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Bush Nearing Choice on Running Mate; Poll Shows Gore Closing Gap With Bush Among Likely VotersAired July 17, 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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GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... saying the lists are shrinking and growing are over. I'm getting closer to a decision.
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JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: George W. Bush closer to choosing a No. 2 with the party convention fast approaching.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: ... is Al Gore gaining on the Republican hopeful? A look at the polls as the Gore staff gets a pep talk.
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BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): So Al Gore is planning to campaign by boat, and George W. Bush by train? Well, there are precedents, of course.
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WOODRUFF: Our Bruce Morton on planes, trains and presidential politics.
ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Judy Woodruff and Bernard Shaw.
SHAW: Thanks for joining us.
Amid signs that Vice President Al Gore may be closing the gap in the presidential race, Texas Governor George W. Bush's search for a running mate is taking on a new urgency. And while the code of silence around Bush's deliberations remains unbroken, a decision may be near.
CNN's Jonathan Karl has our report.
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): George W. Bush insists he still hasn't decided on a running mate, but he's getting close.
BUSH: The days of the list expanding and shrinking are over. It's now not expanding.
KARL: As VP speculation intensifies, the Bush team is in bunker mode, revealing little about the governor's search for a running mate. But Bush's convention point man seemed to confirm the timing of Bush's decision.
ANDREW CARD, GENERAL CO-CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION: The Republicans that will be gathering in Philadelphia will nominate a great candidate for president and a great candidate for vice president. And we'll find out before then who it is.
KARL: So the choice will be announced before the convention, right?
CARD: We're ready at the convention to accommodate whatever decision the governor makes.
KARL: Bush would not say how short the list is, but over the weekend he spent three hours huddled with Dick Cheney, his VP search coordinator.
Bush has begun preparing for his debates with Al Gore, even though the first debate may be more than two months away. He has started reviewing tapes of Gore's previous debates and meeting with his debate prep team.
The Bush team sees Sunday's talk show appearances of Gore and Bush as a precursor to the debates, and they are calling one of Gore's exchanges with Tim Russert the kind of blunder Bush hopes to exploit in the debates.
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TIM RUSSERT, HOST: It's a federal statue on the books that if a woman is pregnant and she's on death row, she should not be executed.
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I don't know what the circumstances would be in that situation. I would -- you know, it's an interesting fact situation. I'd want to think about it.
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BUSH: Yesterday I understand this question came up in a morning talk show, and my opponent refused to take a position on this. And it doesn't matter what your position is on abortion or on the death penalty, we shouldn't put a pregnant woman to death.
KARL: Bush made his comments after a campaign stop in Little Rock, Arkansas, his third trip to President Clinton's home state since he clinched the nomination.
(on camera): Bush will be back in Arkansas a week from Friday to kick off a five-day campaign trip to the Republican convention, a trip that will also include stops in Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and West Virginia -- all states Republican presidential candidates lost in the last two elections.
Jonathan Karl, CNN, Little Rock, Arkansas.
WOODRUFF: And now Al Gore is in his home state of Tennessee. The Democratic presidential candidate gave a pep talk today to staff members at his campaign headquarters, and it turns out he has his plans for a unique campaign trip of his own.
CNN's Bill Delaney reports from Nashville.
BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Al Gore rallying the troops.
GORE: Thank you. Please, thank you very much for that enthusiasm. I feel it, thank you.
DELANEY: Back home -- sort of -- in Nashville, his first trip to a new headquarters building there, having moved his campaign to Tennessee last October to prove his connection to the Heartland, speaking to his staff from the heart.
GORE: Our world in a very real way is at stake. So what's holding you back? Give it everything that you have got and then some, and you will look back on this time as the most exciting period of change in our country, a time when you made possible the brightest and best decades of America's entire history.
Let's win this thing. Thank you.
DELANEY: A good distance from the Potomac, but with rivers still on the mind.
(on camera): In the wake of the Democratic convention in 1992, Al Gore famously joined Bill Clinton for a bus tour. After this year's convention, Gore plans a variation on that theme, afloat on the Mississippi and in the Great Lakes -- a boat tour grazing several important Midwest states.
Campaign staffers say Gore himself dreamed up the idea.
MARK FABIANI, GORE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: He believes that the election will be won up or down the Mississippi. You've got a huge number of swing states in that vicinity. You've got a lot of Americans who are going to be on vacation in that area in August. It's a great way to reach and talk to the swing voters in this election. DELANEY: The strategy, most fundamentally: just to get voters, once and for all, to pay attention, especially those swing voters whose arc, right or left, will decide the election.
Bill Delaney, CNN, Nashville.
SHAW: A new CNN/"USA Today" Gallup poll is suggesting Vice President Gore's making progress with voters.
In a survey conducted over the weekend, 48 percent of the likely voters gave their support to Bush and 46 percent backed Gore. Just last week, the gap was much wider, with 50 percent for Bush and 41 percent for Gore.
CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider is here to sort things out.
Bill, what's making Gore's numbers rise?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Bernie, two things. No. 1, women -- well, they're not a thing, but they're an important constituency, and they're rallying to Gore. Take a look.
Last week, Bush and Gore were virtually tied among women voters. Now Gore has opened up a seven-point lead among women. We're seeing almost no change among men. The shift to Gore is especially pronounced among younger women. What's happened to rally them to Gore?
Well, a few weeks ago, the Supreme Court struck down a Nebraska law banning late-term abortions. The margin was 5-4. Ever since, Gore has been warning that a change of one vote on the Supreme Court could threaten abortion rights. Gore seems to have hit paydirt on that issue among younger women.
SHAW: You said there were two reason. What's the other?
SCHNEIDER: Bill Bradley's endorsement. The other big shift to Gore came among independents. Last week, independents were going strongly for Bush. Now Gore has picked up 12 points among independents, making the race among independents virtually a tie. The shift to Gore is especially strong among independents who say they lean Democratic.
Now independent Democrats are a distinctive group -- educated, affluent, suburban liberals. They were Bill Bradley's core supporters in the primaries. Now what makes independent Democrats especially important is that they are also Ralph Nader's strongest supporters. Nader's getting 20 percent of their vote. So Bradley may be crucial in holding those voters for Gore and keeping any more of them from drifting away to Nader -- Bernie.
SHAW: Thank you, Bill Schneider -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: And joining us now, Jay Carney of "TIME" magazine and Beth Fouhy, the executive producer of the CNN political unit.
Thank you both for being here.
Jay Carney, what about these better numbers for Al Gore? What does this due to? Can we put our finger on it?
JAY CARNEY, "TIME": Well, I think Gore was never in as much trouble as he seemed to be when some of those polls showed 12-13 percent. I think the rule of thumb with polling this early in the game is you throw out the high polls and you throw out the low polls and you average what's left. And what you've got is a race that's about 5 or 6 point. That's what I think it is.
The problem for Gore is the national numbers may be looking better, but the state-by-state numbers are really bad. He's behind in states he can't afford to lose -- Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin. A Democrat loses Minnesota, he might lose the entire country. That's still not good for Gore. So he's still behind.
BETH FOUHY, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, CNN POLITICAL UNIT: Yes, but, you know, something Bill said in his analysis is the fact that Gore is finally starting to solidify his base a bit more. This has been a thing that the Bush campaign has really been banking on, that Gore would really be struggling just to hold on to the people who ought to be Democrats based on past performance.
This poll, if we're to believe it as something that's a sign of things to come, shows the people who would have been with Gore, should have been with Gore, are moving back toward him, in which case he's going to be able to start working the states, state by state, individual demographics as much as possible in order to get the people in those key battleground states back his way. So I think this is a very good sign for him actually.
WOODRUFF: Jay, Bill Schneider also mentioned Ralph Nader. How much should the Gore people be sweating him?
CARNEY: Well they should be sweating him, although I think -- especially the impact he might have on particular states like California. I expect, and this is entirely predictive, that Nader may be hitting a high point at this -- you know, I don't think one of these third- or fourth-party candidates are going to get anything close to 10 percent of the vote.
Nader's had a lot of attention the last month. He was nominated by the Green Party, he's been in a lot of the press reports. Pat Buchanan's been completely below the radar solidifying his support within the Reform Party. Once Pat Buchanan gets that $12 million he's got to spend and takes it to the television sets and the living rooms of the American people, I think his numbers will rise, because he's a very effective communicator of a message that appeals to anti-trade, very conservative, pro-life voters. And I think Buchanan will rise, Nader will fall, and they might cancel each other out.
FOUHY: I think that may be true, except the point you made before about the individual states, taking California out, which I think at this point Gore is doing well enough in that maybe Nader isn't such a huge threat there. He definitely is in Oregon and Washington, Michigan and Connecticut, all of which are huge states: again, must-have states for Gore. If he's spending time battling Nader in those states rather than battling Bush, it just sets him back several steps that he doesn't need to be set back.
But I agree with Jay. I mean, I think that Nader has been able to capitalize on some attention right now and done a very good job with it, whereas Buchanan still -- he's a work in progress. We don't know what role he's going to play as of yet.
WOODRUFF: What about on the vice presidential front, Jay? What are you hearing in terms of Gore?
CARNEY: On Gore, one thing I'm hearing, to my surprise, is that despite a story that we had in the magazine last week about Bob Graham and his incredible diaries, which a lot of people thought doomed Bob Graham, the senator from Florida, and his chances to be Gore's vice president, the vice president still is thinking very seriously, and partly or largely because Graham hails from a state that could be competitive if he's on the ticket: Florida, a very important state.
I mean, Bush -- Gore would love to force Bush to compete in a state where his brother is governor.
WOODRUFF: Even with Bush's brother as governor?
CARNEY: Even with Bush's brother as governor. And he also -- I think this is very important for Gore. If he doesn't pick Bob Graham, there's really no other Southerner, except for Governor Jim Hunt of now North Carolina, who's on the list. If Gore doesn't pick a Southerner, I think he concedes the South. And one of the keys to Clinton winning the last two times was that he forced Republicans to fight some key states in the South. And if Gore doesn't do that, I think it's a problem for him.
FOUHY: I also think that last week was a, if I were the Gore campaigner, a rather alarming high-profile dance with Dick Gephardt, who basically was out there saying, yes, I've been approached once. It was divulged that he'd eaten breakfast with Gore at his home. That yes, he'd been approached, but he really didn't want the job.
Now, that is a funny way to go about doing this dance. I mean, he is -- his people around him have said that he would accept the position if Gore came to him and said, it's got to be you, it's the only way I'm going to win. But that would be about the only scenario in which he'd accept it.
I wouldn't imagine that Gore would want him under those circumstances, and to have to go for somebody like Dick Gephardt, who's so reluctant to take it, again to just solidify that base, would be a not very strong position from Gore to begin from. But it was a kind of funny -- funny little dating, mating ritual that was going on last week.
WOODRUFF: Just a short time left. Jay, some stories surfacing last week about Bush in Texas, his record as governor, a shortfall in the state budget, a story in the last few days about money unspent for low-income kids for school lunches. Is any of this going to matter, hurt Bush?
CARNEY: Oh, I think so. I think that this -- to the extent that Gore has had any good days in the last three months, he had a few last week because of this. This is Bush's real record. It's not the Republicans in Congress that Gore is trying to force into an alliance with Bush. This is Bush's record in Texas. And that shortfall, while it's not a deficit, gives Bush -- Gore an opportunity to say, you know, Bush has been fiscally irresponsible in Texas and he would therefore be fiscally irresponsible with his large tax cut as president.
I think that's an opportunity for Gore, and I think he'll exploit it.
FOUHY: Yes, and they're planning, too. I mean, it's going to be the main message this entire week. In addition to crime, now Gore is kind of going back to his "New Democrat" roots rather than his populist appeal that he was doing the last couple of weeks, and going to crime and police and safety, more new Democratic issues. He's also really going to hammer on the issue of fiscal responsibility and that Texas budget. They think they've really found something that's going to be very potent for them.
WOODRUFF: All right. We are going to have to leave it there, unfortunately, but we'll see you again: Beth Fouhy, Jay Carney, thank you, both.
CARNEY: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Appreciate it.
Still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, from the old-fashioned whistlestop to the campaign bus tour, our Bruce Morton takes a look at the politics of getting there.
SHAW: The Republican National Committee is spending more than $12 million this week on a new ad featuring George W. Bush. This ad will air in 20 states, including newly targeted California, New Hampshire and Nevada. It promotes the Bush plan for education.
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NARRATOR: George Bush raised standards. Test scores soared. Texas leads the country in academic improvement.
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's easy just to spend more. Let's start by expecting more.
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SHAW: In June, the RNC ran ads in 17 states on Bush's Social Security plan. The RNC says the new education ad is intended to get people thinking about politics in advance of the upcoming GOP convention.
WOODRUFF: In an effort to capitalize on post-convention excitement, George W. Bush will put his campaign to the rails in the Midwest and California. And as Bill Delaney reported, Al Gore's post- convention plans include a boat tour of the Midwest waterways.
In his "Campaign Journal," our Bruce Morton says both candidates are following a long tradition.
MORTON (voice-over): So Al Gore is planning to campaign by boat and George W. Bush by train. Well, there are precedents, of course: Bob Dole boarded the Bell of Louisville for a paddle down the Ohio four years ago. He lost, of course, but he was imitating Ronald Reagan in 1980, and he won, though Jimmy Carter, the loser, did a boat trip, too. No clear moral there.
Train campaigns? Everyone's done those, winners and losers. Once upon a time, candidates campaigned full-time by train. Harry Truman was the last of those, and he won a famous upset, beating New York Republican Thomas Dewey. "The Chicago Tribune" famously got it wrong and Truman loved it.
Dwight Eisenhower, four years later, was the first to campaign by plane. Speed mattered more, because candidates were trying to hit as many TV markets as they could. Real campaigning on TV may have started with the John Kennedy-Richard Nixon debates in 1960.
Candidates campaign on foot. Lawton Chiles won the governorship of Florida that way. Lamar Alexander won in his Tennessee, too, but walking in New Hampshire did not get him elected president.
Bill Bradley used to campaign in New Jersey by walking along the beach, which seemed to work there.
Sometimes, presidents campaign from the Rose Garden looking presidential. Jimmy Carter beat off Edward Kennedy's primary challenge that way in 1980, but of course, lost to Reagan in the fall.
Sometimes they hurry. Democrat William Jennings Bryan, the boy orator of the Platte, made 30 speeches in 30 places in a single day campaigning against William McKinley in 1896.
McKinley spent the campaign on his front porch, chatted with voters and any reporters who dropped by, and won.
Buses are good sometimes. Bill Clinton and Al Gore took off on a bus tour after their 1992 convention, and they were a big hit.
MORTON: It's all unpredictable, of course. I remember a George Bush train swing through the Carolinas in '92, the president out on the back of the train with a loud-hailer saying hello to voters along the track, and then saying to someone inside the car, "No, nobody's mooned us yet."
We reporters saw this about 10 cars back, later on videotape, and promptly asked a press aide, "What on Earth is he talking about?"
"Well," she said, "weren't any of you guys on the Michigan train trip a couple of weeks ago?" No, we hadn't been. "Well," the aide said, "on that trip, the president was mooned seven -- count them -- seven, times, once by an entire family." Judy, you never know. I've had a picture ever since: Mom and Dad saying, "OK, finish your Corn Flakes kid, it's time to go moon the president."
WOODRUFF: Which makes me tempted to ask if you know of any other presidential candidates who have been mooned.
MORTON: Well, I don't know of any who have confessed to it, or who asked about it on videotape. No -- we have not probably done the world's best research here, I have got to tell you that.
WOODRUFF: But your assignment now, Bruce, between now and the conventions is to find out. Isn't this really all about just getting -- you talked about having moving, walking trains -- but it's all about changing the pictures and getting more coverage, isn't it?
MORTON: Sure, changing the pictures, trying to get folks interested. People don't get interested early. And anything you can do, I think -- you know, whether it's hula hoops or whatever -- to get them paying attention at your convention, right after your convention, helps you.
WOODRUFF: All right, you know your assignment now...
MORTON: I'll try.
WOODRUFF: ... between now and the conventions. Bruce Morton -- Bernie.
SHAW: Well, there is much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS.
Still to come:
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REP. RICK LAZIO (R-NY), SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Who would have believed quite frankly. And I think one of the things that is disappointing about this is that New Yorkers don't know who to believe.
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SHAW: Rick Lazio chimes in on allegations against Hillary Rodham Clinton. The latest from New York, including the first lady's response.
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KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Both men are known throughout Virginia, both are former governors, but the similarities end there.
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WOODRUFF: Kate Snow on the competitive Senate race in Virginia.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please welcome Karenna Gore Schiff.
FOUHY: It's another day the at office for Al Gore's eldest daughter.
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SHAW: Our Beth Fouhy on a daughter's campaign contribution.
WOODRUFF: We will have more of today's political news coming up. But now a look at some other top stories.
Authorities are combing a Seattle suburb for a 13-year-old boy that they believe opened fire with a handgun inside a middle school cafeteria during summer classes. Witnesses say the boy stood up on a table, fired at least one shot into the ceiling, and then ordered students to get up on the cafeteria's stage. There were several students in the cafeteria at the time, but no one reportedly was hurt.
SHAW: We are about to find out how much microwave energy goes into the heads of cell-phone users. Manufacturers will begin reporting radiation data August 1st. In about six months, SAR, or specific absorbed radiation numbers, will begin to appear in product literature and on cell- phone boxes. The cellular Telecommunication Industry Association maintains all cell phones sold in the United States are safe.
White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart says the pace and the intensity have both quickened at the Camp David Mideast peace summit. And after two very long nights of talks, U.S., Israeli, and Palestinian officials could pull another late-nighter. So far, there's been no agreement between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
WOODRUFF: A passenger plane burst into flames after crashing in Eastern India this morning, killing at least 56 people. A witness reported seeing one of the plane's engines on fire before it slammed into two houses in the city of Patna.
CNN's Satinder Bindra reports. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
SATINDER BINDRA, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Authorities say several people have survived this crash. The accident happened when a 20-year-old Boeing 737 was coming into land at Patna Airport. Aviation officials tell CNN the domestic Indian airliner then clipped a bridge and crashed into a row of houses about two kilometers, or one mile, from the airport. The plane was carrying 52 passengers and six crew members. Several people on the ground are also believed to have been killed. India's minister for civil aviation has confirmed eyewitness accounts one of the planes engines was on fire just before it crashed.
(on camera): Eyewitnesses say there was complete chaos here just after the accident. No ambulances were seen on the site for a while, but screaming relatives, policemen and area residents quickly surrounded the plane and managed to pull out several passengers from the burning wreckage.
(voice-over): The survivors are being treated at a local hospital. Many have burn and concussion injuries. Relatives of passengers and crew members have now been flown to the crash site.
The crashed plane is part of Air Alliance, owned by the state- operated Indian Airlines. The plane's last major checkup was done on June 29. Aviation officials say haze surrounded the airport at the time of the crash. But they say flying conditions were acceptable.
The army is now assisting civilian authorities at the crash site. Investigators have also reached the scene and are trying to establish the cause of the crash.
Satinder Bindra, CNN, Patna, Eastern India.
SHAW: And when INSIDE POLITICS continues: Are allegations of an ethnic slur 25 years ago affecting that New York Senate race?
WOODRUFF: Hillary Rodham Clinton's New York Senate campaign is on the defensive today. The first lady denies a report that she used an anti-Semitic slur 25 years ago.
But, as CNN's Frank Buckley reports, Mrs. Clinton's Republican opponent isn't letting her off the hook.
FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Congressman Rick Lazio, appearing at a school in Harlem, finally broke his silence on the allegation leveled at first lady Hillary Clinton, suggesting his opponent in the New York Senate race could have made an anti-Semitic remark during a heated argument in 1974. REP. RICK LAZIO (D-NY), NEW YORK SENATE CANDIDATE: This is a sort of he-said, they-said situation. Three people say Mrs. Clinton said one thing, Mrs. Clinton is saying that she did not say it. I don't know who to believe, quite frankly. And I think one of the things that's disappointing about this is that New Yorkers don't know who to believe.
BUCKLEY: Mrs. Clinton, appearing on Ellis Island, said her political opponents are drawing material from what she called "a warehouse of insults."
HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK SENATE CANDIDATE: I think it's regrettable that there is an accusation of that venality that is made, and I can only stating unequivocally it did not happen.
BUCKLEY: This is the anti-Semitic remark attributed to Mrs. Clinton, coming in a new book authored by a former "National Enquirer" reporter, the alleged remark directed at Paul Fray, Bill Clinton's chief campaign aide in his unsuccessful 1974 run for Congress. Fray, a Southern Baptist who says his great-grandfather was Jewish, saying from Arkansas that he stands by the allegation.
PAUL FRAY, FORMER CLINTON AIDE: Well, I think that it's going to be obvious that the statement was made because it was made to me. My wife heard it, and the point is that if she refutes it, that's fine. She can't refute it because, in fact, it was made.
BUCKLEY: Fray is one of three people who say Mrs. Clinton made the statement. Fray's wife says she, too, heard the defamatory comment. And a third person, Neil McDonald, a then 23-year-old college coordinator of the Clinton campaign, told CNN, "I don't know what provoked it or what. I just remember that one little comment."
Sunday, Mrs. Clinton, her voice packed with emotion, strongly denied the allegation.
H. CLINTON: I am really angry. I am very angry. But, you know, I have learned a long time ago that the people who generate this kind of stuff are really hoping to divert attention from what's important.
BUCKLEY: Mrs. Clinton's campaign also released a 1997 letter from Fray, apologizing for previous comments he'd made regarding the first lady, which read in part, "At one time in my life, I would say things without thinking, without factual foundation and without rhyme or remedy unless it furthered my agenda."
The president also released a statement on the matter, saying, "I was there on election night in 1974, and this charge is simply not true.
But some Jewish leaders in New York who have been critical of the Clintons in the past were not ready to dismiss the allegation.
JOSEPH FRAGER, JERUSALEM RECLAMATION PROJECT: We, the Jewish people, always remember, for thousands of years, mind you, what people have said about us. And we will not forget what Hillary Clinton said about is 26 years ago.
BUCKLEY: But leaders in other organizations, among them the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee, believe Mrs. Clinton.
DAVID HARRIS, AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE: But there have been no similar allegations that have surfaced in the last 26 years, and this story itself suddenly surfaces in the middle of a very heated Senate campaign in which the Jewish vote becomes a very important factor.
BUCKLEY (on camera): Mrs. Clinton says she considered not responding to the allegation at all but decided to come forward because it cut to the core of who she is. And in the end, voters will, as see put it, see through this.
Frank Buckley, CNN, New York.
SHAW: The Senate race in Virginia is also getting national scrutiny. Incumbent Democrat Chuck Robb is facing a challenge by former Governor George Allen.
And, as CNN's Kate Snow reports, the eventual outcome is anybody's guess.
CROWD: Six more years, six more years.
SNOW (voice-over): Virginia Senator Chuck Robb may be facing the toughest race of his political career. The two-term Democrat squeaked by controversial Iran-contra figure Oliver North in 1994, but is now being challenged by a popular former governor.
SEN. CHARLES ROBB (D), VIRGINIA: I need to get out and meet as many people as I can, find a way to get my message, talk about some of the things that I have done over the last 12 years, what I want to do over the next six years.
GEORGE ALLEN (R), VIRGINIA SENATE CANDIDATE: Good morning -- George Allen.
SNOW: Republican George Allen came on strong earlier this year, trouncing Robb in some early polls. But now the race is a dead heat. Both men are known throughout Virginia. Both are former governors. But the similarities end there.
ALLEN: See, these bumper stickers are great for covering up rust spots, too.
SNOW: Analysts say Allen is a true Southern conservative, a pro- growth candidate who's been criticized for his environmental record and relationship with African-American leaders. Allen calls himself a common-sense Jeffersonian conservative. He believes in a smaller role for the federal government. ALLEN: It's really appealing to everyone. We're not conceding any vote. We're not conceding a square inch of Virginia. So we're going out and talking to all the people of Virginia.
SNOW: He plays Senator Robb as a Washington insider who no longer relates to hard-working Virginians. In recent weeks, Allen has seized high gas prices as an issue. Although Senator Robb never voted for it at the time, Allen tells voters at gas stations the senator once supported a 50-cent hike.
ALLEN: He would've added $9 to that. You'd be paying $36 for this fill-up rather than $26.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't need his help.
ROBB: Most of my Republican office holders and friends are more comfortable on the attack than they are defending ideas.
All right, good morning.
SNOW: Robb's style is more subdued. Analysts say he's a middle- of-the-road Democrat, but one who may be more liberal than many of his constituents. He calls himself fiscally conservative, but socially more progressive.
Robb says this election is a classic contest. Voters will see a clear-cut choice at election time.
ROBB: I think that there are enough differences on the basic meat-and-potatoes issues. Things like education we've already been debating at some length. Differences in the environment, difference in priorities is whether you build schools or prisons.
SNOW: Allen has more cash on hand, nearly $4 million at last report. Robb's campaign has closer to $3 million. Both candidates pledge to fight to the end, spending hours on the road traveling from one end of the state to the other.
MARK ROZELL, CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY: Two powerhouse candidates going at it right now. All the polls indicate that to date it's a very competitive, close race.
SNOW (on camera): Suburban voters will be key. Northern Virginia is a hotbed of growth, and many newcomers don't know Robb or Allen. The race may come down to which candidate is most able to appeal to their needs.
Kate Snow, CNN, Falls Church, Virginia.
WOODRUFF: Senator Paul Coverdell of Georgia is in serious condition in an Atlanta hospital after two hours of surgery today. Doctors say the 61-year-old Republican suffered a cerebral hemorrhage over the weekend, but today's operation is considered a success. Coverdell serves as George W. Bush's pointman in the Senate, and he has been busy preparing for the Republican convention.
Funeral services are scheduled Wednesday for former Senator John Pastore of Rhode Island, who died over the weekend at the age of 93. Pastore was the first Italian-American to serve in the U.S. Senate. He was best known for his fiery keynote address at the 1964 Democratic National Convention, in which he denounced Republican Barry Goldwater as a captive of extremists.
INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.
WOODRUFF: In a sign that the presidential campaign has entered a new, more intense phase, both major party candidates appeared on Sunday talk shows yesterday. Governor Bush went on ABC's "This Week" and faced some pointed questions on the death penalty.
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BUSH: You know, there a lot of reasons to be against the death penalty. But if you ask me whether or not I think we've ever executed an innocent person, my answer to you is no, I don't believe so. And I've reviewed every single case, and I have spent a lot of time on them, as does a lot of courts and lawyers and a board of pardon paroles.
COKIE ROBERTS, CO-HOST: We'll move on. But the question is, how can you be sure?
BUSH: Well, because there's -- you can be sure by looking at the evidence and listening to the -- and listening and looking at what a lot of lawyers discussed and a lot of judges heard. This is not -- we are -- of course, we're executing people. That's the law of land. But we're making sure that the innocence or guilt question is fully answered. And that's what a court system does as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: In an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," Vice President Gore repeated his support for the federal death penalty, saying he knows of no cases of an innocent person being executed.
Gore also faced a grilling on his 1996 campaign finance activities, especially his trip to the Hsi Lai Temple.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, NBC "MEET THE PRESS")
TIM RUSSERT, CO-HOST: The Secret Service, your own staff, your own e-mail, the National Security Council, the deputy chief of staff, all calling it a fund-raiser before the fact. How can you insist you didn't know it was a fund-raiser?
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, look, Tim, this has all been aired publicly and otherwise. And those are pretty selective facts. What -- what happened was another event was set up and then canceled. And the lunch that was canceled was what a lot of that was referring to. It's all been reviewed. This has been...
RUSSERT: Do you believe now it is a fund-raiser?
GORE: You're beating a dead horse here.
RUSSERT: No, no. It's open -- under -- open investigation...
RUSSERT: And the director of the FBI and three Justice officials say it should be looked into. That's why I'm asking you.
GORE: OK, that's fine.
RUSSERT: You deserve a chance to talk about it.
Do you believe to this day it was a fund-raiser?
GORE: I believe it was not. I believe it was not.
RUSSERT: To this day?
GORE: Yes. No -- there was no request for funds, no money changed hands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: Gore and Bush's distinctive styles also were the focus of companion articles in "The Los Angeles Times." "Times" columnist and CNN political analyst Ron Brownstein and his colleague, political reporter Edwin Chen, join us now.
Tick off, gentlemen, if you would, the element that you found in their leadership characteristics? Edwin?
EDWIN CHEN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": Well, the vice president's supporters and fans will tell you he is very smart, very disciplined, very -- likes to be extremely well-prepared and pays great attention to details. His critic will say he's very smart, he's very disciplined, he pays great attention to details.
It sounds funny, but nobody argues about those qualities in Al Gore. What is of concern, including to the vice president himself, who admits this, he can take those impulses to extremes, and those are times when it has gotten him in some trouble.
RON BROWNSTEIN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": Well, Bush has had a lot of experience in the last five years, Bernie, in a situation very much like what the next president is likely to find: a narrowly divided legislature where party -- where power is precariously balanced between the parties. And he has had a very distinctive approach for dealing with that.
He has focused on building personal relationships with legislators across party lines, a real emphasis on bipartisanship. And perhaps most important, he has made substantive compromises. He has shown a willingness to move his feet in order to reach a deal.
By and large, Bush has shown that he'd rather have a deal than a fight, which is very much at odds with the prevailing ethos in Washington for most of the last six years.
And the final thing is he's very ruthless about picking his fights. Bush tries to focus in on his narrow set of issues and will go to extraordinary lengths as a chief executive to avoid being drawn into other fights, sometimes even refusing to take positions on key legislative matters until they reach his desk. Whether he could impose that kind of discipline as president would be one of the interesting questions he would face.
SHAW: One of the things that stuck out in your piece, your profile, Edwin, was that once Al Gore, after assuming all this data and background information, makes up his mind, he digs in his heels. And you have a quote in there where one of them said he might border on being hard-headed.
CHEN: Yes, he is that way. This -- we should make a distinction. There are a few issues where he has changed, but over time, such as his positions on gun control and abortion, and funding -- government funding for abortions.
But on the issues of the day, once he does assimilate all of this information and he goes about it in a very private sort of way, people say you don't really know what he's thinking until the end when he comes out with his decision, and when he reaches that, people know not to try to change his mind.
SHAW: Ron, you speak of the man you profiled as being able to make substantive compromise as governor of Texas. But might that same quality weaken the president's bully pulpit?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, yes, There are two -- there are two separate issues there, Bernie. Actually three. One is that in Texas there is a climate of compromise. There is a history of bipartisan cooperation in the legislature. And Bush very effectively played into that. Virtually every -- in fact, every major piece of legislation he's passed he has given ground to the other side. But you have a few issues here. One, in Washington, is his own party as willing to compromise as it is in Texas? Even in Texas, he got sniping from the right on his biggest initiative, the '97 tax reform, saying he gave too much ground to the Democrats.
The other issue is this: Bush puts enormous premium on maintaining cordiality in his personal relationships with the legislators, on working with them quietly, on not threatening them. Does that inhibit his ability to use what is one of the president's most effective tools, which is the bully pulpit? Because he has shown a great reluctance in Texas to really go over the head of the legislature, and obviously, that's one of the things that a president has to be able to do quite often to move his agenda here.
SHAW: On the flip side, Edwin, have these characteristics always proven beneficial? CHEN: Not always. He -- the vice president very much likes to stick to a script, and he will admit, as he did in my piece, that sometimes so much so that he cannot respond to an unanticipated surprise or some unexpected development, like when he went to China in Beijing, when the Chinese leaders surprised him with a champagne toast that he had been led to believe would not happen. He acted very awkwardly on the world diplomatic stage.
I don't think that that was a day where he got great confidence as a world leader.
SHAW: And the Chinese moustrapped the Gore staff, because it said in advance there won't be a toast
CHEN: That's right.
BROWNSTEIN: Well, you know, they really have contrasting strengths if you look at them as potential chief executives. I mean, Gore's command of detail is obviously on many issues superior to Bush's, but Bush's sort of ability to negotiate and deal with a complex political situation, a legislature in which there in no clear balance of power I think is something that speaks very well for him and gives some confidence to a lot of people that he could function in Washington if he is willing to pay the price, sort of pushing his own party in that direction, which again he had some success of doing in Texas, but it would be harder here.
SHAW: Ron Brownstein, Edwin Chen, the pieces are in yesterday's "Los Angeles Times," and to our viewers I'd commend both pieces to put in your side pocket or your first, because it's good information and insight.
And up next, a family affair. The next generation reaches out to young voters on behalf of the candidates.
WOODRUFF: George Prescott Bush was in Arlington, Virginia, today speaking with a young Hispanic Republicans group. His visit on behalf of his uncle, Governor George W. Bush, comes just days after a similar stop by Al Gore's daughter, Karenna Gore-Schiff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE P. BUSH, GOV. GEORGE BUSH'S NEPHEW: I'm glad to see Karenna take the opportunity to go out, hit the trail, speak about issues that face younger voters. Because to have representatives from diverse backgrounds that we're not accustomed to seeing, you know, just looking a few years back, looking at the past several cycles, you'll see not much of an effort reaching out to minority communities, younger voters. And it's good to see both parties compete for it.
(END VIDEO CLIP) SHAW: Well, much like the younger Bush, Karenna Gore-Schiff is spending her time on the campaign trail. Her goal: to reach younger voters and to get their support for her father's presidential bid.
Our Beth Fouhy reports.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please welcome Karenna Gore-Schiff.
FOUHY (voice-over): It's another day at the office for Al Gore's eldest daughter, her work on behalf of Gorenet, an outreach program to young voters.
But first, a bit of housekeeping.
KARENNA GORE-SCHIFF, DAUGHTER OF AL GORE: I just dropped off Wyatt. My dad's babysitting him so that I can be here.
FOUHY: A married mom and law school graduate, Karenna appears to share little with her supposedly disaffected gen-X peers. But she's made it her business to be their pioneer, urging them to drop what she calls their "ironic detachment" from politics.
GORE-SCHIFF: For all our creativity and enterprise, too many of us look at the ballot box and say, "whatever."
FOUHY: That means speaking with a decidedly generational twist -- on gun safety, the environment and control of the next Supreme Court.
GORE-SCHIFF: When you added up together, the nine justices on the court are 592 years old, which, if you count backwards, would take us to before the Spanish Inquisition.
I like your tie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
FOUHY: At $35-a-head receptions like this one, Karenna works the room like a pro. She's helped raise $30,000 for Gorenet in the last year.
Along the way, she's treated like a rock star, but can still poke fun at the turn her life has taken.
GORE-SCHIFF: Between my dad's campaign and new motherhood, sometimes I feel like I'm spending most of my time with 55-year-olds or with infants.
FOUHY: And both places are where she'll be spending the next several months.
(on camera): Karenna says her new baby and her dad's campaign will be the focus of her life through November. She's even put off taking the bar exam, postponing a career for now. (voice-over): But it was the one role, as mother of baby Wyatt, that thrust her so decisively into the other.
GORE-SCHIFF: I have to say honestly it made a difference when I had my first child and I started thinking politically in a new way. Suddenly, the cliche about the future suddenly made sense to me.
FOUHY: And so, she soldiers on -- to Chicago next week and multiple cities after that.
GORE-SCHIFF: I think that I owe it to my peers to just carry their voices with me. And I really felt that the stakes are so high, I don't want to be on the sidelines.
FOUHY: Beth Fouhy, CNN, Washington.
SHAW: And just before Beth's speech, you saw George P. Bush. Well, later this week Pat Neal will have a profile of him on the trail.
And, Judy, that's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. But, of course, you can go online all the time at CNN's allpolitics.com.
WOODRUFF: This programming note: Republican tax-cut proposals will be the topic tonight on "CROSSFIRE" at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. The guests will be Assistant Senate Majority Leader Don Nickles and White House economic adviser Gene Sperling.
I'm Judy Woodruff.
SHAW: I'm Bernard Shaw.
"WORLDVIEW" is next.
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