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Inside Politics

Second `Super Tuesday' Likely to Bring Gore and Bush Presidential Nominations

Aired March 14, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET

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

BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Chalk up another vote for Al Gore as he prepares to clinch his party's presidential nomination.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: On this Southern primary day, a couple of Bushs go to the ballot box to help seal their son's presidential vie.

Plus...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Do you know where your candidates are? The answer is gone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHAW: Bill Schneider on the fallout from front loading this primary season.

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

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us.

Well, granted, this primary day is considerably lacking in suspense, but it carries a certain significance.

SHAW: When the voters are tallied tonight, Al Gore and George W. Bush are expected to lock up the right to run against each other. The vice president is on his way to Florida after beginning this day in his home state of Tennessee.

As CNN's John King reports, both locales figure into Gore's general election strategy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a vote and a moment to savor on a milestone day. When the results are tallied tonight, Al Gore will have enough delegates to secure the Democratic nomination for president. The magic number is 2,170, and the vice president will coast past it as the primary results are counted in Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Florida. GEOFF GARIN, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: And this will be the earliest time that a nominee of the Democratic Party has won a contested nominating process. There is one axiom that seems to apply in presidential politics: the earlier you win a nomination, the more likely you are to succeed in November.

KING: But the celebration will be brief. Gore's decision to hold it in Florida, a reminder that general election strategy now holds sway over every major campaign decision.

GARIN: The electoral map is as competitive as it could be. It is -- there is a Gore based in the Pacific West Coast and in the Northeast, there is the -- there is a Bush base in most of the South and the Sun Belt, and so the two candidates go into this in a very competitive shape.

KING: Three of the six states voting today, Tennessee, Louisiana and Florida, loom large in Gore's early electoral college map. All three are competitive. All three key tests of whether the vice president, like Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, can use his roots in the region to erode some of the traditional Republican edge across the South.

Clinching the nomination early allows more time to frame the fall campaign and Gore is urgently trying to turn a handful of key issues to his advantage: the economy, education, the environment, and experience. Heavy primary spending by George W. Bush has eased Democratic fears that the Texas governor would have an overwhelming financial advantage.

GARIN: George W. Bush blew his wad, they're about even now, and the big spring advantage that was supposed to belong all to George W. Bush just isn't there.

KING: The vice president will use the remaining primary states as laboratories for general election themes, and campaign officials are debating how much to use the White House as a campaign platform.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Now, the vice president also turning his attention to an issue he knows a little something about, picking a vice presidential running mate. CNN has learned that the vice president has asked his former chief of staff Ron Klain to manage that process. Mr. Klain, before coming to the White House, was a top aide to Attorney General Janet Reno, in that position he did the background checks, the so- called vetting on prospective federal judges. The vice president now turning to his trusted aide Ron Klain to conduct the same process as he considers now who should join him on the Democratic ticket to run against Governor Bush in the fall -- Bernie.

SHAW: John, back in 1988 Al Gore was shut out. Does he have any personal reflections now?

KING: He was asked about that today, Bernie. He was asked any personal reflections as he prepares to clinch the Democratic nomination. He told reporters: "I don't feel like it is official yet. It's premature to go yahoo," to quote the vice president.

But obviously this is a very significant moment. He won just five states when he ran 12 years ago in 1988, all of them in the South, and indeed a bit of irony as he comes here to Florida to celebrate tonight. It was Michael Dukakis's victory here in Florida in the 1988 primaries that convinced Al Gore his campaign needed to fold -- Bernie.

SHAW: John King in Tallahassee, Florida, thank you -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: George W. Bush's home state of Texas also is voting today, and that is where the governor is camped out, preparing to celebrate the results.

As our Candy Crowley reports, Bush also is thinking about the months ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Count on at least two votes in Texas for George W. Bush, actually make that four since Bush, the son, and his wife voted absentee last week. But on a day that will likely put him over the top with the delegates he needs, the presumed Republican nominee is laying low as he and his campaign look down the road, the stretch ahead, the spring and summer months between clinching the nomination and getting in at the convention is a tricky time.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is going to be ample time to debate. The best time to debate is when people are paying attention.

CROWLEY: Still, Bush may use this time to fill in the outlines of policy positions already in the public arena. He has talked of a health care speech and may also give some foreign policy addresses focusing on particular areas of the world.

Largely, though, Bush is expected to spend the summer in and out of swing states critical to a Bush victory in November: California, Ohio, Missouri, Michigan and Pennsylvania. During that time, he is expected to play what Bush sees as his strong suit: the education issue.

BUSH: You know what? I can't wait to talk about education.

CROWLEY: In the near term, Bush will raise money. The contest with John McCain drained the once bulging Bush campaign chest. Aides say they'd like to raise up to $10 million to see their candidate through the dry spell.

Having watched the Dole campaign wither on the vine in the summer months, Bush did not take federal campaign money in part so he could raise and spend what he needs, to act as well as react to the Gore campaign in the preconvention period.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CROWLEY: Like Al Gore, Bush will use upcoming primaries to carry out his fall and general campaign themes. In addition, a Bush source says that Bush will begin to give what he called a significant number of speeches beginning, we are told, with a health care speech at the end of this month -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Candy, you say the campaign is hoping to raise or expecting to raise up to $10 million in this next period before the conventions. How hard is that going to be, how intense an effort is that going to be?

CROWLEY: Well, you know, I talked to some in the Bush campaign today and they don't think that this will be either a lengthy period or all that hard, for this reason, they are getting a significant amount of money over the Internet, they say. They have gone back to some of their first donors who didn't give to the limit and asked them for more money. They have gotten some more money. They don't intend for this fund raising to either be an intensive two or three weeks, but to be a couple of fund raisers per week for maybe a month or so, they think then they can get enough cash in the bank to move on.

WOODRUFF: And, Candy, what can you tell us about they're thinking at this point on their strategy in the so-called battleground states?

CROWLEY: In the battleground states one of the things they're going to do is to go back into them again, Missouri, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, and help shore up the state party coffers. That of course will be helpful to Bush because it's used for get out the vote, any number of things.

Bush will also be asked and will want to comply with requests that he come and support local candidates in that battleground states. It's sort of a twofer, he goes in there into the battleground, he gets his name out there, and then he helps bring along others on the ticket and vice versa.

WOODRUFF: All right, Candy Crowley with the Bush campaign in Texas, thanks -- Bernie.

SHAW: Now let's talk to supporters of the presumptive nominees from two key states, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas backs Governor Bush, she joins us from Austin, and Senator Bob Graham of Florida is with us from Tallahassee, he supports Vice President Gore.

Senator Hutchison, in your judgment, does Governor Bush have a lock on the South?

SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R-TX), BUSH SUPPORTER: Oh, I think that Governor Bush doesn't have -- well, doesn't have a lock on any place, but I think he's going to do well in the South because he knows the issues that are important. Of course, Texas is right in the middle of the South and the Southwest, and I think he's going to run a national strategy, though, Bernie. I don't think he's going to go for the South. He's going to talk about the issues that will affect every American and I think that's been his appeal all along. SHAW: Senator Graham, can the governor lock out Vice President Gore in the South?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D-FL), GORE SUPPORTER: No, Bernie. Al Gore is from the South. He knows this region. He has run well here in the past. The five states that he carried when he ran for president in 1988 were Southern states. Florida is a good example. Six months ago people were saying Florida is not even going to be in play. There won't be a campaign there. Just within the last couple of weeks there have been polls indicating that the vice president has drawn even or in one poll ahead of Governor Bush in Florida. So this state is going to be very much in play as is the South.

SHAW: Senator Hutchison, with Jeb Bush, governor of Florida, sitting there guarding the border, do you think Florida is in play?

HUTCHISON: I think Florida is going to be for Governor Bush. I think that the -- obviously, people are over the lot right now on polls, but I will bet Bob Graham dinner right now that Governor Bush is going to take Florida in November.

SHAW: What about that, senator?

GRAHAM: Kay, first, I want to take that bet from Kay, because when she pays off her bets, she does it in first-class style.

(LAUGHTER)

But -- but in 1996, President Clinton and Vice President Gore carried Florida. The message that the vice president is sending here -- particularly on issues like education, health care, the strong economy -- are resonating. The fact that the vice president has been to Florida three or four times in the last 40 days, including tonight when he'll be back here in Tallahassee, all are indications of what a competitive state Florida is going to be.

And I think that I'll be eating dinner at Kay's house sometime after November.

SHAW: Senator Graham, mull this over: If you were put on the ticket with Al Gore, could you deliver Florida's 25 electoral votes?

GRAHAM: Well, it would be presumptive for anybody to say that they can deliver any state. This -- this is a democracy where each citizen makes up their own mind. I'm very gratified at the question. The people of Florida have honored me with an opportunity to serve another term in the U.S. Senate, and I'm working every day to justify their confidence.

SHAW: If selected, would you accept?

GRAHAM: I'm working every day to justify the confidence of the people of Florida in the U.S. Senate, and as Kay will tell you, that's a full-time job.

SHAW: Senator Hutchison, what kind of person would best help Governor Bush on the ticket?

HUTCHISON: I think Governor Bush is going to pick someone first that he thinks will be a good president, that has his philosophy, but I think also someone he likes, gets along with, I think someone with whom he could be a strong team. And I think there are several people that are certainly at the top of the list.

SHAW: Who would be two of your favorites, for example?

HUTCHISON: Well, I don't have favorites, because I want the governor to pick the very best person that is right for him and right for our country. But certainly, he's got two governors, Pataki and Ridge, who are from the Northeast. He has -- I would put Dick Cheney, Bill Frist, certainly Christie Todd Whitman and Elizabeth Dole. I think that there are some very good senators that would be potential.

I think he's going to have a wonderful choice, and I have to say I think John McCain is also on that list.

SHAW: I want to ask both of you in the minute remaining, what will be the two top issues, as you see it, in the general election campaign? Senator Graham?

GRAHAM: Bernie, I think the No. 1 issue is going to be the economy. Americans tend to look at how well they are doing and how well they think they will be doing when they make the decision as to who they want to lead the country, and by that standard, Al Gore has a tremendous asset because...

SHAW: And the other one?

(CROSSTALK)

GRAHAM: ... never -- never lived through times as good as this.

I think the second issue will be between education and health care, two very high priorities.

SHAW: Senator Hutchison.

HUTCHISON: I think education will be No. 1, and I think that's where Governor Bush is going to show where his experience will make a difference. People are very concerned that their children are not getting the kind of education they need to compete in this global economy. And Governor Bush has a record here.

Secondly, a strong national defense. We have allowed our defenses to let down, frankly. We're losing our best people in the military. We're having recruitment problems. He will build that up.

And third, health care. I think he's going to come out with health care for our elderly, for people who -- for children, as he has done here in Texas, to make sure that everybody has the access to quality health care in our country.

SHAW: Senators, always good to have you both on INSIDE POLITICS. GRAHAM: Thank you.

HUTCHISON: Thank you.

SHAW: Quite welcome. You're welcome.

GRAHAM: Thanks, Bernie.

SHAW: Judy?

WOODRUFF: And coming up next, we will talk about the presidential race with journalists from three states casting primary ballots today. And we'll have details on a setback for the Bush machine in Florida. The school voucher law signed by Governor Jeb Bush is declared unconstitutional.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHAW: While George W. Bush advocates school vouchers as a way to improve the education system, his brother, Jeb, has done something the Republican presidential candidate has not: signed voucher legislation into law. But today, a state judge declared Florida's school voucher law unconstitutional, leaving Governor Jeb Bush -- quote -- "extremely disappointed."

We have more on the ruling from Mike Vasilinda.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIKE VASILINDA, REPORTER (voice-over): Fewer than a hundred students from two failing Pensacola schools are using vouchers this year. The judge's ruling will let them finish the year in private school.

CAROLE LICKO, GOVERNOR'S GENERAL COUNSEL: We appeal.

VASILINDA: The governor's office was quick to attack the ruling.

LICKO: Either it is constitutional or unconstitutional for state dollars to be going to private schools -- by saying, yet, that yes, in this case you'll allow it to the end of the school year, he in fact has contradicted his own facial (ph) challenge by saying that it is unconstitutional.

VASILINDA: The judge found that vouchers were contrary to a 1998 state constitutional amendment that says public school education is the state's primary job. Teachers call it a vindication.

MAUREEN DINNEN, FLORIDA TEACHING PROFESSION: It was a very hastily conceived idea, and I think this shows today that that is certainly true.

VASILINDA (on camera): The voucher case is sure to come here to the state supreme court. But even this court is not likely the last stop. (voice-over): State education commissioner Tom Gallagher believes vouchers will eventually be approved but that it will take the case going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

TOM GALLAGHER, FLORIDA EDUCATION COMMISSIONER: When, in fact, the public education system delivers a school that would be rated an f school, which in 96 percent of the cases means two-thirds of those kids are below expected levels in every subject tested, those children and their parents deserve to have another opportunity.

VASILINDA: Still to be decided is whether vouchers run afoul of a separation of church and state required by the constitution, and while the appeals may be lengthy, for now, opponents are saying, I told you so.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHAW: That was Mike Vasilinda in Tallahassee.

WOODRUFF: Now, let's talk more about some of the issues at play, and more, in the presidential race with reporters from three states holding primaries today: Tom Fiedler of "The Miami Herald," Lee Cullum of "The Dallas Morning News," and Bruce Dobie of "The Nashville Scene."

Bruce Dobie, I'm going to begin with you. Are voters paying attention in Tennessee?

BRUCE DOBIE, "NASHVILLE SCENE": No, it's a sleeper contest, Judy. The election, you know, it was time to play the game, and the game was over. I voted at about 1:30 today and asked the voting booth official how many people had normally voted by 1:30, and she said about 175. I looked down on my ballot, and I was number 19. So if that's any indication, it's a snoozer.

WOODRUFF: Lee Cullum, how about in Texas?

LEE CULLUM, "DALLAS MORNING NEWS": Well, in Texas, Judy, the prediction is that the turnout will be exceedingly low, perhaps about 19 percent. A lot of Texans are away on spring break. They're vacationing in Colorado. They are very interested in Governor Bush, of course, but they feel that he's set. He obviously is.

I spoke with some Republican at lunch today, who are quite concerned about some of their down ballots candidates, fearful that they will suffer, but I think there's a sense that it is all over and a majority of Texans are pleased with the outcome, so they don't feel they need to do anything more about it today.

WOODRUFF: And, Tom Fiedler, Florida.

TOM FIEDLER, "MIAMI HERALD": I'll go Lee one worse. They're talking about a 14 percent turnout here. And the only thing that's pulling people out to polls at all are those down-ballot issues, particularly some powerful races in Broward County, a strong mayor referendum there. But other than that, I think people recognize we're past the ninth inning and we're into the general election by now.

WOODRUFF: Tom, while I have you, talk to us about Bush and Gore in Florida. We know that up until -- well, just recently, that -- most of the analysts have been saying Florida is a state that Governor Bush can count on, Governor George W. Bush. His brother is governor after all, but Al Gore is there watching the returns today.

FIELDER: Yes, that's right. Senator -- or Vice President Gore was here yesterday, touching his bases here, working with senior citizens. He appeared at a major public hospital in Miami and talked about gun control, which will surely be one of their hot button issues, and he's going to be in Tallahassee tonight when they're counting the returns, and there can be no other justification for that than to be in Jeb Bush's -- literally in Jeb Bush's front yard as they're counting ballots tonight. That's a signal that I think Vice President Gore believes that Florida is very much going to be in play in the fall election cycle, and there's every reason for it to be that way.

WOOODRUFF: Bruce Dobie, what about Tennessee? That's a states that gone back and forth the last few presidential election.

DOBIE: It has. But eight years ago, Clinton/Gore won Tennessee. Four years ago, Clinton/Gore won Tennessee, and so you'd have to think that Gore has got the upper hand here. He's a hometown boy. While he split time growing up between Washington and Tennessee, he spends a significant amount of time here. As well, he's gotten really organized in Tennessee. I think Bush could do well here if he committed the resources to the state, but there's yet to be a real demonstration that he's going to do that. He came through east Tennessee, which is very Republican, several days ago, but other than that, there's been no huge commitment to the state.

WOODRUFF: And in Texas, Lee Cullum, all wrapped up for George W. Bush?

CULLUM: Oh, I would say so, Judy, although Gore was here in Texas. He was at DMW Airport just or two three days ago. You know, I would remind my colleague from Tennessee that Texas is populated by Tennesseans. Nevertheless, they all came here after the Civil War. But my family came from Tennessee. I imagine, however, they'll be on opposite sides in November.

WOODRUFF: Tom Fiedler, as you look from your perch in Miami across the rest of the South, where do you see as places of possible inroads for Al Gore?

FIEDLER: Well, the best places, I think, are going to be in the Deep South, in places like Louisiana, possibly in Georgia, and in the upper South, in Tennessee. I think, obviously, that's one that he'd better take or he might as well pack up -- and Arkansas. But I -- again, I think Florida very much is in play. This is a state that, like Tennessee, has swung back and forth. For eight of the last 10 years, we had a Democratic governor here, Lawton Chiles, and of course, we have a Democratic senator who is the most popular vote getter in the state. He was on the program earlier, Bob Graham. If Al Gore puts Bob Graham on the ticket, then I think it truly becomes a tremendous possibility for the Gore ticket. And frankly, I don't see an electoral equation that George W. Bush can use to get to the white house without having Florida in it. So Florida is going to get a lot of attention there from both sides.

WOODRUFF: And, Bruce Dobie, from your perspective, where do you see as possible advantages for Gore in the South, which most analyst are saying is Bush country?

DOBIE: Well, I'll go out on a limb here a little. If you look back in '88 when Gore ran for president the first time, he really placed all of his chips on the Super Tuesday primary -- then which was kind of a novel concept -- on the South, and he lined up a coalition of conservatives, what are known as yellow dog Democrats to support him, former Tennessee Governor Ned McWherter, who is the quintessential rural Tennessee Democrat really got out in front of him and lined up a bunch of these yellow dog Democrats. You're going to see the same thing. These are not liberal Democrats; these are very conservative Democrats.

So I'll go out on a limb and say that some really traditional Republican states in national contests -- Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia -- I think Gore can be competitive in those state.

WOODRUFF: And Lee Cullum, what about from your perspective there in Texas?

DOBIE: I think you have to say that the South has been Republican for a long time. It tried to become Republican in '68, but it went along with Wallace, if you recall, in that election, and made its way from solid Democrat to rather solid Republican.

It's interesting to me that we have two Southern candidates competing for president, so what we're really seeing is a southern ascendancy in American politics, but I believe that the race will belong to Bush in this instance.

WOODRUFF: All right, well, on this day of the Southern primaries, we're pleased to have all three of you, Lee Cullum, Tom Fiedler and Bruce Dobie, thank you, all three, appreciate it.

DOBIE: Thank you, Judy.

SHAW: It's really good to get a good regional picture.

WOODRUFF: Sure is.

SHAW: There is much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

WOODRUFF: Still to come, the premature end of the primary season.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Never before has a contested nomination been decided this early. In the old days, nothing was decided before the conventions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Our Bill Schneider on the how the nominating process keeps getting wrapped up earlier and earlier.

Plus:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the beginning, Giuliani approached his job more like a mission, appearing in every crisis, rarely taking a day off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHAW: Frank Buckley on the man who would be senator and his record as New York's mayor.

And later:

WOODRUFF: A little comic relief in the presidential, race as a cartoon character throws his hat into the ring.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

A nephew of the late Robert F. Kennedy was formally arraigned today in a 25-year-old murder case. Michael Skakel is accused of beating 15-year-old Martha Moxley to death with a golf club when the two were neighbors in Greenwich, Connecticut. Skakel approached Moxley's mother today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN MOXLEY, VICTIM'S BROTHER: He said, "I feel your pain, but you got the wrong guy," and we just said, we'll find out in court.

MICKEY SHERMAN, SKAKEL'S ATTORNEY: Obviously it was from the heart, it was not rehearsed, and he truly meant that. He does feel her pain. He grieves for her, but he was trying to tell her that it wasn't him, he didn't do it, they had the wrong guy. It was not said in any contrived manner. It was not said in any insincere manner. It came from the heart and whether or not anyone wants to believe that, it is out of my control, but I can tell you it was from the heart.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Because he was 15 at the time of the killing, Skakel was arraigned as a juvenile.

SHAW: The United States and Great Britain agree to share information being gathered in the Human Genome Project. The program locates and describes each gene that makes up human DNA. It could lead to revolutionary medical breakthroughs. The Human Genome Project plans to publish a full genetic map on the Internet by the year 2003.

Cloning research could lead to the creation of made-to-order organ banks. That's the prediction of scientists who have moved beyond Dolly the cloned sheep and created a litter of piglets.

CNN London bureau chief Tom Mintier makes the link.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM MINTIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Scientists on a farm in Blacksburg, Virginia have created five female piglets by cloning Little Millie, named after the millennium; Christa, after Christian Bernard, who performed the world's first human heart transplant; three and four, Alexis and Carol, after a Nobel prize winner who won for transplant medicine in 1912; the final piglet was named Dot.com for e-commerce.

The people behind this project hope it could pave the way for creating organs for human transplant.

RON JAMES, PPL MANAGER DIRECTOR: We think that will take us about three years, and then we'll get to testing these organs in primates, and within four years, we could be in clinical trials with humans.

MINTIER: If creating organs for transplant from cloned pigs ever works, it could help reduce an existing shortage of transplantable hearts, livers and kidneys. The waiting list for organ donors is huge, nearly 70,000 in America and another 50,000 in Europe. Researchers have already faced the ethics questions when Dolly was cloned.

JAMES: The people at the moment who most readily accept this idea are those people who are on waiting lists for organs and who, indeed, may die before they get the organs. If you go and talk to these people, they're not scared. They say, as soon as it's done, we would like to have one.

MINTIER: One other area that scientists are working on is creating pigs that make insulin-producing cells. Those cells would be transplanted to diabetic patients who, if it works, would no longer need daily injections.

(on camera): It should be pointed out that this research is very preliminary. Cloning pigs is one thing, but putting the tissue into humans may not be feasible. Organ rejection has always been a problem for surgeons. And while drugs have now been created to help prevent rejection, no one is quite sure how humans physically or emotionally will react.

Tom Mintier, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHAW: And when INSIDE POLITICS returns, analyst Ron Brownstein on the Bush and Gore domestic agendas and how they may play with voters.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: It may seem like only yesterday or an eternity, depending on your perspective, but the first presidential contest of the year was just seven weeks ago in Iowa. As Bush and Gore stand poised to clinch their party's nominations tonight, our Bill Schneider has been thinking about this era of front-loading and primaries past -- Bill. SCHNEIDER: Judy, never before has a contested nomination been decided this early, and we've checked. In the old days, nothing was decided before the conventions. Beginning in 1972, however, the conventions became nothing more than electoral colleges, ratifying the decisions of the primary voters, but you still needed a majority of the delegates, and in a multi-candidate field usually that meant a long struggle right up to the conventions.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): 1976, for instance, saw heated contests in both parties. Jimmy Carter had to defeat competitors on the left, on the right, and in the center. When it finally looked like Carter had sewn up the nomination, his bandwagon didn't speed up, it slowed down, and he had to face yet another challenge. It wasn't until June that Carter could claim a majority of the delegates.

The same thing happened on the Republican side to incumbent President Gerald Ford. After beating Ronald Reagan in all the early primaries, Ford's bandwagon got overturned in late March in North Carolina. The Ford-Reagan contest went all the way to the convention.

Incumbent President Jimmy Carter fared no better in 1980. After beating Ted Kennedy in New Hampshire and other early primaries, Democrats started having second thoughts. Kennedy won New York, Pennsylvania and California, and took his challenge to the convention floor.

Primaries are supposed to be a killing field. Their purpose is to kill off candidates, then get their bodies off the field as quickly as possible so the party can close ranks around the winner. But Democrats prolonged the process by insisting that every candidate be awarded a share of the delegates proportional to the primary vote.

Proportional representation keeps dead candidates alive. In 1984, Walter Mondale struggled in a three-way contest with Gary Hart and Jesse Jackson until June. So did Michael Dukakis in 1988. Republicans had no such rule, so GOP nominations were decided earlier. George Bush wrapped up his victory over Bob Dole and Pat Robertson in April, 1988.

Bob Dole set a record in 1996. After losing to Buchanan in New Hampshire, Dole won everywhere else and claimed a majority of the delegates on March 26th. What happened then? A four-month shadow campaign in which Dole had no money and the Democratic Party saturated the airwaves with soft money ads touting President Clinton's record. This year, front-loading is complete: five candidates got out of the race in 1999 before a single vote was cast. Their problem wasn't votes; it was money.

ELIZABETH DOLE (R), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Money does become the message and when that happens it makes it pretty tough.

SCHNEIDER: March 7th was, in effect, a national primary, when almost a third of the delegates were chosen in both parties. It's only March and we've gone from 12 presidential candidates to two, plus Alan Keyes -- one Democrat, one Republican, both set to claim their respective party nominations tonight more than four months before the first convention.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: Now the shadow campaign begins, but unlike 1996, this one looks like a close race between two well-financed establishment figures, Prince Albert and Prince George -- eight months of hostile, nasty, vicious campaigning. It's too late for the voters to have second thoughts about the candidates. The only thing they can do this year is have second thoughts about the process -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider, thanks -- Bernie.

SHAW: Well, whatever your view of the process, as Bill Schneider said, it is now Bush versus Gore and the two candidates are honing their domestic agendas hoping they will play well with voters in the fall.

Ron Brownstein of "The Los Angeles Times" interviewed both candidates over the weekend about domestic policy. Ron, there seems to be a marvelous chess game underway, Bush and Gore positioning themselves on issues ranging from education to entitlement reform.

RON BROWNSTEIN, "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES": Absolutely. You're seeing an extension of what happened at the end of the Republican race after New Hampshire, when Gore Bush went into South Carolina and tried to offset John McCain's strength on the campaign finance reform issue by broadening the definition of reform to include issues like entitlements and education. Normally, a Republican tries to downplay these issues in a general election, wants to focus on taxes, national security, crime. But Bush signaled in his speech last Tuesday night and in my conversation with him that he wants to try to make a case against Vice President Gore and President Clinton for not doing enough to modernize public education, for not doing enough to modernize entitlement programs for the new millennium, and in effect trying to carry a case that Al Gore is a creature of the status quo.

Gore, not backing off at all, very aggressive in going back at it. And you could see a very broad debate if they can get past the personal acrimony that Bill was referring to on some very basic issues that affect a lot of Americans.

SHAW: Is this the way each candidate is trying to claim the title as consummate reformer? BROWNSTEIN: Yes, absolutely. You know, one element of this is going to be campaign finance reform, and that's what they've been sparring about, mostly in public, over the last week. But it won't be the only element, because in the end issues like reforming Social Security and Medicare, how the federal government, if at all, could try to improve, leverage improvements in public education, I think these affect a lot more people directly.

And when Bush is talking about, for example, allowing workers to divert part of their payroll tax into individual investment accounts in Social Security, a partial privatization, or fundamentally transforming Medicare, an issue that didn't really come up during the Republican primary, transforming Medicare into a program that gives seniors a subsidy to go out and buy private insurance, these are big changes in basic programs and they're also clear differences with Gore, who is, you know, attacking Bush on both those grounds.

So you could see a very pointed debate on some of these domestic issues.

SHAW: I'm mystified -- perhaps our viewers are too -- about one aspect. You just ticked off some very serious issues confronting the electorate in the United States. But poll after poll -- even polls we've taken and reported -- indicated that these issues are not the issue in this campaign. What about character, what about leadership, what about morality?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, you know, it's always -- I think it's always a blend in every election, and clearly, when Bush talks about Gore being the candidate of the status quo in Washington, he is playing on the sense of dissatisfaction in the country with the political leadership here in the Capitol. On the other hand, there has been a great deal of satisfaction with sort of the policies produced out of the Capitol and the results that we have been getting in the country over the last several years. That is Gore's best asset.

I do think that in the end, particularly education and as some of these entitlement issues become known, they are likely to matter, especially education, because that is clearly a top voter concern. And there's another area where you have Gore and Bush offering different visions for how the federal government can try to leverage reform at the local level.

SHAW: And very briefly, vision on one side, but what about approach? Less federal control, more local control?

BROWNSTEIN: Bush is arguing that the way to improve educations is to decentralize authority out of Washington, but try to hold -- centralize, in effect, holding school districts accountable for results. Gore is arguing the federal government can play a role through block grants and through some mandates in encouraging the spread of ideas, Bernie, that have emerged in some places but not everywhere. He wants the federal government try to be a flywheel to accelerate reform. Bush argues the best way to do it is to push power out of Washington. A very clear difference for voters to decide upon.

SHAW: Well, we'll be watching them very closely. Ron Brownstein, "Los Angeles Times," thank you.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks.

SHAW: And up next on INSIDE POLITICS...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI (R), NEW YORK: ... like the way I've done the job as mayor of New York City. I think I've done a good job. I think I've turned the city in the direction that you agree with. And I'm going to be doing that same thing in the state of New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHAW: Running on his record: a look how Rudy Giuliani has changed New York.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani today formally launched his city's bid to host the Olympics in 2012. The Big Apple is one of eight U.S. cities vying for the chance to host the games. Giuliani said -- quote -- "no event could better cap New York's remarkable resurgence."

(COUGH)

Excuse me.

(COUGH)

Excuse me.

(COUGH)

Politically, the mayor is counting on his role in that resurgence to boost his chances in this year's New York Senate race.

Frank Buckley takes a closer look at Giuliani and his record.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CROWD: Three, two, one, happy New Year!

BUCKLEY (voice-over): The New York City that rang in the new millennium is a very different city than the one Rudy Giuliani took over as mayor in 1994, something he proudly pointed out in his state of the city address this year.

GIULIANI: ... where we used to be the crime capital, and now we're the safest large city in America. We used to be the welfare capital of America, and now we're seen as the city that has moved more people off welfare, has moved more people to work from welfare of any city in America.

BUCKLEY: The crime rate in New York City has dropped more than 50 percent since Giuliani took office: the murder rate, the lowest since 1964.

The city has also dropped 460,000 people from welfare rolls, moving more than half into work programs.

The booming economy has helped job creation in New York City to outpace the national job growth rate. A healthy city budget has allowed New York to cut taxes by more than $2 billion since 1994. Real estate values and rents are up.

GIULIANI: We had just lost 320,000 private sector jobs. We had lost more jobs than at any time during the Depression. And I think the policies and programs of my administration helped to turn that around.

BUCKLEY: From the beginning, Giuliani approached his job more like a mission, appearing at every crisis, rarely taking a day off. Giuliani took on the irritating aspects of city life many New Yorkers had come to accept -- squeegee men, who insisted on money from motorists; drivers who drove erratically. He even cracked down on what some New Yorkers consider a God-given right, jaywalking.

There were complaints, but New Yorkers conceded quality of life had improved. They rewarded Giuliani with victory in his 1997 run for re-election.

RANDY MASTRO, FORMER DEPUTY MAYOR: We were so worried six years just about not being victimized by violent criminals that we had come to forget that we have a right to a certain quality of life. This had become a foreign concept.

BUCKLEY: But New York is a city that still suffers from crime and poverty. Public schools are often run down and neglected: many students poor performers on standardized tests.

GIULIANI: It's a tragedy! We should be ashamed of ourselves that we don't have the political courage to take on the unions, the special interests, and everything else that are holding our children back! We should be ashamed of ourselves!

(APPLAUSE)

BUCKLEY (on camera): But giuliani is far from ashamed of his overall record as mayor. It is a record he returns to again and again in discussions of how he would conduct himself as a U.S. senator.

GIULIANI: ... if you like the way I've done the job of mayor of New York City. I think I've done a good job. I think I've turned the city in the direction that you agree with. And I'm going to be doing that same thing in the state of New York.

BRUCE TEITELBAUM, GIULIANI CAMPAIGN MANAGER: His greatest strength is his record.

BUCKLEY (voice-over): Bruce Teitelbaum is the mayor's campaign manager. TEITELBAUM: ... I think the people of upstate New York learn more about what Giuliani has done here in New York, they're going to want him to come to upstate and do the same thing there that he's done downstate.

BUCKLEY: But the strong drop in crime fed the accusation that his police force was too aggressive. There was the torture of Abner Louima and the shooting death of Amadou Diallo, which drew attention to strained relations between minorities and Giuliani.

REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: The only mayor of a big city that could not go into an African community, an African- American community on King day is the mayor of this city. That is wrong!

BUCKLEY: Some critics say Giuliani gets too much credit for the good things that have occurred on his watch.

CARL MCCALL, NEW YORK STATE COMPTROLLER: Many of the mayor's achievements, like reducing crime, it's happened all over the country. His achievements about reviving the economy, the Wall Street economy, the Wall Street is fueling our economy. That's not because of city or state policy. If anybody's responsible, it's Bob Rubin and Bill Clinton.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have seen people turn their lives around when they have decent affordable housing.

BUCKLEY: Giuliani has also been criticized for a lack of compassion toward the homeless and for trying to control dissension and expression: closing the steps of City Hall to protesters, attempting to block museum funds over a controversial art exhibit.

GIULIANI: I do not believe that public funds should be used so that the public has to support throwing dung and putting pornography around the Blessed Mother.

BUCKLEY (on camera): Despite the criticisms and controversies, Giuliani says being the mayor of New York City is the best job he's ever had. Term limits mean, however, he'd be out of the job by 2002. But the record he's established, he hopes, will propel him to another elected position a year earlier: U.S. Senator.

Frank Buckley, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHAW: And when we return, from the funny pages to the campaign trail, we're going to look at an unusual political announcement.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Move over, Pat Buchanan, there's another new face in the Reform Party. In a display of political satire, a character from the comic strip "Doonesbury" announced his bid for the Reform Party nomination last night on CNN's "LARRY KING LIVE." An animated Duke appeared on the show to declare his candidacy, to discuss the competition and lay out his positions on the issues.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE")

AMBASSADOR DUKE (REF), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am running, Larry, and I'm -- I want to shake things up in Washington. I want to be the ferret in the pants of government. And I'm announcing it here, because this is, let's face it, ground zero for American politics.

I think I'm a creative independent thinker, and we don't have that in politics now. We've got -- we've got the battle of preppies here, you know, Bush and Gore. There's no diversity. I'm diverse.

My slogan is really compassionate fascism. That's what I stand for, or maybe coercive libertarianism. I think sometimes you have to force freedom down people's throats.

It's not the flat tax. I -- that was a misprint. It's the fat tax. See, I want a tax code to create some serious disincentives for the weight-challenged. I think they have -- there's a huge social cost for obesity here. You go to a mall, you know, it's like double- wides there. The burden of the health care system -- we tax smokers. Why not overeaters?

I'm not going to be popular right now except with the NRA. Hold on a second. Has that check cleared? It has. OK, let me tell you, I'm going to take a strong stand here. I think mandatory gun ownership, simple safety issue here. We require seat belts. Why not sidearms? I believe every American should be in a position...

KING: Everybody should have a gun?

DUKE: Yes, we should -- every American should be in a position to return fire.

I want to talk about my vice presidential candidate. I want to announce it. It's going to be Kathie Lee Gifford.

You know why, Larry?

One: she's available. Two: she's used to be being, you know, VP, second banana. She's been vice president under Regis for a long time.

She's tough. She knows how to run a string of sweatshops.

And lastly, she's perky. You know, perky, that's key. You know, we haven't had a perky vice president since, you know, well, you have to go all the way back to Dan Quayle.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Passionate (ph) fascism. No word yet on when this Duke is going to hit the campaign trail -- Bernie.

(LAUGHTER) That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. But stay with CNN throughout this evening for complete coverage of today's primaries. And you can also go online at CNN.com/election2000.

SHAW: And this programming note: Vice President Gore and Governor Bush will be among the guests tonight on a special edition of "LARRY KING LIVE." That's at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

I'm Bernard Shaw.

WOODRUFF: And I'm Judy Woodruff. "WORLDVIEW" is next.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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