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Inside Politics

Gore Pumps up His Populist Theme; Missouri's Senatorial Race Hits Airwaves; Hillary Clinton and Rick Lazio Go on the Road and on the Attack

Aired July 6, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET



AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll win together for the kids, for the country and for our future!


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Al Gore pumps up his populous theme and his barrage against George W. Bush.

BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: In the ad wars, who is showing the money in the Show-Me State?



HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK SENATE CANDIDATE: And I think he ought to rename his bus, you know, instead of the Mainstream Express, he ought to call it the "Double Talk Express."


WOODRUFF: The candidates, on the road and on the attack in the New York Senate race.

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

SHAW: Thanks for joining us.

Al Gore says his race with George W. Bush boils down to a simple question: Whose side are you on? But during his swing through the Chicago area today, Gore made it even more clear that Bush is not his only target these days.

CNN's Patty Davis has more on the vice president and his "us versus them" strategy.


PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Vice President Al Gore stepped up his attacks on Texas Governor George W. Bush as he visited this senior center outside of Chicago.

GORE: Here is Governor Bush's plan -- not one dime in his proposal for extending, strengthening, adding to Medicare.

DAVIS: Equipped with charts and graphs, Gore touted his $339 billion plan to shore up Medicare and his prescription drug benefit for seniors.

GORE: It's gone up to over $150 for how long of a supply?


GORE: One-hundred fifty dollars a month for one medication.

DAVIS: He charged Bush wouldn't protect Medicare, and he suggested Bush and congressional Republicans might use it as a piggy bank to fund tax cuts and other priorities.

GORE: If you add up what he has already proposed in his budget and don't even add in the Star Wars cost, which may be a whole lot more than that still, you can see that it completely swamps the amount of the surplus that's there.

DAVIS: Gore again accused drug companies of gouging seniors, drug companies he said support Bush.

GORE: I'm on your side. I want to fight for the people. The other side fights for the powerful.

DAVIS: Later at in a speech to the National Education Association, a group that has endorsed him, Gore continued a populist theme.

GORE: We are the mainstream majority!

DAVIS: It was all part of Gore's latest approach. It's one he's been using for the past several weeks to paint himself as a champion of the common person, Bush a friend of special interests -- a theme Gore hopes will help rally his supporters and shore up support among Democrats.

Patty Davis, CNN, Chicago.


WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, Gore's surrogates are trying today to help him get more mileage out of his message. His wife, Tipper, campaigned in Connecticut, where she met with participants in a summer employment program and attended some Democratic National Committee events.

The DNC did its part for gore here in Washington today by taking some jabs at George W. Bush, who is off the trail today on this, his 54th birthday. The Democrats wished bush a happy birthday -- and then, they tried to turn up the heat. DNC National Chairman Joe Andrew echoed the populist message Al Gore has been using against the Texas governor. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE ANDREW, DNC NATIONAL CHAIRMAN: We're out there fighting for the people, and Republicans are out there fighting for the powerful. That's kind of what happens not just today on his birthday, but what happens every single day of George W. Bush's life.


WOODRUFF: Andrew went on to accuse of being -- quote -- "bought and sold" by big oil and big drug companies.

SHAW: Traditionally, Democrats have tried to portray themselves as champions of the little guy. But some Republicans also have tried variations on this theme.

In his campaign journal, Bruce Morton looks at the strategy of running against something -- as well as someone.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You may have noticed Vice President Gore lately has been running for the little guy and against the big bad guy, running against Big Oil for instance.

GORE: That's why there is investigation under way right now by the Department of Energy and the EPA, and it's been referred to some other agencies, to investigate possible price gouging. And if they find evidence of it, they're going to be tough, appropriate, actions taken.

MORTON: Or running against the big pharmaceutical companies.

GORE: I'm here to ask for your support today to take on your fight against the big drug companies, to bring these prices down. I am for you. The other side is not for people, they're for the powerful. I'm for the people, and I want to fight for you.

MORTON: Running is anti-big; pro-little guy is populism. Democrats like Gore are usually anti-big business, Republicans anti- big government. Does it work? In 1948, Democrat Harry Truman ran against what he called a do-nothing Republican Congress.


HARRY TRUMAN, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED OF THE STATES: I discussed a number of these failures of the Republican 80th Congress, and every one of them is important.


ROBERT DALLEK, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: People began responding to them by yelling, "Give them hell, Harry. Give them hell!," and he sure did, and of courser he won that election.

MORTON: In 1976, Jimmy Carter ran against the Watergate scandal that had forced Richard Nixon to resign, and he won. Ronald Reagan? Against Big Government, and he won.


RONALD REAGAN, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The root cause of deficits is runaway government. Yet most of the deficit reduction I've seen would simply raise taxes and balloon spending. When you clear away the rhetoric, the issue is quite simple: Deficits are the symptom, the disease is uncontrolled spending and the cause is an addiction to Big Government.


MORTON: In 1988, George Bush ran not against Big Government, but against a Democratic Party he portrayed as left-wing radical whose nominee freed dangerous prisoners.


UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: His revolving door prison policy gave weekend furloughs to first degree murderers not eligible for parole.


MORTON: At one point, Bush, running as the patriot, actually campaigned in a flag factory. The populists, the anti-big candidates, don't always win, but they often do. And who wouldn't rather run as David than Goliath?

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: Bob Novak of "The Chicago Sun-Times" joins us with more on election 2000.

First of all, Bob, what is the latest you're hearing on Al Gore's search for a vice president?

ROBERT NOVAK, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": Name, not exactly new, but I'm hearing more and more of it favorably from Democratic sources is Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. Now this is not bringing you a state you wouldn't otherwise get. It's not bringing you otherwise hotly contested electoral votes. Who does bring you those kind? But Kerry is a very impressive person, very articulate, very smart, and he's a great debater. He's one of the great debaters in the Democratic Party. I think they're going to take a very close look at him.

WOODRUFF: All right, moving on. campaign twists in the abortion debate, especially coming on the heels of last week's Supreme Court rulings on late-term.

NOVAK: The Supreme Court declared unconstitutional 31 state bans on partial-birth abortion. But -- and that -- any time -- the American people are pro-choice on abortion, but they're anti-partial birth abortion. That makes it a difficult situation. So everybody, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, is trying to say, well, we're for a ban on this technique under certain conditions. The conditions are not acceptable to the anti-abortion people. Where this is really hitting, Judy, I understand, is in Missouri, where Senator John Ashcroft, very antiabortion, is considered having a tough time against Democratic Governor Mel Carnahan. But Carnahan made a very unpopular veto last year in an anti-abortion state of a state ban on partial- birth abortion. This raises that issue. It's good news for Ashcroft.

WOODRUFF: Also having effect in the New York Senate race, perhaps with Mrs. Clinton now saying if you expand the definition to include the health of the mother?

NOVAK: Yes, well, that's what the pro-rights, abortion rights, people have always said, but she is trying to look like she is more flexible on the situation than she probably really is.

WOODRUFF: All right, Delaware, let's look at United States Senate race there.

NOVAK: Why do we care about Delaware? This is the favorite, the most important Senate race for the lobbyists in town, because the chairman of the committee the lobbyists most worry about, the Senate Finance Committee, is William Roth of Delaware, and he had been running way behind in some polls on Democratic Governor John Carper. If Roth is beaten and the Republicans retain control of the Senate, which is likely they will, Chuck Grassley of Iowa would be the chairman of the Finance Committee. A guy a lot of lobbyists wouldn't like to see in there. Now The word I hear from Delaware is that Senator Roth is gaining, and some of the Democratic senators tell me Governor Carper has not campaigned very much. He may even have even fallen behind Roth in some polls, but that race is a toss-up right now.

WOODRUFF: But Tom Carper is considered a formidable...

NOVAK: Yes. He was considered -- Tom Carper was running way ahead of Bill Roth at one time, but he has lost ground in there, about even. That's a very important race for the lobbyist community, though, and a lot of money is going to go in that little tiny state.

WOODRUFF: All right, last but not least, one of your favorite subjects, death and taxes, alias, the estate tax. How is all of this playing out right now?

NOVAK: When the Senate comes back next week, they will not take up the House-passed bill to ban -- to repeal the estate tax, what the Republicans call the death tax, but it will come up later, and the -- there's talk about a Democratic filibuster, but the Democrats really don't want to do that. This is a politically popular thing, Judy, the repeal of this bill. What the Democrats -- but Democrats don't like it.

What they would like to do is have President Clinton get the blame for vetoing it, let it go through the Senate, have him veto it. After all, he's not running for anything again, he can take the heat. I think that's what you are going to see in the next weeks to come. The Senate will pass this bill and it will be vetoed.

WOODRUFF: All right, and finally, Bob Novak, tell us what's coming up tonight on "CROSSFIRE."

NOVAK: We really have a barn-burner tonight. I think they burned down the studio. We have a "CROSSFIRE" about the New York Senate race, Hillary Rodham Clinton against Rick Lazio, and guess who we have as the antagonists? Mike Murphy, the old McCain strategist who is now working for Lazio, and speaking up for Hillary, the ineffable, inimitable James Carville. Carville versus Murphy 7:30 p.m. Eastern on "CROSSFIRE."

WOODRUFF: Two of the more soft-spoken practitioners in this city.

NOVAK: Bring your ear plugs.

WOODRUFF: OK, Bob Novak, we'll do that, but we'll be watching.

And still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, President Clinton takes a key health care issue out on the road.

Plus, the issue dominating the New Hampshire governor's race. A look at the politics and the ad spending with David Peeler.



MARGARET PRESCOD, PROTEST ORGANIZER: Increasingly, the majority of people are dissatisfied. Business as usual cannot continue as though that dissatisfaction is not there. We are all aware that the political parties, both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, are bought, paid for, and are accountable to by a small number of the corporate elite, not the majority of people.


SHAW: When the parties meet for their conventions in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, protesters will be there. A coalition of groups calling itself R2D2K is planning to hold protests and shadow conventions in both cities this summer. The coalition is promising organized protests on a number of issues from world trade to human rights.

WOODRUFF: While Al Gore talked Medicare in Chicago, President Clinton stayed with the health care theme in Missouri. The president joined a Democratic governor and criticized the Senate-approved version of the patients' bill of rights.

Major Garrett reports.


MAJOR GARRETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president called the Senate-passed patients' bill of rights a fraud. WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It covers fewer than one in 10 people in HMOs. I mean, why are we doing this anyway? So when you hear people say, well, I support a patients' bill of rights, the operative word in that sentence is "a," as opposed to "the."

GARRETT: The White House faults the GOP bill because it's most popular protections, access to the nearest emergency rooms and choosing a specialist, only cover 48 million Americans. The president and the House of Representatives want to cover four times as many people, and give them rights to sue over harmful medical decisions.

The president shared the stage with Missouri Democratic Governor Mel Carnahan, who signed a patients' bill of rights the White House considers a model. Carnahan is locked in a tight race for the U.S. Senate with incumbent John Ashcroft. Vice President Gore attacked Ashcroft earlier this week because he opposed the president's plan to provide prescription drug coverage through Medicare.

STUART ROTHENBERG, "ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT": Democrats believe they have a significant advantage and it's one way they are going to both increase turnout and marginalize Republicans. The question is, whether the Republicans with their own health care plans -- whether it's on drug benefits, or their own version of the patients' bill of rights -- can muddy the waters.

GARRETT: Republicans argue Mr. Clinton's HMO reform would raise costs and reduce access to care. On prescription drugs, they say using private insurance plans, and not Medicare, would keep costs down and provide adequate coverage.

Not so long ago, Republicans complained when Mr. Clinton belatedly endorsed a balanced budget and welfare reform. Mr. Clinton signed those popular GOP ideas into law.

(on camera): Now, Democrats complain Republicans are Johnny- come-latelies on HMO reform and prescription drug coverage. Republicans want credit for endorsing these ideas, while blocking new laws. The coming election may decide which approach voters like best.

Major Garrett, CNN, Columbia, Missouri.


WOODRUFF: More now on that Missouri Senate race. Today, Governor Carnahan released a new ad in his bid to unseat Republican Senator John Ashcroft. The ad, to run in smaller cities across the state, focuses on Carnahan's accomplishments as governor.


GOV. MEL CARNAHAN (D), MISSOURI, SEN. CANDIDATE: As governor, I've worked to build Missouri's future. We've cut the sales tax on food, cracked down on crime, raised standards in our schools, and lowered class size, and we've moved 130,000 people off welfare.


WOODRUFF: This week, John Ashcroft made his bid for re-election official. Ashcroft met with voters in Kirkwood, Missouri, today as part of his six day "Missouri values tour." Last month, Ashcroft began running ads in his home state touting his work in Washington.


SEN. JOHN ASHCROFT (R-MO), SEN. CANDIDATE: My lockbox is protecting every penny of Social Security. Now I'm fighting to do the same for Medicare, and I won't give up, until we do.


SHAW: And joining us now to talk more about that Senate race, David Peeler of Competitive Media Reporting.

David, how much are Governor Carnahan and Senator Ashcroft spending on this race?

DAVID PEELER, PRES. & CEO, COMPETITIVE MEDIA REPORTING: Well, Bernie, John Ashcroft, who announced today, kicked off his ad campaign about June 15. We've seen him since that time spend $300,000 behind this kickoff campaign. We've seen Carnahan in response spend about $45,000 in that same period of time. So it looks like he's being outspent.

But what's interesting here is that Carnahan has gotten some support by the Missouri Democratic Committee, which has come in with $40,000. And, in fact, recently we found out that the AMA was supporting Carnahan's candidacy with some radio ads on his behalf.

So, you know, given that this is one of the senatorial swing states I would suspect that we're going to see a lot of spending by the candidates and we'll also see the parties weigh in heavily behind both of the respective candidates.

SHAW: Well, let's move now to New Hampshire, where the Democratic Governor Jeanne Shaheen is facing re-election. The primary is September 12, and her likely Republican opponent is former Senator Gordon Humphrey. At issue in the ads in this race, the governor's refusal to sign a no income tax pledge.

PEELER: Well, Bernie, you know, New Hampshire and no income tax pledge, that's a problem issue. And that's a wedge issue in New Hampshire. What we've seen so far is Shaheen spend about $130,000; Humphrey countering with $140,000. That's a significant amount of spending in a state the size of New Hampshire. What's interesting, though, is that there's another long-shot Republican in the ad, Fred Bramante. And let's take a look at the ad and we'll show you what we mean.


NARRATOR (singing): He proved he could cut our taxes. As governor, he'll deliver again. Fred's a business man, who's proved he can. Fred Bramante is our man.


PEELER: Well, the story there, this is another one of those Republican big business stories. Fred Bramante is CEO of Daddy's Junkie Music Stores there. So I think he's got jingles cheap from his music business. So, I'm not so sure that he's going to make it to the goal line. But let's see the other two spots, because those are for the candidates that we talked about early on.


GOV. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE: I've fought against an income tax because I've always believed it would hurt our economy. But if we're going to reach a long-term solution, we all have to be flexible enough to at least consider every option, and let the facts guide our decision. I know that's got to start with me, whatever the political price.



NARRATOR: Now, the governor has abandoned her promise to veto an income tax. In fact, she's considering one. She won't rule out a sales tax or capital gains tax either. She won't tell us what she'll do to solve the school funding crisis. So what's her answer?

SHAHEEN: So I've named a bipartisan commission of independent experts.

NARRATOR: To appoint a blue ribbon commission to help her make her decision, and conveniently, she's asked them to wait until after the election for an answer. That's not leadership, that's playing politics with our kids' future.


PEELER: Well, New Hampshire is going to be a very interesting contest this time around. And you know, as we said, it's a very difficult media market for candidates because there is not a lot of media outlets. So, if they want to make a play here, they are going to have to buy in Boston markets and in Burlington, Vermont to really saturate the state. So, it's going to be an interesting race.

SHAW: OK, David, David Peeler of Competitive Media Reporting, thanks very much. See you next time.

PEELER: Thank you, Bernie.

SHAW: Quite welcome.

And there is much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

WOODRUFF: Still to come:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. RICK LAZIO (R), NEW YORK SEN. CANDIDATE: ... someone who has six negative ads hammering her. She's the one who has committed herself now to a negative campaign.


WOODRUFF: Trading barbs in New York: the latest, as Hillary Rodham Clinton heads upstate.



JACK E. ROBINSON, SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: It's the Kennedy machine at work, but I'm a tough person. So, it hasn't been fun.


SHAW: A Senate hopeful's legal battle; a look at Jack E. Robinson's fight for a chance to run.

And later, they may not be Fred and Ginger, but is dancing really Al Gore's biggest problem?


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

And this late story is just in. Indianapolis Colts running back Fred Lane was shot to death at his Charlotte, North Carolina home today. Police are not sure yet what happened, but they have begun an investigation. Lane had been in trouble in recent months. A grand jury in Jackson, Tennessee indicted him yesterday on misdemeanor drug charges stemming from a February 3rd arrest. Lane, a former Carolina Panther's running back, was traded to the Colts in the off-season.

At least 20 people were killed, most of them teenagers, when their bus collided with a truck loaded with pigs in northern Spain. The students, aged 14 to 18, were headed from Barcelona to summer camp. Authorities say the truck swerved into the path of the bus, sending it plunging off the road.

WOODRUFF: A one-day strike has left 10 Northern California hospitals severely under-staffed today after about 4,000 Bay area hospital workers took to the picket lines. They say they are underpaid and so overworked that patient care is jeopardized. Hospital officials canceled elective surgeries today. They say the strike is a -- quote -- "potential public health crisis."

British troops are in Belfast, Ireland for the first time in almost two years after four nights of violence. Protestants began rioting earlier this week after Orangemen were banned from parading through a Catholic area of Drumcree. The ban now extends to a planned 12th of July march through southern Belfast. SHAW: It's being called Japan's worst case of food poisoning in decades. Health officials say tainted milk has sickened more than 11,000 people in western Japan. The outbreak was traced to a milk plant where bacteria accumulated in a production line valve. The plant has been temporarily shut down and is under investigation.

Flight attendants around the world are rallying against unruly passengers. They have declared today a day of action. Air crews handed out flyers to alert people about air rage and suggest ways to stop it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The overall goal is to raise everybody's level of awareness of the problem, and to urge passengers today to contact the airlines, to contact their Congress people, to contact the industry, to talk about putting out clear-written policies, to do more education about the program.


SHAW: Earlier this week, a Continental Airlines passenger allegedly threw a can of beer at a flight attendant and bit a pilot on the arm.

WOODRUFF: It was Venus versus Serena, the Williams sister act in the Wimbledon semifinals. And the sets, the match, and the day all went to big sister Venus. But she won without apparent joy, half- heartedly waving to the crowd, and ignoring the traditional curtsy to the royal box. She left the court, her arm around her sister, Serena.


VENUS WILLIAMS, PRO TENNIS PLAYER: I feel like I've raised the level of my game already, especially in this match and in the last match also. And when the final comes, it's a grand occasion. And I think we're both going to go at it.

SERENA WILLIAMS, PRO TENNIS PLAYER: Venus played pretty well today. She brought out her best game against me today, and I just -- I don't know. I guess I wasn't all that ready.


WOODRUFF: The women's finals will be played on Saturday.

When INSIDE POLITICS returns, the increasingly bitter road show in the New York Senate race.


SHAW: Now, dueling words and dueling road trips in the New York Senate race. Hillary Rodham Clinton today launched what she's calling her "Upstate Economic Tour," along with new shots at her rival, Rick Lazio.

CNN's Frank Buckley is covering the campaign.


FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hillary Clinton arrived in upstate New York, where her Republican opponent, Rick Lazio, has been campaigning in a bus tour since Monday.

The already combative Senate race now focused on allegations from both candidates that the other has gone negative.

LAZIO: They would like to drag me down in the mud, but you know what, we're not going to go there.

H. CLINTON: I think he ought to rename his bus, you know, instead of the Mainstream Express, he ought to call it the "Double- Talk express." You know, he's got moderate talk on the trail and extreme rhetoric in his mail.

BUCKLEY: Mrs. Clinton, referring to a Lazio fund-raising letter, revealed this week, in which Lazio says: "Hillary Clinton and her husband have embarrassed our country and disgraced their powerful posts."

LAZIO: And frankly, these letters are written, you know, not by me. I'm not disowning it, but they're not written by me. I mean, what's important is what I sign off on, what I'm saying, and what I am communicating through the commercials.


UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Rick Lazio, the more you know, the more you wonder.


BUCKLEY: Lazio saying a recent series of commercials from Mrs. Clinton represent the truly negative campaign.

LAZIO: I'm not the one. Hillary Clinton's the one who's out there trying to distort my record, attack me every day. I'm not the one who's got six negative ads hammering her. She's the one who's committed herself now to a negative campaign.

BUCKLEY: Mrs. Clinton was asked about the ads during a town hall-style meeting.

H. CLINTON: I think that providing information about people's record and their positions is absolutely fair. So that, for example, I know that my opponent has, you know, complained that I have pointed out some of the votes that he has taken. I haven't called him any names. I will never call him a name. So far as I know, he's a nice person. I don't have any personal animus toward him.

BUCKLEY: Mrs. Clinton is calling this swing of her campaign the "Upstate Economic Tour."

H. CLINTON: Last summer, I came to listen, and today, I'd like to offer a plan.

BUCKLEY: Clinton hoping to draw a contrast to Lazio's current campaign tour, which is largely focused on legislative accomplishments rather than policy proposals.

H. CLINTON: Remember in 1992 when they said "It's the economy stupid?" Well, I still think it's the economy.

BUCKLEY (on camera): The aggressive campaigning by both candidates in upstate New York, an indication of how importance this region is in winning a statewide election. Voters here are hoping both candidates will be as interested in the area after Election Day.

Frank Buckley, CNN, Johnson City, New York.


WOODRUFF: And we are joined now by New York Congressman Charles Rangel, a supporter of Hillary Clinton in this Senate race. We were also hoping to have join us Republican Congressman Thomas Reynolds, who backs Rick Lazio. However, for technical reasons, we can't get a signal out of Buffalo.

But, Congressman Rangel, we are delighted to have you with us. Thank you.

REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: Good to be back.

WOODRUFF: How tough is upstate for Hillary Clinton?

RANGEL: It's rough for anyone that's not really from upstate. It would be rough on New York City person, and it's rough for a Long Island person, but both of these candidates are really campaigning, and they can really make the difference.

WOODRUFF: When the campaign of Rick Lazio puts out a letter calling Mrs. Clinton and her husband embarrassments to the country, is this really confirming that she is tarred with the problems of this administration and of her husband?

RANGEL: No, when you take a look at the popularity that her husband enjoys in New York State, the fact that he won by over 2 million votes, I think Rick is making one big mistake not to put this thing back in the bottle. This is one thing you had can say, I signed the letter, but I didn't write the letter, or I mailed it, but I didn't say it.

WOODRUFF: If he wants to fake up his impeachment vote against Clinton and bring it to this campaign, you can't mumble about it. Either you do it or don't on do it. And I think he's doing it.

WOODRUFF: Well, when he was asked about this, he pointed the finger back at Mrs. Clinton and he said she's the one who's been criticizing me day after day since I got into this race?

RANGEL: Well that is true. And the problem that Rick has is that he has been a Republican that does not belong to that mean- spirited group on the right that controls the Republican Party, and so he, likes so many Republicans in our great New York delegation, have sometimes resisted voting with them. But what Mrs. Clinton is pointing out, is that when these issues now become to the forefront, and people want to distinguish between a Republican and a Democratic, then the record is there.

I've had to change my positions on a lot of things since I became the senior member on a national committee. Rick has done that, and you can't run away from it. And that is true whether you're talking about affordable drugs, where the Democratic position is that you enroll the person in Medicare. The Republican position is that you feed the insurance company. You can go do gun control, the rights to choose, education, and when you talk about these things, you will find that after the smoke clears and the vote is there, Rick Lazio was voting with the conservative Republicans.

WOODRUFF: Congressman, let me ask you about what the Republicans are saying about Mrs. Clinton's apparent new willingness now on the question of certain late-term abortions. We know that the opponents call it partial-birth abortion. She's now saying that she'd be willing to go along with this, with this ban, if the exception were expanded to include the health of the mother as well as the life of the mother. The Republicans are saying that she'll say or do anything to get elected?

RANGEL: Well, it's a very sensitive subject. And I think whether we're talking about Rick or Mrs. Clinton, that someone who is willing to study the issue, and get a feeling of what the public really wants and they come down with a position, then I think that's reasonable. Rick has studied the issue, and he's decided that a woman's right to choose is good, except that if you're poor and you can't afford it, then he doesn't want to give any help. I don't see anything wrong with people analyzing their position and coming up with something that they had before. The fact is, once you do that, you're stuck with that issue.

WOODRUFF: What issue, congressman, do you think is going to determine the outcome of this race?

RANGEL: Well, the one that's most current is affordable drugs for our seniors and this is something that no one can waffle on, and that is that we got a pretty good health care system, even though in the country 40 million people are excluded from it. You have to remember whether she did it right or she did it wrongly, she will be known saying that we should have universal coverage, and no one can deny that everyone should have health coverage.

But now we find a point that even those people who are covered, and they're old and they're on fixed incomes, that they can't afford their drugs. We believe that anyone who looks at our health system and believes everyone should be covered, that prescription drugs should be a part of it, not funding to HMOs, not funding the insurance company, but protecting the person. I really think that that's the big issue that's going to distinguish between Rick Lazio and Hillary Clinton. WOODRUFF: All right, Representative Charles Rangel of New York, we thank you very much.

And once again we represent that representative -- we are were not able to get Thomas Reynolds, a Republican congressman, on to join us.

Once again, thank you, Congressman.

RANGEL: thank you.

WOODRUFF: And up next, the would-be opponent for Senator Ted Kennedy. But can Jack E. Robinson get his name on the ballot?


WOODRUFF: Republican Jack E. Robinson says he has dreamed of running for the U.S. Senate since he was 10 years old. But today, Robinson's bid to challenge Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy is in jeopardy.

From Boston, our Bill Delaney takes a look at Robinson's troubled campaign.


BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Amid allegations of everything from roughing up two girlfriends to once carrying a concealed kung fu weapon, you could understand Republican Jack E. Robinson saying at this point, the heck with trying to unseat long- enthroned Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy this fall. Well, forget it.

ROBINSON: It's the Kennedy machine at work, but I'm a tough person. So it hasn't been fun, these attacks, but we got over them, and we'll get over this hurdle, and we will be on the ballot, hook or by crook, I guarantee you that.

DELANEY: The hurdle right now, though, Robinson's off the Massachusetts ballot for allegedly forging 90 signatures of 10,000 on his nomination papers -- publicity long-odds candidacies don't typically thrive on.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On the left are some of the signatures on Jack Robinson's petitions. On the right, the authentic signatures of registered Republicans. Do they match?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that your signature?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is not my signature. DELANEY: Robinson is contesting the ballot commission's decision in state supreme court, saying overzealous supporters may be responsible. But he needs an injection of good luck. Earlier this year, conducting a live radio interview, he even got in a car accident.


ROBINSON: Just because the governor doesn't think that there could be -- I just got in an accident.


DELANEY: As for allegations against him, besides those forged petitions, he admits he did once fail to pay a speeding ticket, nothing else.

ROBINSON: Let's just say that I'll put my driving record against Senator Kennedy's any day.

QUESTION: A former girlfriend took out a restraining order on you, claiming you forced sex on her one night.

ROBINSON: It was a lie. And I answered these allegations in court, and the judge threw them out.

QUESTION: The dangerous weapon, the star-shaped kung fu gizmo -- what was that all about?

ROBINSON: Well unfortunately, I had been at a dinner at a restaurant, and it ended up in my coat pocket somehow. I'd never seen one before, haven't seen one since, but the case was dismissed.

DELANEY: As for why he wants Kennedy's seat, he says, among other things, the senator won't lower taxes, supports teacher's unions, and is the biggest abuser of soft money in the Senate. But at the moment, Kennedy looks like a good bet for re-election. The state Republican Party is not endorsing Robinson, making the millionaire Harvard Law and business school grad just maybe the loneliest candidate in the country.

(on camera): Robinson does plan to be at the Republican convention, an awkward presence, most likely, with his court cases by then unlikely to be resolved. Still, being a Republican in traditionally Democratic Massachusetts has often been a bit like showing up here at Fenway Park in a Yankees cap. It can get awkward.

Bill Delaney, CNN, Boston.


SHAW: And sometimes dangerous.

Now to the House of Representative races with Charlie Cook of "The National Journal."

Priority number one, control of the House by both parties -- how is it playing out?

CHARLIE COOK, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": Anybody that's sure what's going to happen, I am convinced they no one knows what's going on. This is going to be a photo finish. You -- first of all, a couple of things, one, the economy in such strong shape. Neither party is behaving in a suicidal way. There are no -- neither party is likely to have a lot of coattails in a presidential election. I think we're -- you know, in the worst of years, 88 percent of incumbents get elected to the House; the best of years, 98.3 is the record. Average 94, 95. This time, I think we're going to see 98, maybe even 99 percent of all House incumbents get re-elected.

SHAW: Ninety-nine percent, everybody currently holding a seat.

COOK: There will be about 400 members running, and probably 98, 99 percent of them will get re-elected, which means there's only going to be somewhere between four and 10 who will lose. And so in each of these races, you look at, and say, if only 4-10 out of the entire House are going to lose, which ones will it be? But it's clear that if Democratic were to get the majority back, they're going to have to do it in open seats, because they're just not enough incumbent targets out there for them to make up the six-seat gap that they have to close.

SHAW: And you point out in your report out that the Democrats have fewer open seats.

COOK: Right, because, Democrats have the fewest number of open seats of any party since 1950. So they've given Republicans fewer opportunities for pickups.

Now Republicans do have some very good ones. For example, in Pennsylvania and in Virginia, they're a couple of ones that Republicans probably will pick up. There's only a couple of them. But by and large, if the Democrats are going to do it, they're going to have to do it in the open seats.

SHAW: OK, let's go to the electorate college to see how things are playing out. And I noticed that, where Al Gore is concerned, he is leading in two battleground states, Illinois and New Jersey. That's very interesting.

COOK: Well it's an interesting pitch, where if you -- we put together 13 states, plus the District of Columbia, where Gore is ahead, and that does include two key states, Illinois and New Jersey. And New Jersey used to be a right on the edge kind of battleground state, but this year, Democrats are performing particularly well, and in Illinois.

But, basically, it's 194 electoral votes -- 13 states, plus the District of Columbia -- as a base. So, he's got 194. He needs 270. So he's got to get a big chunk out of that toss-up column.

SHAW: Let's go to Governor Bush now.

COOK: Bush leads in 25 states with 231 electoral votes. He's got 18 states that are solidly in his column, 140, and then one state likely, and six states that are leaning his way. Key in those are Florida and Ohio. And again, Ohio is a state that normally is a toss- up state, but right now, it's leaning to Governor Bush. And then we go to the toss-up.

In the toss-up, we've got 12 states with 113 electoral votes. And you see, it's some of the usual ones: Michigan, Pennsylvania, for example; but some that are interesting. For example, Kentucky usually has a little bit of a Democratic tilt to it; Washington State, Wisconsin, Oregon, those are states where Democrats usually do a little bit better. But this year, they're in the toss-up category. So, there is a few differences from history, but by and large, it is falling along normal lines.

SHAW: And to put a postscript on all this, Charlie Cook, could control of the House really turn on whether George Bush or Al Gore has coattails?

COOK: I am not a big fan of the coattail theory. I think that just because someone votes for one party for president, that it doesn't make them much more likely to vote for that party for the House of Representatives. In fact, there is a lot of argument that people like divided government. They like the idea of one party controlling one end of Pennsylvania Avenue, the other party, the other. Although I don't think anybody really, deliberately consciously votes that way.

But, I think what can happen is, if a candidate begins to win by a big enough margin that it's pretty clear who is going to win, then the supporters of the other side -- a lot of time they are disillusioned, their guy is going to lose -- and they just don't show up. And if they don't show up for president, they're not showing up for Senate, for governor, for House, and down the line. So, when there is some kind of a coattails, it's usually disillusionment on one side or the other. But most of the time when's there a pop, it's a pop in a midterm election, not a presidential.

SHAW: Not a presidential. OK, Charlie Cook of the "National Journal," thanks very much.

Up next here on INSIDE POLITICS:


GORE: The Al Gore version of the Macarena.


SHAW: Did Al Gore take his dancing skills, or lack thereof, more seriously than we might think?


WOODRUFF: As Al Gore keeps working to rev up his campaign and his poll numbers, he actually is facing some questions of self- improvement. SHAW: A reporter asked Gore yesterday what he might change about himself if he could. Did the vice president dwell on his political skill or persona? Apparently not.

WOODRUFF: But his answer did take some thought.


GORE: Ah, let's see. I think that I would like to be a better dancer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tipper says you're a great dancer.

GORE: Well, you know, I'd like other people to feel the same way.


WOODRUFF: Well, you can judge Gore's dancing for yourself. Perhaps he is hoping to learn some new steps in case he has a new round of inaugural balls to attend early next year.

What do you think, does he have rhythm?

SHAW: I think so.

WOODRUFF: Pretty good. Not bad.

SHAW: And finally, birthday wishes to former first lady Nancy Reagan; 77 years old today. And if you are watching, all the best. She usually watches.

WOODRUFF: That's right, all the best.

SHAW: That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. You can go online all the time at CNN's

WOODRUFF: And this programming note, as we mentioned earlier: the mud-slinging of the New York Senate race is the topic on CNN's "CROSSFIRE," with guests James Carville and Mike Murphy. It starts at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.

I'm Judy Woodruff.

SHAW: And I'm Bernard Shaw.

"WORLDVIEW" is next.



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