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Arkansas Supreme Court Committee Recommends Disbarring Clinton; NRA Re-Elects Heston President; Gore Faces Campaign Conundrum on China VoteAired May 22, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know that I do not share that view.
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JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: A political union tested.
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CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Al Gore, who favors China trade and needs labor support, speaks to a union meeting, the talk is respectful.
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BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Candy Crowley on Gore's balancing act before the House votes on China trade.
WOODRUFF: Also ahead, the NRA's newly re-elected president and the political message he's sending.
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GOV. GEORGE PATAKI (R), NEW YORK: We want a senator of the people of New York, by the people of New York, and for the people of New York. We want Senator Rick Lazio.
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SHAW: New York's new Senate candidate enjoys a picture of party unity.
ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Judy Woodruff and Bernard Shaw.
SHAW: Thank for joining us.
Apart from the news we have for you in this edition, there is breaking news.
Let's go right away to John King at the White House -- John.
JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Bernie, CNN has confirmed that a committee of the Arkansas state Supreme Court has recommended that President Clinton be disbarred, that he lose his law license. This because of what the panel concluded was serious misconduct in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case. That panel met last week, the majority of the members who met ruling that the president gave false testimony in that case. As a result, they are recommending that he be disbarred. Now, the recommendation goes to the Pulaski County Court in Little Rock, Arkansas.
No official reaction yet from the White House, but sources here telling us to expect a statement soon from David Kendall, he is the president's personal lawyer, and those sources saying they expect Mr. Kendall to make the case not only that he disagrees with this finding, but that the president will fight it. Now, among the arguments the president's lawyers have been considering, eight of the 14 members of the committee that reached this decision recused themselves, they said they were friends of the president or they knew the president in some way and they felt that they could not take part in the decision.
Look for the White House to make the case that those left on the panel were biased against the president, that he did not get a fair hearing. Again, though, we won't know the official reaction until we get that statement from David Kendall, the president's personal attorney.
SHAW: John, take us back for a moment, let's step back for a moment, what was the president's prime argument as to why he should be allowed to keep his license to practice law?
KING: Well, these proceedings take place in private, so we don't know much of the specifics, but we do know the public discussion when the White House or the president's lawyers were asked about this, remember they had steadfastly said that the president believes he told the truth, that he may not have completely answered the questions, he may not have answered questions that he was asked, questions that he thought the answers he gave were truthful.
Perhaps they didn't shed full light on his relationships along the way, but that he believed that he did not commit perjury, that he did not break any laws. Therefore, while his testimony might not have been complete, the White House has made the case that he did nothing technically in violation of the law.
SHAW: John King at the White House with the latest on that story.
Now to Judy with more on another story.
WOODRUFF: That's right, on this week's vote in the House of Representatives on normal trade relations, on permanent normal trade relations with China. At this point, Vice President Gore is not the only politician who is something at stake here. His situation, though, certainly is among the most complicated. That was evident again today as the vice president addressed a labor group here in Washington.
Our Candy Crowley reports on Gore's remarks and his presidential campaign conundrum.
CROWLEY (voice-over): U.S. labor unions and permanent normal trade relations with China do not mix. So, when Al Gore, who favors China trade and needs labor support, speaks to a union meeting 48 hours before a Capitol Hill vote on China, the talk is respectful.
GORE: Free and fair trade can help create high-paying jobs for American workers. That's why I have supported open markets and why, for many months, I've asked members of Congress to support PNTR. I respect the fact that we have agreed to disagree on this. I greatly respect the depth and strength of your feeling.
CROWLEY: Gore staffers insist the vice president has been active in support of China trade legislation. A spokesman says over the past several weeks, Gore has lobbied, quote, "a bunch of people." But in the public arena, the effort pales in comparison to the 1993 battle over the North American Free Trade Agreement when the vice president was the administration's outspoken and up-front point man on the subject.
George W. Bush also favors permanent normal trade relations with China, speaking about it most recently in suburban Seattle last week. But the Bush camp has seized on what they see as Gore's reluctance to embrace the cause, accusing the vice president of failing to lead to placate the labor vote.
"When it really matters," says the Bush camp, "Al Gore puts politics over policy every time. He backs away when it is politically expedient." Politically, at least within the union hierarchy, Gore's balancing act looks survivable.
ELAISE FOX, UNITED FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS: It's almost just like a marriage. We disagree, but we are not divorcing.
CROWLEY: Many union activists, including those he met today, are willing to give Gore a pass in anticipation of efforts down the road.
DOUG DORITY, PRES., UNITED FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS: I think he will work if elected president to make sure that some of our fears are addressed. We believe that workers in foreign countries should have human rights and they should have the rights to organize.
CROWLEY: The question which may not be answered until November is how strongly labor's rank and file feel about the issue, it is, after all, their jobs they see as threatened by normalized trade with China. The extent of Gore's China problem is in the electoral map. It is there in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois -- all states with large labor concentrations -- all states where the election may turn. (on camera): The worry for the vice president is not that his China trade stance will move the labor vote into the Bush camp, the fear is that labor might stay home in November, and in a close election that's almost as good as a vote for the other guy.
Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.
WOODRUFF: Now for more on this story we turn once again to our senior White House correspondent John King and we bring in our congressional correspondent Chris Black. They are both following the lobbying and head-counting before this vote takes place.
John, to you first, what are they saying at the White House about what shape they're in?
KING: Increasingly optimistic, but they're being very cautious, Judy. Most members of Congress out of town, but the president working the phones today to try to bring around a few more undecided Democrats. The White House says it needs about 70 Democrats, they're expecting 150 Republicans.
Look for some more announcements tomorrow, the White House suggesting Congressman Gregory Meeks and Ruben Hinojosa of Texas and New York, Meeks of New York, Hinojosa of Texas. They both accompanied Agricultural Secretary Dan Glickman to China, they are sending word here today that they will announce their support tomorrow. So the White House cautiously optimistic it's beginning to get to the magic number.
WOODRUFF: And, Chris Black, up on Capitol Hill, the opponents of this, what are they saying?
CHRIS BLACK, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, all sides, Judy, say that they are within striking distance of their goals, which as John said, is 150 Republican votes and 70 Democratic votes.
But the opponents are still -- know that this is a very, very close vote and in a very close vote like this anything could go wrong. So they are ratcheting up the pressure, labor is really putting on a full-court press to try and convince those final undecided members, particularly Democrats, to vote with them on Wednesday.
WOODRUFF: And, John, how much lobbying is the administration involved in here, just how intense is it?
KING: A lot of meetings with the president, a lot of phone calls by the president, his top deputies not only meeting with lawmakers but calling them, some back and forth trading of favors perhaps here. The White House also giving a great deal of credit to the business community, not usually a White House ally, but saying that the Chamber of Commerce and others in the business community are being very helpful here as they try to round up those last votes. About 28-30 undecided Democrats still, the White House says if it can get 10-11 of those, it will secure the votes for passage. WOODRUFF: And, Chris, when John refers to trading favors, what are you hearing about that on the Hill?
BLACK: There is surprisingly not as much horse trading as you would expect on a vote of this nature. There is some, unquestionably, and a lot of members are holding back because they do want something from the administration, but it's usually related to the issue at hand.
Jim Oberstar, for example, a Democrat from Minnesota who has like a 100 percent labor voting record and is a card-carrying member of the steelworkers union, says he'll vote in favor of China trade on Wednesday if the administration comes through with some special trade assistance for the steelworkers in his union. You better believe the White House is trying to make that happen.
WOODRUFF: John, what about the White House decision not do a Sunday night address of the nation after all, any fallout from that?
KING: Mathematics, Judy. As I said, about 30 undecided Democrats. If the president had given that address, Congressman Dick Gephardt, the Democratic leader in the House who is under extraordinary pressure from labor unions and others to give the response, that would have put him in a very troubling situation, and what the White House heard from Democrats is that if you make Mr. Gephardt give the response, he will call in favors and he will take 10 or 12 of those undecided Democrats out of the mix, making your math much more difficult.
So the White House decided to call off the address and instead go to more conventional means, like public speeches, the president giving some interviews today, and they say now they have roughly 30 undecided Democrats to work as opposed to maybe 15 or 18 had they put Mr. Gephardt in that very uncomfortable position.
WOODRUFF: All right, John King at the White House, Chris Black at the Capitol, thank you both. We've heard it now from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. Thank you -- Bernie.
SHAW: And going inside, this China trade bill has led to something of a family feud on the Hill.
Our Jonathan Karl has an inside view of the wrangling between two Republican lawmakers named Hutchinson.
REP. ASA HUTCHINSON (R), ARKANSAS: Good morning, Senator.
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Best of friends, sure, but lately the ride to work has gotten more contentious for the brothers Hutchinson. The sibling members of Congress are at odds over what may be the biggest vote of the year.
A. HUTCHINSON: The people of China yearn for more freedom. And the democracy movement, even though it's been squelched many times by the government, it is thriving because they taste freedom in one economic area, they yearn for it in other areas.
SEN, TIM HUTCHINSON (R), ARKANSAS: Asa, you just know how to stir things up here. There are no free dissidents in China. They're all in prison. They're all in jail or they're all dead.
KARL: The Hutchinsons, Representative Asa of impeachment fame and Tim, his elder brother in the Senate, are usually ideological soul mates. Asa has Tim's old seat in the House. Both are among the most conservative members of Congress. Both were early supporters of George W. Bush, and both are graduates of the school Bush would love to for forget, Bob Jones University.
T. HUTCHINSON: From religious persecution to crackdowns on political dissent to torture to trafficking of women an children, it's all happening in China, and it appears to be getting worse.
KARL: But when it comes to trade with China, Senator Tim can be found on one side of the Capitol joining with liberal Democrats decrying China's human rights record, while his younger brother, siding with the president he worked to impeach, makes the case for trade on the other side of the Capitol.
A. HUTCHINSON: And I'm convinced without any question that in my direct in Arkansas, trade with China creates and preserves jobs.
KARL: Tim, who has pictures of the Tiananmen Square massacre on his wall, agrees about the economic benefits of trade, but says the issue is China's behavior in recent years.
T. HUTCHINSON: The continued proliferation of weapons of mass instruction, the security lapses and their efforts at espionage, the human rights abuses -- and our response is to reward them. That to me sends the wrong signal to the world.
KARL: The younger brother says he, too, is worried about human rights, but he thinks trade ultimately helps reformers in China, even as it benefits voters in his district. Arkansas is the biggest producer of rice in the U.S. and home to retailing giant Wal-Mart.
A. HUTCHINSON: Continuing trade with China is the best path for the United States, and just as significantly, the best path for -- hopefully what we'll see is burgeoning democracy movements in China and improvement on human rights.
KARL: Their difference of opinion can't be explained by ideology -- both are conservatives -- or even political expedience. Tim held the same views when he represented Asa's district. So what gives?
T. HUTCHINSON: I think this is an issue over which people of good conscience can honorably disagree.
KARL: Idealistic, maybe, but having a brother on the other side is one way to keep the debate civil.
Jonathan Karl CNN Capitol Hill.
WOODRUFF: And still ahead INSIDE POLITICS, more on our breaking story: A panel of the Arkansas Supreme Court recommending that President Clinton be disbarred.
Beyond that, the pros and cons of China trade: perspective from organized labor and the chamber of commerce.
Plus Charlton Heston re-elected and looking ahead at the NRA's role in the November contest.
WOODRUFF: Our breaking story this hour, a recommendation from a panel of the Arkansas Supreme Court that affects President Clinton. And for the very latest, let's go back to our senior White House correspondent John King -- John.
KING: Judy, the president's personal attorney, David Kendall, has just released a very short statement reacting to that finding by the Arkansas State Supreme Court's committee. Here, let's read Mr. Kendall's statement. Quote, "This recommendation is wrong and clearly contradicted by precedent. We will vigorously dispute it in a court of law." That was it for Mr. Kendall.
Now the dispute will take place, we're told, in the Pulaski County Court in Little Rock. That is where the recommendation goes. The president now will have to fight to keep his law license. Now the president not expected to practice law after he leaves office, obviously. It is more a matter of embarrassment that he would be stripped of his law license. So we're told the president's lawyers will vigorously fight this in court in Arkansas.
Again, a committee of the Arkansas State Supreme Court saying that because of his testimony in the Paula Jones case, including what the committee found was misleading testimony about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, that the president should be disbarred for serious misconduct. The case now goes to the Pulaski County Court. Again, the president's lawyers promising to fight it -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: And, John, just to be clear, what is the course of action after this? A committee of the State Supreme Court has made this recommendation. What exactly has to happen now for the president to actually be disbarred?
KING: Well, the Pulaski County Court would have to agree -- and we're still waiting to speak to the president's lawyers -- but that is a county court. Presumably there would be appeals beyond that back up through the state court system. But the recommendation goes to Pulaski County Court. The president's lawyers must now file notice that they will contest the committees findings.
And again, we're told by White House officials, as they decide what to do next here, they point to the fact that eight of the 14 members of the committee recused themselves, saying they had some relationship or some knowledge of the president that they thought made it inappropriate for them to rule on this. One of the lines of attack we expect to hear from the president's lawyers is that those remaining on the committee were presidential critics, and, therefore, that the president did not get a fair hearing.
WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's John King, our senior White House correspondent, thank you very much -- Bernie.
SHAW: And to our other big story, we have two guests with very contrasting views on the China trade bill to be voted on by the House Wednesday. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donahue will join us in a few moments, but first we turn to Teamsters President James P. Hoffa.
And my first question to you, sir, is, to organize labor, is Al Gore's support of China trade a sell out?
JAMES P. HOFFA, TEAMSTERS PRESIDENT: Well we would certainly hope he would think differently on this. After all, we have literally millions of American jobs on the line here. And we're looking at basically another NAFTA, where there's going to be an exportation of American jobs to China, there's going to be a mass of investment in China by all these multinational corporations who are going to build plants there, and they're obviously not going to need a plant in the United States where people get a living wage. And they're going to be over there, where they can be away from all kinds of regulations and have forced labor, child labor, prison labor, and everybody else doing the work. So it's not good that he's doing this, and we certainly wish he had a different view.
SHAW: Because of Gore's trade stance on China, can he kiss goodbye a Teamsters Union endorsement?
HOFFA: well, we're not going to speculate on that. Let's see what happens with the vote. We have not endorsed specifically for this reason, and the fact that we haven't endorsed, I think, was a wise move, and now we're free to do what we want. We're not going to tell you on this program what we're going to do, but we're certainly interested in this vote, and we're watching what the candidates do with regard to this important vote.
SHAW: But, Mr. Hoffa, you say you haven't endorsed because of this issue. The vice president supports trade for China, so what can you possibly do?
HOFFA: There's a lot more involved than just this vote. There's all kinds of issues with regard to organized labor, with regard to where we're at going into the 21st century. It's more than one issue, but this is an important issue. And we're going to be watching it. And I'm certainly glad we didn't endorse, and I think the wisdom of our fact that we didn't endorse is showing now, and we have to wait and see what happens.
SHAW: Nose count -- how many House Democrats according to your count right now will vote against?
HOFFA: Well, there's a number of numbers all over the place. I'm not going to speculate on what the numbers are. We know who they are. We're working on certain people. And we're talking about what these issues mean with regard to that this does nothing but reward China for killing 5,000 people at Tiananmen Square, for, you know, exporting weapons of mass destruction to our worst enemies, for pointing missiles at the American heartland.
That's what we're talking about, and the question is, are we going to reward that? Are we going to say, keep up, you're doing a good job, keep threatening Taiwan? And that's what you're doing here. You're not changing any views here.
And most importantly, what we're doing here, you're not going to get fair trade out of this. You're still going to have a 25 percent tariff on a Chevrolet going to China in 2006. That's a joke.
HOFFA: And I don't know how you can have that. And you're not going to be buying your products. I mean, this is a whole myth that there's going to be these exportations.
SHAW: All right. Well, you say what you've just said about rewards, not rewarding people. Can Democrats in the House Wednesday who vote for China trade expect less support from your union and organized labor in general?
HOFFA: Well, I can tell you this: absolutely. We have already told several people that we've withdrawn our endorsement we're so upset with the fact that these people have put the fact that they've sided with other people against us, and we think it's wrong.
We're for fair trade, but we're not going to give a blank check to a communist dictatorship, and I think it's shame on all business that coddles up to these -- these criminals that are running this country.
SHAW: Teamsters President James P. Hoffa, thank you.
Joining us now, Tom Donahue, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Hoffa says shame on business. What do you say?
TOM DONAHUE, PRESIDENT, U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Well, Bernie, this is a very simple vote. If we vote no, China gets into the WTO anyway. They've just made a deal with the European Union.
If we vote no, American farmers, American companies, American e- commerce, telephone companies, everybody else loses the opportunity for significant reductions in tariffs and significant opportunity for investment. If we vote no, we will turn back the clock of 30 years of progress on some religious freedom, local elections, and improvements in what is clearly not an acceptable set of relationships with China.
But most important, if we vote no, we're going to turn away from building an ally on the Pacific Rim that we're going to have to work with. If we're going to deal with the North Korean issue, if we're going to deal with Russia, if we're going to deal with the questions of Taiwan, we need to think about the national security of this country. We need to think about our children, and that's why this vote is going to be a positive one on Wednesday.
SHAW: Does Mr. Hoffa's argument of repression, of thousands of people killed, of millions of American jobs being at stake have any credence? Does it have any resonance? Any validity?
DONAHUE: Well, let me separate two issues.
SHAW: Does it?
DONAHUE: First of all, Mr. Hoffa is correct that over long periods of time -- remember, the Chinese have been around a lot longer than we have -- there have been governments there and behavior patterns there -- and Tiananmen Square is an example -- that is totally unacceptable to us. But we have made major progress, and it is clear that when you open markets and you open communication and you open the opportunity for exchange, that governments open, and human rights and workers well-being improve.
On his question of losing jobs, let me just make this point. We're at the lowest unemployment that this country has seen in modern lifetime. Our problem, our serious problems of where do we get the workers for tomorrow. And for every 20 -- for every billion dollars worth of exports -- and by the way, when we opened the door there, we can export -- will create 20,000 jobs. We'll make 800,000 jobs out of this thing in a big hurry.
SHAW: Tom Donahue, you've been around this town for a long time. Your thought on the political irony of Republicans helping President Clinton and Democrats jumping ship?
DONAHUE: Well, first of all, I think the Democrats are under a lot of pressure from the unions and others. I think the -- and there's going to be a lot of Democratic votes. I think the Republicans are helping President Clinton and Secretary Daley and the secretary of agriculture and others because they recognize that this is the right thing to do for our national well-being, for freedom and opportunity in China, and for our -- and quite frankly, to give American farmers and American companies an opportunity to get into the biggest market in the world. It'll make jobs here in the United States, and Republicans know it.
SHAW: Will it pass?
SHAW: By how many votes?
DONAHUE: Well, it has to pass by one, and it's going to be tight from here to there. And when I say yes, I'm assuming that we're going to continue to move with the same momentum that we now have.
If we were to vote no on this, the potential of a negative vote is very, very serious for this country.
SHAW: Thomas Donahue, president, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, thank you -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: China trade, clearly a contentious issue. Another divisive issue in Washington, gun control, and no group opposes it more vociferously than the National Rifle Association.
Following its weekend convention in Charlotte, the NRA executive board once again today chose Charlton Heston to lead them into political battle.
Brian Cabell looks at the NRA and the gun control issue.
BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You'd be hard- pressed to find a more popular man in Charlotte this week than Charlton Heston, he with the movie star persona and the theatrics.
CHARLTON HESTON, PRESIDENT, NRA: From my cold, dead hands!
CABELL: But could those theatrics have a negative impact in the fall?
CHRIS LEHANE, GORE CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: People who are for protecting our families, getting guns out of the hands of felons, getting guns out of the hands of children, getting guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't be carrying them are going to be supporting Al Gore in this election.
CABELL: Heston was unanimously elected to an unprecedented third term as president of the National Rifle Association. Heston says a fourth term is a possibility.
Many here at the annual convention credit Heston with the remarkable resurgence of the NRA, a record national membership of 3.6 million, and a record convention attendance of 52,000.
HESTON: I think President Clinton's views on firearms have irritated a lot of people.
CABELL: Repeatedly during the convention, NRA officials attacked President Clinton and the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Al Gore, for their stands in favor of strict gun control.
JAMES BAKER, CHIEF LOBBYIST, NRA: For the next six months, Al Gore is going to smear you as the enemy. He will slander you as gun- toting, knuckle-dragging, blood-thirsty maniacs who stand in the way of a safe America.
Will you remain silent? I will not remain silent.
PROTESTERS: Guns save lives! Guns save lives! CABELL: Hundreds of gun supporters staged demonstrations outside the convention center over the weekend, a clear reaction to the Million Moms March of the week before. But NRA officials are focussing more on the political campaign this fall. They hope to spend at least $10 million on the elections and marshal hundreds of thousands of volunteers to defeat anti-gun candidates.
HESTON: Only you know what you can do between now and that decisive November day to turn the tide of these elections in favor of freedom.
CABELL: NRA speakers rarely mention the name of the expected Republican nominee, George W. Bush, at the convention, but most made it clear they approved of him. Official endorsements are expected after the Democratic and Republican national conventions this summer.
Brian Cabell, CNN.
SHAW: And there's much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS.
WOODRUFF: Still to come.
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REP. RICK LAZIO (R-NY), SENATE CANDIDATE: Bring them on from Washington. Bring them on from Hollywood. Bring on them on from Arkansas.
And you know what? They're going to find something about New Yorkers and this New Yorker. We don't back down from a fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: The new face in the New York Senate race: Can Rick Lazio give the first lady a run for her money?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How do you pick a running mate? Sometimes it's expertise. Sometimes it's just weird.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: Our Bruce Morton on choosing a vice president.
WOODRUFF: ... a look at the British prime minister's new duties.
WOODRUFF: We'll have more of this day's political news coming up, but now a look at some other top stories.
Investigators are disappointed but not daunted, they say, by what they have found of the scene of yesterday's charter plane crash in Pennsylvania. All 19 people aboard were killed when the plane went down while approaching the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport.
We go now to our Carl Rochelle, who is in Wilkes-Barre -- Carl.
CARL ROCHELLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, investigators may not be daunted, but they certainly have some serious problems to overcome. There is no flight data recorder on that aircraft. They had counted on the information they would have learned from the cockpit voice recorder. But when it was taken back to Washington today and analyzed in the laboratories in Washington of the National Transportation Safety Board, it was found it contained no information. It was black.
Member George Black, who is the member in charge of the investigation here, said it's going to make things even more difficult.
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GEORGE BLACK, NTSB: This seriously hampers the investigation, let's face it. One of a -- a lot of times I've heard people say that the flight data recorder tells you what happened, and sometimes if you're lucky the cockpit voice recorder tells you why something happened. So we now don't have what happened because we have no data recorder and we also do not have the voice recorder, which might have explained to us some of the conversations between the crew during this last part of the flight that would have helped us in understanding what happened here. So this is somewhat disappointing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROCHELLE: Black said the problem was that the recorder operated on 110 votes AC. It was hooked up to a 28-volt DC line. There was no power to it. They didn't get any information.
They're going to have to rely on ear-witness reports. You couldn't see the airplane because the sky was so covered with clouds. But at least one witness heard the plane come over, heard the engines quit, heard them start back up again, then heard them quit one more time before hearing the plane go to the ground.
Also information from people who monitored -- one young man monitored the conversation between the tower and the aircraft on its final approach into the airport and heard the crew tell the tower that they had lost both engines.
Now, the airplane was making instrument approaches. It had made one approach earlier. We thought they had a problem with the engines on the first approach. It turns out they did not. They were up and around and trying to make a second approach when the engines quit. Now, officials are looking at a possible fuel starvation or fuel contamination. They have checked the supply of fuel from the tanker truck that fueled the airplane before it made the flight in here, and have so far in their preliminary investigation found no contamination there. But that does not in and of itself rule out contamination.
One of the things they are concentrating on is the fuel supply, trying to find out if that's the reason those engines quit. It is highly unusual in a twin-engine turboprop aircraft for both engines to quit at the same time. That is one of the reasons they are looking so very closely at that -- Bernie.
SHAW: Thank you, Carl Rochelle, with the very latest there from Pennsylvania.
In Concord, North Carolina, investigators say corroded steel cables may be to blame for the collapse of a pedestrian bridge outside Lowe's Motor Speedway. The bridge tumbled down Saturday night, injuring more than 100 fans, as they left a NASCAR race. About half of them are still in the hospital.
The walkway was only 5 years old, but officials at the speedway could not confirm when it was last inspected.
WOODRUFF: A Texas jury heard closing arguments today in the penalty phase of convicted railway killer Angel Maturino Resendiz. A verdict is expected at any time.
The only woman known to have survived an attack by Resendiz testified for the prosecution. She described how Resendiz raped and beat her and killed her boyfriend. The jury decides if he gets life in prison or death by injection.
SHAW: Jurors in Miami began hearing arguments today in the punitive phase of the tobacco trial. The same jury last month awarded $12.7 million in compensatory damages to three members of the class action lawsuit.
Attorneys for the tobacco industry say there is no need for punitive damages because the companies have changed the way they do business.
WOODRUFF: It was a bitter-sweet reunion for high-school students in Los Alamos, New Mexico today. Classes were held for the first time in two weeks after wildfires forced the entire community to evacuate. Dozens of students and many teachers lost their homes in the blaze. It is now 95 percent contained.
SHAW: When INSIDE POLITICS returns, how much is Hillary Clinton changing her strategy now that her Senate rival is named Lazio instead of Giuliani?
WOODRUFF: On the third day of his candidacy, U.S. Senate hopeful Rick Lazio may still be relatively unknown, at least compared to rival Hillary Rodham Clinton. But he surely has been doing his part to try to change that.
CNN's Frank Buckley reports on Lazio's continuing campaign kick- off tour in New York State and the help he's getting along the way.
LAZIO: I will run hard, I will fight fair, and I will stand on the issues. And I mean to win.
FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The replacement Republican in New York's Senate race, Congressman Rick Lazio -- running in place of the Republicans' first choice for the job, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani -- spent the first 48 hours of his campaign doing exactly what many Republicans had hoped Giuliani would be doing by now.
LAZIO: I'll be up here so often, believe me, people will know me well. They'll know my commitment.
BUCKLEY: Campaigning upstate and down, getting on and off a chartered airplane, appearing in upstate cities, including Buffalo, Elmira, Syracuse, and Albany during a two-day swing, providing New York's top Republicans, Governor George Pataki and State Chairman Bill Powers, with a photo-op of party unity a week before the Republican state nominating convention.
PATAKI: We have a great candidate who's going to be the next senator from the great state of New York in Rick Lazio.
BUCKLEY: The Long Island congressman is a relative unknown in New York, running against a very well-known first lady Hillary Clinton. Clinton has roughly $7 million in the bank compared to Lazio's $3.5 million. She's campaigned for nearly a year, he's been on the road for a weekend. So far, Giuliani isn't saying whether he'll contribute his campaign moneys to Republican Party coffers.
With Giuliani out of the race, some political observers believe Mrs. Clinton could be vulnerable.
JOSEPH MERCURIO, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: It's now going to be about Hillary Clinton: Why does she want to run? Who is she really? What accomplishments and what achievements does she have? How does she match up with this young congressman from Long Island?
BUCKLEY: But Mrs. Clinton's campaign is busy attempting to define Lazio, as an extremist to the right.
HOWARD WOLFSON, CLINTON CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: This is somebody who voted with Newt gingrich repeatedly, he voted to shut down the government, he voted to cut Medicare $270 billion, he voted to shut down the Department of Education.
BUCKLEY: Lazio says his record is mainstream.
LAZIO: This is the community that I've served with pride, and I, ladies and gentlemen, I am one of you. BUCKLEY: The congressman defines himself as native New Yorker who supports abortion rights and is fiscally conservative. It is Mrs. Clinton, he claims, who is out of step, Lazio attempting to align her with the extreme left, which he says is attempting to distort his record.
LAZIO: Bring them on from Washington, bring them on from Hollywood, bring them on from Arkansas. And you know what? They're going to find something about New Yorkers and this New Yorker: We don't back down from a fight.
BUCKLEY (on camera): The fight could, in fact, be shaping up to be a classic Republican versus Democrat contest. Another indication of that: The Liberal Party announcing it plans to endorse Mrs. Clinton, the Conservative Party saying it plans to support Lazio, both candidates doing their best to be seen in the middle.
Frank Buckley CNN Albany, New York.
SHAW: The Clinton campaign strategy is no doubt in flux now that the first lady is running against Lazio.
Our Bill Schneider is here to consider Mrs. Clinton's game plan.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. You know, Republicans are not the only ones who have to shift gears in New York. So do the Democrats. Hillary Rodham Clinton was running one kind of campaign against Rudy Giuliani. Now she has to run a different campaign against the man she calls, quote, "may latest opponent."
(voice-over): The formula for running against Rudy Giuliani was simple: make the campaign about him.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK SENATE CANDIDATE: It's not only issues, it's how you get things done. You know, in the Senate we have to work with 99 other people. And I think I bring a leadership style that will try to unite people.
SCHNEIDER: It's harder to make your opponent the issue when voters don't know much about him. But that gives the Clinton campaign an opening: They can define their opponent, especially since he's a congressional Republican.
Democrats have run this campaign before, like in 1996 and 1998, when they ran against the GOP Congress.
BILL DE BLASIO, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Lazio was a key lieutenant of Gingrich, and someone who is very proud of having helped build the Gingrich revolution.
SCHNEIDER: That's why Lazio has hit the ground running -- fast. LAZIO: My challenge is to make sure people know the real Rick Lazio before the other side gets out and tries to fool the New York people about who I am.
SCHNEIDER: Who is he?
LAZIO: I am exactly in the middle. I'm reflective of New York.
SCHNEIDER: The Democratic game plan is to nationalize the New York race: make it a race between President Clinton's policies, which are popular in New York, and the Republican Congress.
HILLARY CLINTON: If Congressman Lazio is the Republican nominee, there will be a clear difference between us on a number of issues because we've taken very different stands.
SCHNEIDER: Like what.
HAROLD ICKES, CLINTON CAMPAIGN ADVISER: He voted to eliminate the Department of Education, for instance.
SCHNEIDER: Lazio's backers claim the two candidates don't differ too much, at least on the hot-button social issues.
PATAKI: Rick Lazio is pro-choice, Mayor Giuliani is, I am, Hillary Clinton is. Rick Lazio voted for the Brady bill and to ban assault weapons.
SCHNEIDER: Lazio's formula for running against Hillary Rodham Clinton is simple: make the campaign about her.
LAZIO: New York isn't just a place I represent, it's my home. And I've never needed an exploratory committee to decide where I want to live.
SCHNEIDER: A carpetbagger named Robert Kennedy won the 1964 New York Senate race by nationalizing it. RFK grabbed President Lyndon Johnson's coattails and made his election a statement against Barry Goldwater. But George W. Bush is not the kind of scare figure Goldwater was, and Al Gore is unlikely to have the kind of coattails LBJ had in 1964, when he carried New York, by 2,700,000 votes, and Kennedy carried New York by 700,000 votes. As Mrs. Clinton is finding out, a lot has changed since 1964 -- and even since 1996 and '98, when Newt Gingrich was still the speaker.
SHAW: Thank you, Bill Schneider.
Up next, choosing a running mate: Our Bruce Morton on political conventions and vice presidents past.
SHAW: In an international policy decision differing from the Clinton administration, George W. Bush reiterated today he will move the United States embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, which Israel regards as its capital. The Clinton administration has said moving the embassy from Tel Aviv would hamper Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Speaking to the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, Bush said he would begin the process of moving the embassy immediately after taking office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Something will happen when I become president. As soon as I take office, I will begin the process of moving the United States ambassador to the city Israel has chosen as its capital.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: By the way, Bush aides say there is no significance in the governor's use of the word "ambassador" instead of "embassy."
With the national party conventions just a few months away, both George W. Bush and Al Gore are considering a very important question: whom to choose as a running mate.
Our Bruce Morton takes a look back in his "Campaign Journal" to see how some vice presidential nominees of the past were chosen.
MORTON (voice-over): How do you pick a running mate? Geography can matter. Dwight Eisenhower, war hero turned president of New York's Columbia University, picked Californian Richard Nixon in 1952. John Kennedy, knowing he'd need help in the South, picked Lyndon Johnson of Texas in 1960.
Sometimes it's expertise. Ex-Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter in 1976 picked a man who knew Washington: Minnesota's Senator Walter Mondale. Bill Clinton picked Al Gore, both from the mid-South, but again, one governor, one old Washington hand.
Sometimes it's just weird. In 1956, Democratic nominee Adlai Stephenson let the convention delegates choose. They picked Tennessee's Estes Kefauver over John Kennedy. And Kennedy, running for president four years later, would thank Kefauver backers for saving my career.
The Republican convention in Detroit in 1980 was a little weird, too. Delegates and pundits buzzed for a day over a rumor: Nominee Ronald Reagan would pick Gerald Ford, the unelected president who'd lost to Jimmy Carter. It would be a kind of co-presidency, Ford advising the less-experienced Reagan on things like international affairs -- never happened, of course. The staunchly conservative Reagan picked George Bush, the establishment candidate who had been his most persistent opponent in the primaries.
But the oddest veep stakes ever had to be the Democrats in 1944. President Franklin Roosevelt on a train headed for an overseas meeting talked to the delegates about winning the war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What is the job before us in 1944? First, to win the war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: He didn't talk about the vice presidency. The sitting veep was Henry Wallace, representing the party's left wing. But some folks wanted change. The South wanted Jimmy Burn, a Southerner. Others urged Missouri Senator Harry Truman, the second Missouri compromise, they said. FDR blessed all three, but he wasn't there.
In Chicago, the delegates began to chant, "We want Wallace." Chicago Mayor Ed Kelly didn't, so he opened the doors and let crowds pour into the hall. Alderman Edward Burke, who's written a history of Chicago conventions, describes what happened next.
EDWARD BURKE, CHICAGO CONVENTIONS HISTORIAN: Mayor Kelly grabs a hold of the fire marshal, Anthony Malani (ph), he said, "Chief Malani, this place is in violation of the fire code, shut it down," and just as Henry Wallace, his name is going to be placed in nomination by Senator Claude Pepper, the convention chairman raps the gavel and says, "Motion made to adjourn, all those in favor signify the usual sign of aye, the ayes have it, the convention is in recess until noon tomorrow."
MORTON: Imagine, without some Chicago street smart politics somebody else, not Harry Truman, would have decided whether to drop the atomic bomb on Japan, would have had to deal with Stalin, the start of the Cold War, the Marshall Plan, NATO, the United Nations, and oh yes, the desegregation of the United States armed forces. Sometimes what happens at conventions really matters.
Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.
SHAW: And when INSIDE POLITICS returns, Judy will have a very interesting story about British Prime Minister Tony Blair setting aside many of his official duties to temporarily hop on the daddy track.
WOODRUFF: Whatever political pressure Tony Blair may have been getting, the demands of fatherhood apparently have caught up with the British prime minister. Even as the first official photo of Blair, his wife and their newborn son Leo was released today, Blair canceled all his public engagements this week in order to stay near his family. Blair spoke to reporters after little Leo was born this weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: First of all, we would just like to thank everyone who sent their good wishes and the flowers and the presents. It's been very kind of people. Cherie and the baby are absolutely fine. He is a gorgeous little boy and they're just resting now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Before his son was born, Blair had said he would take time off but would not take a formal paternity leave even though his wife had urged him to do so, prompting something of an international debate and maybe even a debate in their family.
That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff.
And I'm going to wish you happy birthday.
SHAW: Why, thank you. I'm Bernard Shaw at 60. "WORLDVIEW" is next.
WOODRUFF: A young 60.
SHAW: Thank you, thank you.
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