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GOP Convention Opens With Optimism About Party's ProspectsAired July 31, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM NICHOLSON, RNC CHAIRMAN: Today begins day one of the Bush- Cheney era.
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JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: The GOP convention opens with optimism about the party's prospects for winning back the White House.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Still on the road to Philadelphia, George W. Bush touts his wife's starring role on the convention stage tonight.
WOODRUFF: Plus, a preview of the night's main event. How important is Colin Powell as a booster for Bush.
ANNOUNCER: From the Comcast First Union Center in Philadelphia, the site of the Republican National Convention, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Judy Woodruff and Bernard Shaw, and analysts Jeff Greenfield and Bill Schneider.
SHAW: And thanks for joining us. This Republican convention resumes here in about 2 1/2 hours, and this made-for-primetime selling of the Bush-Cheney ticket will begin. Today, the presidential nominee in waiting looked forward to the evening program of music, videos and famous faces even as Democrats tried to divert voters from the GOP script.
Our Jonathan Karl is with George W. Bush in Ohio.
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before about 5,000 people in Dayton, Ohio, George W. Bush in a plug for his wife's convention speech tonight.
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She's going to talk about our priorities tonight. Our priorities are our faith, our priorities are our family, and our priorities are this great land we call America.
KARL: Earlier in the day, Mrs. Bush talked about her speech on the morning news programs. LAURA BUSH, WIFE OF GEORGE W. BUSH: I'm going to talk about George, I'm going to talk about the values we have from growing up in West Texas. I think I have the opportunity to say things about him that no one else can say, obviously.
KARL: Bush bid his wife farewell at the airport in Dayton where she flew with their twin daughters to Philadelphia.
BUSH: She's nervous for herself but she shouldn't be because she's a wonderful speaker. She's got a nice message and I'm excited for her. I'm really excited for America to get to know her and get to see her. And it's going to be very interesting watching the speech from afar.
KARL: Both Bushes practiced their speeches on teleprompter last night before about a dozen friends at the home of William DeWitt Jr., Bush's one-time business partner. At the University of Dayton, a Catholic school, Bush faced an audience hungry for a Republican victory in November.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like him a lot. It's about time we get a good God-fearing Republican back in office.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Disgusted with a lot of the stuff that's gone on the last eight years.
PROTESTERS: They're not leaving! They're not leaving! They're not leaving!
KARL: By dispatching small teams of protesters to Bush's events, Democrats hope to rain on Bush's pre-convention parade.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people have really made a good living, finally, after the years with Reagan and Bush before. We do not need another Bush in the White House.
KARL: And the Democratic National Committee is spending $3.5 million on two new ads attacking Bush's record in Texas.
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ANNOUNCER: Because, back in Texas, George W. Bush appointed a chemical company lobbyist to enforce the environmental laws, Houston is now the smog capital of the U.S.
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KARL: Bush is now addressing another overflow crowd. This one at the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. There are about 2,000 people outside this building who waited, some of them, more than two hours and were unable to get in because, as you can see, the place is completely full.
Meanwhile, Bush's senior aides were crying foul at the Democratic decision to run attack ads even before Bush formally accepts his party's nomination. They say that those ads will stand in stark contrast to what they insist will be a positive tone set at the Republican convention in Philadelphia -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Jon Karl on the road with Governor Bush. Thanks, Jon.
While most of the convention will play out in the evening, this opening day featured a morning session, the only one scheduled during this four-day event. An appearance by vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney and the nomination of George W. Bush were highlights amid the party business and welcomes.
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NICHOLSON: So it is my privilege to proclaim the 2000 Republican National Convention in session and to call it to order.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light, what so proudly we hail at the twilight's last gleaming...
LT. GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: Mr. Chairman, delegates, I proudly place the name of the current governor of the great state of Texas and the next president of the United States into nomination, George W. Bush.
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SHAW: And this evening, one of the showcase speakers of this convention will be former Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell. A party official who's seen a draft of Powell's speech says the Gulf War hero will tell Republicans they must embrace inclusiveness as a matter of course, not only in an election. He also is expected to stress the evening's theme, "leave no child behind," and solute his former boss, Dick Cheney.
Powell has been a marquee name within the party since he proclaimed his allegiance to the GOP during the '96 election cycle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AUGUST 12, 1996)
COLIN POWELL, FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: My fellow Americans, my fellow Republicans...
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SHAW: Our Bill Schneider joins us now.
Bill, we know that Colin Powell is an extremely popular figure, but how does his popularity compare with that of other politicians?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Bernie, hands down, he is the most popular public figure in America. How do we know? Let's see. Where are the voters? Look at this: 81 percent favorable. That's higher than George W. Bush then John McCain, who was a sensation this year, higher than Dick Cheney.
Does anybody dislike Colin Powell? Well, 6 percent have an unfavorable view. Remember, he was criticized by conservatives after he called himself a Rockefeller Republican in 1995. They saw him as an agent of the GOP establishment to try to take control of the Republican Party and marginalize conservatives. If he ran for president, that could happen.
SHAW: Well, why is this four-star retired Army general so popular?
SCHNEIDER: It is because he has a great story. It's the American dream story. He's the son of immigrants, grew up in the South Bronx, went to City College not Yale, like the unfortunate George W. Bush. He made his career in the institution which I think is the most democratic source of opportunity in America: the United States Army; 35 years, two tours of duty in Vietnam. People literally bought the story. "My American Journey" became an instant best-seller.
SHAW: Political repercussions of his involvement in the Gulf War?
SCHNEIDER: Well, you know, he became a hero of the Gulf War, which is, of course, a great victory for Americans. He advocated what became known as the "doctrine of invincible force": win quickly with overwhelming force, avoid American casualties and get out. That's the way Americans like to fight wars, even if it doesn't always finish the job. I point out that Saddam Hussein, 10 years later, is still in power.
He became known as a reluctant warrior. Well, you know what, most Americans are reluctant warriors. And if Bush were to indicate that Colin Powell might be secretary of state in his administration, I think a lot of people might vote for George Bush just to see Colin Powell assume that kind of position in public life -- Bernie.
SHAW: A little more pull for a cabinet secretary as opposed to a vice president, getting votes for the head of the ticket, Jeff?
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Yes, because -- well, not necessarily more, but power to consolidate that of that running. I mean, there is this widespread belief that somewhere between now and November 7, that's exactly what Bush will do either explicitly or implicitly.
But it ought to be pointed out that endorsements, particularly by people who are known to be a member of one party, aren't exactly a freight train in terms of power. Four years ago, Colin Powell, on the same night, gave a speech to this audience, or the Republican audience, praised Bob Dole. It didn't exactly have a lot of impact. I mean, I think that Powell is undoubtedly the kind of figure they want to showcase. But the idea that he can deliver votes to George Bush, I think you need to take that with about two pounds of salt. However... WOODRUFF: And...
GREENFIELD: I'm sorry, go ahead.
WOODRUFF: I was just going to say, and we know that he doesn't agree with George Bush on a number of things. I mean, abortion is certainly one.
GREENFIELD: Yes, but that's...
WOODRUFF: But that's not what he's here to talk about.
GREENFIELD: Well, also, he is -- I was told he is explicitly going to say, as he did four years ago, he is a pro-choice, Affirmative Action Republican. That's what they're hoping to communicate, that it's OK to disagree, we can have this big tent, you can vote for George Bush because, you know, look at Colin Powell, he's for him.
I do think somewhere in October that some kind of former announcement that Colin Powell will be his guy, that could have some impetus. It could put to rest some doubts about this Texas governor on foreign policy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Jeff Greenfield, Bill Schneider.
And still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, the GOP convention from the perspective of gay Republicans. A look at the politics of their cause.
Plus, demonstrating for other causes. A look at the protests in the streets of Philadelphia.
SHAW: As this GOP convention opened its session today, protesters marched here in downtown Philadelphia. Two-thousand to 3,000 demonstrators peacefully rallied against economic injustice and poverty. There were no arrests during this march. Though earlier, police arrested eight people for blocking traffic.
And inside this convention hall, the delegates approved a revised party platform, which included, among other things, a declaration against the recognition of same-sex unions or anti-discrimination laws to protect gays and lesbians. The platform also calls homosexuality -- quote -- "incompatible with military service" -- unquote.
But as Pat Neal reports, some gays and lesbians are optimistic about the party's progress on these controversial issues.
PAT NEAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): ... view the convention hall with his two daughters, including 31-year-old Mary Cheney, seen her with her father. Mary is a lesbian, and gay Republicans are encouraged by her presence in the campaign. DAVID GREER, PENNSYLVANIA, GOP COMMITTEE MEMBER: Even conservatives have gay and lesbian daughters and children.
NEAL: Across town at this event sponsored by the bipartisan Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, gay Republicans say they are gaining clout within their party.
GREER: This is the first ever, the largest ever event for gay and lesbian Republicans at a Republican National Convention.
NEAL: In fact, there are more openly gay delegates here than at any convention before.
DAVID CANTANIA, WASHINGTON D.C. DELEGATE: We have 18 ambassadors to plead our case. In 1992, we had two delegates.
NEAL: And their encouraged that an openly gay congressman, Jim Colby of Arizona, will address the convention during primetime Tuesday.
Many here give credit to George W. Bush, who has called upon the party to be more inclusive. Bush met with gay Republican elected officials back in April, but only after refusing to meet earlier in the year with Log Cabin Republicans, a gay activist group.
Other gay advocates say Bush's words are a far from the policies he'd pursue in the Oval Office.
ELIZABETH BIRCH, HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN: His positions to date have been, would, if implemented as president of the United States, would be nothing short of devastating to the gay and lesbian community of America.
NEAL: Meanwhile, gay and lesbian Republicans still face opposition within their party. The GOP platform committee this year added language opposing civil rights protection based on what they call sexual preference. And they endorsed the recent Supreme Court decision that bars gay Boy Scout leaders.
BOB MORRISON, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Recognition of the homosexual lifestyle as being acceptable is not something we agree with.
NEAL: Religious conservative leader Jerry Falwell went further. Falwell said Mary Cheney will become a focal point of critics, and -- quote -- "It is ludicrous to judge a man based on one errant but loved family member."
Even Lynne Cheney seemed reluctant to comment on her daughter's sexual orientation.
LYNNE CHENEY, DICK CHENEY'S WIFE: Mary has never declared such a thing.
I would like to say that I'm appalled at the media interest in one of my daughters. BIRCH: I think so far, you've seen the Bush campaign, and to some extent, her parents, hide behind these notions of privacy.
NEAL (on camera): But Mary Cheney is expected to campaign for her father. Gay Republicans are encouraged and hope this new face also leads to changes in policy.
Pat Neal, CNN, Philadelphia.
WOODRUFF: And joining us now, conservative Republican Bill Bennett, a former secretary of education and the co-director of Empower America. Bill Bennett, thank you for joining us here in Philadelphia.
BILL BENNETT, CO-CHAIRMAN, EMPOWER AMERICA: Thank you, Judy. Good to be here.
WOODRUFF: You have small steps that make some gays and lesbians feel this is an inclusive party, but should they really feel accepted in the Republican Party given the language in this platform.
BENNETT: Well sure, I think so. Look, you've got people like Elizabeth Birch and a lot of the organizations, the gay and lesbian organizations, that say unless you buy everything, unless you take everything, including gay and lesbian, marriage, adoption, everything, then, you know, you're just regressive, you're backward, and I think that's wrong. I think that's, frankly, way out of step with the American people.
Probably, to predict more of a problem on this for the Democrats -- remember, it was Bill Clinton who supported the Defense of Marriage Act, Al Gore who has said, well, I think marriage is for a man and a woman. But I have to say the spectacle -- and I agree with Lynne Cheney's sentiment. The spectacle that somebody can not maintain some measure of privacy and dignity, whatever their sexual orientation. You know, I was in a green room yesterday where Mary Cheney was with her father, and a couple of your colleagues in the press I thought handled themselves with great dignity and perspective when they said, as she left, "This girl's in for a very tough time," and people are just going to be all over her, and that's a shame, that shouldn't be.
WOODRUFF: But you're saying that your party is accepting, even though there's language in the platform that opposes anti- discrimination laws to protect lesbians and gays.
BENNETT: What it says is that this is not a civil rights issue in the same way that we have civil rights legislation in 1964, and I think that's exactly right, and there are a lot of gay Americans who understand that, who aren't necessarily bothered by that. But if you take, again, sort of this advanced level of the gay and lesbian movement, which puts forward the agenda, and says, adopt it all or we will call you homophobic, because that's the game, then of course they'll never be satisfied. But I think this party should stick to its principles, and on this issue I think he's absolutely correct. WOODRUFF: Has the Republican Party changed with the coming nomination of George W. Bush, or is it simply putting a new face on to get through this period of the election?
BENNETT: It's still a different party. It's still a conservative party. It's still a party different from the Democrat Party, as we'll see, and I know everybody is looking very hard for conflict here. I know people want a fight. Wait until after the Democratic Convention is over, and then you'll see a big fight between the two. But yes, it's changed somewhat, because at presidential conventions, nominating conventions, we follow, to great extent, the lead of the leader, the lead of the presidential nominee. And George Bush has a particular character. He has a particular way of speaking or presenting himself. This is another generation. This is a generation shift. I mean, when you go from Bob Dole to George W. Bush, this is a big shift in time.
It's still a conservative party, there are still important differences between the party, but I think it has a very different tone, it has a very different tenor than it had before.
WOODRUFF: For example, the language in the platform that was there four years ago, calling for the abolishing -- your department, the Department of Education, it's no longer there. Now you've come out against the department. How do you feel about that coming out of the platform?
BENNETT: Bernie Shaw asked me once, "Must you exist, Bill Bennett?," you know, when I was secretary of education. I think he meant institutionally.
Look, I've said forever, you don't have to have a U.S. Department of Education, but what Republicans have figured out is it's not worth the fight. You're going to have federal functions in education anyway. You're going to have some responsibilities. You're going to have these programs. Whether you have this great big thing called "the department" is beside the point.
When Ronald Reagan came in, he wanted to abolish the department. That was the big Reagan landslide, with what, 64 senators, whatever it was. He had eight votes for the abolition of the department. It's a non-issue, it's not going to happen.
WOODRUFF: You know education well, Bill Bennett. Can George W. Bush lay claim to a record of accomplishment in education when his state of Texas, 41st in the nation in standards for teacher quality, preschool participation rate, 28 percent below the national average?
BENNETT: Let me tell you that the bottom line on education is results, and a recent Rands study pointed out that Texas leads the nation in advances for every ethnic group in the country in math and reading. Black children and Hispanic children in Texas lead the nation in the fourth grade in math and reading. Now say what you want about affirmative action programs, say what you want about "feel good" programs, when you've got the children of color all across that state learning math and reading, you've got a record, and I am delighted he's leading with it.
WOODRUFF: Are you -- do you feel comfortable with his record in Texas on education?
BENNETT: Absolutely. I've been down there and I've looked close at it. TASK -- which is the Texas Assessment of Standards -- I think have made a big difference. Some credit is due to other reformers. I'll say, in a heretical word here, Ross Perot. Do you remember Ross Perot? He said, remember all the things he's done in his life. He said the biggest challenge he ever faced was taking on the Texas education system back when. But he said, I think we ought to put in some standards. He had a good point there.
But what Governor Bush has done with the insistence on standards, the insistence on early reading, is gotten a result. The proof's in the pudding. When those kids can perform at that level of competence, that's just, to me, that's the bottom line. I'd say case closed.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Bennett. We have some questions now from Jeff Greenfield -- Jeff.
GREENFIELD: Mr. Bennett, some time ago, you came up with the "Index of Leading Social Indicators" to measure the noneconomic health of the nation. Over the last eight years, as far as I can tell, every single number, or almost every single number, is demonstratively better -- divorce, abortion, crime, youth violence. So forget the economic conditions, whether or not you're willing to credit Bill Clinton at all with it, what kind of argument can you make that we need a change in leadership? Given the fact that over the eight years, the indices you invented have gotten so much better.
BENNETT: Well, as you know, with the Index of Cultural Leading Indicators, there are lags there, there are time lags in these things. We can look at them individually. But you're right, conditions are much better in terms of crime, in terms of welfare. We can go through them individually, Jeff. Welfare, Clinton resisted, Republicans get Bush, and then he finally signed it. The crime bill, we know more people are in prison. We know when that started. That started in the '80s, and other indicators started in the '80s.
But I am prepared to say the country is, in many ways, in very good shape. I think the reason that we urge change is that a lot of American people want change. What their wondering, what some independents are wondering, is if we have prosperity, and we have these generally good conditions, we've got the corruption and the garbage that we have seen over the last eight years. Can you have prosperity without perjury? Can you have national well being without national disgrace? And I think the answer to that is yes. And that's why, I think, George Bush, who is coming across as someone who is a leader and likable, represents that shift, that change.
Whatever the politicians say, the American people know Bill Clinton didn't bring this economy into being. The majorities and polls say that it's not Bill Clinton; it's the people, it's technology, it's free trade. One other point, Bill Clinton, I think, has helped the country and probably saved his party by moving to the right. He's moved to the right on a number of critical issues, which was sensible politics, but it's also a form of flattery to conservative ideas.
GREENFIELD: Bernie, Judy, I think, therefore, a Gore endorsement by Bill Bennett is highly unlikely. Back you you.
WOODRUFF: That's some insight we were hoping to get from Jeff tonight. Thank you, Jeff.
Much more ahead on this special edition of INSIDE POLITICS from the site of the Republican Convention.
SHAW: Still to come, a closer look at Colin Powell's call for volunteers and its unexpected impact here in Philadelphia.
WOODRUFF: A look at the GOP ticket and the presidential race with Mike Murphy and Marla Romash.
SHAW: Remembering past conventions here in the city of Brotherly Love.
JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: We'll have more of the day's political news ahead. Now a look at some other top stories today. Investigators say it could take a year and a half to find the cause of last week's Concorde crash near Paris that killed 113 people. French and British safety experts spent today looking at measures that could help get grounded Air France Concordes back in service. The group continues its work on Tuesday.
Crash investigators say exploding tires could have sparked a fuel fire before the crash.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak survives a no-confidence vote, and his parliament opponents fell 11 votes short of adopting a motion that would have toppled his government. Critics say Mr. Barak is too willing to give land to the Palestinians in exchange for peace.
With the parliament now in recess, Mr. Barak has until October to work on forming a new government and to build support for a Mideast peace deal.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Barak endured a stunning political defeat in the Knesset, when his choice for president lost the parliamentary election there. Moshe Katsav defeated former Prime Minister Simon Peres. Some speculate that this shows that the Knesset is not behind Mr. Barak as he attempts to continue the peace process.
North and South Korea are taking another step toward reconciliation. Those two countries agree today to reopen border liaison offices and reconnect a major rail line across their border. The agreement followed three days of high-level talks in Seoul. At a summit June, the leaders of North and South Korea have pledged to strengthen ties and to work toward reunification.
Wildfires are taking a toll on the West. Firefighters are battling dozens of fire in 10 states in what has become the nation's worst fire season in more than a decade. One of the largest fires now is in California's Sequioa National Forest. It has scorched more than 63,000 acres. Firefighters say it's only about 15 percent contained, and they estimate it will take two more weeks to surround the fire. So far this year, wildfires have burned nearly three and a half million acres across the country.
When INSIDE POLITICS returns, more smoke and mirrors at the GOP convention? Analysis from Philadelphia is coming up next.
SHAW: And we ask you, what's a convention without signs, without placards, without posters and candidates name all over? A cushion of signs awaiting these delegates when they start filing back into this hall very, very shortly.
And welcome back to this edition of INSIDE POLITICS, on this, the first day of the Republican National Convention.
This whole city, Philadelphia, has special meaning for the evening session's most prominent speaker, Retired Army General Colin Powell. This is where he launched his current mission promoting volunteerism.
CNN's Maria Hinojosa reports on whether Powell's campaign has made an impact here.
MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Far away from the convention center in poor northwest Philadelphia, a summer art class gets under way at the Germantown Women's Wine. These kids wouldn't be here if it weren't for volunteers.
JOYCE BROWN, VOLUNTEER: We do have a future in this, what the sign says now.
HINOJOSA (on camera): But only because of volunteers.
BROWN: Because of volunteers.
HINOJOSA: No government support, right?
BROWN: No government support at all.
HINOJOSA (voice-over): But it's exactly that reliance on volunteerism that has made this center's existence a roller coaster ride. BROWN: I'm a volunteer. I'm exhausted. There are times when I burn out from this volunteerism and I'm afraid to drop the ball, because everything may collapse around us.
HINOJOSA: Here in Philadelphia three years ago, Colin Powell gathered two former presidents from two parties, along with Bill Clinton and Al Gore, and launched a nationwide volunteer effort that included the Germantown women's Y.
GEN. COLIN POWELL, RETIRED ARMY: This is not the time to say, are you substitution for government? This is not the time to ask, is there more that government should be doing or less that government should be doing?
HINOJOSA: The day of the summit, the Y saw a summit in volunteers.
BROWN: The volunteers were here for one day. We had 60 volunteers in this building for one day, and we never heard from them again.
HINOJOSA: But just two years later, the Y was a million dollars in debt, the ceiling had huge craters, the wood floors were missing entire planks. Local volunteers have helped to reopen the historic pool -- the first indoor pool in the country open to blacks. But had trouble funding the daycare center.
CLARICE HERBERT, VOLUNTEER: We had a daycare center, but the government says, the director of the daycare center should be this and this and this. Are you going to find that in a volunteer? Absolutely not.
HINOJOSA: Dusty rooms, cleaned and painted, are now used for summer camp, but they're always desperate for help.
LILIAN WEST, VOLUNTEER: The government, I don't think they're too concerned with a lot of things. And so if we want things in our community done, we have to go out and do them ourselves.
HINOJOSA (on camera): According to a national research organization, just over half of all Americans are doing some kind of volunteer work. But overall statistics show they're donating fewer and fewer hours, exactly at a time when the need for their efforts is rising in many communities.
Maria Hinojosa, CNN, Philadelphia.
WOODRUFF: And joining us now, Beth Fouhy, executive producer of CNN's political unit, and Alexis Simendinger of "The National Journal."
Beth, to you first, can the Republican Party credibly sell itself as the new Republican Party, as diverse and inclusive. BETH FOUHY, CNN POLITICAL EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Well, what I think is funny, Judy, just reviewing all the people that are going to be speaking tonight at the convention session, people who spoke this morning, the whole image that they're projecting right now of compassionate conservatism, as epitomized by black Americans, Hispanics, other nontraditional Republicans, is really putting a mask on the face of the party as it really is. It really is not a party full of African Americans, lower-income people, Hispanics. We saw polls in "The New York Times" today, particularly of convention delegates, showing that they are very conservative, they're primarily white, they're primarily upper income and they're primarily male. So it's almost as though this convention is trying to put a face on the party that it really is not, that that must be the face to project to America, a face that's actually quite a false face, in order to make people feel comfortable with it. It's actually rather ironic.
WOODRUFF: But, Alexis, that -- be that as it may, they're still trying this selling job. Can they be as successful at it?
ALEXIS SIMENDINGER, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": Well, they're going to give it their good, earnest try. And of course over four days, they're going to look for some kind of ratings on cable and network television to try to see if they can use a combination of interesting faces, faces that most people don't identify with the Republican Party, entertainment. Beth and I were just talking about the fact that it looks more like a musical revue as watch some of the rehearsal here that's going on, as opposed to a political convention. And they're going to try ever trick in the book that they can think of to get and hold a television audience over four day, or at least a few of those days, and especially the day that George W. Bush gives his acceptance speech.
FOUHY: Yes. And we're told that Colin Powell tonight is going to talk primarily about race issues. He's not going to talk that much about national security. He's not going to talk that much about the wink and the nod that's apparently going on about him being secretary of state. He's going to really make a broad appeal on the issue of race, and from what we understand, acknowledge the fact that the party does have a real inclusive image on that issue.
But the question is, really, are they regretting what they've done in the past? Or are they starting to say, we really needed to be a different kind of party? And is this because of electoral reality, or is it because they've decided that really they want to have a different kind of spirit in this party.
WOODRUFF: But, Alexis, if that's the image they're trying to convey, if that's what they want people to understand, does Dick Cheney fit that?
SIMENDINGER: Well, obviously, what they're trying to do is make this a convention about George W. Bush. This is his event. This is his convention. This is less about the Republican Party than his vision of the Republican Party, the one he wants to invent, and persuade people exists. Dick Cheney is there actually, in a way, to appeal to those who want and think that the governor of Texas is going to be good at governing, and of course Dick Cheney is somebody with experience, to bolster people's impression of that. And of course he also appeals to the right wing of the party, the conservatives who are really looking for someone with a solid record that they could bank on to be a teammate to Governor Bush.
FOUHY: Now, Judy, what really strikes me in the many interviews that Mr. Cheney's done over the past week or so, talking about his record and really examining his vote, that he's really stepping from a number of the votes that he cast that looked very, very conservative, but things like his opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1980s was part in parcel of conservative orthodoxy. The real conservative wing of the Republican Party did not support the Equal Rights Amendment. He's been in the position now to say, well, if they've made one or two changes to it, I think I would have supported it, I definitely would have supported it.
So it's almost as though he and others in the party are starting to look back on the party as it once was and realize, though, perhaps they have really made some mistakes in some of their policies and some of their statements. And now they are required to moderate both because of electoral reality, but also because maybe those weren't the right positions to take at the time. It's fascinating.
WOODRUFF: So, Alexis, if he's giving these kinds of answers, if he's saying in some instances, you know, I might not do that today, is he then effectively putting to rest these questions, these concerns about his past voting record?
SIMENDINGER: Well, the Democratic Party hopes not, and of course the Gore campaign hopes not.
But I think that the Republican Party is very satisfied with this choice of Dick Cheney. I think that they think that this is a terrific choice. The party is unified around this ticket. There's not a lot of discord. Of course, as Beth is suggesting, the one awkward thing that happens is when you look at someone's record, you're reminding people that somebody's record of 20 years ago is the party of 20 years ago, not the George W. Bush Republican Party that he's hoping to invent that doesn't really exist right now.
FOUHY: But that's the question, is whether it really doesn't exist. It seems that we look at the convention delegates, we look at the party as it has been for many, many years now, and George W. Bush is clearly, as Alexis said, trying to move that, and certainly the rhetoric of this convention is moving that. But whether it's really changing the hearts of Republicans into a different direction, George W. Bush always talks about looking into people's hearts. Whether their hearts have truly changed or whether it's more electoral reality, prognostication about what needs to be done in order to capture that center, which they lost quite a while ago.
WOODRUFF: All right, we're going to leave it there. Beth Fouhy, Alex Simendinger, thank you both. Nice to see you.
And still ahead, Bernie talks with Mike Murphy and Marla Romash about their views on this first day of the Republican convention. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SHAW: Look at this. Vice President Al Gore and his family enjoying their vacation in North Carolina on the Figure Eight Island. He is considering his running mate decision, and spending some time, obviously, on the beach. Gore says he does not plan to watch the Republican convention tonight here in Philadelphia.
Well, joining us now, former McCain campaign strategist Mike Murphy and Democratic consultant Marla Romash.
Marla, Mike, there's been a lot of talk bandied about this country, about this city and within this hall about a new Republican. Is Governor Bush a new Republican, or is he an old-line rock-ribbed conservative in a younger body, Mike.
MIKE MURPHY, GOP STRATEGIST: Well, what I think Governor Bush has done an outstanding job of doing is taking the strong Republican ideas that the majority of Americans support -- fiscal conservatism, compassionate kind of social change in a positive way, faith-based institutions being involved in that, and to get into a philosophy which people find very, very attractive, which he calls "compassionate conservatism."
And what you're seeing today in the beginning of this convention is a showplace of this. I mean, we're a happy bunch of Republicans, who we have a good, positive message we can go out and sell, doesn't need to be a Gore hatchet campaign. We're going to uplift people, and I think (UNINTELLIGIBLE) made a point when he said President Bush. I think Governor Bush is really on a roll here with a message Americans are interested in listening to.
MARLA ROMASH, GORE ADVISER: I got to say, Bernie, there's nothing new about George Bush, and there's nothing new about this Republican Party. We're talking $93 million from Big Oil, big drug companies, big polluters, who are going to have a big stake in a Bush presidency. We're talking about another Republican ticket that'll take away a woman's right to choose. And, surprise, surprise, we're talking about a convention where "The New York Times" reported today one out of five delegates were millionaires, which means one out of five delegates are going to get $50,000 from that big Bush tax cut. So there's nothing new going on here; it's the same old, same old.
MURPHY: Go ahead.
SHAW: No, you go ahead.
MURPHY: This is the contrast here. George Bush is running a campaign about lifting America up.
ROMASH: Wait a minute, what did he do to your guy, McCain? Mike, what about the primaries, when he went after your guy?
MURPHY: Come on, Marla, let me finish.
The Gore campaign is an obvious screaming panic right now, which is why America ought to watch this. Here's a guy, our candidate, who's about improving schools and building up the country, not afraid to have a positive message. Well, the Gore campaign is nothing but slash-and-burn politics, and we're hearing it right here from Marla.
ROMASH: No. George Bush has said he wants to run on his record. George Bush has said that if America knows his record, America will vote for him. We say, if America knows George Bush's record, they'll vote for Al Gore. So let the games begin; let's talk about the record.
MURPHY: The very, very important thing to watch, because you've got to look through all this political spin and this cloud here. The fact is, both campaigns are talking about one guy. That tells you who the campaign is about, who set the agenda here.
ROMASH: No, I think that's wrong.
There's one point, Bernie, I've got to make, though, because when Mike talks about the politics of personal destruction, I mean, Mike worked on the McCain campaign. He's here with Sen. McCain, did a big expose about, you know, about how important the campaign was. We all saw what George Bush did to Sen. McCain during the primaries. We saw those cheap shots on breast cancer, we saw that.
MURPHY: With all due respect, Marla, the one thing I know about John McCain, he's here to back George Bush because he doesn't want Al Gore to be president.
SHAW: All right, I want to get back to the ticket at hand. You said there's one name here. There's another name -- Dick Cheney. How is his presence on the ticket going to affect the moderate voters your party needs?
MURPHY: I think they're going to very attracted to Dick Cheney.
SHAW: Given his House voting record.
MURPHY: Well, here's what's happening -- and I'll do my amazing Creskin (ph) trick here. I'll predict in about 30 seconds Marla will go berserk and be dredging up a lot of votes from Cheney's record in the House. The fact is, at the same time, Al Gore was a Congressman, he was an NRA, pro-gun Congressman endorsed by the Right to Life Committee.
ROMASH: You're wrong, Mike. Check your records. No, Mike, your wrong, You're wrong.
MURPHY: So if the Democrats want to drag out some time machine and do a selective look at Dick Cheney's record, that's a dangerous game, because the fact is, Al Gore, who's a rudderless candidate, who's originally a right-wing Democrat Southern Congressman, who's done a total image makeover because of his blank check, and this...
ROMASH: Let me give you two examples, Mike, where you're wrong. And let's take "cop killer" bullets. You know, Dick Cheney is now trying to sing a different song. When Dick Cheney was in Congress, he voted against banning "cop killer" bullets. Al Gore voted to ban "cop killer" bullets, co-sponsored legislation. Terrorist guns -- Dick Cheney voted against a ban on terrorist guns; Al Gore was for it.
MURPHY: Here's why this isn't working, though. This isn't working because you have to be...
SHAW: I'm going to make a U-turn in this discussion and focus on that New York Senate race.
ROMASH: Oh, OK, I'm glad for that.
SHAW: The latest polling indicates that Mr. Lazio, Rick Lazio is up by seven points over Hillary Rodham Clinton. Is he going to maintain this lead?
MURPHY: No. Actually I believe this race will be up and down, up and down. But if you look at the trend, Mrs. Clinton's campaign has been a disaster. It's been going the more she campaigns, the worse she does, because she is an extremist, she's a liberal, and she's totally out of touch with New York. The people of New York are talking to these polls. There saying please, not Mrs. Clinton, we like Rick Lazio, we like his mainstream Republican record, we like the fact he's worked hard for New York. It would be nice to have a senator who's actually done things for New York, not somebody trying to use the state for political gain.
ROMASH: Well, I have to say, I'm actually a New Yorker, having grown up in Long Island, not too far away from the district that Rick Lazio represents, and I have also been proud to serve in the Clinton- Gore administration, and I am going to put my money on Hillary Clinton all the way there.
Mike and I agree the polls are going to go up and down a lot in that race. But I think in the end, Hillary Clinton wins.
SHAW: On that note, Democratic consultant Marla Romash and former McCain campaign strategist Mike Murphy. Reticent you two are not.
Thanks for joining us.
And when we return, a look back at a key political year and the memorable events of the Philadelphia conventions.
WOODRUFF: As Philadelphia welcomes the Grand Old Party, we're reminded that this is not the first time the city has hosted a political convention.
Our Bruce Morton looks back now, more than five decades in fact, to a pivotal election year. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In 1948, both parties met here in Philadelphia, and for the first time, televisions covered the conventions. On the Republican side, you saw signs for Robert Taft of Ohio, for Harold Stassen (ph) of Minnesota, but the favorite was the man who'd run unsuccessfully against Franklin Roosevelt four years earlier, Gov. Thomas Dewey of New York.
ROBERT DALLEK, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Dewey was a very popular, moderate, Northeastern Republican at the center of the party's power brokerage at that time. And it was pretty clear cut that he would be the nominee.
MORTON: Sure he'd lost to Roosevelt, the master politician, but FDR was dead now, and Dewey -- well, anybody could probably beat Roosevelt's unpopular successor Harry Truman. Dewey won the nomination on the first ballot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The delegates of this convention have cast 1,094 votes for Thomas E. Dewey of New York for president of the United States, and I declare that he is nominated unanimously for the Republican nomination for president of the United States.
GOV. THOMAS E. DEWEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am profoundly sensible of the responsibility that goes with this nomination. I pray God that I may deserve this opportunity to serve our country. In all humility, I accept the nomination.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: The Democratic convention was rougher and more complicated. The party had to deal with civil rights, anathema to its white segregationist members in the South.
DALLEK: The Truman forces knew that this was a compelling issue for millions of people in this country, not just for African- Americans, but for lots of folks around the country who felt that civil rights was an issue that had come to fruition.
MORTON: Hubert Humphrey, then the young mayor of Minneapolis, made the case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1948)
MYR. HUBERT HUMPHREY, MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA: The time has arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadows of states' rights and to walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: But the people who walked were Southern delegates, from Alabama and Mississippi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1948)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we bid you goodbye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: Days after the Democratic convention ended, the segregationists, the Dixiecrats, met and nominated South Carolina's Strom Thurmond -- yes, that Strom Thurmond -- for president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1948)
GOV. STROM THURMOND (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: It simply means that it's another effort on the part of the president to dominate the country by force and to put into effect these uncalled for and these damnable proposals he has recommend under the guise of so-called civil rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: As if that weren't enough, Henry Wallace, FDR's former vice president, the man Truman replaced in 1944, announced he was running as head of the Progressive Party, to Truman's left. Still, the Democrats in Philadelphia nominated Truman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1948)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Russell, 263.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: MacNuck (ph), one-half vote. Truman, 947 1/2.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: Truman picked a running mate, Alvin Barkley (ph) of Kentucky, and found a theme -- the terrible Republican 80th Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1948)
HARRY TRUMAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I discuss a number of these failure of the Republican 80th Congress, and everyone of them is important. Two of them are major concerns to nearly every American family: the failure to do anything about high prices and the failure to do anything about housing. I am, therefore, calling this Congress back into session on the 26th of July.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: He whistle-stopped his way across America that fall, lambasting the Congress at every single stop.
DALLEK: People began by responding to him by yelling, "Give 'em hell, Harry, give 'em hell," and he sure did, and of course, he won that election.
MORTON: Of course he did. Wallace the progressive carried no states. Thurmond the segregationist carried four, and Truman beat Dewey in one of the great presidential upsets. He always loved this headline. "The Chicago Tribune," like many others, had called it wrong.
Bruce Morton, CNN, Philadelphia.
WOODRUFF: Our Bruce Morton never makes mistakes. But Jeff Greenfield is pointing out, an historical note, that Dewey was nominated at the Republican convention, you say, on the third ballot rather than the first ballot.
GREENFIELD: The last time a Republican convention took more than a ballot, one ballot to nominate a candidate, yes.
WOODRUFF: It's good to point those things out.
You've made some other observations. You've been doing some reading, light reading here in Philadelphia.
GREENFIELD: Oh yes, yes indeed, yes indeed. Yes, and in fact, to be honest, I am indebted to "The Weekly Standard" magazine for unearthing one of the most fascinating documents likely to surface this year. It is an exert from a novel co-written by the wife of a nominee to be. In 1988, Lynne Cheney co-wrote a novel. It was called "The Body Politic." And the plot features a deceased vice president, a candidate actually, who dies just before the election in the middle of a highly intimate, one-on-one encounter with a beautiful network journalist. No names please.
But the eyebrows raised here is the description of the job of vice president in the novel. Quote: "The vice presidency is the worst kind of a career move. Under the Constitution, the only thing the job calls for is waiting, waiting for the president to die or be impeached, waiting for the Senate to wind up in a tie. Everything else is makework, like attending state funerals or filling in at some political-cultural event, like the East Passaic Young Republican Pasta Festival."
Now Lynne Cheney she can't recall writing that part of the book, and I don't blame her, because never mind the Nelson Mandela vote, here is the wife of the nominee saying, more or less, the job isn't worth a bucket of warm spit. As it says in the Book of Job, 31:35, "Oh, that my adversary had written a book."
WOODRUFF: But, Jeff, we need to go on and point out what happened. This vice president died, but who got to take the job? GREENFIELD: Yes, the scariest part of that is the wife of the nominee. If I'm Dick Cheney, I'm taking some sidelong glances at my wife right about now. I don't know what she's got in mind.
But a man co-wrote the book, so I don't want to go too far out on a limb on this one.
WOODRUFF: Remember, we should point out, though, in all fairness, it was Lynne Cheney who wrote this, not Dick Cheney, who's the presidential nominee.
GREENFIELD: Oh, absolutely, absolutely.
WOODRUFF: Right. But we'll see.
SHAW: I wonder how it sold, especially in Washington.
GREENFIELD: It's going to sell a lot better now.
SHAW: We'll see.
That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. But Judy, Jeff and I and the rest of the CNN team will be back here in Philadelphia in one hour for the evening session of the National Republican convention, 37th.
WOODRUFF: And of course you can go online all the time at CNN.com/election2000. And I'll be recapping the day's convention events tonight in an online chat on CNN.com at 9:15 p.m. Eastern.
I'm Judy Woodruff.
SHAW: Very good. I'm going to run...
WOODRUFF: You're going to participate. We can chat back and forth.
SHAW: And I'm Bernard Shaw. A special convention edition of "THE WORLD TODAY" is next. Among the guests, Sen. Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi.
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