John McCain is going through right now is a very personal thing, not a political thing, and that you know, the timetable and what he wants to do and his next steps are totally up to John McCain. So there was no discussion about what next and when can we get together -- Bernie.

SHAW: Candy, considering the feelings that exist within these two camps, what else are you hearing about efforts of rapprochement?

CROWLEY: You know, it's interesting, I was told again by a Bush source that those olive branches are breaking out all over. Here's what happens, as you know, Bernie. The political world is a fairly small world. A lot of the people that work for John McCain know a lot of the people that work for George Bush. They have often worked for the same person in campaigns past or up on the Hill together, so from -- on a staff level, members of the Bush staff are reaching out to members of the McCain staff, trying to find some way to kind of get them back together again.

So that's going on, as well as those -- the third party by people on the upper tiers trying to get together. I'm convinced that there will be a meeting, but I am also convinced that right now the Bush campaign really wants to step back, make what overtures it can at staff levels and let John McCain set the pace of this.

SHAW: OK, understood. Candy Crowley in Cheyenne, Wyoming -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Well, we are joined now by CNN's senior analyst Jeff Greenfield -- he's in New York -- and David Broder of "The Washington Post." He's with us from the post newsroom.

David, to you first, this was not anything like an enthusiastic -- it wasn't even an endorsement of any kind by John McCain of George W. Bush today. What exactly was he trying to say today.

DAVID BRODER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, you're right, Judy, it was certainly was no group hug. What he was trying to say I think was two things. One, he is not going to bail out of the Republican Party; and two, he is going to continue the fight within that party for some of the goals and principles that he enunciated in the campaign. How he does that remains to be seen, but I think the Bush people took a good deal of comfort from the fact that he is going to stay within the party.

SHAW: Jeff Greenfield, does that surprise you?

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: No, I think Senator McCain has been saying all along when he tried to win Republican support just after South Carolina and Michigan, the words he used today: I am a proud Republican; this party is my home. He's a fellow who's been in Republican elective politics for 18 years and you always hear from staff people at a time like this that, oh, we'll -- we'd like to go third party. I mean, decades ago I was a staff guy, and staff people are always more eager to carry the fight right to the finish than the candidate who, after all, has a political future to consider.

BRODER: And, Judy, there's one other practical consideration we should not forget. John McCain is the chairman of major committee of the United States Senate. Senate is likely to remain in Republican hands. He wants to be able to keep that chairmanship.

WOODRUFF: Jeff, what shape does McCain's departure leave the Bush campaign in?

GREENFIELD: Well, I'm sure it leaves them in a better shape than if McCain had won a couple of primaries and was going to fight right through to Illinois, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and New Jersey, for one thing. The money they have left, which is, you know, $6 million or so, they can begin to use in a general election strategy, and they don't have to put off the attempt to unify the party, two, three, four months. You know, it would have been, I think, a pretty tough scenario for them if McCain had won enough, if he'd won New York, if he'd won the beauty contest in California, to keep slogging through the industrial Midwest and the North back again after Southern Tuesday.

WOODRUFF: And, David, what about those 4 1/2 million people who did vote for John McCain and, you know, any other number of others who might have wanted to vote for him? Where do they go now? Is anybody an obvious choice for them?

BRODER: It's not clear where they will go. Some of them may be disillusioned, although Senator McCain was addressing them very strongly saying, stay in the fight, don't give up. But I think it's going to be quite awhile, Judy, before we can sort this out.

Let me just mention one other thing that's happening. Some of the handful of Republican senators who supported McCain are working actively yesterday and today to be sure that he gets a decent welcome back to the Senate. He has a lot of critics among Republican senators, but they are very keen to see that he is not treated as an outcast when he comes back to the Senate. That may be the first step in making it possible for him eventually to sit down and have a worthwhile discussion with Governor Bush.

WOODRUFF: Just quickly, Jeff, one last question: The McCain campaign has obviously lost, but what about McCain's ideas and reform proposals?

GREENFIELD: I don't think anybody in either party can ignore the fact that John McCain ignited something. At a time of peace and prosperity, to arouse that much enthusiasm for what is essentially a reform campaign that challenges the premise of a major party means there's something out there even now. Whether it's disenchantment with the personal behavior of the president or the way politics is conducted, there is a feeling there that's much deeper than one man, and I think that's why you're going to see, even though it will take some time, as David said, both Gore and Bush now see, I think, the McCain voter the way people used to see the Perot voter as perhaps the decisive element in the fall. They're going to -- that's big stuff in politics, I think.

WOODRUFF: All right, gentlemen, we're going to ask you to stand by because Bernie's going to want to talk to you in a few minutes about the Democrats. So hang in there. We'll be right back with you.

Meanwhile, coming up next, the day's other presidential drop-out:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRADLEY: .. begin this morning with a discussion of my favorite books.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: In his swan song, Bill Bradley jokes about his reluctance to open up, but then keeps a lid on any kind words for Al Gore. We'll have reaction from the vice president and tell you why he interrupted his campaign schedule today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SHAW: You know, if John McCain seemed reluctant to end his presidential fight today, Bill Bradley appeared relieved, at least to some degree when he made his announcement in New Jersey.

Though, as CNN's Jeanne Meserve reports, Bradley hasn't entirely let go of his bitter battle with Al Gore.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRADLEY: I've decided to withdraw from the Democratic race for president.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was both bitter and sweet, a repudiation and a reaffirmation.

BRADLEY: For me personally, today means the, you know, the closing of this chapter. It is something that I believe I gave my full heart, mind, soul and energy to, and it didn't turn out.

MESERVE: Bradley said the people had spoken; it was time to unify the party. But he did not give Al Gore his delegates, his endorsement or his praise.

BRADLEY: I believe that a Democratic president can do more for this country than a Republican president, and he has my full support.

MESERVE: Their contest has been an acrimonious one, and although their competition has ended, the bad feelings about how it was conducted have not.

BRADLEY: I thought that there were distortions and negativity, and I hope, and I would expect -- I hope that he'll run a better campaign in the general election.

MESERVE: But if he doesn't, says Bradley, he will speak up.

BRADLEY: We have been defeated, but the cause for which I ran has not been.

MESERVE: Bradley pledged to continue to fight for the North Star issues which guided his campaign: health care, gun control, campaign finance reform, a better politics, a better America.

BRADLEY: A president is president of all the people, wealthy as well as poor. But a president must listen more closely because the voices of those who have been less fortunate are not as loud and insistent as those who have been more fortunate.

MESERVE: This was the message that drew to Bradley the faithful staff and volunteers who surrounded him today. For them, Bradley had thanks and praise. For him, they had applause, cheers and a whole lot of tears.

Why didn't Bradley inspire more people like this? The candidate reflected: BRADLEY: I think that we didn't really get across the extent to which this was not a campaign of self-interest, quite frankly, and I think that's what we didn't get across.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MESERVE: Bradley said that he and the day's other casualty, John McCain, had both been defeated by the forces of entrenched power within their parties. And although this chapter has ended, the book has not been closed. Bradley left open the possibility that he could run for president again someday -- Bernie?

SHAW: Jeanne, do you think Bradley will press Gore to be specific...

MESERVE: Yes, he will.

SHAW: ... on issues?

MESERVE: He definitely will do that. He is going to take a couple of weeks vacation and then we're told he's going to come back and do some lecturing, do some writing. He's going to be underlining these very issues that he talked about throughout his campaign, and it's one reason why he held onto his delegates. He hopes to use them as a bargaining chip to get the Democratic Party to address his issues the way he wants them to in its platform -- Bernie.

SHAW: OK, thank you, Jeanne Meserve in New Jersey -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Well, if Al Gore was hoping that Bradley's support would be a bit more enthusiastic, he wasn't showing it today.

CNN's Chris Black reports on Gore's reaction and the detour in his day.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The victor reacted magnanimously.

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I appreciated his statement of support and willingness to campaign on my behalf, very, very much.

BLACK: Al Gore can afford to be generous. The vice president trounced Bill Bradley so thoroughly on Tuesday, he emerged as the clear favorite of a unified Democratic Party. And Gore has already turned the corner to the general election, dismissing George W. Bush's criticism of the president and vice president's involvement in raising soft money for the Democratic Party.

GORE: If he thinks that the Democratic Party is going to unilaterally disarm and jump off a cliff, then he's going to be in for -- I mean, he's got another thing coming.

BLACK: Gore reissued his challenge to Bush to agree to eliminate all soft money from the general election campaign, saying the unregulated money could go in a snap.

GORE: If he will agree to eliminate all of that from the campaign, we can do it just like that, I'm ready.

BLACK: The vice president abruptly canceled campaign stops in the Midwest and flew back to Washington at midnight Wednesday to be on-hand to break a possible tie vote in the Senate on two Clinton judicial nominees. The nominations of Richard Paez and Marsha Berzon passed easily without his help. The third time since the New Hampshire primary, a close vote has turned into an easy victory after Gore arrived at the Capitol.

GORE: Some Republicans quickly changed their views and voted for what was right. I never knew that I had such influence in the Republican Party.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACK: Before rushing back to Washington the vice president held a three-hour town meeting in Detroit, not leaving until he answered every last question. He says this will be the pattern for the upcoming months as he moves beyond his rivalry with Bill Bradley and tries to draw the differences between himself and George W. Bush -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Chris, what was going on with these judicial nominees, these votes on them? What -- why did the vice president think it was so necessary to come back?

BLACK: Well, in the end, Judy, the -- Judge Paez won by 20 points. It was 59 to 39, which wasn't even close. And in fact the Democrats by their public head count had enough votes to win but they were afraid that they -- something would go wrong. And also, this is a big political issue in the Hispanic community. This judicial nominee has been waiting for four years, the longest time a person has waited in history to be approved by the Senate. And it's a subject of much contention in the Hispanic community, and as one White House official said to me today, George W. Bush never said a word about it.

WOODRUFF: Four years. All right, Chris Black at the Capitol, thanks -- Bernie.

SHAW: Now, let's bring back David Broder of "The Washington Post," and CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield.

Jeff, did Bradley truly have the stomach for this fight with Al Gore?

GREENFIELD: It was interesting that in their endorsement of Al Gore, "The New York Times" editorially raised precisely that question, which is kind of an odd, odd thing to raise about somebody who's been out there for 18 months.

But I think you could put it this way, from the very beginning Bradley had said he wanted to see if he could run a presidential campaign in a different way. And I think what surprised some people, it certainly surprised me, was I thought he simply meant in how he talked, and what he talked about. But I think he really believed that if he could have a conversation with the voters, he didn't need to engage his opponent.

And I do think that -- I guess hindsight is easy, but you know a campaign is a word that derives from military. It refers to a battle. And I think the notion that you can win a nomination without engaging your opponent and not very clearly pointing out where that opponent is wrong and not just where you're right, to say it was a very difficult proposition is an understatement.

SHAW: David?

BRODER: I think the corollary to what Jeff just said is that campaigning is partly just simple transfer of energy or, if you will, motivation. I think Bradley was very persuasive to his audiences, but they didn't leave the meeting fired up to go out and convert 20 other people. And given the relentless energy that Al Gore put into his campaign, it turned out to be really a mismatch.

SHAW: But, David, what would possess a man to take on his party's sitting vice president who wants the party's nomination?

BRODER: You'd have to ask Senator Bradley that. But I think he saw that there was disaffection in the country with the performance of the Gore/Clinton administration. Turned out that, that disaffection was not very deep within the Democratic Party. And I also think that you have to credit him seriously with his belief that in a time of prosperity and peace like this that there was a possibility that Americans were ready to raise their sights and set some of the ambitious social program goals that he outlined in his campaign.

SHAW: Jeff?

GREENFIELD: Yes, I think that's what Bradley's assumption was. And what really made it difficult, to pick up on David's point on two grounds. One: you're running against your own party's vice president, but you feel constrained from attacking your own party's president directly. That's the only reason why John McCain's message was easier to make. He's a Republican. He didn't have to watch his words.

And secondly, the Bill Bradley that we'd seen in the Senate, a man who you couldn't predict, sometimes centrist, sometimes liberal, sometimes even conservative on a couple of votes. McCain, a down-the- line liberal left candidate. And I think for some of his supporters, you think about Pat Moynihan, you know about Bob Kerrey, you think about Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chair who endorsed Bradley, not exactly a screaming left-winger. The campaign that Bradley waged and the Senate record that Bradley had compiled were really not in sync.

SHAW: Jeff Greenfield, David Broder, gentlemen, thank you.

WOODRUFF: And much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

Still to come, supporters without candidates? Our Bill Schneider on who will pick up the votes of the McCain and Bradley followers?

Plus...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BETH FOUHY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The 2000 Republican primary season was a bloody affair: divisive, negative, and personal, and by historical standards, par for the course.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Beth Fouhy on the historical precedents of bad blood in the Republican primary races.

And later...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This year, the party establishment for regulars got the nominees they wanted. The insurgents lost. What now?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Bruce Morton with some predictions for the race ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

CNN has learned that the father of Elian Gonzalez has hired an influential Washington lawyer to help him win the international custody battle over the child. Greg Craig (ph) was one of President Clinton's defense attorneys during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Meanwhile in Miami, a federal judge heard key arguments in the Gonzalez case today, but he ended the hearing without making a decision. Some of Elian's relatives are trying to block the immigration department's order that Elian be returned to his father.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PATRICIA MAHER, DEP. ASST. ATTORNEY GENERAL: It is our hope that the court's resolution of the motions that were argued today will make it possible for this little boy to go home to his father and bring an end to this extraordinary case that has placed such enormous strains on the Gonzalez family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Dozens of protesters demonstrated outside the courthouse, saying Elian should be granted political asylum.

SHAW: In the Middle East, a month-long deadlock in peace talks has ended. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak today in Egypt. Negotiators for each side agreed on the transfer of 6.1 percent of the West Bank to Palestinian Authority. This was the sticking point that caused the talks to break off last February. After today's summit, Mr. Mubarak said he hopes peace will be reached in the Middle East. Talks will resume in Washington later this month.

WOODRUFF: Four people were killed today, when two small planes collided on a runway at a southwest Florida airport. One plane had been cleared for takeoff, when the other was given permission to hold on the same runway. Investigators say they are not sure how the two planes collided. Visibility was good at the time. There were two people aboard each plane. All four died in a fiery explosion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, Hallelujah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dear God, thank you Lord.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They found my baby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHAW: Elsewhere in Florida, a fortunate of events for a 10-year- old girl who was kidnapped from her driveway Monday. Jessica Rodriguez has been reunited with her family, she has been examined by doctors and she is doing well. Jessica's abductor dropped her outside a Wal-Mart department store. Police are still looking for him. They say he is about six feet tall, is in his 30s or 40s, has brown hair and eyes, and may be balding.

WOODRUFF: Nearly half of working women work opposite shifts from their mates. This is especially true for women with young children. According to a poll by the AFL-CIO, mothers often choose different shifts to avoid day-care costs. A union spokeswoman says many women lack benefits such as child care, flexible schedules. The poll is part of the union's effort to identify worker priorities and to mobilize votes.

SHAW: And when INSIDE POLITICS returns, John McCain's future and his relationship with George W. Bush -- we're going to talk to McCain adviser Ken Duberstein.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: With Bill Bradley and John McCain out of the running for their respective party nominations, one question in on everyone's mind: who will their supporters turn to now? For the answer, we go to our own Bill Schneider in Atlanta -- Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Judy, as you just said, McCain and Bradley are out. That means McCain voters and Bradley voters should be in play, with Bush and Gore going after them. Wait a minute. Bradley's a Democrat who announced he'd support Gore today. McCain's a Republican who said he could beat Al Gore like a drum. This ought to be a no-brainer. Well, not quite. McCain and Bradley voters are very independent, not likely to blindly follow the party line.

Well, fortunately, California had a non-partisan primary on Tuesday. Anybody could vote for anybody. So we can look at the California exit poll and compare McCain voters and Bradley voters directly, especially since McCain voters and Bradley voters in California look very much like McCain voters and Bradley voters nationwide.

Now, we found that Bradley voters were extremely liberal -- almost 60 percent liberal -- more liberal than Gore voters. McCain voters were extremely moderate, if one can say such a thing -- much more moderate than Bush voters, who were quite conservative. So, from left to right, you've got Bradley voters on the left, Gore voters center left, McCain voters right in the middle and Bush voters on the right. Now, that says McCain voters are the ones who are really in play.

Here's another big difference. McCain voters said personal qualities were more important to them than a candidate's issue positions. Bradley voters voted the issues. That should make it easy for Gore to pick up Bradley's support. Gore and Bradley agreed on most issues. That should make it hard for either candidate to pick up McCain's support. McCain's voters were voting for him personally. A personal vote doesn't easily go to other candidates, even if they're in the same party, like Bush.

What personal quality mattered most to McCain voters? A candidate who stands up for what he believes. Gore and Bush will have to prove to the McCain voters that each of them is his own man. Now, let's see how McCain voters feel about Gore and Bush. And here's the answer: the same. McCain voters don't like either one of them. At least you can say Gore and Bush start out even.

How do Bradley voters feel about Gore and Bush? Big difference. They like Gore. They don't like Bush. Not likely to be too much competition for the Bradley vote. On Tuesday, we asked McCain and Bradley voters in California how they would vote right now if they had to choose between Bush and Gore. Bradley voters are definitely not up for grabs. Three-quarters of them would vote for Gore. Little interest in Bush.

But McCain voters certainly are in play. Right now, they tilt slightly to Bush. But Gore gets a hefty share of the McCain vote -- nearly 40 percent, and the same is true all over the country. McCain voters everywhere go about five to four for Bush. It may come down to which contender, Gore or Bush, most reminds McCain voters of the personal qualities they admired in McCain. And you know what, Judy? So far, neither one of them does.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider, thanks -- Bernie. SHAW: An hour ago, I talked with John McCain adviser and former Reagan White House chief of staff Ken Duberstein. I asked him what will happen if the Republican Party refuses to absorb the substance and the flavor of John McCain.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEN DUBERSTEIN, FMR. REAGAN CHIEF OF STAFF: Oh, I don't think the Republican Party is about to refuse the substance of John McCain. I think the Republican Party really wants to rededicate itself as the reform party, reforming not only Washington, but Social Security and taxes and education. I think -- and campaign finance reform. And I think the message that came from John McCain today and the response from Governor Bush in his press conference was very favorable and forthcoming as far as working together on this agenda for reform.

SHAW (on camera): How much leverage does McCain have to influence Governor Bush and the Republican Party platform?

DUBERSTEIN: I don't think we talk in terms of leverage, but rather in the terms of a road map to all these millions of new voters who have been excited and turned on by John McCain because the message of reform. What John McCain is doing for the Republican Party and for Governor Bush is saying, if we are true reformers and going from Social Security to campaign finance reform to Medicare and education, then in fact we can win the election in November, and we can reform Washington, as Ronald Reagan campaigned in 1980, reforming Washington. We are now ready for the next cycle of reform.

SHAW: You make that sound very rosy, but the fact of the matter is, there are still people on the governor's staff who worked night and day to stop McCain and block him every step of the way in this campaign. How raw are the feelings between your camp and the Bush camp?

DUBERSTEIN: Well, first of all, politics is a contact sport, let's face it, Bernie. Sure, we he wanted to win. Sure, it's going to take some time of healing, but I think we can get on the same page, and that page is a page of reform. That's the key to making this thing work, not only in the next few days, but over the eight months and for the first four years of Governor Bush.

SHAW: Tell us about these Bush telephone calls to the McCain camp, trying to have a summit and ultimately a face to face between the governor and the senator.

DUBERSTEIN: I think that's probably a bit of a mischaracterization. What the Bush people have done is tried to reach out to several McCain supporters and surrogates, as it were, and say, we want to find ways to work together, we want to find common ground. And I think they have been persuasive on that. And in fact, this afternoon I have reason to know that Governor Bush called Senator McCain and expressed the desire to work things out together, to work together hard to find common ground on a message of reform.

SHAW: When will the two men sit down face-to-face? DUBERSTEIN: Well, I think Senator McCain is going to take a vacation for a few days, take some time off, hopefully before too long, there will be a rapproachment.

SHAW: Anything else in the phone call?

DUBERSTEIN: Not that I know of. But there were expressions of gratitude from the nice things that Senator McCain had to say today and a reassurance on reform. It's a reformer with results.

SHAW: But he intends to hold Bush's feet to the fire?

DUBERSTEIN: I think he is going to go from the center stage of the campaign back to the United States Senate and continue to keep faith with long-held principles of reform.

SHAW: So he's going to speaking out?

DUBERSTEIN: Of course he will. That's John McCain. That's why so many people are attracted to John.

SHAW: Last question, will McCain's affect and influence on the party be lasting?

DUBERSTEIN: I think so. I think John McCain said that the aura for a Republican is also aura for reform, and I think the Republican Party is going to get it's act together on the basis of reform, so that the Republican Party will be the new Republican Party that John McCain has talked about, and I think George Bush will talk about.

SHAW: Thank you, sir.

DUBERSTEIN: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHAW: Up next, animosity in the Republican ranks. Was this year's Bush-McCain battle any different from GOP primaries of the past?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The fact that John McCain and George W. Bush have some deep divisions to heal in the months to come is nothing new in the Republican Party.

Our Beth Fouhy takes a look back at the GOP's long history of bitter primary battles and candidate animosity on the road to the party nominations.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MCCAIN: This is probably the nastiest campaign that people have seen in a long time.

FOUHY (voice-over): The 2000 Republican primary season was a bloody affair -- divisive, negative and personal, and by historical standards, par for the course.

Take 1952, when Senator Robert Taft, the choice of the conservatives and son of a former president, found himself facing a war hero with strong support from moderates and independents. That year, the war hero, Dwight Eisenhower, won. His argument: that Taft represented a GOP that had lost the last five elections, that it was time for a change. At the unusually rancorous party convention, Taft tried to knock out Eisenhower delegates by challenging their credentials and failed.

Eight years later, another nasty GOP fight, also with parallels to today. In 1960, Richard Nixon fought off New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, a reformer with strong backing from moderate Republicans. With the nomination in hand, Nixon flew to New York to patch up the rift. First Nixon offered Rockefeller the vice presidency, an offer that was refused. Then they bargained over policy. Conservatives called the so-called "compact of Fifth Avenue" a sellout.

In 1980, another epic showdown, between conservative California Governor Ronald Reagan and the standard bearer of the Eastern establishment, George Bush.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1980)

GEORGE BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, all it was good organization. What the hell is wrong with good organization?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOUHY: Bush pulled off a surprise win in the Iowa caucuses, and the race came to a head in New Hampshire. Reagan and Bush agreed to a two-man debate in Nashua, paid for by the Reagan campaign, that excluded the other four Republicans. But on debate night, Reagan showed up with the four others, including senator Bob Dole. When the debate sponsor objected and tried to turn off Reagan's microphone, the governor delivered one of his most famous lines.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1980)

RONALD REAGAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Green.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOUHY: Reagan came off the hero, leaving Bush later to complain that he'd been ambushed.

CHARLIE BLACK, 1980 REAGAN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well put. At that point in time, it made him look a little bit too passive, and a little weak or out of control. Governor Reagan went on to win the New Hampshire primary three days later by a large margin.

FOUHY: Bush ferried the win factor for good in 1988, when he slammed Bob Dole with the infamous "straddle ad." Dole couldn't contain his anger.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1988)

BOB DOLE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think he's been lying a lot, very frankly, and he won't get away with it again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOUHY: Often though, practical considerations trump personal animosity. In 1980, Reagan ultimately picked Bush as his running mate. And as for the ancient Dole-Bush feud, that, too, appears to have been patched up.

(on camera): Of course primary fights can have serious consequences long after the personal arguments have been resolved, like damaging the eventual nominee before the general election.

Beth Fouhy, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHAW: When we return, Gore versus Bush -- our Bruce Morton on what to expect in election 2000.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY CARSON, ADVANCE STAFF: It's been an inspiring campaign. It's been the kind of campaign that when you talk to people, that, you know -- I'm obviously very young, but when you talk to people that have been in politics a long time, they say that this has a very -- a really special campaign.

SARA HOWARD, PRESS AIDE: Take a vacation, sleep, i think sort of get back in touch with my family and friends who have kind of -- I've fallen out of touch with in the past year.

JON LENZNER, DIRECTOR, PRESS ADVANCE: For next week, I think we're all -- we all would like to party like rock stars, but at some point have to get back and find a new apartment in D.C.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: A few words, some nostalgic, from the departing staff of the Bill Bradley campaign, making new plans as the presidential campaign heads into a new phase.

SHAW: So back to the main ring: What can voters expect from the new Al Gore versus George W. Bush phase of the 2000 White House race?

Well, our Bruce Morton has some thoughts.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MORTON (voice-over): People keep saying the political parties are weak, but they're still strong enough to nominate their man. This year, the party establishment, the regulars, got the nominees they wanted. The insurgents lost. What now? Well, George W. Bush and the Reverend Pat Robertson went steady during the primaries, especially in South Carolina. The question now is: Can Bush get his class ring back and start wooing the moderates? Robertson may have to sing the old Patsy Cline song, "I've Got Your Photograph, She's Got You."

But if Bush can't break off the romance with Robertson, he's in trouble. Will it be a negative campaign? Bet on it. It's more of a sure thing than Microsoft. Gore go negative? Just ask Bill Bradley.

BRADLEY: I thought that there were distortions and negativity.

MORTON: Will George Bush go negative? How about those ads saying John McCain opposed research on breast cancer?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, BUSH RADIO AD)

ANNOUNCER: McCain opposes funding for vital breast cancer programs right here in New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORTON: There's that video of Gore's famous visit to the Buddhist fund-raiser. We will see this video roughly 1,438,007 times, assuming we don't watch the news every day. Then there's this famous video.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORE: My counsel tells me there is no controlling legal authority that says there was any violation of any law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORTON: We won't see that quite as often -- it's not as colorful -- but often. And both campaigns will spend all the money -- hard, soft, squishy, whatever -- they can raise. A couple of Bush's Texas friends ponied up a couple of million dollars for ads attacking McCain's environmental record -- independent expenditure, of course. We'll see a lot of that.

What else? Gore, who is thought to be a good debater, has suggested twice weekly debates along with a promise not to use TV ads -- same offer he made to Bradley. Gore thinks, probably correctly, that he's more knowledgeable on the issues than Bush and he'll try to paint Bush as extreme -- Pat Robertson again. Bush will talk about his record of inclusion, his ability to work with Democrats, which he has done in Texas. He'll paint Gore as a hopeless partisan, Dr. Gridlock. Gore will talk health care; Bush will talk tax cut.

And just think: After only eight months of this, we'll vote. I'll bet you can hardly wait.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: We've heard it all laid out. We don't even have to wait for the November.

SHAW: Absolutely. Nobody like Bruce on a political story.

WOODRUFF: That's right.

SHAW: That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. We're going to see you again tomorrow when we'll have Bill Schneider's "Political Play of the Week." And, of course, you can go online all the time at CNN's allpolitics.com.

WOODRUFF: And this programming note: Tonight on "CROSSFIRE," former GOP presidential candidates Orrin Hatch and Gary Bauer will discuss John McCain's decision to suspend his campaign. That's at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.

I'm Judy Woodruff.

SHAW: I'm Bernard Shaw. "WORLDVIEW" is next.

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