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Inside Politics

Gore Continues Attacks on George W. Bush; Congress Debates Education Funding; DCCC Files Suit Against Tom DeLay

Aired May 3, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET



AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For Governor Bush to offer a giant risky tax scheme, his secret plan, risk your retirement savings. Is that the responsible way? I don't think so.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Al Gore's lines of attack.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Words like "irresponsible," "risky" and "smug" are mantras as Al Gore, day by day, methodically rips apart George Bush's proposals.


BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Candy Crowley on the anti-Bush rhetoric and the strategy behind it.



REP. PATRICK KENNEDY (D-RI), CHAIRMAN, CONG. CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE: Never before has a senior congressional and party leader devised a scheme like this, hammering contributors for money, threatening to punish those who decline.


WOODRUFF: Democrats take on House Majority Whip Tom DeLay in court.

SHAW: And a changing of the guard in London, from a ceremonial city chief to a duly elected mayor.

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

SHAW: Thanks for joining us. We begin with Al Gore, staying on message as he launches a second week of verbal grenades aimed at George W. Bush. The topics and the backdrops may change.

Today, Gore talked about Social Security in New Jersey, but as CNN's Candy Crowley reports, the broader "sock it to bush" theme remains the same.


CROWLEY (voice-over): Al Gore says George Bush's support for letting workers invest some of their Social Security money is irresponsible, and the lack of specifics even worse.

GORE: How does the Bush plan propose to deal with the bankruptcy of Social Security that his privatization scheme would cost? He doesn't even bother to provide an answer. He just smiles and goes on with the smug assumption that there is no need to share with you the details of what he wants to do.

CROWLEY: Words like "irresponsible," "risky," and "smug" are mantras as Al Gore, day-by-day, methodically rips apart George Bush's proposals, on education, health care, Social Security and all things in general.

GORE: Will we roll the dice in the same casino economics that devastated our economy and hurt working families. Does anyone in this room really think that we should go back to the union bashing, job- destroying budget-busting policies days of the Bush/Quayle years? I don't think so.

CROWLEY: Wednesday's audience was a New Jersey labor meeting in Atlantic City, where the subject was mainly Social Security and the images location-appropriate.

GORE: I think it's wrong to cut benefits, raise the retirement age or risk your retirement savings in a game of stock market roulette.

CROWLEY: Gore aides compare this time in the election cycle to last summer, when the vice president, struggling against a strong challenge, dissected Bill Bradley's positions in what Gore aides call a virtual debate. Bush had laid some things out there, said one staffer, and we can pick them over.

GORE: I truly believe that the Republican nominee is heading in the wrong direction and proposing that the country head in the wrong direction.

CROWLEY: The assault -- and the Gore campaign stresses, nothing personal here -- comes amidst Bush's ongoing effort to moderate his party's image and show himself as a different kind of Republican. In recent weeks, he has unveiled health care, housing and savings initiatives aimed at low-income Americans. But for every step Bush tries to take toward the middle, Gore tries to shove him back to the right.

GORE: His tax plan is far bigger than anything Newt Gingrich even dreamed of proposing. CROWLEY: The Gore camp says the Bush initiatives are fig leaves, designed, said one, to cover up the same old-same old right-wing positions.

(on camera): The Bush campaign is confident Gore's tactics won't work. They know that, unlike Bill Bradley, George Bush has and will continue to respond to what the Bush camp sees as distortions of the Bush record. Then, too, they note the audience has changed. No longer must Gore appeal just to partisan Democrats, but to independents and moderates that the Bush campaign believes will be turned off what they see as partisan attacks.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: Well, joining us now from New York, Gore adviser Ron Klain, and Bush campaign senior adviser Ari Fleischer. He joins us from Austin, Texas.

Ari Fleischer, is the governor of Texas engaged in not only a risky tax scheme, but does he have a secret plan to privatize Social Security and so on and so on?

ARI FLEISCHER, BUSH CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Well, Judy, you're hearing one of the reasons that so little work has gotten done in Washington recently. It's just this type of partisanship, this type of name- calling that's prevented people from getting together to save Social Security.

No, of course the governor doesn't that. The governor has a very reasonable and balanced program to stop money from being wasted in Washington, by cutting taxes, and he also has a plan that he will announce shortly that's going to help younger workers who indeed receive Social Security because the system is going broke, and he wants to make sure it's there for younger workers, so they, too, can retire in security.

WOODRUFF: Ron Klain, is the vice president engaged in some distorting of his own?

RON KLAIN, GORE CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Not at all, Judy. We think there is a big difference between Gore's positions and Governor Bush's positions on Social Security and taxes. We think that if you look at the Bush positions, it shows he's not ready to be president. His Social Security scheme would for the first time ever take Social Security benefits and put them at risk on the fluctuations of the stock market. And his tax plan would explode the deficit and put at risk for economic growth and economic prosperity. Those ideas aren't ready for primetime. They aren't ready or the next president of the United States.

WOODRUFF: Ari Fleischer, how do you respond when the other side says the governor is not ready to be president?

FLEISCHER: Well, Judy, again, I think it shows why the vice president, frankly, is moving backwards in the polls and the governor is expanding his lead over the vice president. The bigger the lead, the more the vice president attacks. Why is it OK for Al Gore to own stock in the market? Why is it OK for Al Gore to support a program that allows federal workers to invest their pensions in the stock market, but he doesn't think it's OK for other Americans.

KLAIN: Ari, I'm happy to answer that.

FLEISCHER: Keeping in mind that the vice president proposed allowing the government to directly own and control investments in the market.

KLAIN: Ari, I think the answer is clear and consistent. What Al Gore has always opposed is letting individuals' benefits ride up or down on the stock market. People should make their own investments in the market. Maybe the trust fund was one idea we explored. But we never said that any individual benefits would be at risk in the stock market. That's what George Bush has said. I should also say, no president, Democrat or Republican, before has ever proposed this idea. It's a risky idea

FLEISCHER: So why then did the vice president support allowing federal workers to have money their money invested in the stock market? That's their retirement nest egg.

KLAIN; Allowing their personal pensions. The federal workers were also covered by Social Security. His position is clear, Ari -- everyone should have Social Security guaranteed and protected. Other investments. people should have the right to make their own choices.

FLEISCHER: See, Judy, this is part of I think what's the old style of partisan politics. It's not going to look at solutions to our nation's worse, most difficult problem, and this is something where Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who said the governor has offered a very serious proposal; Moynihan said it's the logical completion of social security.


KLAIN: Well, privatizing Social Security is a 50-year-old Republican idea that is...

WOODRUFF: Well, when both of you are talking, we can't hear what either one of you are saying.

FLEISCHER: I just thought I'd finish.

WOODRUFF: Well, Ari Fleischer, this comment that Ron Klain has made just now, that there's been no president who's ever proposed going as far as Governor Bush has suggested with Social Security?

FLEISCHER: Well, let me remind that you on January 19, 1999, when the president in the State of the Union stood up and said that the government should directly invest money, not Social Security money, in the stock market, and the government should own it, control it, direct it. The vice president of the United States stood up behind the president and applauded. So that's another example of...


WOODRUFF: Well, let's get the specific response then from Ron Klain?

KLAIN: Sure. What the vice president and the president have said is let's explore a number of ways to help fund the trust fund, but never, never have they suggested that an individual's benefits would go up or down based on the stock market. That's what George Bush is proposing. That's dangerous for retirees. He's also put on the table other benefit cuts, raising the retirement age. And again, it's not just Social Security. His tax-cut plan would wipe into the Social Security surplus, putting Social Security at risk, putting Medicare at risk. Those are ideas not good for the next president to have.

WOODRUFF: Gentlemen, we are going to have to leave it there. There is much more to cover here, but we're going to have to move on. We will have you both on very soon.

Ron Klain, Ari Fleischer, thank you, both -- Bernie.

SHAW: Now some historical perspective on why Gore seems so eager to say Bush's name and the word "risky" in the same breath. Here is our senior political analyst Bill Schneider.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Bernie, Americans always want change, but they don't like risk. That contradiction is at the heart of every presidential campaign. Which prevails? Well, it depends on which is greater, the desire for change or the fear of risk.


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): In 1980, the desire for change was overwhelming. There was a strong feeling that Jimmy Carter's presidency had failed, but the fear of Ronald Reagan was also pretty powerful.


JIMMY CARTER, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I see risks, the risk of international confrontation, the risk of an uncontrollable, unaffordable and unwinnable nuclear arms race.


SCHNEIDER: Polls showed a close election until a week before the election when Carter and Reagan held their one and only debate. Reagan reassured voters that he was not a monster.


RONALD REAGAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Next Tuesday, all of you will go to the polls. You'll stand there in the polling place and make a decision. I think when you make that decision, it might be well if you would ask yourself, are you better off than you were four years ago?


SCHNEIDER: In the end, desire for change trumped fear of risk in a year when both were powerful. In 1988, the Democrats were the out party. Their job was to sell change.


GOV. MICHAEL DUKAKIS (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But my friends, maintaining the status quo, running in place, standing still isn't good enough for America.


SCHNEIDER: In fact, most Americans did want to change direction in 1988. The Republicans were prepared for that.


REAGAN: We are the change.


SCHNEIDER: If they were the change, what did that make the Democrats? The risk.


GEORGE W. BUSH, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Should public school teachers be required to lead our children in the Pledge of Allegiance? My opponent says no and I say yes.


SCHNEIDER: In 1988, fear of risk trumped the desire for change.

This year, with the country in a record-breaking economic boom, you'd think there'd be no desire for change. You'd be wrong.

Americans are split over whether they want to continue President Clinton's policies or change direction. Predictably, George W. Bush is embracing change.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, there's a great debate taking place in America. There are those in Washington who want to protect the status quo by saying, "We can't share any of the surplus with the people who pay the bills," but I feel differently about it.

SCHNEIDER: Al Gore depicts Bush as risky and dangerous.

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe that George W. Bush's entire economic agenda is built on a foundation of irresponsibility and risk.


SCHNEIDER: Good news for Gore: The desire for change is not as great this year as it was in 1980 or 1988. Good news for Bush: He does not look as risky as Reagan did in 1980 or as Dukakis did in 1988. That is why Gore is trying to turn him into a fearsome figure -- Bernie.

SHAW: Thank you, Bill Schneider -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. And still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, the debate over schools, funding and control. A look at the parties and why they disagree on this election year issue.

Plus, Bob Novak joins us with a latest buzz on the Republicans and Democrats who may be considered for the No. 2 spot.


WOODRUFF: President Clinton today began a two-day, four-state tour aimed at winning support for the Democrats' education proposals. On Capitol Hill, members of his party are battling Republicans over the $14 billion Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which is up for reauthorization.

As CNN's Chris Black reports, the fight is philosophical as well as political.


CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From radio chats...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, as the U.S. Senate debates an alternative education bill, joining us on the line, live, Senator Carl Levin.

Senator, we're all going back to school, I guess.

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: We are indeed. I'm in a school room here, kind of virtually, but here I am.


BLACK: ... to interactive war rooms...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Accountability and child-centeredness. Child-centeredness -- is that a word? Child-centeredness?


BLACK: The philosophical battle over education has been joined in Congress. Everyone agrees education is the No. 1 issue this election year, but the two parties strongly disagree on the federal government's role.

SEN. TIM HUTCHINSON (R), ARKANSAS: My constituents overwhelmingly believe that local control and local flexibility is a better course for American education.

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: What they are proposing is not reform; it is retreat.

BLACK: The Republicans want to consolidate the 50 education programs for poor and needy children into a single block grant, let state governors decide how to spend the money, and allow parents to use federal money to purchase educational services for children.

Judd Gregg of New Hampshire wrote some of the major changes in the bill.

SEN. JUDD GREGG (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: First, it's child-centered. It's directed at the children. It's not directed at the schools. It's not directed at the administrators. It's directed at the children.

Secondly, it requires achievement.

BLACK: The Democratic proposal continues President Clinton's effort to hire 100,000 new teachers, build and modernize public schools, and targets federal dollars to specific programs for poor children.

Only seven cents out of every education dollar spent at the local level comes from the federal government. So Senator Edward Kennedy says Washington must zero-in on specific problems to guarantee results.

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Some guarantees on smaller class size, on some guarantees on teacher training. Some guarantees on after-school programs. On some guarantees in terms of accountability.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: "On a foggy morning, Charlotte's web was truly a thing of beauty."

BLACK: President Clinton is making his own push: two days on the road promoting the Democratic approach to updating programs for disadvantaged school children. Democrats say Republicans are opening the door to using public money for private school tuition and giving a blank check to governors, two-thirds of them Republicans.

KENNEDY: What'll happen is the money will just be, I think, will just go off to whoever the governor wants to take care of without tough accountability, and these needy children will be left high and dry.

BLACK: Republicans say Democrats are defending the status quo and stuck in the past. GREGG: There is a certain arrogance here in Washington that says, oh, we know exactly what the local child should learn in Epping, New Hampshire. Well, no one here in Washington knows what a local child in Epping, New Hampshire should learn.


BLACK: Nine centrist Democrats are proposing a compromise, but even their leader concedes the effort may be futile. The two sides are so far apart that attempts to reshape this law to reflect either the Democratic or the Republican vision now seems destined to fail -- Bernie.

SHAW: Thank you, Chris Black. Pardon me.

And joining us now with his "Reporter's Notebook" Robert Novak of the "Chicago Sun-Times."

Bob, what are you hearing about a possible interest rate hike by the Fed?

ROBERT NOVAK, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": There was a meeting at the Federal Reserve yesterday behind closed doors -- everything there is done behind closed doors -- and they discussed the possibility of raising interest rates before the next meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the policy-making group, on the grounds that this would be more dramatic in showing the determination to fight the inflation numbers, or maybe they're getting some inflation numbers.

Now, you don't have to be much more dramatic for the stock market than what's going on, because the market tanked again today. This would really have, I think, a very negative effect.

But just to make it clear, this is a possibility before the next meeting, a 25 basis -- that is one-quarter of 1 percent interest rate -- and then another 25 percent, 25 basis point, one quarter of 1 percent, when the Federal Open Market Committee meets on May 16. Possibility.

SHAW: Let's go to the campaign trail, you hear there is another Democratic name being floated for vice president?

NOVAK: Yes, now this is going to sound crazy, but it was given to me by a very senior official and a very serious official in the Clinton administration, who volunteered the information, but he said the strongest ticket to bring in a -- Al Gore as president in a Democratic House would be Dick Gephardt, the House minority leader. Now, Dick Gephardt wants to be speaker of the House. He doesn't want to carry the House and give it to somebody else. But for somebody high in the Clinton administration to say that I thought it was worth reporting.

SHAW: Indeed. What about the Republican vice presidential pick?

NOVAK: You know, John McCain almost blew off the meeting that he's going to have in Pittsburgh with George Bush because I reported that they would ask him if he would take the vice presidency. But that didn't come from the Bush people.

The people who want him to be vice president are in the House of Representatives. Some are very few members who supported McCain for president, but many who supported Bush. They think a Bush-McCain ticket is the strongest possible ticket. They would hope he would consider, but Senator McCain is a very stubborn man and he doesn't even want that brought up when he sits down with Governor Bush.

SHAW: Before you go, what's the very latest on that New York Senate race?

NOVAK: You know, it's the conventional wisdom in Washington, Bernie, that the only person that Rudy Giuliani can beat for the Senate in New York is Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the only person she can beat is Mayor Giuliani.

But the Democratic politicians very well placed that I talked to don't think that, they believe that if Rudy Giuliani's prostate cancer forces him to drop out and there's some new congressman who's not known around the state who is brought in it's too late for him, somebody like Congressman Quinn or Congressman Lazio to catch Mrs. Clinton. They believe the only person who can beat Hillary Clinton is Rudy Giuliani.

I still think that this is a manageable cancer, I still think he's going to run, but nobody is certain, and she may -- the Clinton luck may hold. She may have a neophyte to run against instead of the mayor of New York.

SHAW: Bob Novak, thanks very much -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: It's all fascinating.

SHAW: Thank you.


Well, in that New York Senate race Hillary Rodham Clinton is launching the first TV ads of her campaign. Here's a portion of the 30-second spot designed to underscore Mrs. Clinton's experience beyond her role as the president's wife.


NARRATOR: First she became a lawyer, named one of the top hundred in America. Her first cause was children fighting abuse and sharing the board of the Children's Defense Fund. Her first priority was public schools, helping to establish teacher testing. More than a first lady.


WOODRUFF: Beginning tomorrow, those ads will air for two weeks in television markets across New York state. Mrs. Clinton's campaign characterizes the ad buy as -- quote -- "significant."

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

Still to come:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whenever one party sounds the alarm of illegal conduct by another, particularly where money is involved, it's easy and all too typical for observers to just shrug and say, well, everybody does it.


WOODRUFF: Democrats file suit against a Capitol Hill figure. A look at the charges and the politics behind them.

Plus, attacks and counter attacks -- which candidate is faring best in the presidential battle? We'll ask Margaret Carlson and Tucker Carlson.

And later:


RICHARD BLYSTONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The mayoral post is supposed to be American style, but the campaign...

KEN LIVINGSTONE, LONDON MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Well, it sounds very much like American politics. This is the sort of personality politics, the backstabbing, the negative campaigning.


WOODRUFF: London takes a page from American politics. Richard Blystone takes a look at the rather unusual results.


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

The church leader for millions of Catholics in New York, Cardinal John O'Connor, is said to be gravely ill. A spokesman for the Roman Catholic archdiocese of New York says the cardinal's health has grown significantly worse.


JOE ZWILLING, ARCHDIOCESE SPOKESMAN: During the night, the condition of his eminence, John Cardinal O'Connor, has worsened. His family and friends are with him. We invite the prayers of all for his eminence at this time.

Now a question or two.

QUESTION: Joe, does it appear he is dying? ZWILLING: As we say in the prayer of the Hail Mary, we pray that God is with us at the hour of our death, and I would say that the cardinal is at the hour of his death.


WOODRUFF: John Cardinal O'Connor underwent surgery last summer to remove a brain tumor.

SHAW: Several U.S. lawmakers are joining protesters camped out on the tiny Puerto Rican island of Vieques as they brace for a forced evacuation by U.S. authorities. Two American warships are off the coast, reportedly carrying hundreds of Marines and an undetermined number of law officials. The lawmakers among the protesters join members of the National and World Council of Churches and Pastors for Peace. The Pentagon wants to reclaim the island as a bombing range, something the protesters have prevented for over a year.

WOODRUFF: A drama aboard a hijacked bus in Japan has ended 15 hours after it began. Police stormed the bus a while ago and arrested a teenager suspected of hijacking the bus and killing one passenger. Police say none of the passengers still on the bus was injured.

SHAW: Eleven years after the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, the trial of the accused is underway. Two Libyans are on trial in the explosion which killed 270 people. Relatives of the victims were on hand Wednesday as the proceedings got underway in Amsterdam.


JIM SWIRE, VICTIM'S FATHER: I feel an overwhelming sense of relief. That feeling started really in April '99 when the two accused were handed over to the Scottish authorities by the Dutch and it's been growing since then. But to see the trial actually rolling into action today brings on a tremendous feeling of relief and a certain degree of pride, because I think we've played an active part, a significant part in allowing this to take place.


SHAW: Relatives of those who died aboard the flight are sharing space in the courtroom gallery with relatives of the accused men.

WOODRUFF: Across the river from Washington today, the names of 332 journalists killed in the line of duty since 1812 were added to the Freedom Forum journalist memorial. Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas took part in the dedication, which fell on World Press Freedom Day. Forty of the journalists memorialized were killed last year.

When INSIDE POLITICS returns, a new court battle. Democrats versus Tom DeLay.


SHAW: One of the most powerful Republicans on Capitol Hill was named today in a civil lawsuit filed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. House Majority Whip Tom DeLay is accused of the sort of behavior usually associated with organized crime. DeLay says the suit is politically motivated.

Kate Snow reports.


KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democrats are targeting House Majority Whip Tom DeLay with an unusual legal action, typically associated with organized crime. Filed under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization act, or RICO, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee accuses DeLay of extortion and money laundering.

KENNEDY: Mr. DeLay is unfortunately conducting these activities under the color of his office, as he seeks through the use of systematic extortion to coerce the contributions of millions of dollars to Republicans, and at the same time, to intimidate those inclined to support Democrats.

SNOW: The suits says DeLay used his office to threaten organizations with legislative consequences if they contributed to Democrats or withhold money from Republicans.

On the money-laundering charge, they described a complex pattern of money movement between three organizations controlled by DeLay, none of which is required to disclose its activity to the Federal Election Commission: the U.S. Family Network, the Republican Majority Issues Committee and Americans for Economic Growth. DeLay hopes to raise some $25 million to spend on issue ads in targeted congressional districts this year.

The suit itself contains few specifics about the illegal activities alleged, relying mainly on news accounts. The plaintiffs hope the court will help uncover more evidence.

BOB BAUER, ATTORNEY: This is a systematic effort to structure a political operation based on the illicit use of power to raise the money.

SNOW: DeLay's office called the suit ridiculous. In a written statement, DeLay says "The Democrats clearly chose this language and charges for the pure shock value. No one is his or her right mind would read through these outrageous allegations and believe that the Democrats are acting in any way other than pure ugly political venom."

Some observers agree.

STEPHEN MOORE, CATO INSTITUTE: This isn't a mob operation that Tom DeLay is running, and I think this is a little over the edge in terms of these allegations against this political action committee, and so I don't think that there is much to these charges.

SNOW: But others say using such a lawsuit might be one way to open up the activities of political committees like DeLay's, which thus far have been able to avoid scrutiny in the election process.

ROY SCHOTLAND, GEORGETOWN UNIV. LAW CENTER: I think the lawsuit is very imaginative. To think of using RICO for this -- somebody had an awfully bright idea. And I think it will succeed, and I think it has value, because it is bringing light on efforts to avoid the light.

SNOW (on camera): If the court accepts the case, Democrats are asking that DeLay's committees be stopped from fund-raising until the court rules. An aid to DeLay says that proves the true purpose behind this suit: to hurt the Republicans' chances in November.

Kate Snow, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: Now to the battle over abortion and the race for the White House. The National Abortion Rights Action League is launching a new ad campaign today, clearly designed to help Al Gore, by targeting George W. Bush. Here is part of that 30-second spot.


UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: The next president has the power to take away a woman's freedom to choose. George W. Bush said "I'll do everything in my power to restrict abortions." Bush would nominate Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe versus Wade. He even supports a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion. And in Texas, Bush actually opposed laws to protect women from violence at health clinics.


WOODRUFF: NARAL says the ad buy is limited, airing only here in the Washington area on CNN for at least two weeks.

Just ahead, more on the presidential candidates, as well as the latest on the New York Senate race. Bernie will talk with Margaret Carlson and Tucker Carlson.


WOODRUFF: In North Carolina, former Charlotte Mayor Richard Vinroot won the Republican nomination for governor in yesterday's primary. State Attorney General Mike Easley got the Democratic nod in the battle to succeed the term-limited Democratic governor, Jim Hunt.

In Indiana, Congressman David McIntosh easily won the GOP nomination to challenge first-term Democratic Governor Frank O'Bannon, who was unopposed.

SHAW: Joining us now to talk more about the presidential election and other political matters, Margaret Carlson of "TIME" magazine and Tucker Carlson of "The Weekly Standard."

We all know Vice President Gore has been shelling, shelling Texas George W. Bush on the issues. The question is, beginning with you, Margaret, is Governor Bush ducking or is he effectively responding? Foreign policy? Everything?

MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME": He will respond. It just started. Gore's been missing in action up until this point. From the end of the primaries until now, he was more or less going around on his own kind of listening tour and not attacking Bush's policies. I mean, not Bush himself, which I think is out of bounds, but coming back on education, environment, whatever.

I mean, Bush stole the Democrats' issues and Gore let him get away with them, and now he's coming back with it, and we'll expect, you know, Bush to come back on top of that.

SHAW: As you were saying that, Tucker had a smile on his face.

TUCKER CARLSON, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Well, it's interesting, because, I mean, the Bush campaign decided not to release the details of the Social Security plan primarily because they didn't want to be attacked on the specifics by Gore. So Gore turns around and says, this is a secret Social Security plan, like it's some sort of diabolical, you know, plot to, you know, invade somewhere or something, like there's something wrong with keeping the details secret, as if the details that presidential candidates offer become law anyway.

You know, presidential candidates often act like there is, you know, a single branch of government, that once they're elected, they're going to write the laws and then they'll become in fact law.

I don't know, though. I think it's probably a pretty clever strategy on the Bush campaign to keep the details under wraps. I don't really see an advantage of letting them out.

SHAW: But this is May 3rd. Why is Gore hammering the way he is? What do you think he's after? What's he trying to do?

M. CARLSON: Well, he's trying to get the momentum back that he lost. Bush had a tough campaign, beat a tough competitor and got stronger. Gore, who was supposed to have a tough one, didn't, had a weak one, and came out, I think, not quite as tough as Bush did having -- you know, it's important to beat someone, and once you've done that you're a better competitor.

Gore got soft. He only does well when he is engaged fully. He needed -- in some ways he kind of wooed Bush out, gets Bush to do some things, and then comes back on them, because that's the way he operates best.

T. CARLSON: Right, and I think not just important to beat someone, but to squash him, you know, to grind him under heel like a cigarette butt. I mean, that is -- if there is one lesson in the primaries, it is that attacking works.

I mean, Bill Bradley was just demolished by Gore when Gore went after him, and I think John McCain was fatally wounded in South Carolina because Bush hit him so hard. Negative campaigning works. It always has, and we've learned the lesson again. SHAW: You were in the control room watching Kate Snow's piece, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's civil suit against House Republican leader Tom DeLay. What do you make of this?

M. CARLSON: Well, you know, we have weak campaign finance laws. It's not what's illegal in Washington; it's what's legal that's wrong. And this is a very creative way to get at a very real problem.

Tom DeLay was more blatant than anybody. It would be like me saying, Bernie, I'm going to hold you up.

Tom DeLay had people come into the office, like, you know, heads of various corporations and say, give me your money or you don't get what you want. It was the most blatant form of this, and he got the nickname, "The Hammer."

T. CARLSON: I think it's very clever. I mean, it's sort of Tom DeLay as Sam Giancana. I mean, it's -- actually the idea of it is amazing. I mean, if you put everybody in Washington who used a 501(c)4, a nonprofit organization, for political ends in prison under RICO, I mean, you know, it would solve the traffic problems. There would be nobody here. I mean, everything does this or a variation of it.

All 501(c)...

M. CARLSON: They -- no, it's not an everybody does this. And in fact, when Bill Gates came to Washington a few weeks ago, Tom Davis, who's the head of the Democratic (sic) Congressional Committee, had him up to the Hill, and a Republican who was appalled by the conduct of this meeting came out and told The Washington Post that Tom Davis said to Bill Gates: "You wouldn't be in this kind of trouble if you had just given us more money. Now ante up."

It was -- you know, I think that this type of behavior...

T. CARLSON: Those are the rules, Margaret. You have to play by them.

M. CARLSON: Well, and so you need something creative like, you know, treating him -- treating him like that guy in pajamas in jail, John Gotti.

T. CARLSON: Under RICO? I mean, that's what you do...

M. CARLSON: Yes, yes.

T. CARLSON: ... for people who like kill one another in barbers chairs. I mean, I don't know. It's a terrific stunt.

M. CARLSON: It's another form of dying. It's the dying of democracy. So I say -- I say go...


T. CARLSON: Dying of democracy. M. CARLSON: ... go to it.

SHAW: Tucker Carlson, Margaret Carlson, thanks very much. Good to have you back.

M. CARLSON: Thanks.

T. CARLSON: Thanks.

SHAW: You're welcome.

And when we return, London's first mayoral race.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the mayor going to do, because he ain't going to bring the prices down?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's a total waste of money. I don't think we need one, and I wouldn't vote for any of them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a bit of a farce really.


SHAW: A look at this unusual political battle and its curious cast of characters.


WOODRUFF: As voters in the United States consider their choices for president and for Congress for the fall, residents of London have a new election to ponder.

SHAW: For the first time in its history, the city will have an elected mayor. And so far, the race has raised more than a few eyebrows.

Richard Blystone has the story.


BLYSTONE (voice-over): If this man didn't raise newts, would he still be front-runner for mayor of London? You may think newts are cute or not, but keeping them makes you different. And there's nothing the British public loves quite so much as an eccentric.

So honk if you want Ken Livingstone in City Hall.


If you believe the polls, most London voters don't give a hoot for anybody else.

LIVINGSTONE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) candidates asking for your support on May the 4th. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Livingstone's always had something with the people of London, and I think he's hopefully the right man for the job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He seems to be one of us.

BLYSTONE: As every tourist knows, London already has a Lord Mayor. That's him in the eccentric costume. But his job is ceremonial and applies only to the one square mile that's now London's financial district.

The other 609 square miles of greater London have never had a mayor, though they once had a city government. It's last leader? Guess who: Ken Livingstone, the newt-loving radical whose antics so infuriated right-wing Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that in 1986 she abolished the whole thing.


NARRATOR: On May the 4th, a London mayor will be elected.


BLYSTONE: One man's mayor is another man's nightmare. Livingstone's leading the race as an independent after losing the Labour Party nomination to this man, Frank Dobson. Trailing in the polls despite the endorsement of Prime Minister Tony Blair, Dobson gives the impression of the old soldier who's been told he'll be a hero if he storms the fort alone with his bayonet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the secret of your success?

FRANK DOBSON, LONDON MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Well, I mean, the first question is, am I a success?

BLYSTONE: Just as we start our interview...

(on camera): Frank Dobson, Labour candidate for mayor...


Is this a sign?

(voice-over): It's been that kind of race for the man they call Dobbo, whose first challenge is convincing people he really wants the job.

DOBSON: I was always keen to be the mayor of London and I wasn't pushed into the job, but I think it was perceived that way.

BLYSTONE: Next hurdle: the battle of Dobbo's beard.

PETER DAVID, "THE ECONOMIST": The bright young boys and girls who work at Labour Party headquarters thought that with that beard he could never win, and they advised him to shave it off. But he resisted that, and I think wisely, because he won't win with the beard off either.

BLYSTONE: And it didn't help when another Frank Dobson, a retired printer, made a bid to get himself on the ballot paper too and ran briefly on the platform that London doesn't need a mayor.

FRANK DOBSON, FMR. LONDON MAYORAL CANDIDATE: If I had been elected, I would have resigned immediately.

BLYSTONE: The Conservative Party's had its own mayor nightmare. Its first choice as candidate, the man behind page-turners like "First Among Equals," millionaire fiction writer Lord Jeffrey Archer. But then his lordship was accused of having encouraged a witness to tell some fiction in a libel suit against a newspaper.

He was barred from the party...


BLYSTONE: ... and police took him in for questioning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hopeless down there. It's hopeless.

BLYSTONE: The conservatives then turned to Steve Norris, an ex- car salesman, whose string of five mistresses while still married so outraged some conservative matrons that they almost blocked his nomination.

DAVID: His sexual reputation is, I suppose, on balance a little bit of an advantage. He's got a twinkle in his eye. He -- you can relate to him as a human being.

BLYSTONE: Susan Cramer is running, or walking, under the banner of "Liberal Democrats against selling off the underground system." She's a banker, not a politician, so she needs an issue. And she's got one: How do you get around in London?


BLYSTONE: As it happens, walking through London isn't that much slower than driving. Cars average 8 miles an hour, same as in the days of horse and buggy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And when people get in the cab, it's embarrassing sometimes to take them anywhere, because you're just stuck in traffic all the time.

BLYSTONE: Some of the most colorful contenders have already quit the race.


GLENDA JACKSON, ACTRESS: My god, $18,000 -- I could have told him for a lot less.


BLYSTONE: Actress Glenda Jackson offered to lend politics a touch of class but made her exit on cue.

Malcolm McClaren, founder of the punk band The Sex Pistols, made a brief appearance but decided in those immortal words...


JOHNNY ROTTEN, THE SEX PISTOLS (singing): There's no future, no future, no future for you.


BLYSTONE: The mayoral post is supposed to be American-style but the campaign...

LIVINGSTONE: Well, it sounds very much like American politics. This is the sort of personality politics, the back-stabbing, the negative campaigning. All we haven't had so far is someone bumped off.

BLYSTONE: Maybe, but try to imagine not Ken Livingstone but, say, Hillary Clinton posing with a giant dalmatian to mark National Worm Awareness Week, or a champion of the poor raising campaign funds from the well-healed at a benefit auction of contemporary art, complete with champagne, five-figure bids, and thought-provoking pieces like this one, entitled "Dead Mice."

LIVINGSTONE: The next is Peter Kennard's "Haywain With Cruise Missiles."

BLYSTONE: Ken was there, wielding the gavel...

LIVINGSTONE: They are sold to the lady in the green scarf.

BLYSTONE: ... and the charm.

LIVINGSTONE: Where's the booze?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, down there.

LIVINGSTONE: Down here. Bloody drink. I've just been expelled for five years.

BLYSTONE: Behind the winning sense of humor...

LIVINGSTONE: Don't look so glum: You can vote for me. This is Ken Livingstone, your cheeky London...

BLYSTONE: ... a man who'd recognize gay marriages and legalize the drug Ecstasy, and who says the global financial system has killed more people than World War II, though in recent years this scourge of capitalism has developed a lucrative sideline in reviewing restaurants, making speeches and appearing on talk shows.

(on camera): The view from London's new scenic ride shows you not so much a city as a cluster of villages, each with its own distinctive character. Anybody who wants to get elected mayor here had better find something that appeals to all of them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the mayor going to do? Because he ain't going to bring the prices down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, it's like the American expression: Don't fix it if it ain't broke.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's a total waste of money. I don't think we need one, and I wouldn't vote for any of them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been a farce really.

BLYSTONE (voice-over): True, London's mayor won't have much power and won't have a single tax to call his own. But that could be the secret of Ken Livingstone's success. He's a safe way to give the big parties a poke in the eye.

DAVID: If they were voting for a mayor who could raise their taxes, they would think two or three times before they vote for the man who was once known as "Red Ken Livingstone." But to be a safe eccentric is a pretty good way to position yourself in British politics.

BLYSTONE: The new mayor's office will be away from Parliament, but just over the river from that historic bastion of political skullduggery, the Tower of London, where instead of photo-ops and soundbites the forebears of today's politicians employed real knives in the back, the dungeon and the chopping block. You've got to start somewhere.


SHAW: What a delicious story.

WOODRUFF: I wish we had that kind of politics here.


SHAW: That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. We'll see you again tomorrow, when our Frank Buckley will be on the road with first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in New York.

WOODRUFF: And of course, you can go online all the time at CNN's

I'm Judy Woodruff.

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



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