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CNN Late Edition
Al Gore Outlines His Global Policy; John McCain Discusses His Tour in Vietnam and Reconciliation With George BushAired April 30, 2000 - 12:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, HOST: This is LATE EDITION, the last word in Sunday talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe in a strong national defense. I also believe in strong diplomacy, I believe that we have the wisdom and the national strength to pursue a bright future for our people, not only with weapons, but with our values.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: In his first Sunday interview this year, vice president Al Gore outlines his global policy and tells us his strategy to win the White House in November.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I understand why they commemorate it. I think that the wrong guys won.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Twenty-five years after the fall of Saigon, we'll look back with former prisoner of war, Republican Senator John McCain and look forward to campaign 2000, including his tenuous relationship with Governor George W. Bush and his efforts to help elect Rudy Giuliani the next senator from New York.
And as Elian Gonzalez and his father avoid the spotlight, Congress prepares to investigate the child's removal from his Miami relatives' home.
They just willy-nilly decided to send this poor child back to live in the slavery of communism under Fidel Castro.
We'll speak to the majority whip, Republican Congressman Tom DeLay about the politics of Elian.
Plus our LATE EDITION roundtable, Steve Roberts, Susan Page and Candy Crowley.
And Bruce Morton has "The Last Word" on America's longest war, a quarter century later, still searching for answers.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN in Washington, this is LATE EDITION WITH WOLF BLITZER.
BLITZER: It's noon in Washington, 9:00 a.m. in Los Angeles, 5:00 p.m. In London, and midnight in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks for joining us for this 90-minute LATE EDITION.
We're coming to you today from the library of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, which is adjacent to the vice president's residence.
And joining us now in his first live Sunday television interview this year is U.S. vice president and Democratic presidential candidate, Al Gore.
Mr. Vice President, welcome back to LATE EDITION.
GORE: I'm glad to be here, thank you.
BLITZER: Thank you.
Let's talk before we get to some of your foreign policy initiatives, you have a big speech coming out later today, we want to spend some time talking about that. Let's get right to the Elian Gonzalez issue, if we can. You said in January at a news conference in Manchester, New Hampshire, you said if the father comes to free soil and says without fear of intimidation, that he wants to return to Cuba with his son, then that settles the case.
Is that still your position? Within the context of a family court determination?
GORE: Look, Wolf, I know that my position on this is not politically popular. But I have said from the very beginning when the little boy was rescued five months ago, that as soon as a dispute broke out between the members of the family, bearing in mind that the mother had just lost her life trying to secure freedom for this child, and bearing in mind that the father's views were not well known because he was stating them in Cuba with demonstrators outside his window, that we should handle it the way we handle any child custody case in a family court.
And that's the principle that I have followed and I've said from the start that normally, a surviving parent's wishes are determinative of the case, not always, and a family court with the expertise to make that decision should evaluate what is in the best interest of the child. That's the simple point that's guided me from the very start.
BLITZER: There was some deliberation in a family court in Florida, it went to a higher court and that court in Florida ruled it belongs in the federal court system. So it was considered by the family court process.
GORE: No, that's not right, with all due respect, Wolf. Initially, the INS said this should go to a family court. But then they changed the position and reversed themselves and took it to a federal court instead on the basis of immigration law and his status under the immigration law, rather than looking at the custody issues. And you know, the hottest conflicts are always in the closest groups and families are closest of all.
And when you've got a big dispute involving members of the same family where the mother's lost her life, trying to get the child away from Cuba, then look at what's in the best interest of the child. That has been my position from the start. It is not politically popular, but it's the principle that I think is the correct one and I've stood by that principle for five months now and I think it's the right principle.
BLITZER: And it was a tough decision, though, for you to break with the president, the attorney general, many members of the Democratic party and as you yourself point out, public opinion. And when you came around, it was not just a matter of principle, a lot of people think it was pandering to the Cuban American vote.
GORE: Well, I took the position in Iowa and then in New Hampshire long before I took it in Florida. But no, it was not a hard decision, because when you base a position on principle, it's not difficult. You know, I went through a change in my whole way of communicating with the American people at the last fall when I made a basic decision that running for president, trying to communicate directly from the heart was the American people, is more important than trying to be the best vice president you can be to the inth degree.
I did that for seven years and I still work a significant portion of every day on my duties as vice president. But I made up my mind I was going to speak directly from my heart to the people of this country about what I believe and when do you that, it is not hard at all.
Reconciling it with what the administration's agenda is used to be, in the early stages of my campaign, something that I would think about first, and I have deep respect for that agenda. I helped to shape a lot of that agenda, particularly on the economy and foreign policy. But I'm going to speak directly from the heart based on the principles that I believe in.
BLITZER: All right, let's talk a little bit about international affairs on this 25th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. You served in Vietnam. Why can the United States, the Clinton administration, the Clinton-Gore administration, come to terms with Vietnam and have normal diplomatic relations, economic ties, yet you're unable to do so with Cuba?
GORE: Well, because Castro continues to operate an extremely repressive regime just 90 miles from our borders. In spite of that, we have made some changes and have opened some avenues of communication to the Cuban people, not to Castro, and we look forward to the day when Castro's regime will not be in power and that the Cuban people will again have democracy. BLITZER: You understand, when some critics say there's one standard for communist Vietnam, communist China, another standard for communist Cuba, including Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Listen, if you will, to what he said only this weekend on CNN's "EVANS, NOVAK, HUNT & SHIELDS."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DANIEL PATRICK MOYNIHAN (D), NEW YORK: It is a foreign policy that is contradictory, inconsistent and loony. It is also self-defeating. If you want to get rid of Castro, open our trade relations, open our travel relations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: In other words, engage, engage, with Cuba like you engage with China.
GORE: I think the situations are different in China and in Cuba. We have had some openings. You have a bureau there now. We have much more open communications people to people there now. We have more shipments of food and medicine there now.
We have seen in response to this Castro going in the opposite direction, really cracking down with more repression than before. In the last few months there have been some of the harshest crackdowns there's that we've seen in a long time, under cover of all of the focus elsewhere.
And you know, just last fall there was the beginning of public discussion by the dissidents who want democracy and freedom in Cuba, and now he's cracked down very harshly on them.
BLITZER: And the theory, though, that your critics say, like the Senator Moynihan and others, is that the strategy for working to improve human rights in China, easing the plight of dissidents, religious freedom, in your speech today you say, "It is wrong to isolate and demonize China, to build a wall when we need to build a bridge." And yet that same strategy you don't want to try to engage with Cuba.
GORE: Well, again, I think that the two nations are very different. China with 1.2 billion people is the largest nation in the entire world. They are moving toward an opening, not as rapidly as we would like to see. But their desire to join in the world trading system and to privatize some of the old state-owned industries, to open up to Internet commerce, to have local elections in 10,000 villages around China, I don't want to idealize it, it's far from what we would like to see.
But the direction since Deng Xiaoping and now with President Zemin and Zhu Rongji the premier, has definitely -- in the direction, slowly but in the direction of more openness in markets and in communication.
BLITZER: And you make the case today in your speech for supporting permanent normal trade relations with China?
BLITZER: Yet Senator Trent Lott, the Senate Majority Leader was on Fox News Sunday earlier today and he says he's not convinced that you're on board and fighting for this legislation.
Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MAJORITY LEADER: There are only two things that can keep the China permanent trade status from going forward. One, Clinton and Gore don't do their job in the House of Representatives. And by the way, the way it's going, we may never even get to vote in the Senate because the House may defeat it. And you know, Vice President Gore has been the invisible man when it comes to...
TONY SNOW, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: He hasn't been fighting for it?
LOTT: Fighting for it? He's been undermining it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: He says you've been undermining this legislation.
GORE: No, that's partisan politics and that's kind of par for the course. You know, his chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee announced this past week that he would not consider any international agreements until there is a new president. That hurts our country. The extreme partisanship of Jesse Helms and Trent Lott hurts the United States of America. On a strict party line vote, they defeated the comprehensive test ban treaty without even having meaningful hearings on it.
BLITZER: So you're going to go out there and fight for this trade deal?
GORE: Sure, sure.
BLITZER: Even though the AFL/CIO, Congressman Gephardt, Congressman Bonior, many Democrats say this will export a lot of jobs out of America, back to China.
GORE: I disagree with that. I think it's in our best interests. And specifically to Senator Lott's latest partisan attack, I'm making a speech on this subject today. I'm talking about it on your program today. I made a speech about it -- a major speech -- last week to a thousand people with John Sweeney in the audience. It was about a number of topics, but I addressed this head on, and made the case. I made the case our your network, on "LARRY KING LIVE" last week. I'll be doing it in interviews later on today in Boston as well as in that speech. I'm making calls on it on a regular basis.
You know, they're talking about Governor Bush talked about a new comity, a new bipartisanship. Well, they're throwing roadblocks in the path of our country's best interest.
And let me repeat. Senator Helms statement that they will block any progress on foreign policy until after a new president is inaugurated, hurts the national security interest of the United States of America. And Trent Lott supports his view.
BLITZER: All right, Mr. Vice President, we have to take a quick commercial break. A lot more to talk about.
We'll be right back on this special LATE EDITION.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH, (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: American internationalism should not mean action without vision, activity without priority, and missions without end -- an approach that squanders American will and drains American energy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush outlining his vision for an international policy.
Welcome back to LATE EDITION.
We're continuing our conversation from the U.S. Naval Observatory here on the grounds of the vice president's residence, with the vice president and the Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore.
Mr. Vice President, in your speech today among other things you say, "I look forward to the day when Serbia and Iraq will be free from the grip of Milosevic and Saddam and the terrorists they have wrought on their own people."
Specifically, what would a Gore administration do to remove Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic from power?
GORE: Well, some of what is now under way, with respect to Iraq, in this administration, is not something we can talk about in the public arena.
BLITZER: It doesn't seem to be working yet.
GORE: Well, I understand. He's been in power for much longer than we would like, and his -- one day longer would be more than we would want.
But I think that the sanctions are important, but I think that support for elements opposed to him inside Iraq, in the center of the country where the majority of the population is found, the Sunni majority, the opposition groups in the past have been based with the Kurds in the north and the Shi'a in the south, and that opposition continues.
But the majority of the country, the center of gravity is in the center of Iraq. And the opposition is growing there, and our efforts to support those resistance movements I think is an important part...
BLITZER: So you would continue this policy?
BLITZER: And as far as Slobodan Milosevic, what, if anything, would you do to actually remove him from power?
GORE: Well, the Serbian people have to do that. And there are now new rallies of opposition there. The opposition has been fragmented. There's been in-fighting among the opposition, the different groups and leaders there.
But opposition clearly is growing inside Serbia to Slobodan Milosevic. He has inflicted tremendous suffering on his people. The sanctions continue in place until there is a leader that is representative of the Serbian people there. And I think that eventually we will get there.
BLITZER: On U.S.-Russia relations, you've heard criticism from Russian leaders, the new President Putin, the Foreign Minister Ivanov this week in Washington, saying that they have no desire to revise the ABM Treaty, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, to enable the U.S. to build a strategic defense shield to guard against incoming missiles. If they don't do that, George W. Bush says he would go ahead and build that shield anyhow, irrespective of the Russian position. Would you?
GORE: Well, there are two different systems that are being talked about, and I think it's important to try to achieve clarity in this debate.
Governor Bush wants to go back to the old Star Wars vision, pledging a global Star Wars system that would defend the United States and our allies against any missile launch. Now that's an attractive idea if it were at all feasible. But in the 1990s, those who studied it said it's highly implausible, the costs would be astronomical, and it would be completely destabilizing to the system of deterrence that has kept the peace with the U.S. and Russia for 50 years now.
BLITZER: But a limited shield you would go forward with?
GORE: Yes, I would.
BLITZER: Even if the Russians said no?
GORE: Well, let's cross that bridge when we come to it, because a more limited system is one that's designed to protect against the new threat that has emerged since the end of the Cold War.
BLITZER: From Iran or North Korea, you mean. GORE: Yes, which is not thousands of warheads coming over the North Pole, but a half a dozen warheads.
BLITZER: But even that could be $60 billion.
GORE: Well, those estimates are controversial and they haven't been pinned down yet. And the testing is reaching a critical stage this summer. So it's premature to talk about exactly what those cost estimates are. But we know that they're a tiny fraction of what has talked about for the Star Wars system.
Now, the more limited system is not only in our national interest, we believe that it is in the best interest of Russia. And in the talks that we have been having with them, there are signs of an increasing recognition within Russia that the threats that they face on their southern border from extremist groups, from the potential emergence of rogue states in the area to their south -- they have all the conflict they're trying to deal with in that region now -- that's produced a new awareness on their part that they might have something to gain from allowing a limited system.
And I don't accept the public characterization of Russia's position on that limited system as the final word, because the negotiations have been very interesting, and I still have some hope that we will be able to reach agreement with them on a modification to the ABM Treaty that will allow to us go forward without changing it unilaterally.
BLITZER: In your speech, you're very critical of Governor Bush's international policy, but you don't really believe he is part of that so-called isolationist wing of the Republican Party as you look at his remarks and you look at the advisers that have surrounded him?
GORE: Well, I think there's a difference between what he says, which is very little, and what people purporting to speak for him in this area say on a regular basis. What he has said has often been isolationist in tone. He said, for example, that he would never engage and intervene in a case that involved the kind of ethnic cleansing that we saw in Bosnian and Kosovo. He certainly left that impression with his words. And after our nation got involved in helping with our allies to deal with the horrors of Kosovo, he went for an entire six weeks without saying a single word about it. Even when he was questioned about it. So, I think that is a kind of old cold war mentality.
Let me give you another example. He said that Africa, with all of the opportunities it presents, with all of the problems that the world is looking at trying to deal with there, he says it just doesn't fit into our national interest. And -- you know, that's what some people said about Latin America two decades ago and now our strongest trading partners, some of our strongest trading partners are there and the emergence of democracy and free markets in many nations of Africa is sometimes ignored because of the focus on the many tragedies there.
BLITZER: All right, we'll develop that theme in just a minute. We have to take another commercial break. When we come back, we'll also talk with Vice President Gore about his strategy in winning the White House.
Stay with us.
BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION.
We're continuing our conversation with Vice President Al Gore.
Mr. Vice President, Colin Powell was on "Meet The Press" earlier today. He was asked about possibly serving in a bush administration, not as vice president which he is ruling out but as something else.
Listen to what he said about possibly serving as secretary of state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MEET THE PRESS")
COLIN POWELL, AMERICA'S PROMISE: Any appointed position that a president or president elect would like to discuss with me, I would be more than happy to discuss, of course.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: If you were elected president, would you discuss the possibility of Colin Powell joining your administration?
GORE: I might well. I think he's a distinguished American, I think that bipartisanship in the conduct of our nation's policies is a good thing where it can be pursued without sacrificing principles that guide what you're trying to accomplish. And he's a good friend, I have enormous respect for Colin Powell. I think he's a wonderful guy.
BLITZER: Secretary of state?
GORE: I'm not -- you know, I don't want to start a bit of speculation like that, Wolf. I'm answering your question about who I consider him as part of the administration? Of course I would, because I think he's very capable and could serve with great distinction in a number of different positions.
BLITZER: When Republicans criticize you, one thing they always go back to by and large is the book you wrote "Earth in the Balance" and the sentence about the internal combustion engine when you said "we now know that their cumulative impact on the global environment is posing a mortal threat to the security of every nation that is more deadly than that of any military enemy we are ever again likely to confront.
BLITZER: You still stand by that?
GORE: Look, if the climate system of the earth is disrupted, the consequences could well be quite devastating, no question about that. Look at the havoc that has been wreaked by unusually strong storms and freakish weather events all over the globe in recent years. No one can say that those are early consequences of the warming that is now definitely under way.
But it is consistent with the kind of consequences that scientists have predicted for many years. And they say it will get much worse. There's evidence that the north polar ice cap melted 40 percent in just this century. Now, some people say, well...
BLITZER: You're not backing away from that?
GORE: No, I think -- see, the climate system that we have known throughout the history of human civilization has been very stable and has been relatively unchanging within certain boundaries. All of the great cities of the world, all of the civilizations of the earth have been located and have developed with the assumption that that's just a given, that that's, you know, rainfall is in certain places on average and droughts are of a certain range and intensity.
If all of that changes, then the consequences for many nations would be quite devastating. And we can solve it while creating millions of good, new jobs and deploying a new generation of technologies that will be much better and more efficient, with less pollution, enhance our quality of life, and build up our economy in the process.
BLITZER: The other issue of course that they are always hitting you with and only yesterday Governor Bush mentioned it was fourth anniversary of the Buddhist temple fundraising event. When you look back on that, what were you thinking at the time when you went ahead and you agreed to that event?
GORE: Well, I've talked about that. But I'll tell you what I learned from it, which is that we need campaign finance reform. I've long supported it. My intensity is much greater now. And I agree with John McCain, that we need the McCain-Feingold bill passed. I said if I'm entrusted with the presidency, Wolf, the very first bill that I will send to the Congress will be the McCain-Feingold reform bill. And then I want to go farther than that.
I would like to create a democracy endowment that will make possible the elimination of all private financing of our campaigns in our democracy and have public financing of all federal elections. I've also proposed that Governor Bush and I agree, and I'm willing to do this today if he will accept, agree to eliminate all of the 30- second and 60-second TV and radio ads and debate twice a week on a different issue each time, every week between now and the election.
Incidentally, today is the 48th day that he has refused my challenge to ban soft money and refused to accept my challenge to have regular debates on the issues. And I hope that he will reconsider.
BLITZER: All right Mr. Vice President, it was very kind of you to spend some time us with, we only have a second or two left. Do you remember where you made that controversial comment about the Internet?
GORE: It was your show, the last time I was on your show. BLITZER: Just wanted to make sure you didn't forget.
GORE: Incidentally, I heard that you were the hands-down star of the big White House correspondents dinner last night, dancing, surrounded by dancing girls, is that right?
BLITZER: It's not true.
GORE: Waving your shirt.
BLITZER: Once again you're getting false information.
GORE: Is that an exaggeration?
BLITZER: We'll show the clip later on LATE EDITION for all our viewers around the world.
GORE: I'm looking forward to it.
BLITZER: Thank you, Mr. Vice President, always good to have you on your program.
GORE: Thank you.
BLITZER: When we come back, we'll shift gears. We'll talk about Vietnam 25 years after the fall of Saigon. We'll talk with Republican Senator John McCain, a former prisoner of war.
Stay with us.
BLITZER: You're looking at a live picture of the Vietnam War Memorial here in Washington. It's one of the most popular tourist spots in the city. The wall contains the names of the nearly 60,000 Americans killed in the Vietnam war.
Welcome back to LATE EDITION.
Just before we went on the air, I had a chance to speak with Republican Senator John McCain, a former prisoner of war.
BLITZER: Senator McCain, welcome back from Vietnam. You just got off a plane 24 hours ago -- less than 24 hours ago. You made some waves, though, in Vietnam when you said the wrong guys won. What did you mean?
MCCAIN: Well, first of all, the context of -- I made those statements many times in the past over the last 25 years. But I haven't looked back. I wanted to look forward. That's why I pursued normalization of relations between our two countries, why I've pursued reconciliation and healing between our two nations primarily for benefit for our veterans. I was asked a specific question and I answered, of course, I didn't want the communists to win. Thousands of people were executed. Two million people left on boats. A million were put in reeducation camps, clearly.
But the realities are that we didn't win and so we should do whatever we can in my view to heal the wounds of the most divisive conflict in our history, not including the Civil War. So it's no different from anything that I've been saying for many, many years.
BLITZER: Have you made peace in your own mind with the Vietnamese people?
MCCAIN: Sure, in fact I think the Vietnamese people are wonderful people. They're a kind and gentle people. Those who lived in South Vietnam, of course, were our allies. So I've made my peace not only with them, but with the entire issue. I was fortunate enough to leave Vietnam behind me, but unfortunately many of our veterans, many of whom were 18, 19 years old when they served, had a lot more difficulty. And I tried to dedicate myself to the proposition of healing.
BLITZER: On this 25th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, as you look back, though, on those who were your captors, when you spent five and a half years in a POW camp, you still have not made peace with them.
MCCAIN: Well, there are certainly individuals who were responsible for the very severe mistreatment and even deaths of friends of mine. Of course. That is something that none of us would ever get over, but that is a small group of individuals. Look, after World War II they put some Japanese guards in prison -- imprisoned people on trial for war crimes and executed them. There are people who are guilty of those kinds of things but that is a very minor aspect of my overall view of our relations with Vietnam. I can't focus on that, that was long ago and far away.
BLITZER: In all the times you've been back to Vietnam, seven times I believe, have you ever run across, met, seen any of those individuals?
MCCAIN: No, and I hope I never do. The point is that I want to do is get a full accounting of those who are still listed as missing in action, that still remains our number one priority. Normalization of relations between our two countries. I hope now the Vietnamese will sign a free trade agreement, which they backed off on, unfortunately -- for them as well as us. I think there are a number of issues that I've been involved -- the Amer-Asian children, the orderly departure program, where people who are former members of the South Vietnamese administration were allowed to come to the United States. We've been involved in many of those issues, far more often than the few people who were very brutal to my friends.
BLITZER: So as you reflect today and look back, was the war worth fighting?
MCCAIN: Well, I think it was a noble cause, but President Johnson was cautioned and restrained by his legitimate concern about the intervention of China and/or Russia into the conflict. A decision should have been made in 1964 or 1965, either to go in and take that risk or don't go in at all. Instead they pursued a strategy that was doomed to failure and over time and understandably, the American people refused to support a strategy that could not succeed. So was it a noble cause? I think so. But could we have won it? Not employing the strategy that we employed.
BLITZER: Has the United States learned all of the lessons from the Vietnam experience?
MCCAIN: I don't know if you can say all but clearly the Persian Gulf war was led by officers who were junior officers during the Vietnam War. Norman Schwarzkopf, Colin Powell and many others. They learned the lesson of the Vietnam War, and that's one of the major reasons why we enjoyed such an overwhelming success in the Persian Gulf conflict.
BLITZER: One footnote from your visit, our LATE EDITION roundtable participant Tucker Carlson, a political writer for "The Weekly Standard," he was left behind. He was not allowed to leave. Fortunately now he is out. He's on his way back to the United States at this point. But were the Vietnamese playing some sort of tricks? What were they doing in their decision to, in effect, embarrass you and keep him there for those hours?
MCCAIN: There's still an incredible bureaucracy. He had not had his entry visa stamped. In a normal country, they would have not made that a big deal, but the bureaucrats got involved. There was two U.S. Embassy personnel with him when we left and we were confident, the embassy people were confident that it would be a short period of time. But it's just one of the frustrating aspects of dealing with people, it's still run a country that is quote, socialist. And it's unfortunate. I'm sorry it happened to Tucker. He's a great guy and I'm glad he's free at last.
BLITZER: I'm glad he's free at last and we're going to hope he's a better person for it.
MCCAIN: I'm sure he is.
BLITZER: If the United States and you personally can make peace in your own mind with Vietnam, given what that experience was in Vietnam, why not do the same with Cuba?
MCCAIN: Well, I think we can. And again, I want to emphasize I did make my peace with Vietnam. The way we made that peace with Vietnam was through a road map begun by the Bush administration that if the Vietnamese did certain things, we would do certain things in return, get out of Cambodia, empty reeducation camps, et cetera.
I would be more than willing to offer Fidel Castro that same kind of deal, but would he accept that? I don't know. The Vietnamese were very, very, their highest priority was to have economic development and they knew they couldn't have that being isolated as they were. Castro doesn't seem to be so concerned about that, obviously, because he continues to repress any free enterprise system in his country, but I'd be glad to offer Castro the same deal that we offered the Vietnamese, and that would be a step by step reciprocal kind of action.
BLITZER: Is it your sense that it would be wise for the U.S. Senate and/or the House of Representatives at this point, to hold hearings on Elian Gonzalez?
MCCAIN: I'm not sure what's gained by it. I think everybody is aware of the events that transpired. But I think it would be entirely appropriate to hold hearings on our relationship with Cuba, how this situation evolved, how we could prevent something like that from happening again. I don't see anything wrong with that. But I'm not sure that, I'd have to be convinced that there's something to be gained about rehashing the events that have transpired in the last few weeks.
BLITZER: And now that the father is reunited with the son and has said several times without any Cuban officials present on U.S. soil, I want to go back to Cuba with my son, should the U.S. government allow that to happen?
MCCAIN: If it is in keeping with U.S. laws, which is a court decision as you know, his departure has been ordered stayed by U.S. courts. But again, I find it hard to believe that anyone would want to return to a society where the young women are encouraged to engage in prostitution in order to gain hard currency, where there's no free enterprise system allowed, there's no freedom of speech, the automobile of choice is a '56 Chevrolet, so it's hard for me to imagine that anyone would want to live in that society.
Clearly if we ever, Castro ever let them loose, they would all be living in Florida. But if that's a decision that his father is making of his own free will, then I will respect that.
BLITZER: All right, Senator McCain, we have to take a quick break.
When we return, we'll turn to campaign 2000. We'll ask Senator McCain whether he plans to meet with his former Republican presidential rival, George W. Bush, and we'll also ask him what impact Mayor Giuliani's announcement that he has cancer will have on the New York Senate race.
LATE EDITION will be right back.
BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION.
Now more of my conversation with Republican Senator John McCain.
BLITZER: Senator McCain, the New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani, announced he has prostate cancer. What impact do you think this will have on his willingness to go forward and challenge Mrs. Clinton for the New York Senate seat?
MCCAIN: Well, I'm confident, one, that he will be cured because this has been detected in its earliest stages and we have medical procedures which are overwhelmingly successful. So I'm confident that he will indeed continue his campaign. He's going to have to pause somewhat while undergoing the treatment, but the prognosis is excellent. I believe he will continue the campaign with vigor and I think he will win.
BLITZER: Have you spoken with him?
MCCAIN: Yes. He was out playing golf with his son this morning. He's really in great shape. Many, many politicians and my dear friend Bob Dole and many others have undergone the same difficulty and are in fine shape. And this has been detected at such an early stage that we have overwhelming confidence that he will be fine.
In the meantime, that doesn't mean that this isn't a serious thing and we'll be praying for his recovery. But we're very optimistic, totally optimistic that he will be fine, he will rejoin the campaign and he will win.
BLITZER: It goes without saying all of us of course hope he has a complete cure, recovery from this. But it will require a lot of work to run for that Senate race. If he goes through treatment, presumably that could effect his schedule in all of this.
MCCAIN: Well, I think that the kind of treatment that he may undergo will curtail it to some degree but not very much, not very much at all, and it'll be relatively short treatment.
I don't mean to be a doctor here, but from previous cases of treatment, for example Bob Dole, he never left the Senate and his duties during the time he underwent that difficulty. And I don't mean to understate, millions of men die of this. So at the same time we know that the chances are incredibly high that he will be just fine because the early detection of it. And not only am I confident, but more importantly the people treating him are.
BLITZER: And what do you say about all the speculation, you know, that he was never all that enthusiastic about the Senate race to begin with, this gives him sort of a graceful way to exit if he wants to.
MCCAIN: Well, I just don't believe that. I've campaigned with him many times. He wants to be a member of the United States Senate. His competitive juices are aroused, which he, I'm happy to say he has a lot of, one of the reasons why I like him so much.
And so I think he's committed to this campaign, and I know he is. And he wants to be a member of the United States Senate where he will have instant and profound impact because of his credentials.
BLITZER: Some people say this -- it's a terrible thing to have, but could help him because it gives him a more humane, if you will, a more endearing characteristic. People will feel more sympathetic towards him and he's, as you know, generated some sharp criticism as mayor of New York.
MCCAIN: Well, first of all, I don't think anybody would want that trade-off. But second of all, as the campaign was transpiring -- I know when I was campaigning with him during town hall meetings and others, people really got to know the genuine Rudy Giuliani. He's got a great sense of humor. He's very smart and he's very tough.
But, you know, it's kind of nice to have a tough guy around every now and then because what he's done for New York City is remarkable, and even his strongest opponents concede that New York City has changed dramatically and improved under his mayor...
BLITZER: So we can expect John McCain to be making a lot of appearances in Buffalo and Rochester and Schenectady, in New York in the coming months.
MCCAIN: As much as I can help him. I admire him enormously and perhaps as importantly, he's a very good friend.
BLITZER: All right. Let's talk about the meeting that's scheduled -- I believe it's still scheduled -- May 9, Pittsburgh, with you and Governor Bush. Is that meeting 100 percent on?
BLITZER: It's going to happen?
BLITZER: And what was all the speculation over the past few days that you were irritated by a Bob Novak column because of all the talk coming that you might want to be vice president or you could be persuaded to become a vice presidential running mate?
MCCAIN: Well, really what it was about was, we would like to have an agenda to discuss. I make no demands, no negotiations. But I do want and I know we will have some specific areas of reform to discuss.
I'm sure we will not agree on campaign finance reform, but we will agree on other issues of reform. And I look forward to those discussions with Governor Bush.
BLITZER: Governor Bush says he wants to look you in the eye and see -- if he says let's talk about the vice presidential running mate slot -- and make sure that this is something you don't want.
You know, we're on the Naval Observatory grounds here, very close to the vice presidential residence. It's a nice place.
MCCAIN: Well, after having a look, I might want to change my mind.
No. Governor Bush has appointed Dick Cheney, who's widely regarded by all of us to go through the screening and selective process. I don't want to be part of that process, and I've made that very clear. And there are many others, like Governor Tom Ridge and many others, who I think would serve far more effectively than I would.
BLITZER: And the fact that Governor Ridge is someone who favors the woman's right to have an abortion, should that disqualify him?
MCCAIN: Absolutely not. I do not believe we should have a litmus test. We're a pro-life party, but one of our problems is the appearance of intolerance on that issue as well as a few others. We have to be inclusive and we have to welcome people to our party, even if there are specific disagreements.
Tom Ridge has done a marvelous job. He brings a big state, I think, to the Bush column. But more importantly, he would serve as president of the United States with distinction.
BLITZER: Senator McCain, thanks for joining us. You can walk around the grounds here. Maybe you will get some different vibrations. You may like this residence. Thank you so much for joining us.
MCCAIN: Thank you.
BLITZER: Up next, the political fallout from the Elian Gonzalez case. The raid that returned Elian to his father is under a lot of scrutiny on Capitol Hill. We'll talk with one of the Clinton administration's leading critics in Congress, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay.
LATE EDITION continues after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE LOCKHART, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There are a number of prominent Republicans who have come out and just made what I have to view as wild statements, wildly inaccurate. Tom DeLay went on television yesterday and said there was no warrant in this case. That's not true. And I think Congressman DeLay knows it's not true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart, criticizing the House Majority Whip Tom DeLay for statements he made in recent days.
Welcome back to LATE EDITION.
We're now joined by the House Majority Whip Congressman Tom DeLay joins us from Houston.
Congressman, thanks for joining us on LATE EDITION.
And let's get right to what Joe Lockhart says, he says you were simply wrong when you argued that there was no legal basis for this raid to go forward. That there was, he says, a search warrant that justified it.
REP. TOM DELAY (R-TX), MAJORITY WHIP: Well, Wolf, if you watch that program, "Meet the Press," I was talking about a court order. Janet Reno went to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals for a court order to take Elian out of the home of the Gonzalezes, the court denied them that court order and that's what I was talking about.
I was on with Eric Holder, the deputy assistant attorney general and he did not defend a search warrant. We looked all day Saturday and Saturday might for a search warrant. There was a search warrant, unfortunately it was fraudulently obtained, it was obtained from a magistrate at 7:00 at night that didn't even go to the federal judge that understands the case and it was obtained to arrest Elian as an illegal alien, and that's just a lie. Elian is not an illegal alien.
BLITZER: So, will you now support the need for congressional hearings because as you know, many Republicans, you just heard Senator McCain say he's not sure there's a need for congressional hearings on the raid. Chuck Hagel, who's a Republican senator, he said he wrote an article in the "New York Times" this week saying, "holding congressional hearings now would only further politicize this tragedy, further inflame the passions and do nothing to resolve the future of the child." Are you determined to push for hearings?
DELAY: I think Congress has the responsibility to look into actions by the Department of Justice and this administration that has undermined the rule of law, that has violated the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution in invading a private home without a court order, that has gone beyond what is normal actions when it comes to child custody cases. These hearings should have nothing to do with deciding on what's in the best interest of Elian.
What we need to be looking at is an administration that has an ends justifies the means type of philosophy that throws out the law, precedents, the Constitution, in order to accomplish their ends. I think this is very dangerous, it's an assault on our constitutional government, and undermines our safeguards of liberty. We should, it is our responsibility to look into these kinds of actions.
BLITZER: OK, Congressman DeLay, we have to take a short break.
For our international viewers, "World News" is next.
For our North American audience, there's still another 30 minutes of LATE EDITION.
We'll have more of our interview with Congressman Tom Delay plus our LATE EDITION roundtable and Bruce Morton's "Last Word."
Stay with us.
BLITZER: Welcome back to our LATE EDITION.
We're live from the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, continuing our conversation with House Majority Whip Tom DeLay.
Congressman, why do you think that the polls show the American people generally supported the raid to reunite Elian with his father, that you and the critics are on the losing side of this public opinion battle, at least according to public opinion polls?
DELAY: Well, the Americans believe in family and the rights of a father. And I think I can understand their feelings. I would -- I want Elian to be reunited with his father, living here in the United States in freedom and not in the oppression of tyranny. There are also a lot of Americans that don't understand what it means to lose your freedom, to be the property of a communist state to see relatives of yours murdered. This is the kind of government that Fidel Castro has and people are feeling pretty nice here in the United States and don't understand tyranny.
Plus, there's a group of people that have no real understanding of the Constitution and the Fourth Amendment that protects Americans or anyone that lives here, from unreasonable search and seizures. But, you know, we don't watch the polls. I don't play poll-itics like the administration. I deeply believe that there's an assault on our liberties by the Justice Department. And regardless of the polls, I'm going to stand up for what I believe is the Constitution.
BLITZER: Vice President Gore, on our program earlier today and in a speech that he will be delivering later today, is accusing George W. Bush and the Republican congressional leadership of engaging in an isolationist international policy that he says is dangerous to U.S. national security interests.
Are you part of that so-called isolationist wing of the Republican Party?
DELAY: I have no idea what Gore is talking about. Maybe it's another one of the vice president's slip-ups. We're working very, very hard to give normal trade status to China. We worked very hard to bring NAFTA to the United States and free trade to the United States. We have been deeply involved in what is going on around the world and understand our leadership in the world. I have no idea what he's talking about.
BLITZER: Well, I'll ask you, then, are you going to join hands with the Clinton administration and support having this normal trade relationship with China? Will you support that legislation?
DELAY: Wolf, I'm the whip of the House, it's my responsibility to get the votes to achieve our agenda. I've already joined with this administration and we're working very, very hard to make the -- make our members understand how important normal trade status with China is and their membership in the WTO, how important it is to the United States. So we're working very hard with the administration to see that happen. So it's really unfortunate when the Vice President plays politics like this and once again demonizes his opponents and misleads the American people.
BLITZER: Give us your head count, because we know you're very good at counting heads in the House. Will that legislation pass?
DELAY: I have to tell you, Wolf, it's going to be very difficult. We're having a very hard time getting Democrats to vote for it. The President is working hard, his administration is working hard, but the opposition is also working hard. And some people like the Democrat leadership in the House are playing politics with this. And they've given cover to their members to vote against it. So it's going to be very difficult. It's going to be close.
BLITZER: All right. We'll be watching very closely ourselves. Congressman Tom DeLay, always good to have you on LATE EDITION.
Thank you so much for joining us.
DELAY: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Thank you and when we come back, our LATE EDITION roundtable. We'll go round the world and talk about a whole bunch of issues.
Stay with us.
BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION.
We're in the library here at the U.S. Naval Observatory on the grounds of the vice president's residence here in Washington.
Welcome back, our roundtable joining us, Susan Page, White House bureau chief for "USA Today"; Steve Roberts, contributing editor for "U.S. News & World Report"; and Candy Crowley pinch hitting this week for Tucker Carlson, who couldn't make it. He was detained in Vietnam, but he's on the way back. He should be arriving back this afternoon.
All right, Steve, the vice president's delivering this major speech on international affairs this afternoon. We heard him make his case earlier today. Does he make a compelling case that there's a significant difference between himself and George W. Bush when it comes to global policy?
STEVE ROBERTS, CNN COMMENTATOR: Well, I think he has a case in terms of the Republican Party in general. The Republican Party is dominated by a lot of isolationists, including Tom DeLay, who you just had on. But George Bush is a somewhat more moderate figure, one of the real questions is, can he separate himself from the more isolationist wings, the Jessie Helms of his party and really be more centrist.
One of the ironies here is, for instance, George Bush is more for the China trade deal than Al Gore is. Now he, on your show this morning, and he has become more supportive of China. But the fact is that Bush is an internationalist and particularly on trade, in a way the Democrats are not.
SUSAN PAGE, CNN COMMENTATOR: I mean, if you look at the debate over China and WTO, which is the biggest item on the agenda right now, the problem in getting it passed is with Democrats, not with Republicans. And I think Gore can make a legitimate case that he has a lot more experience when it comes to foreign policy than George W. Bush and that's a case he's going to make in the speech this afternoon that he made this morning in the interview with you.
But when it comes to his positions on some of these internationalist issues, I don't think there's a great deal of difference between his position and that of Bush.
BLITZER: And you heard Tom DeLay, Candy, say he is fighting to get this normal trade relationship off the ground with China, he's working with the administration on this, yet Gephardt Boehner, a lot of other Democrats aren't.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: This has always been a strange bedfellow sort of issue anyway. You know, I think getting back to the point about George Bush, it's going to be awfully hard, I mean, here's one word that separates Al Gore and George Bush on China, strategic partner is what Gore calls him, strategic competitor is what George Bush calls them. So I'm not sure he can make a huge case about that. The experience that he's trying to show, you know, great idea, but you could probably ask dad George Bush how much that played in his election, you might find it maybe isn't something that you can win an election on.
BLITZER: All right, let's move on to talk about Rudy Giuliani, announcing this past week he has prostrate cancer. Earlier this today Bruce Teitelbaum, his campaign manager was on "Fox News Sunday."
Listen to what help to say about the Senate campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE TEITELBAUM, CAMPAIGN MANAGER, RUDOLPH GIULIANI: And I believe that within the next 10 days to two weeks, perhaps, the mayor will make a decision not only about the course of treatment but about the Senate race.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: He's leaving open the possibility as has Mayor Giuliani that maybe he won't run.
ROBERTS: Well, you know, there have been questions raised even before this illness, of how much Rudy Giuliani really wanted to be in the Senate. You know, once you've run a city or run a state, the Senate can be a very frustrating place after you've been an executive. Many former governors don't like the Senate at all, and Giuliani has run a big show.
It was interesting that John McCain in your interview said he's in, and as we know, the Giuliani camp sent McCain out to a lot of TV shows today to send that message, yet it's interesting that Giuliani's own man did leave open the possibility that he might pull out.
CROWLEY: Well, and George Bush also said earlier, and I've talked to him, he's in. I think maybe what we're seeing and we're not going to know for ten days, what we may be seeing is what his spokesman also talked about, which was that he had 12 hours between the time he heard he had prostate cancer and the time to had to come before the media because he didn't want the media to break the story because somebody was on to it, and tell them.
CROWLEY: He doesn't really know what he's dealing with yet. He hasn't had that time. So you may just be seeing, you know, the result of a decision to come out and tell the public while the decision- making process of what kind of treatment he's going to have is still going on. So you may be seeing some room in there simply because there hasn't been time to find out what he needs to do.
PAGE: You know, this may be an example where we see some unintended consequences to news. I mean, maybe we shouldn't be analyzing health news in a political way. But it may force Rudy Giuliani to decide if he really wants to go for this race.
And it also -- it struck me that in his talking about his illness, Rudy Giuliani seemed more human than I've seen him look during this campaign in a very open way. He was candid. He cam out and talked openly about a very personal matter.
And so -- I mean, I think we'll look back on this and see exactly what this meant politically.
BLITZER: Steve, Mrs. Clinton had a LATE EDITION town meeting in Buffalo this past week in which she specifically made some news. I want you to listen to what she said and see how this is going to play out in this campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Mrs. Clinton, if you're elected senator, can you promise the New York voters that you will not run for presidency in 2004?
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D) NEW YORK SENATE CANDIDATE: Yes.
BLITZER: You're making a firm commitment that even if there is a Republican president in the White House in 2004 that there is no circumstance whatsoever under any circumstance would you not serve...
... would you not serve your six-year term as senator?
CLINTON: I am going to serve my six-year term as senator. I owe it to the people of New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAGE: I would just say that we heard Bill Clinton make a similar promise the last time he ran for governor of Arkansas.
ROBERTS: Yes, but that was after, what, three, four terms?
The fact is that I think the Republicans are trying to spread this rumor. They love running against Hillary Clinton, just as they've loved running against Bill Clinton, they raise money. I mean, Hillary Clinton is the best thing that's happened for Republican money-raising in a long time, and they want to hold out the demon: If you don't stop her in New York, you're going to get her as a presidential candidate.
I think she's being pretty honest. I think that she really would not be a candidate in 2000. Now 2008 may be another matter.
CROWLEY: I mean, you know, I don't know but what else could she say? I mean, you know, here you are running for a Senate term, I mean, she's going to have to say as definitively us you wanted to pin her down, there really is nothing else she can say other than, "Of course I'm going to serve out my term."
ROBERTS: And don't forget the last outsider who became a senator from New York, Robert Kennedy did in fact run for president in the middle of his term after he said he wouldn't.
BLITZER: So maybe there's a precedent.
We have to take a quick break. When we return: Last night the White House Correspondents Association dinner took place here in Washington. President Clinton took on the role of comedian-in-chief. So did he do well? We'll get the roundtable's review when LATE EDITION continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Over the last few months, I've lost 10 pounds. Where did they go? Why haven't I produced them to the independent counsel?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Some self-deprecating humor from President Clinton at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner here in Washington last night.
Welcome back to our roundtable. All right, it was a pretty funny event. All of us had a few laughs. Steve, Susan, everybody was there. Let's listen to some excerpts of a video that the president made, had made to show how his final months in office are unfolding.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: If they send me the bill in its present form, I will sign it. OK, any questions? Hello, White House? Hold please. Please hold. No, Mr. Podesta is not here, now would you like his voice mail?
H. CLINTON: I wish I could be here more, but I really think Bill has everything under control.
CLINTON: Hey, wait, wait, wait. Wait, you forgot your lunch.
GORE: What I think his legacy is going to be the natural environment. Improving the green spaces of our country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ready to start?
CLINTON: Show me e-mail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's light this candle.
CLINTON: I want to see eBay.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're riding the wave of the future, my man. What do you feel like buying?
CLINTON: I want to buy a smoked ham.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Stuart in that commercial, very, very clever stuff. That was pretty funny stuff, wasn't that, Steve?
ROBERTS: It was. And there is a poignancy to it. He's been to every dinner. It's the last one. We won't have Bill Clinton to kick around anymore. He said I've given you enough material for 20 years. He's right about that. Everyone of us who jokes about Washington, writes about Washington, Bill Clinton has been a great target.
But it would be wrong to say that he's out of there. You know, that was a very funny bit. But he still got a lot of power. You know he has a lot of power to shape legislation, a lot of power on foreign policy. Even Jesse Helms says I won't consider his treaties. He still has a lot of things to do, and he will be in Russia in a month. He's still a leader.
BLITZER: Does George W. Bush -- Candy, you cover George W. Bush a lot -- does he have that self-deprecating humor, willing to make fun of his own foibles?
CROWLEY: Oh, absolutely. I mean, I think you've seen him on some talk shows when he's had a rough time. But you've also seen him on other talk shows when he's had, you know, he's been self- deprecating. He certainly is privately, that's part of his wit. It's not as -- you know, his timing, I can't quite see him doing this right now. But they grow into this job and part of it ...
ROBERTS: He's had a lot of practice.
CROWLEY: Exactly. Part of it is to do this sort of thing, and he's probably up to it should it come to him.
BLITZER: You know Susan Page, our own Susan Page, is now the former president of the White House correspondents association. You gave up the title last night. But you had a lot of fun up there on that stage.
PAGE: A lot of fun. I thought President Clinton was very funny. The cast of West Wing, the TV show, did a spoof video for the dinner, which was great. Jay Leno was terrific, our comedian. You know, he had a little fun with you, Wolf. I wonder if I can say what you so often say, let's go to the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": You see them out front there, and they've got the nice suit, or the rain coat, and they're doing the little standup thing. But when you take a White House correspondent, you send him to California. Suppose he doesn't know the camera is on him. Suppose he stopped by "The Tonight Show." How would he behave?
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: That must be some sort of digitally enhanced video. I can't imagine that anybody really believes that that -- you can't believe that would have been me?
PAGE: Absolutely not, but I don't think the rumors about the independent counsel are true.
ROBERTS: I also think he's been listening to Bill Clinton too long, denying the clear evidence. You can't get away with it.
BLITZER: You have to get the worst out by yourself, right Susan?
PAGE: What were you thinking, Wolf?
BLITZER: I was thinking, you know, I'm going to have a few laughs. We have to take a quick break, unfortunately. Our roundtable is over with on that note.
Thank you so much, Steve Roberts, Susan Page, Candy Crowley. Tucker Carlson, hopefully he'll be back next Sunday. When we return, Bruce Morton's "Last Word" on Vietnam.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There was supposed to be a domino effect. Vietnam would conquer the countries around it: Thailand, Malaysia. Instead, those countries prospered while Vietnam stayed poor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Bruce looks at some of the legacy's of America's longest military conflict.
BLITZER: The Vietnam War Memorial here in Washington.
Time now for Bruce Morton's "Last Word."
Twenty-five years after the end of the Vietnam War, Bruce reflects on its political and emotional impact.
MORTON (voice-over): It was our longest war, but no one is quite sure when it started. John Kennedy increased the number of American advisers in what was then South Vietnam. Maybe, that was the start. Perhaps, the real start was earlier, when Ho Chi Minh freed Hanoi from the Japanese at the end of World War II. The allied commanders asked what they should do. France's Charles De Gaulle said, Indochina is French, and the allies, on orders, drove Ho out.
Lyndon Johnson, who said no to bombing in the 50's, was the president who kicked the war into high gear in the 60's.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNDON JOHNSON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Retreat does not bring safety and weakness does not bring peace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON (on camera): In the field in Vietnam, we learned the truth for a price. You cannot cover this war for any length of time, a colleague said to me when I first arrived, without having people you have come to know and like pretty well get killed, and that was true.
(voice-over): Almost 60,000 Americans died and their families and friends still mourn at Washington's black wall. Still leave mementos, sometimes cry. And then it ended, there was supposed to be a domino effect, Vietnam would conquer the countries around it, Thailand, Malaysia, instead those countries prospered while Vietnam stayed poor, they lost somewhere between 1 and 2 million people, maybe 300,000 missing in action never to be found. But slowly, keeping the communist rhetoric they changed, I was in (OFF-MIKE) for the 20th anniversary of the war's end in 1995. The corporate sponsor of the holiday boat races was Pepsi-Cola and you knew that things had changed.
Vietnam and the U.S. have ambassadors in each other's countries now, American veterans tour Vietnamese battlefields and march in Memorial Day parades, honored now, not despised, but think how many died.
In Vietnam during the war, a soldier was a grunt and he didn't get killed, he got wasted. There was a lot of waste.
I'm Bruce Morton.
BLITZER: Thanks, Bruce.
Time now for a look at what's on the cover of this week's major news magazines. "Time" magazine has the untold saga of the Vikings on the cover. They beat Columbus to the new world by 500 years.
God, sex, race, and the future on the cover of "Newsweek," what teens believe, and the allergy explosion on the cover of "U.S. News & World Report," why you're sneezing and what you can do about it.
And that's your LATE EDITION for Sunday, April 30. Be sure to catch us next Sunday and every Sunday at noon eastern for the last word in Sunday talk.
And tomorrow night, I'll be back on "THE WORLD TODAY." That's at 8:00 p.m. Eastern; 5:00 Pacific.
For now, thanks very much for watching. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.
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