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Inside Politics

Presidential Candidates Campaign in Pennsylvania; New Polls Show Gore-Bush Contest to Be Too Close to Call

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

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

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: From Miami to Havana, a look at the struggle over a Cuban child's future and the politics behind it.

Plus: The Keystone State hosts both White House hopefuls as the race to Pennsylvania Avenue tightens. Also...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't believe that Rudy, like me, will be elected Miss Congeniality in the United States Senate.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: John McCain, back on the campaign trail at the side of a fellow maverick.

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

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. Bernie is off today.

We begin with the latest developments in the case of Elian Gonzalez, a saga that has dominated American political dialogue for many days now. Talks have now resumed again, after having been broken down between government negotiators and lawyers representing Elian's Miami relatives. Those relatives had insisted they would not deliver custody of the boy to his father until a panel of psychologists is permitted to determine whether such a move would harm the boy.

Government sources tell CNN that while they are willing to let psychologists examine Elian, it will only be to determine how, and not if, the boy should be returned to his father.

Amid word that the talks had been suspended, a group of activists gathered outside the house where the boy is staying in Miami. They broke down a police barricade, shouting "Elian, do not go."

With tension mounting both in Miami and in Cuba over the boy's fate, presidential candidates George W. Bush and Al Gore reiterated their positions on the matter today, on the status of the negotiations, their view of the Cuban government, and in Gore's case, Elian's father's impending visit to the U.S.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I said more than four months ago, he should be given a visa along with his wife and new baby and come here and stand on free soil and say what he really believes about this case.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't trust the Cubans to let this man make an informed decision. I hope they do. But I don't -- I believe that -- I don't trust the Cuban government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: While the political positioning on this issue continues, a new poll suggests that Americans' views on the Elian Gonzalez matter have remained remarkably consistent since the controversy began. In a new CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll, 56 percent of those questioned still say that Elian should be allowed to live with his father in Cuba, while 31 percent say that he should remain with his relatives in the U.S.

For the very latest, we turn now to three reporters who are covering this story: CNN's Bill Delaney in Havana, Mark Potter in Miami, and Susan Candiotti, also in Miami.

First to Bill Delaney in Havana. Bill, tell us the latest from there.

BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, thanks, Judy. This afternoon, Vicky Huddleston, the head of the U.S. interests section here in Havana, went to the Cuban foreign ministry for about an hour. No dramatic developments from that meeting, we are told. She did, however, hand over the six visas that have been issued by the Cuban government: visas to Juan Miguel Gonzalez, Elian's father; Juan Miguel Gonzalez's wife; his 6-month-old son; to a pediatrician; Elian Gonzalez's kindergarten teacher; and to a favorite cousin.

Now that may seem like progress, Judy, but in fact, things here remain very much up in the air. The Cuban government -- Cuban officials tell CNN that they want more assurances, just how much access Juan Miguel Gonzalez would have to his son if he went to the United States. And they want to know more about just how and when he could take custody of his son.

Also up in the air: 22 other visas, comprising the original 28 that were requested by the Cuban government, 27 people to accompany Juan Miguel Gonzalez to the United States. Those other visas are under review by the United States, we're told. They haven't been rejected, but they're under review. So a number of issues still up, very much up in the air here in Havana -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Delaney reporting. And now let's go to our Mark Potter, who is outside the Immigration and Naturalization Service office in Miami. Mark, what is the latest from there?

MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, it has been a rather complicated and confusing day here, actually, at the U.S. attorney's office in downtown Miami. Earlier this afternoon on this, the fourth day of negotiations, talks between the U.S. government and the attorneys for Elian Gonzalez and his Miami relatives were halted.

The attorneys left the building. They stayed away for several hours, and then calls were made, and a short while ago, maybe a half hour ago, some of the attorneys returned. They went in the building, went upstairs, and we believe they are talking again.

Now, the main issue that has driven the two sides apart is a conflict over the use of psychologists. The family wants a battery of psychologists, a panel of three, to examine the boy to determine if transferring custody to the father would be psychologically harmful, emotionally harmful. The attorneys in the family believe that indeed it would.

Now the government has said, sources there have said that the government will accept the idea of a panel of experts, but they would be there to determine what's the best way to transfer the boy rather than whether to transfer the boy. That determination has already been made by the Justice Department that the boy belongs with his father.

Judy, back to you.

WOODRUFF: All right, Mark Potter in Miami, thanks to you. And now let's go also in Miami to our Susan Candiotti. She is outside the home of Elian's relatives there.

Susan, can you bring us up to date?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Judy. Among those anxiously waiting to hear the results, the outcome of those talks are a number of people standing here out and around the home where 6-year- old Elian Gonzalez has been living with his Florida relatives for about four months now.

As you take a live look now at the scene in front of the house, you can see people quietly demonstrating their support for the youngster. They want him to remain in the United States. And as the camera pans down the street just a couple of houses down, you can also see that there are a number of people who are standing behind police barricades, holding up signs, as they have been for weeks now, in support of the youngster that they do not want to be reunited with his father, no matter what, because they do not believe the father is speaking freely when he says he wants his boy back with him in Cuba.

Now, earlier this day when negotiations were suspended for at least three hours, a number of people became very anxious here and they broke down police barricades, without violence, then moved in front of the house locking arms and shouted: "Elian, stay here. Don't go home," and "Free Cuba." Civil leaders here from the Cuban exile community have said that if the talks do not go their way, they plan to carry out acts of civil disobedience, but for now it is quiet outside this home.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, reporting live in Miami.

WOODRUFF: All right, Susan Candiotti and Mark Potter in Miami, Bill Delaney in Havana, thank you, all three.

At least one group now says it may have gone a bit too far in using the Elian Gonzalez story for political purposes.

In March, the Republican Party of Florida sent out a fund-raising letter to some 10,000 Hispanic households in South Florida. The letter described Cuban leader Fidel Castro as -- quote -- "a hysterical lunatic and loose tyrant." And it accused President Clinton of using Elian as -- quote -- "another avenue through which to ingratiate himself with Castro."

The letter asked for contributions to help elect Republicans who will look out for Cuban-American interests and fight the Castro regime.

Amid criticism by newspaper editorials and the state's Republican governor, Jeb Bush, a party spokesman now says that the strong language of the letter may have -- quote -- "overshadowed the letter's intent." The party now plans to donate funds raised by the letter to the Elian Gonzalez Legal Defense Fund.

And ahead on INSIDE POLITICS: the battle royal known as election 2000. Two new polls reveal why these two men need every vote they can get. We'll talk with Bob Novak and Bill Press.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: If we were electing a president today, the race would be too close to call. Evidence: two new surveys. A CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll of likely voters shows only one point now separates George W. Bush and Al Gore: 46 percent favor the Texas governor, 45 percent, the vice president. Three weeks ago, Bush lead by six points.

Meanwhile, a new ABC/"Washington Post" poll of registered voters is just as tight. But with Gore ahead, 47 percent to 46 percent.

The election, of course, will come down to electoral votes, and on that score, it is also still up for grabs. Charles Cook of the "Cook Political Report" sees Gore holding 15 states and the District of Columbia. As of now, a total of 207 electoral votes. Cook has Bush winning 24 states with 209 electoral votes, which is 61 shy of the 270 needed to win. Well, that makes these 11 toss-up states and their 122 electoral votes key to claiming the White House.

Well, joining me now to talk about all this and more, Bob Novak of "The Chicago Sun-Times" and Bill Press, who's taking out time from "CROSSFIRE." Gentlemen, thank you both.

BILL PRESS, CNN CROSSFIRE: Judy, Hi.

WOODRUFF: Bob Novak, first, the polls here. Look beneath these numbers. They're just a point separating them in both these polls. What is going on here?

ROBERT NOVAK, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": I'll let you know, Judy. Since they both clenched their respective nominations on Super Tuesday, this has been a dead heat. It's going to continue as a dead heat for the foreseeable future.

"The Evans/Novak Political Report" a week ago took an electoral college count, and unlike Charlie, we don't fudge on any of the states. We called them all as reported on INSIDE POLITICS: 269 to 269. This is just as close as it could be. And these are two candidates; the American people still don't know them very well. And they are just undecided in a country that is in an equilibrium, I think, between the Republicans and the Democrats.

WOODRUFF: Is it that close, Bill Press?

PRESS: Oh, I think it is. And I saw Bob's report last week and these polls today. I do think it is significant that in this time in this race, which at one time, pre-primary, during the primaries, it looked like Bush -- even maybe pre-primary -- had a double-digit lead over Gore. At the end of the -- with the California primary at that time, it was a six-point lead -- now it's down to one point -- I think that's significant on Gore's part but no reason for George Bush to panic.

I mean, I actually agree with Bob. I think it's close. It's close now. It's going to be close all the way through.

Here's what I find interesting is that in California, which has got to be a key state -- it's one of those ones that Charlie puts up there as a toss-up right now. George Bush practically has no presence in California, according to the people that I have spoken to. He's been closing offices, not opening offices, including Republicans in California, who are worried that Bush is not making more of an effort. They are concerned that he could write off California the way his father did.

I don't think he will. He's coming to California day after tomorrow for the first (UNINTELLIGIBLE) since the primary. But he's got to work there.

WOODRUFF: Charlie's still calling it a toss-up.

NOVAK: This is just a Democratic spin. I hear that from the Democratic politicians: Bush is writing off California. He's not writing off California. They think it's a -- they have made a deal with the people who supported him. Of course, they closed down some of their operations after the California primary. They're not in a primary mode. It's a close race, particularly if you take polls taken of the usual voters. If you take the people who vote normally in general elections, it's about a dead heat in California.

PRESS: This I have to say, after Pete Wilson, California is going to take a lot of work on the part of the Republican candidate, and George Bush, to this point, is not showing that effort.

NOVAK: And George Bush -- you may not know this, Bill, because you don't know much and Republicans...

(LAUGHTER)

... but he's going to have a Hispanic event when he gets out there. Is he going to carry the Hispanic vote in California? Of course not, but he's going to cut into it.

WOODRUFF: What about these numbers that show Gore doing better now on the issue of education, Bush doing better on crime and some other things. Is that significant, Bill?

PRESS: Well, it may surprise you. I think it reflects -- I think Bush is suffering from a historic image that the Democratic Party is better on education than Republicans, which I happen to believe. But I don't think it reflects that people don't believe George Bush is good on education.

I don't think they know his record. I don't think they know Al Gore's record at this point. I think it's going to be one of the dominant issues in this campaign. They differ very much in their approach to education. And people are going to make that choice.

NOVAK: I'm going to disagree with Bill on that too, because George Bush has really stressed education. It's an issue he likes, it's an issue he thinks he's good at. Gore hasn't said much about it at all. And people think Gore is better.

This is a Democratic issue, education. I don't think Republicans -- the Republicans' issues are tax cuts, a balanced budget, economy and government, and potentially, Social Security reform if they had the guts.

I don't -- I don't think you can win playing in the other guy's arena.

WOODRUFF: Let's talk about Elian Gonzalez. You now have both candidates pretty much taking the same position on this. Is this going to have much of an effect, Bill, in November? Or is -- we're months away.

PRESS: I know. Bob and I are probably going to disagree on this one too. First, I have to say as a Democrat I think Al Gore is just guilty of shameless political pandering on this issue. He's done it, in my judgment, purely as a sop to the Cuban-American community and the Latino community in New Jersey and in Florida. I don't think it's going to work. I don't think it's going to get him votes. He may carry those states. If he does. It won't be because of this. And I think all he's done is alienate -- not alienate, but infuriate a lot of his Democratic supporters.

Do I think this is going to be the issue that carries those states in November? I honestly do not. I think between now and then this thing is going to be resolved. Elian will be back with his father; people will have moved on a long time ago.

NOVAK: I don't think, Judy, that most Americans are going to vote on the basis of this issue. I agree with Bill to that extent. But there are some who will, and those are the Cubans-Americans in Florida.

I think that the Democratic -- the Clinton administration's position from the very beginning to send this boy back after his mother had given her life to put him in freedom is going to hurt the Democrats. But I'll say one other thing: I never criticize a politician for doing the right thing and saying he just did it for political purposes. So I give a -- a big pat on the back for Al Gore for doing the right thing.

WOODRUFF: Does this mean he's got a shot at winning Florida?

NOVAK: No.

WOODRUFF: You give him a pat...

NOVAK: Does he have a shot? Of course he has a shot, but it's a very tough proposition to win that state with -- with Governor Bush's brother Jeb as governor and the Republicans in a much better position on the Elian issue.

WOODRUFF: So what has he accomplished, Bill Press?

PRESS: I will repeat: I think he's accomplished infuriating a lot of Democrats who felt very strongly about him, who believe that this shows a weakness in his political -- political character.

WOODRUFF: Nothing positive?

NOVAK: But I feel...

PRESS: I don't think he's accomplished anything positive...

NOVAK: Yes, he has.

PRESS: ... other than to get a compliment from Bob Novak.

NOVAK: Absolutely. He makes me feel better about him as president.

(LAUGHTER)

PRESS: Was that worth it is the question.

WOODRUFF: All right, gentlemen, we'll leave it there. Bill Press, Bob Novak, thank you both.

PRESS: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: And I don't know how we can top all that, but there's much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. Still to come...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORE: I will make the modest but crucial adjustments in our Social Security system that will make it fairer for American women, to honor the work of American women.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Counting on women voters: a look at Al Gore's new proposals. Plus, our Bill Schneider examines the gender gap. And...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Republican, but the state voted twice for Bill Clinton. It's in play even if the voters aren't paying attention yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Bruce Morton on the crucial role of the Keystone State. Also...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI (R), NEW YORK: Did she say I can't get along with anybody?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes.

GIULIANI: Did she say that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

GIULIANI: Sit down, shut up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Rudy Giuliani makes light of his confrontational reputation on the New York campaign trail.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: We'll have more of the day's political news coming up, but now a look at some other top stories. Wall Street has recovered most of the ground it lost during today's dramatic sell-off. At one point the Dow and the Nasdaq went into a virtual free fall, each down more than 500 points. After the busiest day ever for the big board, the Dow finished off just 57 points, the Nasdaq down 74 points.

Japan is getting a new prime minister. The Cabinet of ailing Minister Keizo Obuchi resigned today, paving the way for a successor. The 62-year-old Obuchi remains on life support after falling into a stroke-induced coma last weekend. Obuchi is expected to be replaced tomorrow by Yoshiro Mori, secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. And it's likely those former Cabinet ministers will be reinstalled.

The top United Nations human rights official wants Russia to investigate alleged abuses in Chechnya. During her visit to the war- torn region last weekend, Mary Robinson says she heard accounts of atrocities by both Russian troops and Chechen rebels. She urged Russia to set up an independent inquiry. Russia says the six-month conflict remains an internal problem.

Maryland will become the first state to end the sale of conventional handguns. The controversial gun bill passed the state general assembly and is now on its way to the governor's desk.

CNN's Jonathan Aiken has the highlights.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONATHAN AIKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Maryland's law would be the first of its kind in the country, requiring gun locks to be built into all pistols or revolvers sold after sold after January 2003.

GOV. PARRIS GLENDENING (D), MARYLAND: It would really surprise me if there weren't, 18 months, two years from now, if there weren't at least half a dozen, maybe a dozen states with similar measures.

AIKEN: The measure faced intense opposition from the gun lobby, including the National Rifle Association, which ran this ad, using footage from a news conference showing where Glendening fumbled opening a new gun lock. Proof, the NRA says, that the devices would hamper the quick use of firearms, when necessary.

JOHN SNYDER, CITIZENS COMMITTEE FOR THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS: People ought to be able to choose whether or not they want the locks or any other safety device for themselves.

AIKEN (on camera): The effort in Maryland is yet another indication of how the battleground in the gun debate has shifted from Congress to the states' legislatures.

AIKEN (voice-over): Just this week, Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to use its consumer safety laws to regulate handguns, banning Saturday night specials, and requiring handguns to include child-proof locks, tamper-proof serial numbers and safety warnings.

TOM REILLY, MASSACHUSETTS ATTORNEY GENERAL: This isn't about the right to carry arms. Certainly people can have their arms and their weapons and handguns. It's just to make sure that they're safe.

AIKEN: Other gun control efforts across the country: Ballots in Colorado and Oregon may include initiatives to close gun show loopholes. Utah voters face a possible referendum to ban concealed weapons in schools and churches. And child-access prevention bills are before the legislatures in New Hampshire and Ohio.

AIKEN: The Clinton administration is pressing Congress to pass gun legislation by April 20th, the first anniversary of the shootings at Columbine High School.

Jonathan Aiken for CNN, Annapolis, Maryland.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: And when INSIDE POLITICS returns, two candidates, two issues, one state: a look at the presidential hopefuls on the trail in Pennsylvania.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: As voters in Pennsylvania cast their primary ballots today, presidential hopefuls Al Gore and George W. Bush were on the trail in the Keystone State. Gore, campaigning in Philadelphia, made an appeal to women voters with a new twist in his Social Security proposals.

Patty Davis reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Saying he wanted to make Social Security more fair to women, Vice President Al Gore proposed changes to the retirement program. His target: two voter- rich groups. First, mothers who choose to stay home with their children.

GORE: I will fight to end that motherhood penalty by allowing parents to take credit for up to five years of earnings if they take that time to raise children.

DAVIS: At a campaign stop at a community center in Philadelphia, Gore said applying those stay-at-home years toward Social Security earnings would help up to 8 million Americans, mostly women, with an average of $600 a year in additional benefits. Gore's next target: elderly women. The vice president proposed increasing Social Security benefits for widows who lose benefits when a spouse dies.

GORE: Today there are millions of elderly women who are suddenly plunged into poverty when a husband dies because widows can have their combined benefit cut in half overnight.

DAVIS: Gore said his proposal would give 3 million widows an extra $1,000 a month.

While the vice president wouldn't say how much the new benefits would cost, his aides say it would be less than 5 percent of the Social Security surplus, still a hefty price tag.

Gore called Texas Governor George W. Bush's plan to let Americans invest some of their Social Security privately "stock market roulette."

GORE: George W. Bush seems to think that 65 years of the current Social Security system is more than enough.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: We are interrupting INSIDE POLITICS to take you directly to Miami. These are attorneys for the relatives of Elian Gonzalez. Let's listen.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

SPENCER EIG. GONZALEZ FAMILY ATTORNEY: .. can participate with the Gonzalez family as a family when determining what is in the best interest of Elian for the future.

Thank you all very much.

MANNY DIAZ, GONZALEZ FAMILY ATTORNEY: (SPEAKING IN SPANISH)

WOODRUFF: These are attorneys for the relatives of Elian Gonzalez, obviously talking to reporters. They were outside the offices of the U.S. attorney there in Miami. We'll attempt to get an interpretation of what they were saying and bring you up to date just as soon as we can.

Continuing now with our reporting on the campaigning today in Philadelphia, George W. Bush wrapped up his two-day tour of the Keystone State of Pennsylvania with an education event this morning. But Bush left the state with something to think about, the possibility of a native son on the GOP ticket.

Jonathan Karl has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sending his clearest signal yet that he is willing to consider a pro-abortion rights running mate, George W. Bush declared Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge a potential V.P. pick.

BUSH: But I have no lists, and I won't for a while. Tom's a good friend. I like him a lot. I like his judgment. I respect his record, and of course he'll be considered.

KARL: Ridge has been at Bush's side during his two-day swing through Pennsylvania. He's told reporters he'd like to be Bush's running mate, but doesn't expect to be.

GOV. TOM RIDGE (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I'm sure over the next couple of months people are going to say, did the governor call you? And I'm just not going to tell you if he calls and when he calls.

KARL: Recent statewide polls make it clear that putting Ridge on the ticket would give Bush a boost in Pennsylvania, the fifth-largest state in terms of electoral votes. (on camera): If history is any guide, Pennsylvania may well be a must-win state. In every presidential election since 1972, the candidate who won Pennsylvania also won the White House.

BUSH: You see, this is a state that the pundits look at and say, if the candidate can carry Pennsylvania, he's going to be the president. If that's the case, you're looking at the next president.

KARL (voice-over): Bush is scheduled to return to Pennsylvania later this month as his campaign targets a lengthy list of 15 to 20 states they consider truly up for grabs. Another part of Bush's general election strategy will be staff changes. Senior Bush aides say the governor is looking to hire a veteran campaign strategist to serve as campaign chairman, putting somebody in Bush's inner circle who has experience running a national campaign.

Jonathan Karl, CNN, Abington, Pennsylvania.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Pennsylvania is one of a handful of states expected to be key to this year's presidential race, and a new poll shows Bush with a narrow lead over Vice President Gore. The Texas governor got 44 percent to Gore's 40 percent in the hypothetical matchup, which also included Pat Buchanan as the Reform Party candidate. The Mason Dixon poll showed Bush's margin over Gore jumped to 14 points if Governor Ridge were added to the GOP ticket.

Our Bruce Morton has more now on this battleground state and the fight shaping up between now and November.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Inside to your right, folks. Please watch your step.

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Independence Hall in Philadelphia is where it all began. George Washington led a constitutional convention that agreed on a new government. "We the people, in order to form a more perfect union." Now, Pennsylvanians are getting ready to elect a president under that Constitution. Big news?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have peppers, mushrooms, cheese, onions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll have an extra cheesesteak.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about onions?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Extra cheese with onions -- you got it.

MORTON: At what may be Philadelphia's other most famous landmark, Pat's Cheesesteaks, founded in 1930, they get more questions about Cheese Wiz or provolone -- Cheese Wiz is the original-- than they do about politics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be quite honest, I haven't really been paying that much attention.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't like either one of them. I don't think they're talking about what I really care about.

MORTON: Pennsylvania is a battleground state. That's why the Republicans are having their convention here, at Philadelphia's First Union Center. If the voters aren't paying attention yet, that may be because Pennsylvania, especially this part of it, is doing better, moving from old industries to high tech.

ALAN NOVAK, PENNSYLVANIA GOP CHAIRMAN: We've gone from a couple hundred thousand jobs leaving the state over a couple of years to 300- and-some thousand jobs coming into this state since Tom Ridge has been governor.

RIDGE: We preserved a lot of our traditional industries. We still make stuff in Pennsylvania. We're proud of it. That's part of our history and part of our tradition, but we're home to 700 dot.coms, the third-largest concentration in the United States.

MORTON: So Ridge as Bush's running mate? He's been mentioned. He's Catholic. Would that help in ethnic Pittsburgh? He supports abortion rights. Would that hurt with religious conservatives or with Catholic voters?

RIDGE: I think Governor Bush, with his record in Texas and with good support from the Republican Party here and his message, I think he can win here, regardless of his No. 2.

MORTON: Longtime Pennsylvania politics watcher David Buffington.

DAVID BUFFINGTON, POLITICAL ANALYST: Ridge being on the ticket with George W. probably means Pennsylvania's 23 votes do go to George W., but it's no guarantee of that. The presidential candidate of either party has to get swing voters.

MORTON: Republicans control both the state Senate, and narrowly, the Statehouse. Democrats will lose bigtime if the GOP can draw the redistricting lines for seats in the U.S. House. T.J. Rooney is supposed to see that doesn't happen.

T.J. ROONEY (D), PENNSYLVANIA STATEHOUSE: When you consider the fact that nationally Dick Gephardt and Patrick Kennedy are trying to win six seats to wrest control of the Congress, we could theoretically lose six seats right here in Pennsylvania in 2002 if our efforts to win the House back aren't successful.

MORTON: Pennsylvania's recovery, its movement into high-tech, has been uneven.

BUFFINGTON: Pennsylvania is still demographically one of the oldest states in the nation, second only to Florida actually, but things here are improving. MORTON: Pittsburgh, where steel used to rule, is changing, but slowly.

PAUL CHRISTIANO, CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY: The venture capital wasn't plentiful here up until very recently, nor was a supply of management and experience to run these kinds of companies. Now that's all coming together, and we're still not anywhere near where we want to be or have to be to compete globally, but I think we're in a much better position than we were just a few years ago.

MORTON: He can look at the students on his campus or at the University of Pittsburgh just next door, and think they won't have to leave to find jobs, there'll be jobs here. He can walk the rich ethnic stew of a neighborhood like Squirrel Hill -- pizza for lunch, or dim sum -- and think, these places will do well.

But the election? Come to Mt. Oliver, a tiny 4,700-people suburb completely surrounded by Pittsburgh, and ask, anybody excited?

MAYOR JOHN SMITH, MT. OLIVER, PENNSYLVANIA: It's kind of the election that is not very -- people don't seem to be interested in it. We went down the other day and got our election supply, and there were no posters, just handout cards. And it just doesn't seem like it's an election coming up. It's real quiet.

MORTON: Strongly Democratic Mt. Oliver is doing well: two brand- new police cars with computers, people moving in. But Smith, mayor for 22 years, finds the old cynicism about politics still lives.

SMITH: Sometimes you talk to people, this is what you get: They come on out and they'll say, well, politics are crooked. I have a brother who says it to me every time he votes. He comes in and votes, but he says, ah, you're a bunch a crooks.

MORTON: Pennsylvania is moving, more slowly than many states, into the new economy. Employment up, new stadiums for the Pirates and the Steelers. Republican governor and legislature. Republican Senator Rick Santorum, once thought vulnerable, but now favored to win re-election this year.

Republican, but the state voted twice for Bill Clinton. It's in play, even if the voters aren't paying attention yet.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: And up next, Bill Schneider looks at why some women voters favor George W. Bush and why others don't. Plus, an in-depth look at the Texas governor's record on the environment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: As we reported earlier, Al Gore has moved into a virtual tie with George W. Bush in the latest national polls. One big reason: women voters. Joining us now, our own senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.

Bill, so is the gender gap still there?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The gender gap is alive and well. Bush leads Gore by 10 points among men. Gore leads Bush by eight points among women. Average amount, you've got a tie.

We've had a gender gap for 20 years in American politics. In the 1980s, both men and women voted for Ronald Reagan, but men more so. In the 1990s, both men and women voted for Bill Clinton, but women more so. Now men and women are voting for different candidates. Men for Bush, women for Gore. Different sexes, different presidents. That's what's new.

WOODRUFF: So is there such a thing as the women's vote?

SCHNEIDER: Well, actually, no, there isn't. Women vote very differently depending on two things: whether they're married and whether they work outside the home.

The Democrats' core support is among single working women like, oh, Ally McBeal. Only a lot of single working women are older widows and divorcees. They gave Clinton a boost in 1996 and they're giving Gore his biggest lead over Bush, 32 points. Single working women are about a quarter of all women, and they have become core Democratic supporters.

Now, look at married women who are not employed outside the home. This is where you find the strongest Republican support among women. They were tied last time between Clinton and Dole. And this time, they're voting for Bush by a 10-point margin.

If Ally McBeal looks like a Gore voter, I guess Marge Simpson looks like a Bush voter.

WOODRUFF: So get out your calculator. What does all this add up to?

SCHNEIDER: Well, women are more Democratic if they're employed outside the home and if they're single. In fact, being single matters more than being employed.

I think both are indicators of what I described as economic insecurity. Despite all the progress women have made in recent years, single women and working women are still concerned at their economic situation. They want the federal safety net to be there. And the safety net is the Democrats' issue.

Now, let's take a closer look at single working women, those Ally McBeal types who are so strongly for Gore. Where do they see Gore as markedly better than Bush?

Single working women are much more likely to believe that Gore cares about people like themselves, that he has the knowledge necessary to be president, and that he agrees with them on the issues. They believe Gore is more supportive of their interests. His policies will help them and even protect them.

Now, let's look at their opposites, married women who do not work outside the home. What do they see in George W. Bush that they do not see in Gore? They see a man who's honest and trustworthy, who has strong moral character, and who shares their values. They like Bush because of his values. Some women vote their pocketbooks and some vote their values. It really depends on how economically secure they feel -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider, thank you very much.

And this story just in to CNN from our national security producer Chris Plant. Eleven U.S. soldiers and a Polish soldier were injured in a clash with Kosovo Serbs on Tuesday when the peacekeepers were attacked after arresting a Serb man -- this in Kosovo -- for possession of illegal weapons.

Pentagon officials are describing the injuries as non-life- threatening. The conflict occurred in the town in the town of Sevce in the U.S.-controlled sector of Kosovo, officials told CNN, when the U.S. military police, acting on a tip from informants, moved in to search the home.

Now, there is a U.S. statement that indicates that a number of civilians were also injured in this incident, but it does not say how many. Once again, U.S. soldiers and a Polish soldier injured in a clash with Serb -- Kosovo Serbs in Kosovo this day, on Tuesday.

CNN will bring you more information on this just as soon as we have it.

We'll take a break. More INSIDE POLITICS in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: George W. Bush may be trying to broaden his voter appeal by adding a new issue to his campaign agenda. Yesterday, Bush unveiled his intentions with regard to the environment and his plan to speed redevelopment of polluted industrial sites. But some critics are questioning Bush's record in that area.

Our Natalie Pawelski takes a closer look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NATALIE PAWELSKI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Welcome to Texas, arguably the most polluted state in the country. Texas leads the nation in air pollution, water pollution and overall toxic releases, and critics say Governor George W. Bush has been making things worse.

TOM SMITH, PUBLIC CITIZEN OF TEXAS: Every chance he's gotten, he's stood up for the polluters rather than the people. And when you look at his record in Texas -- on air quality, on water quality, on park protection -- what you see is a downward trend.

JIM HIGHTOWER, COMMENTATOR: We're No. 1 in hazardous waste incinerators spewing filth into our air; No. 1 in the overall load of toxic chemicals in our environment. And this is all on his watch. He either has done nothing about it or has actually fostered more of it.

He's got an environmental record so ugly, I mean, he couldn't get it clean with a can of Comet and a wire brush.

PAWELSKI: Texas' big industries -- oil and natural gas, chemicals and agribusiness -- have been dirtying the state's environment since long before Bush became governor. His supporters say he's doing what he can to solve an entrenched pollution problem.

RALPH MARQUEZ, TEXAS NATURAL RESOURCE CONSERVATION COMMISSION: Texas has led the nation in making reductions at the same time that our economy has continued to prosper.

MINDY TUCKER, BUSH CAMPAIGN PRESS SECRETARY: There have been reductions in numerous emissions, numerous toxins, and releases of different things across the board, and Texas has really shown some strength in that in the last couple of years.

PAWELSKI: The biggest environmental dust-up on Bush's watch, air pollution. Lately, Texas has more days with what the EPA calls "very unhealthy air" than any other state. And last year, Houston passed Los Angeles to become the smoggiest city in the United States.

When regulators moved to crack down on older industrial plants responsible for more than a third of the state's air pollution, a paper trail indicates Governor Bush stepped in, in what both sides say is a textbook example of his leadership style on environmental issues. The governor supported dropping mandatory pollution cuts in favor of a voluntary program, and he asked the polluting companies themselves to draw up the rules.

SMITH: What Governor Bush did was he literally let the polluters write his pollution policy. He let the biggest polluters in the state determine when, if and how much they were going to reduce their emissions.

PAWELSKI: About 6 percent of the dirty plants have volunteered to clean up. The governor's supporters say that's a success, and points out it's the first time any Texas governor did anything to get these plants to clean up their act.

TUCKER: The governor realized we needed a reasonable approach. We needed to bring these companies in, allow them to make the changes they can make voluntarily, and then move toward a mandatory program, and that's what we've done, and it's working in Texas. Emissions are down.

PAWELSKI (on camera): Green groups are also criticizing Governor Bush for his appointments to important environmental positions. Take, for example, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. It's the closest thing the state has to an Environmental Protection Agency. So far, every commissioner appointed by Governor Bush has strong ties to the very industries they are supposed to be regulating.

(voice-over): For example, TRNCC commissioner Ralph Marquez spent decades working in, and then lobbying for, the chemical industry.

MARQUEZ: Well, I have retired from that job, and I have no real ties to that industry. I think it's an advantage to have someone who knows industry, because then you can deal with them and be effective in the way you regulate them.

PAWELSKI: Other Bush appointees have long histories with the oil industry and agribusiness.

HIGHTOWER: He has a history of bringing the foxes inside the chicken coop. You don't see environmentalists sitting on his inner circle.

PAWELSKI: Bush's supporters say that's not necessarily a bad thing. They say his market-based approach is less confrontational, more realistic and effective.

His critics say he is too cozy with polluters, putting their profits ahead of environmental protection. Both sides say they expect Bush to stay true to his record if he succeeds in leaving the Austin governor's mansion for a much bigger White House in Washington.

Natalie Pawelski, CNN, Austin, Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: John McCain resurfaced on the campaign trail in New York today. Less than a month after ending his own White House bid, McCain is backing Rudy Giuliani in his all-but-official Senate bid. New York City's Republican mayor hopes to plug into McCain's proven appeal with non-Republicans.

CNN's Frank Buckley was along for the ride when these two political mavericks teamed up.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former presidential candidate John McCain joined a man he called a soulmate, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, in his campaign for the U.S. Senate.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Straight Talk Jr.

(LAUGHING)

BUCKLEY: The name McCain gave to the bus-ride portion of the day, a takeoff on his former Straight Talk Express, Giuliani hoping McCain's appeal to independents and Democrats will help him in New York.

GIULIANI: I guess in the technical language, they call it swing voters. Senator McCain has a tremendous appeal to those voters, for very good reason.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The next senator from New York State: Rudy Giuliani!

BUCKLEY: Giuliani's campaign took on the look of McCain's short- lived presidential campaign with a townhall meeting featuring both men at an American Legion hall in the Long Island village of Northport.

MCCAIN: We need more mild-mannered, even-tempered individuals like Rudy and myself...

(LAUGHTER)

... who will never rock the boat nor say anything that's controversial in nature.

BUCKLEY: McCain and Giuliani both making light of their respective temperaments, which Hillary Clinton has raised as an issue. Giuliani, she has charged, would not be effective as a senator because he is too confrontational.

GIULIANI: Did she say that I can't get along with anybody?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes!

GIULIANI: Did she say that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes!

GIULIANI: Sit down! Shut up!

(LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN: I don't believe that Rudy, like me, will be elected Miss Congeniality in the United States Senate...

(LAUGHTER)

... but I do believe -- I do believe he will be an instant star in many respects.

BUCKLEY: Aides say McCain's appearance with Giuliani was the first of many to come with dozens of candidates around the country. At least 40 candidates for House and Senate seats have contacted McCain's new PAC, Straight Talk America, to ask for McCain's support.

Giuliani's aides see McCain's reputation as a maverick as a strong appeal to New Yorkers, especially in the Long Island suburbs, which have traditionally skewed Republican.

(on camera): McCain is a proven vote-getter here. In last month's presidential primary, McCain won 12 of the 15 Republican delegates at stake on Long Island.

(voice-over): Part of the appeal may be McCain's strong stand in favor of campaign finance reform, but Giuliani is on track to raise record amounts of campaign money, having already pulled in $19 million, while also seeking soft money contributions. But McCain says, in this case, the soft money may be necessary.

MCCAIN: I don't approve of it. I want it changed. But I also understand that given the huge amounts of money that's coming into this campaign, that he has to fight fire with fire.

BUCKLEY: McCain is also promising to return to New York in the months ahead to help elect his soulmate to the Senate.

Frank Buckley, CNN, Northport, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff.

Stay tuned for a special 90-minute edition of "MONEYLINE."

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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