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CNN Today

Gerald Rafshoon Discusses 'Running Mates'

Aired August 11, 2000 - 2:40 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Now, the DNC chairman, Joe Andrew, says there's still time for Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of California to be restored as a convention speaker. Ms. Sanchez Lost her speaking role at the convention when she refused to cancel a fund-raiser scheduled for next Tuesday at the "Playboy" Mansion.

Today, she told NBC "Today's" show she might be willing to move the event. Andrews says he's been working with Sanchez for two months to find another site.

Now, if you prefer your politic a little more dramatic, a little better scripted with a little better lighting and makeup, meet James Pryce.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "RUNNING MATES")

TOM SELLECK, ACTOR: Every delegate on the floor, every citizen in the gallery, every American in your cars and houses, if you're really serious about taking America back, stand up! Stand up wherever you are and be counted! Stand up and pledge with me! The government of the United States is not on the auction block and America's not for sale.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATERS: That's Tom Selleck, of course, starring in a TNT movie called "Running Mates," and the film's executive producer probably didn't have to do much research for this. He's Gerald Rafshoon, who in a formal life was White House communications director under Jimmy Carter.

Mr. Rafshoon, joins us from Washington.

Hello there.

GERALD RAFSHOON, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "RUNNING MATES": Hello, Lou. How are you?

WATERS: A comedy-drama about campaign finance reform. There's a market for that?

RAFSHOON: Well, I hope so. I think there's an interest in it. It's -- it's a comedy-drama, and it's about a presidential candidate, a reformer who's for campaign finance reform, but along the way people want him to pick a running mate who is not. And he's tempted, because it comes with $100 million worth of soft money.

It's also the story of him and his female campaign manager, his wife. Faye Dunaway plays a senator's wife. It's a lot of fun.

And I noticed that you said that we were better scripted, and I'm not so sure. I think there may be more spontaneity in our film than in the convention that I saw last week. And I hope -- I hope there's more spontaneity in the one I'm going to see next week.

WATERS: Let's talk about the convention in a moment first. First, I want to ask you about the movie.

RAFSHOON: No, let's stick with the movie.

WATERS: If there are is any similarity between persons living or dead in your movie.

RAFSHOON: There is. Yes, there is some similarity between persons living or dead. It's intentional, but they're all public figures so they can sue us.

And I think that they're composites of a lot of people. There's a senator who never saw a special interest he didn't like and there's a senator who's for campaign finance reform. Our candidate, James Reynolds Pryce, is a reformer, a guy, the good guy, and he's got the nomination sewed up. And he's at the convention trying to make the biggest decision of his candidacy so far, picking a running mate.

WATERS: So you were communications director under President Jimmy Carter. I guess we can talk about the last 50 years of conventions. But let's talk about the last 20. You sounded almost critical of the way things are going with these political conventions.

RAFSHOON: Well, one thing I think we should see more at the political conventions than less -- and maybe they would be encourage to give more drama -- but the convention I saw last week was well- scripted, and well on-message, but I got the feeling that it was a made-for-television movie.

I think there's a lot of reality in our film. The people are real, and the issues that they talked about are real.

I heard nothing about campaign finance reform last week at the Republican convention, and it's all through our film, as well as a lot of fun (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

WATERS: The greatest political actors of modern times, the comparisons drawn between Reagan and Clinton. Of course, you have political actors in your movie. But how about political actors today? Do we have any or is it an actor's workshop?

RAFSHOON: Well, I think Clinton is the greatest political actor that we've had ever since television. He's a better actor than Reagan. But I think that you don't have as many -- you have actors. But they are also people who believe in things. I think the best actions are if the candidate is authentic and has authentic beliefs. WATERS: All right, Gerald Rafshoon, the movie is called "Running Mates." When's it out? August...

RAFSHOON: It will be on Sunday night on TNT at 8 o'clock, 10 o'clock and midnight Eastern time.

WATERS: OK. Good luck with that, Gerald Rafshoon from Washington.

RAFSHOON: Thank you.

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