ad info

Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback  





Bush signs order opening 'faith-based' charity office for business

Rescues continue 4 days after devastating India earthquake

DaimlerChrysler employees join rapidly swelling ranks of laid-off U.S. workers

Disney's is a goner


4:30pm ET, 4/16









CNN Websites
Networks image

Inside Politics

Stage Nearly Set for Presidential Debates; New Union Ads Bombard Bush; How Does Education Fit into Candidates' Strategies?

Aired September 15, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: The stage is nearly set for the presidential debates. We'll have the latest on negotiations between the Bush and Gore camps.


GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Educational excellence is for every child.


BUSH: It works.

GORE: But doesn't end there.


WOODRUFF: The current back-and-forth over education: How does it fit into the candidates' strategies?



BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democrats are getting air support from the AFL-CIO.


WOODRUFF: Brooks Jackson tells us whether new union ads are on target.

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

WOODRUFF: Thanks for joining us. Bernie is on assignment.

Well, a day after agreeing on the wheres and the whens, the Bush and Gore campaigns are engaged in another round of wrangling over presidential debates.

CNN's Jeanne Meserve is outside the site of the negotiations here in Washington -- Jeanne.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, they're still meeting here.

We just had an update a few moments ago. We're told they are still talking about format, largely. They have gotten -- according to a Gore spokesperson -- to the nitty gritty of what the inside of some what -- some of the debates will look like. But there is still disagreements about the mix of formats.

We had been told that three formats are under discussion: a formal debate with candidates behind a podium, a more informal town meeting that would audience participate -- audience participation, and more of a talk show format. Apparently, they have not come to an agreement on what that blend should exactly look like. Clearly, keys to the negotiations are which strength which formats play to.



MODERATOR: OK, thank you. Now, we would like each of you to ask a question of each other.


MESERVE (voice-over): The conventional wisdom is that a more structured debate format favors Vice President Al Gore.

KEN RUDIN, NPR POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Gore is so scripted, so structured, that, you know, if they give him a 30-second answer, he will answer -- give that answer in 29.8 seconds.

BUSH: Let me say one thing...

MESERVE: A more informal debate, on the other hand, might allow Governor Bush to display his affable side. Debates in previous elections have ranged from the very formal to the fairly loose.

CAROLE SIMPSON, ABC NEWS: There is no subject matter that is restricted. Anything goes.

MESERVE: But at least one observer feels there is something more important than the format for the candidates: that is the format for the moderator, which must allow for follow-up.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON, DEAN, ANNENBERG SCHOOL FOR COMMUNICATION: You put the right moderator up there with the right rules and you're going to have a good debate. And it doesn't matter if they are sitting or they're standing, or you say 60 seconds or 30 seconds. You get a weak moderator, you get rules that minimize accountability, you are going to have a bad debate.

MESERVE: But the mechanics of the debates and, in many cases, the substance, are not what voters remember from elections past. They recall who bumbled and stumbled. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1976)

GERALD FORD, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't believe that the Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union.


MESERVE: And they remember who was most clever in skewering his opponent.


SEN. LLOYD BENTSEN (D-TX), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy.


MESERVE: On the issues of who will moderate the debates, a Democratic source tells CNN that the Debate Commission has put forward three names. We don't know whose names they are or whether they pass muster with the Bush and Gore campaigns. We are told the talks will continue. Both sides are hopeful of reaching agreement tonight, but they are not sure they will -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jeanne Meserve, reporting from right here in Washington -- thanks, Jeanne.

Well, Bush and Gore conducted something of a long-distance debate today on the subject of education.

As our Jonathan Karl reports, it fit in well with the Bush camp's plans to hit harder on the issues.


BUSH: Good to meet you. What you reading?

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For George W. Bush, a visit to another California school and a return to campaign basics: trying to gain ground on issues that usually favor Democrats.

BUSH: It may be strange for you to hear Republicans say: We're not going to abolish the Department of Education. We're going to make sure the Department of Education understands the sound principles of high expectations, local control of schools and strong accountability.

KARL: In the effort to recapture campaign momentum, the Bush campaign plans to hit the issues agenda more aggressively, by directly attacking Vice President Gore's proposals and challenging his credibility. Witness the latest Bush campaign ad.


NARRATOR: Gore says he's for school accountability, but requires no real testing. Governor Bush requires tests and holds schools accountable for results. Gore's targeted tax cuts leave out 50 million people, half of all taxpayers. Under Bush, every taxpayer gets a tax cut and no family pays more than a third of their income to Washington. Governor Bush has real plans that work for real people.


KARL: And the new Democratic National Committee ad returns fire on another issue.


NARRATOR: Before you look at George W. Bush's plans, look at his record. When the national minimum wage was raised to $5.15 an hour, Bush kept the Texas minimum wage at $3.35.


KARL: The ad ridicules Bush's new slogan: "Real Plans for Real People."


NARRATOR: George Bush: His real plans hurt real people.


KARL: Vice President Gore, in a speech at Howard University in Washington, D.C., also closed the week by talking about education, suggesting Bush's proposed tax cut would not leave enough money for major education initiatives.

GORE: Once you get that fiscal self-discipline, then, within the balanced budgets, you've got to have the right priorities. And that means number one, first and foremost, setting a national goal of bringing about revolutionary advances and improvements in education.

KARL: The Bush campaign plans to tap Senator John McCain for campaign help in the home stretch. McCain has given the campaign a list of seven days he is available to campaign for Bush in October. He's expected to hit the trail with both Bush and running Mate Dick Cheney.

(on camera): For Bush, the battle for campaign momentum also means working harder. Next week, he hits nine states, as his campaign moves from a five-day-a-week to a six-day-a-week schedule.

Jonathan Karl, CNN, La Jolla, California.


WOODRUFF: A new round of polling shows Gore with a sizable lead over Bush in several of the biggest battleground states. In Illinois, Gore is ahead by 15 points in the "Detroit Free Press"/Wayne State University survey of likely voters. The same group's poll in Pennsylvania shows Gore up by 18 points. And the vice president has an eight-point lead among likely voters in Michigan. In Ohio, it is much closer. There, Gore trails Bush by two points.

A short while ago, I spoke with a trio of political observers: Ron Faucheux, Hal Bruno, and Steve Hess, each of whom is examining this race in his own way. Ron Faucheux lays odds on political races for his "Campaigns and Elections" magazine and Web site.

I began with him.


RON FAUCHEUX, "CAMPAIGNS AND ELECTIONS": My current line has Gore over Bush favored 15-14, which gives him about a 51-52 percent chance of winning the election. This is a very, very close betting odd at this point, if you look at it from that perspective. So the thing really still has a chance to turn back if Bush can figure out a way to do it. But at this stage of the game, we do think that Gore has an edge.

And we think that it's reinforced, not just because of the national poll numbers, but by the internal dynamics of a whole host of measures.

WOODRUFF: All right, and we'll get into that in a minute.

Hal Bruno, now, you're looking at the race in terms of the Electoral College vote for Now, your new map gives Al Gore a solid lead in several Northeastern states, including New York. It puts him ahead in a dozen more states, including Illinois and California.

George Bush, you say, has a solid base in the South and in the Prairie states. And he's ahead in some key battlegrounds, including Florida. Now, the remaining nine states, you say are too close call, including Ohio, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin.

So my question to you is, Hal: Are you seeing this movement to Gore that others are seeing? And how does this map translate into Electoral College votes, bearing in mind they need 270 to win?

HAL BRUNO, POLITICS.COM: Judy, we've seen in the last week. There has finally started to be some movement. And it's in Al Gore's direction. Now, it's very slight. We've got to emphasize this is potential. This is not prediction. It's where it is this week. It will change next week, the week after, all the way to election day.

But Gore is currently leading in 17 states, worth 235 electoral votes. You need 270 to win. Bush is ahead in 24 with 209. And there are 10 states with 94 electoral votes that, right now, you have to call them toss-ups: close or even. The main thing that happened this week, I think, is Ohio, which is one of the key battlegrounds, a state that's must-win for a Republican Candidate.

Bush had been leading there. Right now, it's a toss-up race. In the last week, it's gotten close. Gore has spent a lot of time there, four times in the last two weeks. They've hit it with a media blitz. So there's been some movement. WOODRUFF: All right, Hal Bruno.

Now, Steve Hess, you have been tracking, as we know, the coverage of the campaign on the three broadcast networks. You had a grant from the Pew Center to do this. And you're reporting this also online at

One result from your analysis of the first week, I think, after Labor Day, jumps out to all of us. In that September 4th-to-10th time period, the tone of the stories you found about Al Gore was fairly balanced: 45 positive, 55 negative. But look at Bush: just 21 percent of the stories you found about Bush were positive. The vast majority, 79 percent, were negative in tone.

Now, how do you account for such a difference?

HESS: And I should say that's on virtually all three networks, very little difference between them. He does a little better on PBS. He gets 30 percent positive.

That's basically three stories. It's George Bush's feelings about Adam Clymer, it's the debate on debates, and it's the poll ratings. So those are pretty rough stories for him.

But there also is a dirty little secret that he's going to have to learn about press relations, and that has to do with the schmoozing he's been doing with reporters. That would be the more available the candidate allows himself to be, the more likely he is to upstage his staged events. And he's -- he'll, I think, is going to change his press relations.

WOODRUFF: All right. Well, let's go back. Let's open this up a little bit here.

Ron Faucheux, you say this election is close. You give Gore just a slight, slight advantage at this point.

We've got, what, 53 days left now until the election? What are the kinds of thing that could happen, other than the debates, to change this, to turn it around?

FAUCHEUX: Well, there are a few things. No. 1, even though Gore I think does have a real edge right now, and it's balanced by his favorability rating has come up to where Bush's had been all year, which was at the critical -- the edge that Bush had had before. It's reinforced by the fact that Democrats are more popular in Congress than Republicans. And I think there are some other internal things, too, when you look at the polls.

But Gore is a fragile candidate and he remains a fragile candidate. He has proven in the past that he has a glass jaw. If the Republicans can figure the right way to hit him, he can make the right slip-ups and the right mistakes at the right time, then, all of a sudden, Bush is in the lead again.

But as it stands now, Bush needs to sharpen a message. He does not have a clear message right now, and he needs to engage Gore in that debate.

WOODRUFF: Do you agree, Hal, on those two points?

BRUNO: Yes. I'm going to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) both Ronny and Steve said. In the years that I've covered, I've always noticed that the campaign coverage reflects the nature of the campaigns. And when a campaign is going good, the coverage is upbeat. When a candidate starts making mistakes, it's inevitable that the coverage is going to go in a negative direction, because they've made these kinds of mistakes.

WOODRUFF: What about Ron's point, though, that Gore -- Bush needs to do something significant, dramatic to break away from a pattern that is beginning to develop?

BRUNO: First of all, I think he's got to become a much more outgoing and a much more disciplined candidate, and I think Steve is very right also. He's got to have a relationship with the news media that goes beyond the stunts.

The best example of how you can do that is John McCain. Well, nobody expects anybody is ever going to be as candid as McCain was in the primaries, but Bush has got to start establishing some kind of human relationship with the media that covers him.

WOODRUFF: But Steve, you're not suggesting that his relationship with the press than how he comes across?

HESS: Oh, no.

WOODRUFF: To the public, television and so forth?

HESS: No, not at all. But then when start to break these stories down into substance and horse race, you find that this year, in the first week, they're overwhelmingly about the horse race, the strategy, who's ahead and so forth. He's got to break through and get on a message and get it off that and get it onto his message.

NBC had the most coverage this week, but also it was overwhelmingly about the horse race. There was, for example, 50/50 horse race/the substance for CBS, 3-2 on ABC, and 2-1 horse race on NBC. So he's got to get it off the who's ahead, who's behind, and onto whatever issues he feels are his...

WOODRUFF: And we need to point out, I think, that earlier in the year when Gore was behind he was getting more negative press than Bush is getting right now.

BRUNO: You know, what's been interesting to me, in the last week especially, in talking to the party leaders -- Republican and Democratic -- around the country is they're in unanimous agreement as to what the important issues are: health care, prescription drugs, patients' bill of rights, and Social Security.

WOODRUFF: And Ron, I want to come back to a point you made just a moment ago. You said George Bush has got to come up with a coherent message, words to that effect. What do you mean by that? Because he would say, well, I'm out there every day, I'm talking about education or prescription drugs.

FAUCHEUX: Well, of course, a lot of those issues tend to be issues where Democrats have more credibility on the Republicans, which is one problem the Republicans have this time like they had in '98: The issue battleground tends to be tilted a little favor of the Democrats.

But Bush's central problem is this: A majority of the American people believe this country and they are better off than they were eight years ago, and he has to give a compelling reason and distinction why he should be president now and why he would be a better president during the next four years, because he can't win the statistical battle about the last eight years. I mean, he has to show that despite where things have gone in the last eight years he's needed for a whole variety of reasons and he has to draw a line not against Clinton but against Gore.

WOODRUFF: All right, gentlemen, we're going to have to leave it there. It's fascinating. We're going to have to keep up these -- we will keep up these conversations throughout the election.

Ron Faucheux, Hal Bruno, Steve Hess, thank you all very much.


WOODRUFF: And coming up next on INSIDE POLITICS...


CROSBY, STILLS & NASH (singing): ... teach your children well, their father's hell did slowly go by...


WOODRUFF: The entertainment industry adds more cash to the Democrats' coffers and more fuel to GOP attacks on Al Gore. But does George W. Bush have a Hollywood problem, too?


WOODRUFF: Republicans are pressing their attack on Al Gore today for accepting help from Hollywood even as he campaigns against violent entertainment. Gore was in New York last night for another star- studded fund-raiser for the Democratic National Committee. This one pulled in $6 1/2 million. The vice president used the occasion to make a first-hand appeal to the entertainment industry to change its marketing practices.


AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's wrong to market inappropriate material to children. We believe in this very deeply. If I'm entrusted with the presidency, we're going to fight to change that, and I know that all of you care so much about children and your families and loved-ones, and I know that we will have your support as we move forward to make this a better country.



JIM NICHOLSON, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Al Gore has done nothing about this problem. In the early '80s, mid-'80s, it looked they were going to until he decided it was against his political interests, and he and his wife have gone totally quiet. They haven't done a blessed thing. He has no credibility on this issue, and now, he's cavorting with these people.


WOODRUFF: Gore's critics note that the Democrats rake in more than $13 million in donations from the entertainment industry during 1999 and the first half of this year. Nearly, a million of it went directly to Gore's primary campaign. But the Republicans also accepted donations from the entertainment industry, more than $8 million in the same 18-month period, with about three-quarters of a million going directly to Bush's primary campaign.

And today, the Bush campaign acknowledged that the governor had another Hollywood connection: He once served on the board of a film company which produced a violent R-rated movie called "The Hitcher." His campaign says that Bush was involved in the business end operation of Silver Screen Management during the 10 years he served on its board, beginning in 1983. But his campaign says that Bush had no involvement in the editorial or the creative content of any of the company's films.

And now to another group that is spending big money in hopes of influencing the campaign: organized labor.

CNN's Brooks Jackson looks at the latest union bombardment in the TV ad war.


BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democrats are getting air support from the AFL-CIO. Started this week, TV ads accusing George W. Bush of breaking a pension promise to Texas teachers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When George W. first ran, he promised not to cut our retirement fund. Then he went and raided it because he wanted to pay for other things.

ANNOUNCER: Now, George W. Bush says he'll protect Social Security...


JACKSON: A tough ad, but somewhat misleading. It's true Bush did break a promise by cutting state contributions to the teacher retirement fund, but Democratic Governor Ann Richards also dipped in, as did previous governors. And Bush did not cut pension benefits, as the ad implies he would do with Social Security, he actually increased basic pension benefits 10 percent, the first such increase ever for Texas teachers.

The AFL-CIO ad is running in four states crucial to the presidential campaign: Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Missouri.

The Labor Federation is also targeting more than a dozen Republican House members with this ad.


JOHN NALEPINSKI, MACHINE OPERATOR: I had surgery on both hands, but I'll be in pain for the rest of my life.


JACKSON: It attacks them for a controversial vote last June on repetitive motion injuries.


ANNOUNCER: Yet Congressman Steven Kuykendall voted to block federal safety standards that would help protect workers from this risk. Tell Kuykendall his politics causes pain.


JACKSON: Ouch, the ad is highly partisan, aimed only at Republicans.

GOP officials say that AFL-CIO ad is running in 10 states, hammering 13 Republicans considered most vulnerable to defeat. But no Democrats are being targeted, even though 16 of them also voted against the same safety regulation.

In past elections, the AFL-CIO...


WOODRUFF: We're interrupting Brooks Jackson's report to take you live to the building in Washington where there's been a meeting of negotiators from both campaigns over the campaigns.

Let's listen to Bill Daley.


BILL DALEY, GORE CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: ... we are all in unison that these debates occur, and that they occur in the way which both campaigns want them to, and that is giving the American people the greatest opportunity.

We've asked the lawyers to work overnight to draft some documents, and we will be back early tomorrow morning and continue to discuss the issues at hand. And we think we made great progress.


He covered it all. We did make great progress today. We will be back in the morning, and we'll continue the discussions. There will be debates. Both parties are eager to debate, and we'll be back here in the morning about 9:30.

QUESTION: Does this mean in essence you have an agreement and you just have to go through some legal formalities? There are still points of disagreement? What are they?

DALEY: No, that's not for discussion.

EVANS: Right. Yes, thanks, Bill.

DALEY: OK, take care.

WOODRUFF: Well, it's hard to tell you exactly what's going on based on those very brief comments from Bill Daley, who's the campaign chairman for Al Gore, and Don Evans, who's the campaign chairman for Governor -- Texas Governor George W. Bush. But in essence, they are saying, yes, there are going to be debates, but we're still working on the details, presumably still working on the format, the moderators, other questions that will be decided that have not been decided yet.

And as you heard them say, they're going to get back together tomorrow morning here in Washington at 9:30. And, of course, CNN will be following that story. As soon as there's anything to report, we will bring it to you.

Much more ahead on INSIDE POLITICS. Up next:


PAT NEAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Never before have so many Americans been in college and the demand for financial aid been so great.


WOODRUFF: Pat Neal on the competing Bush and Gore plans to help make college affordable.

Plus, Hillary Rodham Clinton campaigns with a little help from a friend. Will it give her a lock on the Jewish vote?

And later, a torch is passed in the political "Play of the Week," as the presidential candidates get some new competition.


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

Rising oil prices, increased Middle East tensions prompt a U.S. warning and intensified protests all across Europe. Typical are scenes like this, in Germany, where trucks, taxis and tractors have been jamming traffic for days; in Spain, where truckers and farmers are strangling traffic in Barcelona. Prices are now as high as they were just before the Gulf War.

President Clinton responded to the crisis.


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What we need to do is watch this situation closely. Now, the market is still sorting out what to do with the recent OPEC announcement, and I think there will be an evaluation of what the real, you know, the production schedules are, who does what in the various countries, how quickly. And that will have an impact on what happens to the price and whether we can get it down.


WOODRUFF: Adding to it all, Iraq now accuses Kuwait of stealing its oil, and the U.S. vows military action if Baghdad threatens its neighbor.

Depositions get under way, as the first defective tire lawsuit against Bridgestone-Firestone is prepared for trial. The case involves a Texas couple killed in an SUV accident after a tire blew out. Meanwhile, the Ford Motor Company is investigating six tread separations in Saudi Arabia involving Continental Tires. No deaths or injuries are associated with those.

Talks continue in Los Angeles between the transit authority and the union. The two sides agreed shortly after midnight to extend a strike deadline by 24 hours. If an agreement is not reached by midnight, about 200 bus routes, three commuter train and subway lines will be shut down. Transit officials report some progress.

WOODRUFF: Doctors implanted radioactive pellets, or seeds, in New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's prostate gland. They say the hour-long procedure to treat his prostate cancer went, quote, "perfectly" and they say his prognosis is excellent.

Afterwards, Giuliani met with reporters.


MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI (R), NEW YORK CITY: It seemed to me that this was the best choice for me and the type of prostate cancer I had, the stage that it was at, the various risks. There were many options. The really good think about prostate cancer -- if there's anything good about any kind of cancer -- is there are lots of options for treating this form of cancer. And as numerous doctors have told me, almost any one that you choose, any responsible option you choose, is going to give you a very, very good chance of curing it.


WOODRUFF: Giuliani says he feels fine.

Still to come on INSIDE POLITICS, the latest numbers from our tracking poll.

And Pat Neal with a look at the Bush and Gore plans to help pay for the high cost of college.


WOODRUFF: It's the end of another week of campaigning, and the countdown to the election is now 53 days. With that in mind, there is no change in the latest CNN/"USA Today" Gallup tracking poll. Al Gore still leads George W. Bush by 7 points.

With both candidates hammering away on education themes today, our Pat Neal reports it is an issue of particular importance to parents facing college expenses.


NEAL (voice-over): Dorothy Samoran's (ph) years of hard work are paying off. Her son, Shatif (ph), is in his third year at the University of Maryland and doing well.

DOROTHY SAMORAN, MOTHER: It's always been my mission to provide him with the best education.

NEAL: Shatif says that college is a must.

SHATIF SAMORAN, STUDENT: To be competitive as a stock broker or maybe a financial analyst, you have to have, you know, a higher education in order to be competitive.

NEAL: Never before have so many Americans been in college and the demand for financial aid been so great. So Al Gore and George W. Bush have crafted plans to target college-minded voters.

STANLEY IKENBERRY, AMERICAN COUNCIL ON EDUCATION: This is the first year that higher education has become an issue in a presidential campaign.

NEAL: Bush's aim: to help Americans with lower incomes afford a college education.

Gore's focus is the middle class.

GORE: I want to make most college tuition tax deductible so families can send their kids onto college.

NEAL: The centerpiece of Gore's plan is a targeted tax break for the middle class. He would allow families with incomes up to $100,000 a tax break of up to $2,800. Is that covering most college tuition as Gore claims? Well the average tuition is now $4,000 a year.

(on camera): Tuition here at the University of Maryland runs more than $5,000 a year. And 70 percent of this school's 33,000 students receive some form of financial aid.

DANIELLE GREENE, STUDENT: Hi Nicki, my name is Danielle.

NEAL: As part of their financial aid packages, Shatib and his friend Danielle Greene (ph) works in the financial aid office. Danielle has seven scholarships or grants that fully cover her college costs.

GREENE: At that time, my parents money was tied up in the business were in that business, so there was not any real money set aside for me.

NEAL: One of Danielle's sources of aid is the federally funded Pell grant, which forms the heart of the Bush higher-education plan. His goal is to expand the program, which is already the largest grant program in the country.

BUSH: We need to increase the first-year Pell grant from $3,300 per child who qualifies to $5,100 per child.

IKENBERRY: Students face the heaviest financial barriers and frustrations in getting started in that first year in college.

NEAL: Bush would also help students like Danielle, who took advancement placement math and science courses in high school, by giving them an extra $1,000 Pell grant bonus each year.

Gore supports raising Pell grants by $200 this year.

Both candidates have other components to their higher educations plans.

Gore would allow Americans to set up 401(j) programs, like a 401(k), just for college, though. And his retirement savings plan, which offers incentives to Middle-class Americans to save for retirement, by offering some federal matching money could also be used to help pay for college.

IKENBERRY: Vice President Gore's plan focuses on a continuation of using the tax code as a way to open access for higher education.

NEAL: Bush offers a savings plan, too. He would expand the current educational savings accounts from $500 to $5,000 each year, which can be withdrawn tax free. And Bush would send $1.5 billion to the states to help cover the cost of establishing scholarships for students taking advanced placement classes.

One-third of likely voters have children 18 years and younger. The Greens have three other daughters who go to college, and they're studying the candidates' plans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We would benefit from both.

NEAL: And it's this block of voters that has the candidates placing a higher priority on higher education.

Pat Neal, CNN, College Park, Maryland.


WOODRUFF: And when we return, why Joe Lieberman is in New York lending a helping hand to the first lady.


WOODRUFF: Hillary Rodham Clinton got some help courting the Jewish vote in New York today.

On hand to aid her U.S. Senate bid, the Democratic vice presidential candidate. Joe Lieberman's appearance comes on the heels of some polls showing him and Al Gore leading George W. Bush and Dick Cheney by more than 20 points in New York state.

Deborah Feyerick reports.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK SENATE CANDIDATE: Senator Lieberman, the chairman of the board, thank you for being with us.



(singing): I did it my way.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The introduction by Hillary Rodham Clinton played off Joseph Lieberman's Sinatra-like singing debut on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

It was the first time the Democratic candidates for vice president and Senate campaigned together in New York, speaking to middle school students in Brooklyn.

Picking up on a theme Clinton's critics have used against her, Lieberman praised his long-time friend as a woman of integrity.

LIEBERMAN: There's just no one I would trust more to fight for you, for your children and your future in the United States Senate than Hillary Rodman Clinton.

FEYERICK: He also worked to help her lock in the Jewish vote. A critical Big Apple constituency.

LIEBERMAN: Hillary Clinton, as a United States Senator, will be a strong, strong supporter of the state of Israel.

FEYERICK: Mrs. Clinton is only now gaining significant ground among Jewish voters. The latest Marist Poll shows she is ahead 55 percent to Rick Lazio's 37 percent. And while it's her highest margin among Jewish voters so far, it's nowhere near the 75 percent Jewish support Gore and Lieberman are receiving here.

An indication, political analysts say, that Mrs. Clinton didn't get the huge boost she expected.

(on camera): Campaigning side-by-side with Senator Lieberman accomplishes a number of things. First of all, for those Jewish voters who may be on the fence about Mrs. Clinton, it could make them more comfortable with her candidacy; and second, for those New Yorkers voting the Gore-Lieberman ticket, it will remind them to stay on the Democratic line for Senate.

(voice-over): Students at Mark Twain Middle School listened as Mrs. Clinton repeatedly linked herself to the top of the ticket.

CLINTON: That's what the Gore-Lieberman education plan is all about. That's what I have worked for and fought for, and what I have laid out in my plan for education.

FEYERICK: While out on Long Island, Republican Rick Lazio was also in school, defending his finger-wagging attempt at a soft-money ban during Wednesday's debate.

REP. RICK LAZIO (R), NEW YORK: Just because I'm perceived as a nice guy doesn't mean that I'm going to be a push over.

FEYERICK: Lazio's campaign is calling for Mrs. Clinton to stop rewarding big-money donors with overnight stays at Camp David and in the White House residence.

Mrs. Clinton defends the sleep-overs as visits from long-time friends.

CLINTON: We have friends and supporters come and spend time with us and spend the night with us. We, you know, we enjoy having people that we know and are getting to know and whom we like spending time with us. So, you know, I really don't see what is news about that.

FEYERICK: The White House is putting together a list of guests to be released next week. Mrs. Clinton, who has $7 million on hand, is pulling out all stops to raise even more money. Her husband plans to help by holding fund-raisers.

Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.


WOODRUFF: Well, that New York Senate race is just one of many hard-fought contests that are being closely watched in the battle to control Congress.

My colleague Bernard Shaw talked about some of the House races with Charlie Cook of "The National Journal" and Stu Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report.

CHARLES COOK, "THE NATIONAL JOURNAL": Clearly Republicans have more vulnerable seats. They've got about 15 seats that are at real, real extreme danger, compared to only seven for Democrats. Then there are another 10 or so on each side that are potentially in danger.

So, Republicans are going to lose seats. The only question is, how many, and is it enough for Democrats to take control?

STUART ROTHENBURG, ROTHENBURG POLITICAL REPORT: I'd agree, and it's not a question, Bernie, of incumbents versus open seats. In both categories the Republicans have greater vulnerability. That is, more incumbents, more open seats at risk.

The question is, just how far will the Democratic gains go? Will it be only two or three seats? Or could it be as many as eight or 10?

BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: What race pans out in your mind, and in your mind, as you look at the House balance of power?

COOK: I'd say the open seat in Michigan, eighth district, where Debbie Stabenow is stepping down, it's basically Lansing, Michigan, between Republican Mike Rogers and Democrat Diane Byrum.

I think that's as good a race as any to look at.

ROTHENBURG: I'd cite an open seat in Missouri, the sixth congressional district, where Danner, Democrat, is retiring. It's a conservative but Democratic-tilting district. Two strong candidates.

And, of course, Charlie, Kentucky's sixth congressional district -- Ernie Fletcher and Scotty Baesler, two -- a current member, Fletcher, and a former member fighting in a real toss-up district.

SHAW: And we conclude by focusing on Michael Forbes. What's the story there?

COOK: Oh, wow! Most of us thought, at the end of the day, he would probably lose in November. Now he's lost in the primary.

Republicans got in, beat him in the primary -- this is the party switcher. And so, he's -- but Republicans, I think -- it was a smart move. Usually you don't want to mess around on another side's primaries, it's dangerous; but I think they did a very smart move, and they guaranteed that they're going to pick up a seat.

ROTHENBURG: I think that shows the difference between the Washington perspective and the local perspective. Democrats in D.C. really wanted to save Michael Forbes. They wanted to try to get other party switchers.

Locals didn't much care about that. All they cared about -- this was, for Democrats, this was a guy they had ran against on the past. They didn't agree with him on issues. Out with him, they said.

COOK: This is the flip of what happened a few years ago, when a Democrat, Greg Laughlin, from Texas switched from Democrat to Republican, and then promptly lost the primary.

SHAW: Charlie Cook, Stu Rothenberg. Thank you.

WOODRUFF: And Michael Forbes being in New York state, of course.

Well, coming up next, Bill Schneider and his political play of the week.


WOODRUFF: Sports and politics: they often seem to go hand in hand. Bill Schneider joins us now from Boston on how that mix sometimes plays out -- Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Judy, this presidential campaign is rapidly deteriorating.

Last week, we had a candidate who insulted a reporter. This week, we had an infestation of rats. Plus, new allegations of fund- raising abuses, plus dirty tricks with debate files. Can anything end this downward spiral and restore the country's sense of pride and heroism? That would be the political "Play of the Week."


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Presidential elections have always gone side-by-side with the Olympic games, but usually they didn't have much to do with each other. Then, in 1980, the Olympics invaded U.S. politics. The U.S. hockey team's victory over the Soviets at Lake Placid rallied a demoralized nation. Even hopeless causes might be won.

Later that year, President Carter ordered U.S. athletes to boycott the summer games in Moscow.


JIMMY CARTER, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Soviet Union sought to enjoy both the fruits of aggression in Afghanistan and the prestige and the propaganda value of being a host of the Olympics at the same time.


SCHNEIDER: Carter stood on principle, but he also forfeited any chance he might have had to cast an Olympic glow over his re-election campaign.

Ronald Reagan didn't miss that chance when he ran for re-election in 1984. It was the Soviets who boycotted the games in Los Angeles that year, but President Reagan didn't fret. It just meant more medals for the U.S.


RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Set your sights high, and then go for it. Do it for the Gipper.




SCHNEIDER: They did. The whole thing fit the GOP's "Morning in America" campaign.

President Clinton grasped the symbolism of the Olympics when he ran for re-election in 1996. The athletes were winners, and so was he.


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As far as I am concerned, these Atlanta games were the best.


SCHNEIDER: After the tragic bombing at the Atlanta games, Clinton got a chance to do what he does best. He felt the nation's pain.


CLINTON: We will spare no effort to find out who is responsible for this murderous act.


SCHNEIDER: It may be summer in Sydney, but the Olympics will freeze the campaign in the U.S. for the next two weeks. It's good news for voters, who want to celebrate competition and excellence without dirty tricks and deception.

The games haven't begun, but we can already award the first medal for "The Political Play of the Week."


SCHNEIDER: Hey, Judy, here's an idea: Make next month's debates an Olympic event and get track and field star Marion Jones to moderate. She's the one who's aiming for five gold medals. She is so fast, I'd like to see them try to evade her questions -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: So would I. Bill Schneider in Boston, thanks very much and have a good weekend.

This Sunday, CNN begins a series of election 2000 documentaries titled "Democracy in America." The first installment is "Public Money, Private School." Here's a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a revolution going on here. There's a revolution in terms of people on the bottom are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said a boom-chick-a-rocka-chick-a-rocka- chick-a-boom.

CHILDREN: I said a boom-chick-a-rocka-chick-a-rocka-chick-a- boom.


CHILDREN: All right.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Public schools need help and support, not abandonment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Part of what vouchers are about is saying, well, the public schools aren't working, vouchers are the answer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The church is not taking that money. That family has it and is giving it to us for their child's education.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like competition but I also intend to win.


WOODRUFF: I talked with the host of "DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA," Jeff Greenfield, and I asked him what this series is all about.


JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: I think it's about trying to put concrete data in front of viewers when we talk about issues. People always say you guys in the media cover the horse race to the exclusion of issues. But when you talk about issues they often sound abstract. They have no real meaning.

So while education, for instance, is a very important issues, what this show does, as you saw in that clip, goes to a place where the voucher argument has been playing out longer than almost anywhere else to see what concrete effect it has had on the public schools.

And when we talk about health care, another issue right at the top of the agenda, instead of talking about it in abstractions we go to the birthplace of managed care, in California, to take a look at how that system is playing out.

It's an attempt to give viewers and voters something more than kind of theoretical notions about what they might be voting on.

WOODRUFF (on camera): Now, I assume you're doing domestic issues as well as international issues. How did you decide which issues to focus on?

GREENFIELD: Well, I think the key in the one hour that we devote to international affairs is to look at places that are sufficiently vile -- sufficiently volatile that at some point in the next president's administration he may be called upon to make some really critical issues.

The Middle East is one obvious area, but South Asia may be a less obvious area, and yet it is a place where India and Pakistan -- both now nuclear countries, nuclear powers -- are literally at each other's throats and have been for years: because one of the things about international affairs in the post-Cold War era is -- you see this; we've talked about this on INSIDE POLITICS -- those issues tend to get swept off the board. And yet, you don't want a situation where years later you suddenly look up and say, my god, how did we get in this position? In this show, you're going to see some of the areas where the candidates may as president have to make critical decisions.

WOODRUFF: All right. The series is "DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA." Jeff, it's Sunday night at what time?

GREENFIELD: It's on at 10 o'clock Eastern, right after "CNN & TIME."

WOODRUFF: 10 o'clock Eastern. And Jeff, tonight, more immediately, you are doing a "NEWSSTAND" special, one that you're doing every Friday night between now and the election. Tell us about tonight.

GREENFIELD: Well, we keep trying to find a different way to talk about politics, and so while we have a panel of political journalists, Rich Lowry of "The National Review" and Joe Klein of "Anonymous" fame and Tamala Edwards of "TIME," the second panel brings together a comedian writer, Liz Wensted (ph), who did "The Daily Show"; a great jazz musician, Ben Sidrin (ph); and Rick Stengle (ph), who worked in Bill Bradley's campaign and is a writer and author -- in an attempt to have conversation that you might not hear in other venues.

So I'm really delighted with the series. We're going to be doing them every Friday night at 10 o'clock Eastern until we get them right.

WOODRUFF: Well, we'll give you as much as you need, but we know you're not going to need any time. It'll be right tonight.


WOODRUFF: And we look forward to it.

GREENFIELD: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Jeff Greenfield,thanks a lot.


WOODRUFF: And that is all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS, but of course, you can go online all the time at CNN's

These weekend programming notes: Governor George W. Bush will be the guest tomorrow on "EVANS, NOVAK, HUNT & SHIELDS." That's at 5:30 p.m. Eastern. And at noon Eastern Sunday, former Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Bradley will be among Wolf Blitzer's guests on "LATE EDITION."

I'm Judy Woodruff. "WORLDVIEW" is next.



Back to the top  © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.