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Democratic National Convention: President's Clinton Keynote Address to Focus on Economy and Share Credit With GoreAired August 14, 2000 - 7:00 p.m. ET
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BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: A pivotal evening for Democrats, Bill Clinton's last speech as president and party leader before their national convention.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Will he absolve Al Gore of administration embarrassments at the same time he connects him with administration successes? Delegates are waiting eagerly.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight from Los Angeles, the 43rd Democratic National Convention. The party of Jackson and Roosevelt is back in the city that launched the campaign of John F. Kennedy. For 5,000 conventioneers, the task is tradition: nominating candidates for president and vice president of the United States. But their goal is transition, a transfer of the White House keys won by Johnson, Carter and Clinton to yet another Democratic son of the South.
Now from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, here are CNN's Bernard Shaw, Judy Woodruff and Jeff Greenfield.
SHAW: And welcome to our ever-thorough coverage. These Democrats tonight in their first evening session, a session laced with important symbolism, real and imagined.
WOODRUFF: That's right. And, Bernie, I think there's a mixture of emotions here tonight. You certainly have excitement, you have nostalgia, and you have anxiety -- excitement for all the obvious reasons, the convention's under way, nostalgia because Bill Clinton, the president who rallied this party, the first Democratic president to be re-elected since FDR; but anxiety because they know that Al Gore right now is behind in the polls, and that's very much on their minds.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: It's funny. Forty years ago, you think when John Kennedy came here in his campaign, they had one goal: win the nomination on the first ballot. We've moved way beyond that now.
The Gore campaign comes here with a very different set of concerns. Can we tie ourselves to the prosperity of the last seven and a half years? Can we separate ourselves from a president who has reasons that we want to be separated from? And this opening night of the convention, Bill and Hillary Clinton take center stage, win the hearts of the delegates, then they have to try to turn it over to Al Gore to get it back. WOODRUFF: And then they disappear -- at least from Los Angeles for a few days.
SHAW: And also, tactically, we're getting indications that there won't be any Cheney-bashing. There won't be any Bush-bashing.
GREENFIELD: This true.
WOODRUFF: But how can they resist?
GREENFIELD: But as I mentioned a moment ago, as is the primary order of business tonight, that President Clinton is taking the stage. And when he takes the stage, he's going to be doing more than basking in the adulation of delegates. He's going to be trying one of the most difficult political maneuvers there is, and that is turning his party over to the man he wants to succeed him. And as history shows, this a maneuver where failure actually is the norm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1948)
MODERATOR: The motion has carried and Governor Stevenson is the nominee of this convention by acclamation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD (voice-over): President Truman clearly paved the way for Adlai Stevenson in 1952. His public endorsement in the middle of the first ballot was the key to Stevenson's nomination. But that year, nothing was going to stop General Eisenhower from winning.
Eight years later, Eisenhower, endorsed Richard Nixon as his successor. But when Ike was asked if he could name an important Nixon achievement as vice president, he answered, probably sarcastically, "If you give me a week, I might think of one." For his part, Nixon delayed until the very end bringing Ike out to campaign for him, a delay that might have cost him the election.
In 1968, President Johnson never even showed up at the tumultuous Chicago convention that nominated his successor, Hubert Humphrey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1968)
HUBERT HUMPHREY (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I proudly accept nomination of our party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: The divisions over the war in Vietnam, the violence in the streets, the assassinations, and his own refusal to run again had made him a huge liability. Indeed, it wasn't until Humphrey broke with Johnson over the war that he began to close the gap and almost caught Nixon at the wire.
Indeed, the only successful post-war transfer of power within a party was when Ronald Reagan passed the torch to George Bush in 1988.
What did he say? First, he gently ridiculed the Democratic criticism of his record.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1988)
RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When our friends last month talked of unemployment, despair, hopelessness, economic weakness, I wondered why on earth they were talking about 1978 instead of 1988.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: Next, he laid his blessing on Bush.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1988)
REAGAN: With George Bush, I'll know, as we approach the new millennium, our children will have a future secure with a nation at peace and protected against aggression.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: And finally, he claimed the mantle of the future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1988)
REAGAN: Now we hear talk that it's time for a change. Well, ladies and gentlemen, we are the change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: And he did it with a certain sense of humor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1988)
REAGAN: But, George, just one personal request: Go out there and win one for the Gipper.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: President Clinton has openly said he'd run again if he could, and even some Democrats have wondered if he's really ready to cede the spotlight. But if Al Gore's election is Clinton's ultimate validation, then the only way to earn that validation is to pass the torch and then step into the shadows.
GREENFIELD: Now for more on this situation, on this relationship, even on this tension perhaps between Bill Clinton and Al Gore, and for that matter, Hillary Gore, we're going down to the floor, and we begin with Frank Sesno -- Frank.
FRANK SESNO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jeff, your piece raises a whole sort of -- a whole array of interesting points. Principally is what is the Clinton legacy, and is it transportable? The Clinton legacy is complicated. They'll talk about the economy a lot here, but a part of it, too, is political. There are, you know, a dozen fewer governors, 50-odd House seats that have gone to the Republicans, there are 16 legislative chambers across the country that have slipped to the Republicans during the Clinton years as well.
I'm standing now with former Congressman Buddy Darden of Georgia. You lost in 1994. That was an expression against Clinton. What happens now as he tries to pass the mantle forward? Are you part of that legacy as well?
BUDDY DARDEN (D), FORMER GEORGIA CONGRESSMAN: Well, I hope to be a part of the legacy of getting Al Gore elected, but of course I was part of the legacy that went down with Bill Clinton in 1994.
As you recall, he was at his lowest political point after those elections, because he had lost control of the House and the Senate, which he had had when he came into office, so it was a very devastating loss for him.
SESNO: At that time, there was a sense that "Clintonomics" was out of touch with the nation. Republicans took advantage. Where does that stand today?
DARDEN: Well, the amazing thing that is that once the Clinton program had a chance to go into effect, then it turned out to be a pretty good thing. But in the meantime, in his wake he had left about 50 House members and about seven or eight senators in which he lost his majority. And the irony of it is that this was the same majority that was able to impeach him and investigate him for the next six years.
SESNO: Former Congressman Buddy Darden talking about part of the Clinton legacy -- appreciate it.
And now let's go over to Candy Crowley.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Frank. I can guarantee you two things from talking to the delegates down here. The first is when Bill Clinton comes out, they will give him a rousing ovation. This, after all, is the man, who ended a 12- year dry spell in the Oval Office for Democrats. But I can also tell you from talking to these delegates that they are not only partisans and very much for Bill Clinton, they are also realists. And many will tell you when you talk to them privately that it would be better if Bill Clinton did not come to their individual states to campaign. They give three reasons for that.
First, the "shadow issue," as they call it. They believe it would outshine Al Gore and make him look like Bill Clinton's man rather than his own.
They also say that there is, in fact, some Clinton fatigue here -- sorry, I'm talk over Iowa, which is now having one of its own come up to the podium. What they also say is that, of course, the excesses of the Clinton administration, the Monica Lewinsky affair, also have been an embarrassment. That's particularly true when you talk to those from Bible states. The good news for Al Gore is when you ask if Al Gore is welcome, they say bring him on.
Now over to Jeanne Meserve.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Candy, thanks.
If there is a more controversial person than Bill Clinton speaking at this convention tonight, it is his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first lady. She has riled some segments of the American population with her unconventional approach to the first lady's role, and she has been blamed for some of the administration's failures, the collapse of health care reform, also the travel office firings. But she is loved by many, including some of the committed Democrats in this hall. She is respected as a strong-willed and intelligent woman who was fought for some of the core values that this party stands for.
She will speak tonight. Unlike her husband's speech, hers will not be a swan song, although she will talk about the accomplishments of the last eight years and will push for the Gore-Lieberman ticket, she will also be touting her own Senate candidacy from New York.
Her Republican opponent, Rick Lazio, did not speak at the Republican convention, but when his name was mentioned at the podium, the audience went wild. Expect the same thing to happen when Hillary Clinton appears here. Their race has become a focus of fierce partisan loyalty. I think its probably safe to say that there is no Senate candidate that Republicans would like to see defeated more than Hillary Clinton. There is no candidate that Democrats would like more to win. It's another piece of the Clinton legacy.
Now on to John King.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Jeanne.
As the spotlight shines on the president tonight, it will also shine on his relationship with Al Gore, especially over these past eight years. In the late 1980s, early 1990s, Governor Clinton and Senator Gore were rivals of sorts, two men nervously watching each other. Each had presidential ambitions. Of course, Bill Clinton won the presidency with Al Gore as his partner. Sources on all sides describe it as a close professional working relationship. They used to have lunch at least once a week. The president consults the vice president on almost everything, especially environmental matters, national security matters.
But we're also told by aides that the vice president and the president have never really developed much of a personal bond, that the vice president has used words like "reckless" and reprehensible to friends in describing the president's conduct with Monica Lewinsky.
Tipper Gore, the wife of the vice president, also said to have distanced herself considerably from the president after the Monica Lewinsky affair, is still here tonight. The president will give his endorsement, say that Al Gore was involved in all the big decisions, try to put his imprint on the race to succeed him.
For more now, to Wolf Blitzer at the podium.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN PODIUM CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, John.
The Clinton handoff to Al Gore is something that officials at the White House and the Gore campaign have been studying how best to handle for some time. And CNN has now learned they even went to the Ronald Reagan former White House chief of staff, Ken Duberstein, about a month ago and asked him for some history on how it was done so successfully, the handoff in 1988 from Ronald Reagan to George Bush. They are looking to that as a model.
Ken Duberstein, we've been told, did in fact go ahead and provide some information, some historical facts, about how Ronald Reagan did it for George Bush, and they're looking now to make sure that they could try to copy as much of that as possible.
One thing that Ronald Reagan did that was very successful, not only his speech in New Orleans at that Republican convention, but one thing he did was he sort of went on vacation for two weeks. After leaving the tarmac in New Orleans, he went to Santa Barbara on vacation and it was clear that George Bush, then the vice president, was in charge. We'll see if the Clinton handoff tomorrow in Michigan is going to be as successful as the Republican handoff was in 1988.
Back to Judy in the booth.
WOODRUFF: Well, Wolf, as much as we're all keeping an eye on the Clinton handoff and how it goes, the president and the first lady are not the only items on tonight's agenda, this first night of the Democratic convention. There's much more on tap, and here's a look.
WOODRUFF (voice-over): Here's a look ahead at this evening's session of the Democratic National Convention on this first day, Monday, August 14. The pomp and ceremony of the convention kicks off at 8:00 Eastern, 5:00 Pacific, with Melissa Etheridge lending some star power to the night. She will perform a medley of "America the Beautiful."
Later in the hour, less famous faces will share personal success stories in a nightly feature dubbed "American Dialogues." Labor Secretary Alexis Herman will introduce the two panels.
In the 9:00 hour, 6:00 Pacific, a tribute to Jimmy Carter, the party's only living former president. Also during that hour, a group of women U.S. senators, including Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, who represent the state hosting this convention. They'll be followed by a candidate for the U.S. Senate, Hillary Rodham Clinton. The first lady will address the convention during the 10:00/7:00 hour, then turn the floor over to her husband. President Clinton will take the stage and redirect the spotlight. He will tout the accomplishments of the Clinton-Gore administration and lay out the unfulfilled goals that could be achieved by a Gore presidency, on this, the first night of the Democratic National Convention.
SHAW: Behind me, American politics unfolding on the floor of this hall in Los Angeles. But several times zones away, the world is watching the fate of those Russian submariners trapped aboard their vessel in arctic water. When we return, we're going to take you live to Russia.
SHAW: All day long, CNN has been following a breaking story involving Russian sailors aboard a nuclear submarine on the bottom of the ocean.
For the very latest, let's go live now to our man Steve Harrigan in Moscow -- Steve.
STEVE HARRIGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bernard, no good news yet from the Barents Sea off the northwest coast of Russia. A rescue operation has been going on now for several hours to try and save the lives of 116 Russian sailors on board the nuclear submarine Kursk that went down Sunday. So far, the weather has not been any help either, high waves kicking up as well as heavy winds, making that rescue effort all the more difficult.
Now, more than 12 hours after the first reports of this accident came in, still a lot of key questions remain to be answered. First, are there any casualties on board? No confirmation or denial from the Russian side on that issue. Second, what happened to this submarine? How did it find itself on the bottom of the Barents Sea? Initial reports talked about flooding after a torpedo launch during routine naval exercises. A later version talked about a collision, a serious collision, but with what? No details have been given -- a collision either with a rock or perhaps, even as Russian state television mentioned, a foreign submarine. But no details coming out on that. No version yet. That will have to await an investigation.
There have been offers of assistance from the United States and from other countries. So far, no official response from the Russians. Russian naval commanders at the scene say they do have enough strength to deal with it, but so far no success as of yet. It could be a long night ahead for these Russian seamen.
Now back to you in Los Angeles.
WOODRUFF: Thank you, Steve.
Here in the United States, the Pentagon is saying that this accident came during the largest Russian submarine exercises of the year. And while U.S. ships regularly patrol this part of the Barents Sea, the Pentagon says they have no information about an actual collision. American surveillance vessels were paying particular attention to this exercise, Pentagon officials are saying, because of its size and because of the pivotal role that these submarines play in gathering military intelligence.
For more on that, let's go to David Ensor.
DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pentagon officials say that if the Kursk did collide with another vessel, they have no indication at this point that any U.S. vessel was involved. Navy officials confirm U.S. ships were in the area monitoring the Russian military exercises, and that at least one U.S. submarine was among them. Twice before, in 1992 and '93, U.S. and Russian submarines collided, though without serious damage.
PAUL BEAVER, "JANE'S DEFENCE WEEKLY": The Russians are all saying that they believe that there is another vessel involved that, too, could be somewhere in the Barents Sea not that far from the Kursk. We're not sure whether or not it was another submarine. There is always this NATO and Russian game of blind man's bluff which is played between submarines.
ENSOR: Here's what the Pentagon knows about the Kursk. It is an Oscar Class guided-missile submarine. Commissioned in 1994, it carries a maximum crew of 130. It is powered by two nuclear reactors and is 505 feet long. The Kursk can carry up to 24 nuclear cruise missiles.
In a previously scheduled telephone call, Sandy Berger, the president's national security adviser, offered U.S. help to his Russian counterpart at the Kremlin, but the Russian did not take up the U.S. offer. If Moscow should change its mind, the U.S. would airlift the Avalon, a deep-submergence rescue vehicle, basically a mini-sub, that can be carried by a large Air Force transport plane. The mini-sub, which is in San Diego, would then have to meet up with a mother ship, a submarine that is he equipped to carry it to the location of the Kursk. U.S. Navy attack subs equipped for that mission are based in Norfolk, Virginia five or six days sail from the Barents Sea. Navy officials say the mini-sub can carry about 24 people at a time from a damaged underwater submarine to the surface.
Sherry Sontag wrote a book about submarine warfare and underwater rescues.
SHERRY SONTAG, AUTHOR, "BLIND MAN'S BLUFF": The issue is you've got as many as 100 guys down at the bottom, Who are stuck. And the Russians are saying that the prospects for recovery don't look good. I don't believe that's true. I believe that there's -- there is stuff that can be done.
ENSOR: Though Russian officials are saying there are no nuclear weapons on the Kursk, officials here at the Pentagon that we've been speaking to are skeptical about that. They say they would see no reason for the submarine to go to sea without its weapons -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: David, if there were no U.S. submarines in the area at the time, what other ships might have been in the area at the time? What other objects underwater might there have been?
ENSOR: Well, it could have collided with an iceberg, perhaps a Russian ship, or a Russian firing by accident, perhaps. There are any number of different possibilities. A rock simply.
But there were, in fact, U.S. ships in the area, including a couple of submarines. And they did hear on late Saturday night, they say they heard an explosion, and reports from -- they monitored a Russian radio broadcast report that said that the Russians had a problem. So it appears to have occurred on Saturday night, Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, David Ensor, thanks very much -- Bernie.
SHAW: Thank you. And joining us now, former President Jimmy Carter, here at the Democrats' convention. But we're specially pleased to have you, because you are no casual observer of what happens with submarines. You once skippered a nuclear vessel.
Mr. President, as you listen to all of this reporting, what's going through your mind?
JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, a prayer that these submariners are not lost. And I think in the United States, if a submarine went down, say in 300 feet, and were still intact, or at least most of the compartments were not filled with water, it would be a fairly routine thing to rescue them. Obviously, that would depend on the size of the waves, the force of the wind and how close the rescue potentials were. But I understand that the Russians do have a diving that can go down. It's been in the vicinity of the sunken submarine for quite a while.
And it, at one time, the diving bell, if it's similar to the ones I know about, could bring up around 20 people from the bottom of the sea. But you've got to -- a flat hatch is only about this big around with a machine top on it, and that diving bell has go to fit exactly on top of that hatch. And then they pump the water out, and the sea -- the seawater pressure seals it so that the people inside can open of a hatch, come up in the diving belt, seal the hatch, and then lift the diving bell up.
But I don't know what other circumstances they are, how badly the submarine was damaged, whether it's on the bottom level or lying on its side. There are all kinds of questions that haven't been answered.
SHAW: One question, with questions raised about Russia's military preparedness, the state of the fleet, why do you suppose Moscow thus far has not accepted United States offers of help?
CARTER: Pride, and it would be a media answer: just not wanting to acknowledge to the world that they don't have the capability of rescuing their own sailors right near the Russian coast. And I have to -- all the information that I have is that the Russian readiness for sea is abominable. Some of the sailors have not been paid for months. They have had difficulty even providing adequate electricity to the submarines when they were alongside the pier to make sure that the submarines were safe and so forth.
So I think that the previous readiness capabilities and superb design characteristics of the submarine fleet 10 or 15 years ago, while the Soviet Union was intact, has now been dissipated by lack of funds, a lack of fuel, a lack of strong leadership.
WOODRUFF: President Carter, to bring us back to this convention here, as you know, one of the main arguments that George W. Bush is using that he should be elected rather than Al Gore is that -- well, really two. One is that this administration has coasted through, he says, eight years of prosperity, but also, they talk repeatedly about restoring honor and dignity to the White House. Do you agree that honor and dignity need to be returned to the White House?
CARTER: Well, I think honor and dignity do exist in the White House. Obviously, that's with the exception of the personal mistakes that President Clinton made that resulted in the House impeaching him, and he stayed in office.
There -- I have known Al Gore 25 years, Judy. He and I -- he ran for the Congress the same year I ran for president, and he was elected in Tennessee, and I carried Tennessee second only to Georgia. His wife, Tipper, helped me in my campaign.
He's a man of absolute integrity and honesty. He's just as loyal to his wife as I am to my wife, Roslyn. He loves his grandchildren the same way I do. So there's no reason at all to insinuate that Al Gore is involved in any fashion or responsible in any way to the mistakes or more serious peccadilloes of President Clinton in the White House with Monica Lewinsky. It's a ridiculous thing for anybody to allege that Al Gore should be responsible for.
GREENFIELD: Can I ask you about different conventions? Your 1976 convention was unified behind you. You came out of that with momentum, to use that wretched word. You won.
1980 was a different story, convention divided. The results were very different.
So looking back on those experiences, don't -- these conventions still matter, don't they, I mean, for a potential president to come out of it with a sense of spirit, enthusiasm, optimism?
CARTER: I think the convention is going to provide a way for Al Gore to come out of a cocoon like a butterfly tomorrow when President Clinton makes his speech tonight and then goes back home, and he's going to come out of the shadow of an incumbent president, which is a big shadow.
I heard you mention earlier a comment, with which I don't quite agree, I think that when Eisenhower was in office, he totally dominated the presence of Richard Nixon. And when Hubert Humphrey was vice president, he was totally dominated by, and sometimes even afraid of, Lyndon Johnson. And when Ronald Reagan was in office, there was no way to know the real character of George Bush, his vice president.
But I think that as a vice president does come out of that shadow and begins to be able to say things on his own initiative without being fearful about what his boss is going to think about it, without having to protect every political decision that his boss has made in the past just to show legitimate loyalty, and now he's -- he'll have Joe Lieberman kind of in his shadow, I think it's going to be quite a turning point.
And so I don't have any doubt that this convention is necessary. For one thing, it will in a way let people see Al Gore for the first time when he is in charge of the Democratic Party, and secondly, I think it will let people see the harmony of the Democrats, which I lacked, as you pointed out so wisely, which I haven't forgotten in 1980.
I never got -- I never got back 10 percent of the Democrats who followed Ted Kennedy away from me. And in the general election, Ronald Reagan got less than 51 percent of the votes, but I lost 10 percent of the votes to John -- to a third-party candidate.
So I think that this Democratic convention is important to let Democrats come and show their support of Al Gore and Joe Lieberman, to let the country interested enough to watch -- all the CNN viewers, of course -- see that we are united, to hear what President Clinton has to say tonight, and more importantly after he goes back home away from here tomorrow, to see Al Gore take charge.
SHAW: Also importantly, you're being honored tonight, and we're not going to keep you much longer, because you've got to get downstairs to be acknowledged by your party members here. A question: You've thought about this long and hard. I know you have, implicitly you have.
What has Al Gore done wrong to place him in the position he is behind Governor Bush?
SHAW: Well, first of all, the polls are very volatile, and when I left the convention in 1976 I was about 20 points ahead of, you know, a very wonderful incumbent president, Gerald Ford, and it closed to like 1 percent difference.
I think that after this -- and this happened in other times, with which you're familiar -- but I think that after this convention is over you'll see it tighten up very narrowly, and then there is going to be three questions to answer among others. First of all, is -- does Al Gore deserve credit, at least partial credit for the remarkable economic successes of this nation in the last eight years, which are superb? Secondly, is he responsible for the private and personal moral mistakes that President Clinton made? And third, when the election is over, is the average working family in America going to be better off with Al Gore and Joe Lieberman in command of our government, or the Republicans, who invariably orient their benefits to the very wealthy Americans? Those are the three questions that are going to have to be answered, and whether Al Gore can answer them successfully is still to be -- still to be seen.
But I think that one of the crucial elements this time is going to be the debates that are held, between Gore and Bush as the time for the election approaches.
WOODRUFF: President Jimmy Carter, we thank you very much and we know you are being honored, so we all extend our congratulations.
CARTER: Well, I'm excited. This is the first time I've ever seen a convention in its formative stages. You know, I've gone out to be on the stage or something, but I'm really enjoying being here.
WOODRUFF: Thank you for being with us. We appreciate that.
CARTER: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: And when we come back, the first flap at this Democratic convention, and it has to do with something called "Playboy." We'll be back.
NARRATOR: The first-ever Democratic National Convention began May 21st, 1832 in Baltimore. President Andrew Jackson already had his renomination from state legislatures, but he engineered the meeting to get the new vice president he wanted. The man he didn't want anymore, Vice President John Calhoun, had cast the deciding Senate vote against making Martin Van Buren minister to England. Jackson wanted to make Van Buren his political heir by first making him vice president in 1832.
But he worried that the states or the party congressional caucus would come up with so many possible running mates that Van Buren might not win. The Democrats' first national convention gave Jackson the running mate he wanted and also set up party voting procedures that would last more than a century, and Van Buren would indeed move up to the top job in 1836.
GREENFIELD: When Judy mentioned "Playboy," former President Carter reacted with amusement. You may remember that it was a "Playboy" interview in which the former president, at the time the would-be nominee, confessed to lust in his heart that caused quite a controversy in 1976, which, believe it or not, brings us to a present flap.
One person you won't be seeing on the podium, California Representative Loretta Sanchez. She decided not to address the delegates even after she settled a dispute with the Democratic Party over the site of a fund-raiser. You may have heard about this.
John King joins us now with more.
KING (voice-over): Not long ago Democrats were celebrating the idea that this convention would put Loretta Sanchez in the spotlight. The second-term congresswoman personifies the changing face of California and the nation, the growing clout of Hispanics as a political force. But this is one story that veered from the carefully crafted convention script.
Sanchez scheduled a fund-raiser at the "Playboy" Mansion and canceled it when Democrats from Al Gore on down howled in protest.
JOE ANDREW, NATIONAL CHAIRMAN, DNC: I think that an event that is hosted by a member of the leadership of the Democratic Party shouldn't happen there.
KING: Threats of losing her convention speaking role and her leadership position in the Democratic National Committee convinced Sanchez to move the event to a jazz club and the party's family feud appeared to be over.
REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ (D), CALIFORNIA: I have always been supportive of Al Gore as our next president, and I will continue to campaign for him through the fall in the knowledge that he will make a great president for the United States.
KING: But the saga took another twist Monday when Sanchez decided she didn't want to speak after all. Her spokeswoman says Sanchez was concerned at talk she moved the fund-raiser for personal gain, just to protect her convention speaking slot.
Her decision caught convention planners by surprise. Several told CNN Sanchez had been grumbling that her speech was not scheduled in primetime, and they complained that by deciding not to speak she had to know she would only guarantee more focus on the "Playboy" Mansion controversy.
KING: Joining us live in the back of the California delegation, Congressman Loretta Sanchez. You have been mobbed on the floor by delegates, mobbed by reporters. Some in the party think that you pulled out, decided not to speak, because you knew you would get more attention down here than if you spoke up there.
What do you say to that?
SANCHEZ: No, that's not true. In fact, The reason I changed the venue of the party was so that we could show unity and we could get our message out to everybody across the country so they'll know what Democrats stand for.
There were some who suggested that I moved the party because I wanted to get my speaking slot back. So I basically told them, well, that's not true, and therefore, I won't speak. KING: What do you say to those who said that how could you have thought of this to begin with? How could a politician hold a fund- raiser at the "Playboy" Mansion?
SANCHEZ: Politicians hold fund-raisers at the "Playboy" Mansion all the time.
KING: So you don't think that it's contrary to the message Al Gore is trying to convey here in Los Angeles?
SANCHEZ: I don't believe it's contrary to what our party stands for. We stand for First Amendment rights, and there have been plenty of people, lots of charities. The "Playboy" Foundation gives money to women's group, to voter registration, to Rock the Vote, to National Women's -- you talk about all the different groups and everything that it has done, it is a good foundation.
KING: All right, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, we thank you for your time. As we are waiting here, one delegate from New Mexico came over and said he was undecided but now he was going to cast his ballot for the presidential nomination for Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. Back to you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right! She's on her way!
John King, thanks very much.
Fund-raisers here, fund-raisers everywhere. This 2000 presidential campaign, both campaigns -- Democratic and Republican -- the most expensive in history. The biggest line item, one of the biggest, are these conventions.
So who's footing the bill here in Los Angeles? CNN's Brooks Jackson takes a close look.
BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is not Philadelphia, but Democrats here in Los Angeles are paying for their convention pretty much as Republicans paid for theirs: with a lot of business money. Wells Fargo Bank paid for this reception and gave $250,000 in cash to the city's host committee. Others are paying much more. Motorola is giving $4 million, supplying pagers and cell phones. AT&T is giving a million dollars in things like cable service and long-distance service. SBC supplying a million in local and cell- phone service.
Other million-dollar donors include United Parcel Service and General Motors. Officially, it's just local boosterism.
ELI BROAD, L.A. 2000 CO-CHAIRMAN: It's people that have pride in the city, such as I do and our mayor, and we want this to be an opportunity to showcase the city to you 15,000 journalists and 20,000 other visitors. JACKSON: Business donors say they're mainly trying to build local goodwill and showcase their products.
PAUL WATSON, VICE CHAIRMAN, WELLS FARGO: This would come out of a marketing budget, not a lobbying budget. This is not being paid for by our political action committee.
JACKSON: But some frankly say they're out to influence policy. Microsoft is giving hundreds of thousands in software and cash. Why? Quote: "We believe it's important to engage in the political process. We've seen firsthand that in our absence, our competitors and others will seek to define us. By engaging, we can seek to set the record straight." They're now appealing an antitrust conviction.
The convention itself is packaged, scripted, produced at great expense. They even call it "The Show," the show with a purely political purpose.
TERRY MCAULIFFE, DNC CONVENTION CHAIRMAN: We need to use four days out here, Brooks, to talk about, you know, "Who is Al Gore? Why should we elect him president?" And that's what our goal is out here.
JACKSON: Federal taxpayers are furnishing 13 1/2 million. The public money goes for balloons, signs, staff salaries, the podium, political videos. But the show also gets millions in cash, goods and services raised by the host committee.
BROAD: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) say we turn over the DNC and they spend it.
JACKSON: Donated Apple iMac computers are visible everywhere, and Apple servers power a whole new channel for the party's political message.
TOM GORMAN, CONVENTION PROGRAM DIRECTOR: Basically, this is a camera that streams a 360-degree image out over the Internet, and we're actually doing it at several different bit rates.
JACKSON: Now you can spy on the podium or chat with Democratic politicians from home electronically.
Total cost of the convention are nearly $62 million, not quite as much as Republicans spent. The total includes 48 million from the host committee, far more than the original budget.
BEN AUSTIN, L.A. 2000 SPOKESMAN: The budget was $35 million, but that budget didn't include the parties that we had to throw: the party for you all, for the media. You guys drink a lot of liquor, and so we've got to pay for it.
JACKSON: That's it! Blame it on the media! But look, is spending a $1 1/2 million entertaining thousands of freeloading reporters really essential to democracy? Probably not.
Brooks Jackson, CNN, following the money in Los Angeles.
SHAW: Well, really we haven't had a drop up here in the anchor booth, but we're going down on the floor now and move around.
Brooks mentioned the iMac computers being everywhere, everywhere. Let's go down to Jeanne Meserve -- Jeanne.
MESERVE: That's right. Those iMacs are in every delegation: a tasteful blue, I might add, no fuchsia or lime-green here.
With me here now is Joe Mohen, and he's the founder and CEO of Election.com. Your company is the one that paid to have these computers put around. How much did it cost and why did do you it?
JOE MOHEN, CEO, ELECTION.COM: Well, at Election.com, we're following up with our success in running the Arizona Democratic primary over the Internet and then launching nationwide voter registration and absentee ballots at our Web site.
At this convention, what we've done is we're introducing a new technology we have for convention-based voting in person through the Internet. There's a Web browser system that we are providing in kind to the Democratic Party.
We spent a few hundred thousand dollars to provide this service at the convention, and as you can see, it gives an easy and innovative way for delegates to vote on the floor.
MESERVE: Why is it worth spending a few hundred thousand dollars?
MOHEN: Excuse me.
MESERVE: Why is it worth spending a few hundred thousand dollars to do this?
MOHEN: Election.com is demonstrating how easy and reliable and accurate it is to vote over the Internet, and we're demonstrating that just at this Democratic convention and other states and countries around the world Internet voting is going to become a reality soon.
MESERVE: OK. Can we do a quick show-and-tell here very quickly? Show me what to do.
MOHEN: (OFF-MIKE) you can vote yes, no or abstain. The delegation is voting 191 votes yes. The vote is being submitted. The vote's counting.
MESERVE: Is this secure?
MOHEN: Very secure. In fact, when we conducted the Arizona Democratic primary over the Internet, with every hacker in the world trying to bring our Web site down, we didn't miss one vote.
MESERVE: But does this mean that affluent people can vote and people without computers, the less affluent, have their impact diluted?
MOHEN: Well, it's very important as you implement Internet voting you implement it in ways that don't exacerbate problems for minorities and the poor. In Arizona, our statistics showed voter turnout, even though it increased 600 percent in the primary generally, Latino turnout was up around 900 percent, so was African- American turnout, because we deployed it in such a way to make it easy for disadvantaged voters to get to the computers to vote.
MESERVE: Joe Mohen, Election.com, thanks for joining us, and now to my colleague Frank Sesno.
SESNO: Well, you're talking about some of the things going here -- going on down here on the floor. But up above us, there's something of a land grab going on in those skyboxes, 160 of them. Prime territory, prime real estate. Quite a number of them, over 60, go to the media, and that leaves a lot of others up for grabs from the big and by the big donors. And a little bit of elbowing, a little bit of jockeying. Some of the really big donors here a little resentful that they're having to share some of that space, sort of time-share territory.
Well, officials at this Democratic Party at the national convention say it's OK, there are escorts and plenty of boxes to go around even if people have to share. And oh, by the way, something that we've done this year that we haven't done in the past, the Arena Club -- it sits up above us -- if you have given money, we take care of us, you take care of us, we'll get you in there.
Back to Jeff.
GREENFIELD: Thank you, Frank, and when we come back, Matalin, McCurry and our first ludicrously easy quiz of the evening.
GREENFIELD: Back at Staples Center in Los Angeles, where not so long ago the Lakers reigned supreme, and it's now Al Gore's chance to see if he can do the same. We are pausing for a moment with a kind of Socratic dialogue on Dexedrine.
Joining us, Michael McCurry, former White House communications spokesman. Mary Matalin, who worked for the Bush campaign in '92, is an informal adviser to this Bush campaign, and of course, is co-host of "CROSSFIRE."
Mary Matalin, since everybody poses the question the same way, "What does Al Gore have to do tonight?" I want to pose it to you in a different way. As a Republican, what would you like to see happen here? That is, what would gladden Republican hearts if the convention were to work out the way you and your colleagues would like?
MARY MATALIN, CO-HOST, CNN "CROSSFIRE": Well, in an ironic way, the Republicans are calling this the "Reinvention Convention," so I guess they would like that Bill Clinton defined Al Gore so they know whom they're running against. This would be about the eighth version of Al Gore. But really what he can do and what we're expecting he will do, Republicans that is, is to bring home the base, very fractured base here. He needs to glamorize Gore: very dispirited delegates here. About 51 percent of them, only 51 percent of them believe that this nominee is a good one in their state. And finally, he'll do what he does so well: He'll legitimize his legacy. And he is really good, and there's going to be a good speech. No doubt about that.
These people here, these delegates love him. And that in the end, ironically, again is bad for Gore, because it invites a comparison in which Albert Gore does not fare well.
MICHAEL MCCURRY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, you know, I think you're going to see a different kind of message from Bill Clinton tonight. Remember, Mary, back in the 1996 convention, Bill Clinton picked up on something that Bob Dole had said at the Republican convention. He talked about wanting to be a bridge to the past. And Bill Clinton then really made the argument, no, this is about who's going to build the bridge to the future, to the 21st century.
I would not be surprised if tonight the president sort of turns George Bush's phrase, George W. Bush's phrase from his convention on its head about coasting for the last eight years. This country hasn't been coasting. Bill Clinton is going to lay out the argument about why we've made so much progress for the last eight years.
And then he basically has to clear the decks for Al Gore, because I think you're right: Al Gore has to come here and take this convention over, make it his platform for the future. He'll do that.
MATALIN: Well, and there is much, at least in what we've seen so far in the excerpts, much about the economy, who gets credit, trying to take credit for it. Two problems with it: No. 1, the people, the voters, the country who actually created the wealth believe that and demonstrate in polls that they as much, if not more, created this wealth. And secondly, unlike 1992, that great victory of yours, "It's the economy, stupid," this is not about the economy. In poll after poll after poll, people cite as their No. 1 and No. 2 concern the moral decline. So when he talks about the economy, they're saying, but it's not just the economy.
MCCURRY: There's a very strong rejoinder now, with the selection of Joe Lieberman as the running mate, to exactly that argument. By the way, that's the only argument you really heard from Philadelphia. So the premise for why we need to change direction is based on that argument about the moral character of the country. I don't think that's a strong enough case that the Republicans made. So in a way, Bill Clinton gets to start the ball rolling tonight.
Now, the other thing is we're at a Democratic convention. We've already had a flap about "Playboy," and we've got -- you know, we're going to have some fun at convention. You're going to hear some good rhetoric. I'll bet you, you hear some people taking the gloves off a little bit and making some of the contrasts with the Republican Party.
MATALIN: No doubt about it. MCCURRY: That Republican Party in Philadelphia, you did a great job, but there was so antiseptic. There wasn't a lot going on.
MATALIN: Changing the tone. It's called changing the tone.
MCCURRY: It's called putting you to sleep!
MATALIN: Well, maybe this will put, you know, the Republican half of the country to sleep. Yes, we predict there will be a lot of attacking, because it is not just what your party does best. Not you: You're a very nice man. But it's what Al Gore does best. So he -- but he better be careful with that.
MCCURRY: Well, you've got to -- you're right. The tonal quality has to be right. The contrasts have to be drawn vividly.
And the one thing that was missing from Philadelphia is humor. I just hope we hear some speeches that are funny.
Now, the president, he won't be funny. He'll be -- this will be a very emotional moment tonight in so many ways.
MATALIN: You didn't think...
GREENFIELD: OK, folks.
MATALIN: ... George W. Bush's speech was a knee-slapper?
WOODRUFF: OK, Jeff will be funny.
MCCURRY: All right, now...
GREENFIELD: Yes, I know what you were doing: You were stalling the inevitable.
MATALIN: Filling up the clock.
MCCURRY: We got a social promotion, I hope, into the Democratic convention here. I hope the questions are easy.
GREENFIELD: Well, we figured on a time when about half the entering college kids can't locate the Civil War within a half century, we were going to be a little sympathetic. So this quiz, I think you'll agree, isn't testing anybody's metal. But we'll see. First: Who is the minority whip of the U.S. House? Is it A) Dick Gephardt B) Martin Frost C) Steny Hoyer D) David Bonior? Minority whip.
MATALIN: David Bonior...
MCCURRY: David Bonior.
MATALIN: ... former seminarian, pro-life Democrat.
GREENFIELD: And you are quite right. That -- you get extra credit for that, Mary, an Al Gore answer.
MCCURRY: And maybe the future majority leader of the U.S. House.
GREENFIELD: I thought minority whip was somebody who would show up at the "Playboy" mansion, but what do I know?
Second, promising to "give 'em hell," this victorious Democratic nominee won a major comeback presidential victory in 1948. Good Lord! Was it A) Franklin Roosevelt B) Harry Truman C) Adlai Stevenson D) John Kennedy?
MCCURRY: The guy who beat President Dewey, Harry Truman.
MATALIN: They're not displaying much confidence.
WOODRUFF: Jeff, these are embarrassing.
MCCURRY: These are bad.
SHAW: Who thought of these?
GREENFIELD: I don't know, but I can make one up if you'd like. That's actually -- I might try that. And the last one, who is the national chair of the Democratic National Committee? Is it Joe Andrew, Roy Romer, Chris Dodd, or Ed Rendell? National chairman.
MCCURRY: That's actually a trick question and an unfair one because there are two chairmans. Ed Rendell is the general chairman of the Democratic Party and Joe Andrew is the elected national chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
MATALIN: And, see? They even make a bureaucracy at their political places.
GREENFIELD: Thank you, Mary, for injecting a partisan note into this educational moment. Thank you both.
WOODRUFF: You got to come up with better questions the next time, Jeff.
GREENFIELD: All right, wait till you see what happens tomorrow.
And we'll be back in a moment. You are absolutely right -- disgraceful.
SHAW: One of the many questions in this hall and outside involves the vice president, Al Gore, and why he has not received some smidgen of credit for this robust economy.
Our senior political analyst Bill Schneider here once again to go behind this question and give us some whys and wherefores. WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I'll tell you something. This country has gone nearly 10 years now without a recession, and that is a record. So why isn't it paying off for Gore? Well, let's see who gets most of the credit for this good economy. Where are the voters? Only 22 percent say the Clinton-Gore administration should get the credit. Those people are voting for Gore. A third say the credit should go to American workers and business people. They vote for Bush. Some say Greenspan, Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve. They're voting for Bush. Some give the credit to Congress. They're voting for Bush.
So who do the voters think would handle the economy better? Where are the voters on that issue? They say Bush. We have never seen an election where a strong economy like this is not carrying the president's party to victory. Why not? Well, I think it's because this economic boom is unlike any we've seen for the last 60 years. It is not being driven by a war, like the 1940s, or by a big public works spending program on education and highways, like the 1950s, or by a tax cut like the 1960s, or by a defense buildup like the 1980s.
So who gets the credit for this great economy? The American people say the government doesn't, we do.
SHAW: Bill Schneider.
WOODRUFF: Well, there's -- Bill Schneider. And there is somebody out there on the floor with, what? -- in the Arkansas delegation with our Candy Crowley who must be very frustrated when he hears an analysis like that one -- Candy.
CROWLEY: Judy, I'm with Mack McLarty, former chief of staff for President Clinton in the early years.
How does -- we just heard from Bill Schneider that the American people don't actually believe that the American economy really was something that Clinton did, but rather they credit themselves. But how in the short run would you advise President Clinton to kind of hand over this booming economy to Al Gore so maybe he could get some credit for it?
MACK MCLARTY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Believe it to be quite natural, Candy. I think people are right. Certainly the private sector led the way, but I think sound policies had a lot to do with turning around this budget deficit into a budget surplus -- natural partnership, natural partnership between the president and the vice president. So I think it's a very natural thing to transfer that credit for sound policy-making on the economy, and also to point out the risk of changing course.
CROWLEY: And -- but don't you -- couldn't you also argue in there that you had a Republican Senate, Republican House. Certainly the deficit reduction, all of that, they would claim credit for.
MCLARTY: Oh, I don't think they can. We didn't get a Republican vote. We had a Democratic House when we passed the plan and the vice president had to break the tie in the Senate. So I think they went exactly the opposite, saying this economic plan that's reduced the deficit would hurt the economy. And, of course, the evidence is quite the contrary.
CROWLEY: Let me turn the corner here.
MCLARTY: I think we won that debate.
CROWLEY: OK, we'll leave it to the American people, as they say.
MCLARTY: Well, as you should.
CROWLEY: Let me turn the corner here. You've known Bill Clinton probably longer than anybody in this hall.
MCLARTY: Life-long friendship.
CROWLEY: How hard is it going to be for him to walk off that stage tonight?
MCLARTY: Candy, I think it has a note of nostalgia. I think it always does for a second-term president or anyone completing a chapter of their life, an important endeavor. But I think he is looking forward to his next step in life. But more importantly, he's got a job to do tonight and I think he understands that. His job is to establish that record and to pass that mantle to Al Gore in the right way, and I think he will do precisely that.
CROWLEY: But, you know, there's been a lot of criticism when he came in here. First he gave that sort of confessional. He's been here doing all these glitzy parties. He doesn't seem like a guy that's going to walk away that easily.
MCLARTY: Oh, I think he will work to the final day on the job. But I think there's a natural transition here. This is his fourth convention. He'll do it just right. And I think, Candy, also, there is a genuine sense -- appropriate sense of satisfaction of his time as president, not only from economic standpoint but from a civil society, a social standpoint. This president's been a peacemaker and a bridge- builder.
CROWLEY: OK, thanks so much, Mack McLarty.
MCLARTY: Thank you, Candy. My pleasure.
CROWLEY: Really appreciate your joining us.
Jeff Greenfield, back to you.
GREENFIELD: Thank you, Candy.
When we come back, our Bruce Morton will take a look back at the last time a convention was held in Los Angeles: the pivotal year of 1960.
ANNOUNCER: Day one of the 1924 Democratic convention in New York City began a 17-day marathon, the longest ever. The Democratic Party was out of power and badly split. New York's Roman Catholic Governor Al Smith led the party's liberal urban wing, much more sympathetic to minorities and less tolerant of the resurgent Ku Klux Klan than the conservative rural wing, whose champion was Californian William Gibbs McAdoo (ph).
New York lawyer Franklin Roosevelt nominated Governor Smith, one of 19 candidates. It would take 103 ballots to compromise on John W. Davis of West Virginia, who wasn't even one of the originals. Davis would lose to incumbent Calvin Coolidge.
Democrats would win back the White House eight years later with Franklin Roosevelt.
GREENFIELD: And speaking of history, it has been 40 years since this city last hosted a convention. If you're old enough to remember 1960, which applies to one or two of us up here, you will remember a convention filled with uncertainty. If not, listen to Bruce Morton.
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 1960: The Democrats had nominee -- almost had one anyway, John Kennedy of Massachusetts. But others had hopes, Senators Lyndon Johnson of Texas, Stewart Symington (ph) of Missouri, Scoop Jackson of Washington state and more.
DAVID BRODER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Perhaps now, looking back on it, we think it was inevitable. It was almost, but not quite, locked up in Los Angeles.
MORTON: A lot of people still admired, still wanted, Adlai Stevenson, a veteran witty candidate who had run twice unsuccessfully against war hero Dwight Eisenhower.
ROBERT DALLEK, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: They were very resentful of seeing Kennedy, this young man who didn't have an extraordinary track record as a senator, surging to the forefront of the party. A lot of people were complaining that he was excellent in public relation, but can this man really govern? Is he going to be an effective president?
MORTON: Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota nominated Stevenson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1960)
SEN. EUGENE MCCARTHY (D), MINNESOTA: This favorite son, I submit to you, Adlai Stevenson of Illinois.
BRODER: The speech that McCarthy gave for nominating Stevenson was one of the great political speeches of my lifetime. And there was that enormous emotional outpouring for the man who had carried the banner twice.
MORTON: It was a huge demonstration. But I remember the Kennedy floor leader saying, they have the demonstrators, we have the votes.
And, of course that's how it turned out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1960)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By all means vote will make majority to Senator Kennedy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: So then the question became, who's the running mate? Kennedy chose Lyndon Johnson, which did not make everybody happy.
DALLEK: It's ironic, of course, given what Johnson later did as president with his Great Society and War on Poverty, but the liberals, labor, were resistant to having LBJ because they thought he was too much the dyed-in-the-wool, old boy, Texas, southern politician, and they didn't want to be part of him.
MORTON: David Broder remembers a moment. The speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn, Johnson's Texas colleague, paying a call on the Kennedys at their hotel.
BRODER: Suddenly this old man walked into the suite. And it was as if without a word being said, they stood back, gave him space. He walked into the room, Bob Kennedy came out of a back room to greet him, scrambling to put his coat around him. And I thought to myself, this is really the passing of power from one generation to the next.
MORTON: Kennedy got his way -- nominees usually do -- and Johnson was the running mate, chosen for sound political reasons.
DALLEK: Joe Kennedy had it right when he said to Jack that he was making the wisest decision by taking Lyndon Johnson, because it would help him win the South. And Kennedy, as the first Catholic to win the presidency, was going to have to appease Protestant opinion, so to speak, in the South. And Johnson clearly was going to be an asset to him there.
MORTON: So they had a ticket.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1960)
SEN. JOHN F. KENNEDY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We wish to keep it strong and we wish to keep it free. It requires at this critical time the best of all of us. And I can assure all of you here who have reposed this confidence in me that I will be worthy of your trust. We will carry the fight to the people in the fall, and we shall win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: Kennedy did win in November by about 100,000 votes. Johnson did help him carry the South, the last time a northern Democrat would. So, the Democrats last trip to this city had a happy ending.
Bruce Morton CNN, Los Angeles.
GREENFIELD: Speaking of 1960, we're going down to the floor with Frank Sesno and a gentleman who was at the 1960 convention, and I think the political bug stuck. That's former Vice President Walter Mondale -- Frank.
SESNO: Thanks a lot, Jeff.
We were talking about the 1960 convention. You were a delegate. You were actually campaigning at the time?
WALTER MONDALE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's right, I was. This was going to be my first convention 1960, but then I became attorney general and I had to stay home and campaign. But I watched the convention from the Moose hall of Elie (ph), Minnesota.
SESNO: And it was a turning point for the party and the country?
MONDALE: No question about it, particularly for young Americans like me. This young John Kennedy just swept us up. And I think it also modernized the Democratic Party and the country.
SESNO: Now fast forward from 1960 to 2000, 40 years, a lot of difference. Not the same buzz, though history here.
MONDALE: Well, it's the same principle, though. This has been commented on many times, but we've never had a Jew on the national ticket. And now we do, and we have a wonderful candidate, and I think we're going to open another door. That's what I tried to do in '84 with Geraldine Ferraro, to make these things accessible to everybody.
SESNO: Very quickly, you were saying before, very high watermark for Bill Clinton tonight. What do you think he needs to do?
MONDALE: This in many ways is the toughest speech he ever gave. He is the ablest speaker I've ever seen, and I'm just sitting here, waiting to hear the best. And I think we will.
SESNO: Former Vice President Walter Mondale, appreciate your time. Thanks very much.
SESNO: Bernie, back to you.
SHAW: Thank you, Frank. And when we come back, the pomp and ceremony behind us in the podium getting cranked up at this convention. We'll take you down there in a moment when we return.
WOODRUFF: A blend of the old and the new, young actor Dylan McDermott of the ABC show, "The Practice," reading one of the original copies of the Declaration of Independence.
And in a moment, we'll hear from Melissa Etheridge.
DYLAN MCDERMOTT, ACTOR: This not a photograph. It is a live picture of a treasure that is actually on this stage. Issued on the night of July 4th, 1776, only 25 copies of it remain throughout the world. This is the first one in all those years to appear in California, its new home.
We all know who wrote the Declaration, and we think we know the text. But most of us remember only two or three phrases from it and have little knowledge of how it came about, what went into it and what happened to the 56 rebels who framed and signed it.
The very first sentence in the Declaration contains the words "human," followed soon by the term "decent respect" and then "happiness." Not even in the Bible had the words "human" and "happiness" occurred, and then that thunder and lightning phrase declaring that all men, with women implied, are created equal.
All this in a short revolutionary manifesto breaking away from what was then the most powerful empire on Earth. Dangerously radical, if it failed it could send every one of its signers to the gallows. Fully aware of that risk, they mutually pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor.
What became of the signers? Five were seized by the British, 12 had their homes ransacked and burned, one lost his son in the fighting. Two sons of another were captured.
But there were less tragic endings, too, notably those of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. On the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration, both in their 80s dies peacefully within hours of each other.
The pursuit of happiness and the equality of opportunity continues. It is on the agenda of this convention. For every one of the 56 original signers of the Declaration, there are a million of us to whom it is sacred and alive and immortal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The music and words Melissa Etheridge has written and performed...
WOODRUFF: Melissa Etheridge will be coming out now to sing "America the Beautiful" and the National Anthem.
GREENFIELD: And we should point out that this is a kind of women's night. We'll be hearing later from six women senators, two candidates, leading up to another candidate for the Senate and the first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton, followed by President Clinton. So this is the beginning of the night of the women.
WOODRUFF: A medley of "America the Beautiful" and some other very, very familiar songs from the very successful folk singer Melissa Etheridge.
GREENFIELD: "This Land is Your Land" was Robert Kennedy's theme song in 1968. It's a folk song written by Woody Guthrie during the Depression.
WOODRUFF: It's very clear these delegates are ready for this convention tonight. They're ready to hear President Clinton, they're ready to hear Hillary Clinton under the umbrella of progress and prosperity.
And when we come back, we're going take a look at the Democrats' convention here, the Republicans' in Philadelphia.
Back to Los Angeles in a moment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... fortunately for moms, today Bill Clinton and Al Gore are on our side and are cleaning up the welfare mess.
WOODRUFF: In a contrast with the Republican convention, which Democrats say was a lot of fluff and not enough substance, they are trying tonight, and in fact every night of this convention, to look at what this Democratic administration has accomplished over the last seven and a half years.
SHAW: Very serious panel discussions going over very serious issues.
GREENFIELD: It just shows you how much conventions have changed. That they'd have panel discussions at a convention where you were wondering who the nominee was going to be is just unthinkable. But the object here is to bring out, to use that phrase, "real people" to talk about how they benefited from various programs in the Clinton years, to talk about work that's left undone, particularly in areas like health care, and to say, here are our ideas, the Republicans only had rhetoric.
WOODRUFF: And at the Republican convention, you didn't see elected officials. There were the real people...
WOODRUFF: ... episodes that we had at the Republican convention. You didn't see elected officials. Here you are seeing Congresswoman Lynne Woolsey coming up in the next few minutes. You're seeing night after night, you're going to see members of Congress, members of the Senate. Tonight you're going to see women senators.
GREENFIELD: And we're going to see our Wolf Blitzer, who is down on the convention floor -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jeff, there's no doubt, that the elected officials are going to be omnipresent here over these four days at the Democratic convention. In Philadelphia, he we took a look back, we noticed that there were 29 elected Republican officials that had speaking roles, mostly very, very minor speaking rolls, very limited, of course, in prime time. Tonight alone there will be 29 Democratic elected officials that will be speaking, another 37 tomorrow, 155 altogether over four days of this Democratic National Convention. They're going to be out all the time in addition to these so-called "talking points" with the real people, who are on these panels here at this convention.
There are other differences, as well. One difference you might notice behind me, this is a much more traditional podium than was the case in Philadelphia, where the Republicans wanted to open it up to the floor.
There's going to be longer sessions here. They're beginning in the early afternoon. So the Democrats have a lot more to say, and it's going to show with the elected officials here.
Let's go down to the floor. Jeanne Meserve has more on what's going on -- Jeanne.
MESERVE: Wolf, the difference is evident, not just on the podium but very definitely down here on the floor, the makeup of the delegations.
The Democratic Party rules mandate that half the delegates be women, and they are.
And the party also gave the states goals for minority representation. I'm here near the Indiana delegation, a midwestern, largely white state, 88 delegates. They were told to aim for five African-American delegates, they have 18. They were told to go for one Hispanic delegate, they have six. They're very proud of that. And many states in my region of the floor, at least, seem to have exceeded the goals set for them. The Democratic Party is very anxious to point this out, underline it and point out the contrast with the Republicans, who had 61 percent males and 88 percent whites in their delegates on the floor.
Now to my colleague Candy Crowley.
CROWLEY: Thanks, Jeanne.
One of the things I can tell you right way that is different at the Democratic convention is they are very heavy on the short films. We're into one of them right now. In fact, when we see the female Democratic senators up on the stage later this evening, each one of them will be preceded by a film, 30, 40 films, we're told, over the four days of this convention.
Looking at the Republican convention as compared to this, you also have to look at the candidates and what they wanted to accomplish going into it. George Bush went into his Republican convention with his base solid and with polls showing that most people felt that he showed qualities of leadership.
For Bush, the real task was to show the Republican Party in a different light. And so we had the parade of people, minority faces, women up on the stage to have a welcoming view of the party, Because Bush was already scoring high in the polls.
It's almost the opposite for Al Gore. He comes into this convention still a little unsteady on his base and also not leading in the polls. What Al Gore needs to do is not matter of party, but a matter of the candidate himself. This is the time that Al Gore, for a nationwide audience, will have to define himself.
Back to you in the booth.
GREENFIELD: Thank you, Candy.
With us now, Stu Rothenberg, who studies Congress the way other people study -- I don't know -- professional football.
Clearly, as Judy pointed out, the Democrats are much more comfortable showcasing their elected officials and candidates, but in the convention that seems geared to the re-emergence of Al Gore, what good, if any, will that do candidates for the House and Senate who are Democrats?
STUART ROTHENBERG, "ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT": Well, echoing something that Candy started to talk about, was alluding to, women are a key part of the Democratic political coalition here, and I think many Democratic strategists, officeholders, feel that George W. Bush is overperforming among women voters. If they can -- Democrats can showcase women candidates here, and these candidates are important for Democrats to possibly take over the House, that that can firm up the Democratic base and get this election about different kinds of subjects, talking about the kinds of accomplishments, quality of life issues that Al Gore and the Democrats believe should elect him.
WOODRUFF: But, Stu, these women candidates not necessarily in prime time. Some of them are, but some of them not.
ROTHENBERG: Yes, but, Judy, I think this is an overall reflection of what the Democrats are trying to do. You're right, not everybody's going to see this. But in the front pages of the local papers, in Florida, where an Elaine Bloom is going to be here, I believe, she's going to be showcased. Democratic candidates who are here are going to get their ink back home. And people around the country, that may not be important, but for he the individual candidates in the individual districts with voters there, it is.
SHAW: What about in states where Al Gore is trailing? Not only in the battleground states but in the electoral college, math, what is the intent of this convention, talking specifics, issue after serious issue, versus what we saw and heard coming out of Philadelphia? How does that figure?
ROTHENBERG: Well, you're talking about where Al Gore is trailing, he's trailing all across the country. So this can't be a state-by-state cherry picking approach. This is a broad-based approach to try to change the dynamics here. And by showcasing Democratic candidates, who as you pointed out, Bernie, are talking about issues that are both national but also local, the Democrats hope to get this election back to the issue agenda that favors them.
GREENFIELD: Stu, thank you.
Speaking of real people, when we come back, we're going to meet a real delegate in a minute.
GREENFIELD: Throughout this convention, as we did with the Republicans in Philadelphia, we want to introduce you to the folks who are the heart and soul of American politics, the delegates.
Tonight, meet someone from New York for whom the label party pro is a badge of honor.
PAUL ADLER, DELEGATE: It was great. The building's entirely out on the Hudson River. It's from the George Washington Bridge, these cliffs for Bear Mountain. Today we're looking at a shoreline that's the same shoreline with the same vistas that Henry Hudson did in the 1600s when he came up here in the Half Moon.
GREENFIELD: For 41-year-old Paul Adler, the path from the waters of New York's Hudson River...
ADLER: Just call the mayor's office.
We've got every seat occupied, and we've got every race covered.
GREENFIELD: ... to the nuts and bolts of party politics is a straight line.
ADLER: I think if Andrew Cuomo did the boat tour of the Hudson just like he did the boat tour of the Erie Canal, I think that would really highlight the Hudson River.
GREENFIELD: Paul Adler is chairman of the Rockland County Democratic Party. He's been engaged in politics since 1972. As a teenager, he took pictures of littered properties in his town as part of an Earth Day project, pictures he was to take to the town board.
ADLER: Well, little did I know that some of the properties that I reported into the town board were some of my father's properties. So I not only got a lesson in politics, but I also got a lesson in family politics.
GREENFIELD: Politics has been a passion ever since. You can measure that passion by the size of his Rolodex.
ADLER: My Rolodex is my most prized possession. It is a 25-year work in progress. It is the tool that enables me to do what I need to do: to get somebody at an embassy to get a donor who allows me to get the superintendent of highways. If the building was on fire, I would run into get that first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADLER: White House, Senate, congressional, statehouse, town hall numbers, private lines.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: On in the case of the first lady, a frequent house guest, the name and phone number of a local carpenter for her new house in neighboring Westchester County.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And look at this one. Stan Shillovsky (ph) in Organetown (ph).
ADLER: Well, he's -- he and Jack Rosenberg (ph) were always No. 1s.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: If it sounds like old-fashioned political log rolling, Paul Adler says it is, and he's proud of it. It is, he says, how he makes life better for people.
ADLER: When someone wants a traffic light or a stop sign or a sidewalk or they need a drainage ditch cleared out by the town, they full -- they full well understand that politics is the way to get it done.
There isn't an elected official or a person appointed to a job, whether it's a commissioner or not, that isn't there by virtue of partisan politics. I mean, everybody -- it's very nice to say, I'm nonpartisan or I'm bipartisan, but that's baloney. It's the engine by which it all happens.
GREENFIELD: Including, he says, redeveloping his beloved Hudson River.
ADLER: Somebody had a political will to get something done.
It just doesn't happen because somebody's noble and walks around and says we ought to redevelop the waterfront. That happens because there is a political advantage to it happening. But if there isn't a political advantage, it's not going to happen.
GREENFIELD: To the New York delegation, to Candy Crowley, who is with political pro Paul Adler -- Candy.
CROWLEY: Mr. Adler, we've just heard a piece about you, and I think we made a pretty good case for that old Tip O'Neill adage that all politics are local. But on a national basis, what does a political operative like you do for the Gore ticket?
ADLER: You have to pull the vote out. It's all a matter of getting that vote out. It's a matter of making people connected with the message of the campaign, and it's important to let people know that their vote counts. And that's what we do on the local level. Everybody in this delegation is local. We're at a national convention, but we're all local.
CROWLEY: So your main thing is to rev these folks out, up at this convention, so when you get home they can find other people to man the phones, all that stuff?
ADLER: Oh, coming to a convention is the best fuel you can have for a political junkie like myself. This is -- this is all the energy you need to carry us through the next 80-some-odd days to go out, get the vote out, connect with the voters, make the phone calls, hand out the literature, and make the case.
CROWLEY: OK, thanks so much, Paul Adler, appreciate it.
Judy, back to you.
WOODRUFF: All right, and those words have to be music to the ears of Al Gore.
Well, you know, tonight we're going to hear from President Bill Clinton. It is one of the most anticipated speeches of these four days, right up there with Al Gore's acceptance speech Thursday night.
John King gives us a preview.
KING (voice-over): It is part farewell, part pep talk from a president who has led his party through eight roller-coaster years. Mr. Clinton will look back at what he considers to be eight years of historic achievement and he will take issue with the signature line of Republican nominee George W. Bush's convention address.
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They've had their chance. They have not led. We will!
KING: The president's weekend warm-ups offered a glimpse at his convention rebuttal.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I remember when they were in office and in charge of economic policy for 12 years. They took credit if the sun came up in the morning.
Now they want you to believe it just -- it all just happened by accident. I have no idea where all these jobs came from.
KING: The convention platform has been the stage for several signature moments in the president's political career. He droned on and on, and on, in a 1988 nominating speech for Michael Dukakis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT CLINTON: In closing...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Mr. Clinton couldn't help but joke about it when he triumphantly took center stage in 1992.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, I ran for president this year for one reason and one reason only: I wanted to come back to this convention and finish that speech I started four years ago!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: He had reason to smile. Then Governor Clinton arrived in New York in third place, but he addressed the convention and the nation hours after Ross Perot abruptly, and it would turn out temporarily, quit the race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT CLINTON: The choice we offer is not conservative or liberal. In many ways, it's not even Republican or Democratic. It's different, it's new, and it will work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Victory in November put the new Democratic team in the White House. Just two years later, though, the president was repudiated: Republicans seized control of Congress and put Mr. Clinton on his heels.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT CLINTON: We were held accountable yesterday, and I accept my share of the responsibility in the result of the elections.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: But the 1995 government shutdown was yet another turning point in a tumultuous first term, and Mr. Clinton took convention center stage in 1996 in a commanding position to win re-election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT CLINTON: My fellow Americans, after these four good, hard years, I still believe in a place called Hope, a place called America.
Thank you. God bless you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: The president comes to this convention with an economy that is the envy of the world. But scandal is also part of his legacy, making his most urgent mission here all the more complicated.
KEN DUBERSTEIN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We're going to see how he passes the baton to Vice President Gore. It's not easy. I'm sure it's not easy for President Clinton, but if he wants continuity in the presidency it is something he is going to have to do and do exceedingly well.
KING: Duberstein was at Ronald Reagan's side when he faced a similar challenge 12 years ago.
DUBERSTEIN: And the argument coming from the Democrats was that after eight years of Ronald Reagan it was time for a change. And I remember walking the Oval Office, and Reagan and I were talking about this. And Reagan said: "It's not time for a change. We are the change."
KING: Now, Mr. Clinton has closely studied Ronald Reagan's speech. Look for much of an echo tonight. The first half dedicated to looking back at the past eight years. Mr. Clinton will run through his economic accomplishments and give the vice president a fair amount of the credit.
Then he will look ahead -- unfinished business, new challenges -- and make his case for why the Gore-Lieberman ticket is superior than the Bush-Cheney ticket. Down here on the convention floor, not so much a question of what the president will say but how long he'll take to say it -- Bernie.
SHAW: And John, the White House and the Hillary Clinton campaign have released excerpts of the speeches, and we're going to take a look at the words and the ideas behind these two speeches as part of the way of this president trying to thank his vice president, review his eight years and pass that baton. A closer look at these two addresses when we return.
NARRATOR: Some Democrats arriving to begin their 1948 national convention in Philadelphia got information from a breathing billboard. But some Americans were getting their convention information that year from a new medium, television. About 10 million people watching 18 stations along the East Coast could watch the live political show in black and white.
Even in 1948, politicians and commentators were hoping TV would bring shorter speeches.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is no panoply of sophistries made to perpetuate or deny power to any political party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: The Democratic Party would even write the new medium into its platform that year in a plank on journalistic freedom.
GREENFIELD: OK. Well, as Bernie mentioned, we have received excerpts from the two key speeches tonight of Hillary Rodham Clinton and President Clinton. Just very briefly, in Hillary's speech, there are two things -- at least in the excerpts -- one is the no child left behind theme that Governor Bush picked up, Which is actually a theme from the Children's Defense Fund, an advocacy group for which Mrs. Clinton worked. And she tries to take that phrase back. When a child is in an overcrowded school, that's a child left behind. Whey they don't have health insurance...
The more politically interesting thing at the end is that she repeatedly says thank you. Thank you for giving us the chance, thank you for this opportunity. And I think that has something to do with trying to soften an image that some people find a little brittle.
The president's speech is just what they've been previewing all week, and it's very much like Reagan's in '88. Point to the progress, gently point out that the Republicans who say that it was an accident or not -- not any part of the...
WOODRUFF: Their doing.
GREENFIELD: Right. Are wrong.
And then he says in a very kind of amusing me, now, I'm not telling you who to vote for, folks, but let me tell about Al Gore and Joe Lieberman.
Those -- those are what we know so far. Whether there are surprises in the speeches to come, they've kept it a surprise.
SHAW: Well, it certainly bares the influence of one of Mrs. Clinton's friends, who heads the Children's Defense Fund, Marian Wright Edelman, who has advised both Hillary and the president on matters important to the fund.
GREENFIELD: And who just got the Medal of Freedom, Presidential Medal of Freedom.
WOODRUFF: That's right. Just a few days ago. joining us now here in our skybox overlooking the convention, Connecticut senator, senior senator, Democratic senator, Christopher Dodd.
Thank you for being with us.
SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: Thanks for having me.
WOODRUFF: The president, as Jeff was just pointing out, Senator Dodd, spending a fair amount of time talk about, we anticipate, saying, hey, the Republicans are not right, we haven't squandered these last eight years, we not only bring you prosperity, we've done some good things.
Why is it so hard for that message to get across to so many American voters right now?
DODD: Well, I don't know if anyone has a specific answer, but part of it is the prosperity. Prosperity has been around now for almost a decade. And when you that length a period of prosperity and the depth of it, Unprecedented in the history of the country, you begin to take it for granted almost in a sense. And I'm beginning to think that people think this was sort of -- was going to happen anyway, it's here, and the idea that someone would actually be able to say there's some credit that is deserved by a particular party or particular administration is more difficult to penetrate. And I think that's part of it.
So we've got to do a better job in a sense, and the Republicans, I guess, the highest form of flattery is sort of mimicking a Democratic agenda. When I watched the Republican convention, I was sort of stunned listening to the speeches. These were speeches that you might anticipate having been given at a Democratic convention rather than a Republican convention. So, that also, I think, blunts the ability to get a message through.
But the president tonight will do a fabulous job, as he always does. He rises to the occasion, and he'll lay out that good record, why it happened and what it's produced and why it's important to continue the same -- the seamless exchange, if you will, from him to the vice president, who will continue these basic policies.
SHAW: Put aside former President George Bush's beliefs or reasons or rationales for believing that his son, Governor Bush, will win the election this fall. The former president said that one of the reasons he thinks his son will win is that the American people, notwithstanding all this prosperity, are ready for change, and he says that's what happened to him.
DODD: Well, I don't -- change -- change of a new administration. But I don't think the American people want to see a change in the leadership that produces surpluses, shows prudence when it comes to fiscal matters, places education, the environment at the top of the agenda, fights aggressively for them.
These are issues that show up over and over again as the most important issues. Prescription drugs: what a battle we've had in Congress over the last several years of trying to get a bill that would make a difference in the lives of millions of people in terms of the cost of prescription drugs.
I don't think people want to see a change in that at all. It would be a total misreading of the facts if one were to say, what the American public are saying is let's go back to the time when we deficit-financed, let's go back to the time when we didn't really pursue providing health care for children in this country. Those are the kinds of changes I don't think people want to see, rolling the clock back.
GREENFIELD: Mark Shields of our "CAPITAL GANG" once said if Bill Clinton drove through a car wash in a convertible with the top down, Al Gore would get wet.
Now, you're a pretty savvy political pro. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you know, who you want to win aside, that is a problem, isn't it?
DODD: Well, it's getting his own -- getting a sense of his own legs, and it's -- I think it's been hard for vice presidents historically to do this, coming off a successful administration. We've seen it in the past. But I think through this convention, by the time tomorrow rolls in and the rest of the week, and then the weeks between now and election day, the focus of the country is going to clearly shift to the vice president and to Joe Lieberman, my colleague and close friend in Connecticut.
This is a great ticket. I think it matches up very well with the Bush-Cheney ticket. And so it is a bit difficult I think for the vice president, particularly with a strong president who's been as popular in terms of his agenda with the American public, to demonstrate your own vision, to be able to lay out your own set of values, ideals and goals for the country. That's hard to break through, but I think you're going to see more of that in the coming weeks.
WOODRUFF: Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd, great to have you with us. Thanks very much. We appreciate it.
And when we come back, we're going to go down to some of our correspondents on the floor. They've been talking to folks about what they expect from Mrs. Clinton's speech, and we're also going to hear about a battle brewing down there on another matter.
NARRATOR: At the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, delegates and demonstrators reflected the country's division over the war in Vietnam. Even before the war had forced President Lyndon Johnson to refuse nomination, protesters were planning mass demonstrations. Host Mayor Richard Daley didn't like the war, but disliked disorder more. As party regulars pushed for Vice President Hubert Humphrey's nomination and Senator Eugene McCarthy led the anti-war faction, street protests and especially law enforcement's response escalated to what a post-convention report would call a police riot. Humphrey would get the nomination on the first ballot and lose to Richard Nixon. Federal prosecutors would eventually lose the conspiracy trial of the demonstration leaders known as the Chicago Seven.
WOODRUFF: While down on the floor, the Republican mayor of the city of Los Angeles officially welcomes the delegates. He has about 40 children with him all holding signs. We want to go down to our podium correspondent, Wolf Blitzer, who has a little more information about what Mrs. Clinton is going to be saying a little later -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Judy, the president is going to be trying to make a smooth handoff to the vice president, Al Gore, and perhaps begin to fade behind the scenes over these next several weeks. Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, has no such desire. She is going to be making it clear she has no inclination to fade off, because, of course, she's running for the U.S. Senate for New York state against Rick Lazio.
And one line in her speech tonight is certain to electrify this Democratic crowd gathering here at the convention, this line, where she says, "For me, it will be up to the people of New York to decide whether I'll have the privilege of serving them in the United States Senate." A sure applause line, something that's going to be generating a lot of excitement in this audience.
Now to Candy Crowley on the floor.
CROWLEY: Thanks a lot, Wolf. Actually somebody who can kind of add to the Hillary picture tonight, Harold Ickes, now a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton. Also been known to advise President Clinton earlier on.
HAROLD ICKES, ADVISER TO HILLARY CLINTON: On occasion.
CROWLEY: On occasion. Let me ask you something: You know, much has been made about Hillary Clinton, the carpetbagging issue. Doesn't it hurt her to sit up here in Los Angeles in her sort of first lady role, which is really sort of a campaign appearance for New York?
ICKES: No. She'll have a chance to talk about the accomplishments of this administration, what she really believes vitally in, and what's she's interested in, why she's interested in going to the United States Senate. I think it does her a lot of good to be here.
CROWLEY: And you don't think that back home, in New York, it might not be better to be in the Adirondacks someplace campaigning?
ICKES: No. She's been there. She's been in all 62 counties. She's going back through much of upstate New York and the rest of New York. And one thing, unlike her opponent, she's been in every county in the state. She's been all over the state, and they know it.
It's good for her to be here, because this is a set of issues that this administration has prosecuted that resonates very well in New York.
CROWLEY: Talk to me a little bit about the Lieberman influence. There's been talk that at this moment Mrs. Clinton doesn't have as much of the Jewish vote as you might expect a Democratic senatorial candidate to have in New York.
Does he help?
ICKES: Oh, he certainly helps. I think he helps nationally. I was just talking to state chairman from Louisiana, who says Lieberman is going to help in Louisiana. He's certainly going to help in New York. I think he's a wonderful choice, and I think he's going to add real strength to the ticket.
CROWLEY: And one last thing -- I just want to turn a quick corner, because you and I talked about this before: Is all of this necessary? Do we really have to be here?
ICKES: No, the -- the conventions -- look, the conventions give us a lot of air time. So nobody wants to turn air time down. On the other hand, the decisions are no longer made at conventions. They have now been transferred to the primary system. The decisions are made long before you get to conventions. I think we could really seriously think about a two-day convention and probably should.
CROWLEY: Great. I'm with you. Thanks very much, Harold Ickes, senior adviser.
Bernie, back to you.
SHAW: Thank you, Candy.
It seems like it's all pleasant down on that floor, doesn't it?
A brief history: You remember in July Vice President Gore flew into San Antonio, Texas, criticized Governor Bush for less-than- expected budget surplus in the state? And then do you remember that Governor Bush in his speech two weeks ago in Philadelphia said, "Don't mess with Texas."
Well, there are some Texas Democrats here watching Governor Bush's back at this Democratic convention. Frank Sesno is on the floor with more.
SESNO: Yes, Bernie, it's something of a Texas grudge match. The Texas delegation up over my shoulder, some members there from Harris County Democrats, they're passing this thing out, pages and pages: "Texas Truth Rangers," they call it, with item after item after item where they say that the Texas governor has misrepresented the situation in the state of Texas on things like education, drugs. The state has actually backslid. So the Bush campaign has responded by sending Democrats for Bush up here to Los Angeles to take this thing on head-on and to take aim at the Texas Truth Rangers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN HILL, TEXAS CHIEF JUSTICE (RET.): It's one thing to criticize when you're telling the truth and you have facts to back you up. That's fair game. We've seen that before.
But the charges that are being made against our state are false, and they're just being made to try to elect Al Gore. And that's not right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESNO: Now, that was former Chief Justice John Hill. I'm standing here with Molly Beth Malcolm. She's the Texas Democratic state party chair, probably about the easiest job in the country these days in politics.
MOLLY BETH MALCOLM, CHAIRWOMAN, TEXAS DEMOCRATIC PARTY: It's a great job!
SESNO: All right. What do you have to say, then, to what we just heard from a former chief justice, who says these are not true, these allegations, these facts that you cite, but are just being used to elect Al Gore?
MALCOLM: Oh, that's ridiculous. And I laugh, first of all, because John Hill's not a Democrat. He's a lobbyist. He may have been one time.
But this is the very reason I switched parties. I was a Republican, who became a Democrat in '92 because I realized what Republicans are telling people they do and what they really do are very, very different.
People can say anything: It doesn't make it true. So, that's why we're asking people to look at the record.
SESNO: Well, let me look at the record for a moment with you. One of the things that's cited on the list is that the governor supposedly denied money to expand kindergarten programs. He wanted to use the money not for education but for tax cut.
But the fact is that under Governor Bush education money increased in the state. Isn't that correct?
MALCOLM: The fact is that he did try to cut $300 million out of the budget in his last legislative session when he was looking for tax cuts, and it was the Democrats in the legislature that stopped him and said: No, we need to find pre-k and kindergarten. We're one of the few states that doesn't have kindergarten.
Education funding has gone up. The largest part of it has gone up because of the $3,000 teacher pay raise teachers got in this last session, which was a Democratic initiative, and Democrats are responsible for having that happen.
SESNO: A one sentence response: Doesn't it feel a little odd throwing mud at your own state?
MALCOLM: I'm not throwing mud at my own state. Democrats feel like the values we've been taught are to tell the truth, and we want to set the record straight. We love our state, but if you care about your state, you look at where we need to improve and we work on doing that.
SESNO: Molly Beth Malcolm, thanks a lot.
MALCOLM: Thank you.
SESNO: Let's go back up to the booth.
GREENFIELD: Thank you, Frank.
We are about to turn the reigns over for an hour to Larry King. On the other side of Larry King, the speech by Hillary Rodham Clinton, candidate for the U.S. Senate, followed by the speech of the president of the United States. You saw him arrive a few minutes ago. Presumably no problem clearing security for the president.
But next on "LARRY KING LIVE," his interview with Hillary Rodham Clinton. There's is a tribute to former President Jimmy Carter coming up. And his guests include former Senator Bill Bradley, Senator Dianne Feinstein and a host of all-stars too incredibly numerous for me to mention.
We'll be back at 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Central.
For now, the King lives, long live the King!
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