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Inside Politics

Presidential Candidates Praise Uprising in Yugoslavia; Vice Presidential Candidates Win Plaudits for Last Night's Debate

Aired October 6, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH, (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think we owe our congratulations to the people of...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... Serbia for expressing their choice for the...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: ... powerful, powerful force...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

A. GORE: ... freedom and democracy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Beyond those shared sentiments about the revolution in Yugoslavia, a Bush-Gore debate plays on. Also ahead:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICK CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And Al Gore will tell you that his tax package helps working families in America. Hogwash.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: It's back to barbs after the very civil Cheney- Lieberman debate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIPPER GORE, WIFE OF AL GORE: Superman, Batman, Lieberman! I love it!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: We'll consider the post-debate spin.

And in the New York Senate race, is the ban on soft money ads already falling apart?

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

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

We begin with democracy in action, in Yugoslavia and in the U.S. presidential campaign. President Clinton and his would-be successors are all praising the peaceful revolt in Yugoslavia.

Demonstrators have been celebrating in Belgrade, where a constitutional court ruled today that opposition leader Vojislav Kostunica had, in fact, been elected president of Yugoslavia last month over Slobodan Milosevic. A short time ago, in a taped message on Serbian television, Milosevic congratulated Kostunica, which seems to suggest he accepts the election results.

Earlier in the day he told Russia's foreign minister that he intends to stay in Serbia and to remain involved in politics.

Meantime, as our John King reports, the Russian's role in all this continues to be a source of friction between the presidential candidates in this country.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): World affairs is suddenly sharing the stage in the race for the White House as both major candidates rush to assess the revolution in Yugoslavia.

A. GORE: I'm certain that the community of nations will be anxious to help the Serbian people recover quickly from the reign of terror and dictatorship represented by Milosevic; and I'm confident that the Unite States will be a part of that effort.

KING: Bush loyalists say their candidate was ahead of the vice president in Tuesday's debate, when he called for the Russians to mediate. And with Moscow now recognizing the election results, the governor says it's time for even more.

BUSH: But the Russians must use their leverage on Mr. Milosevic to make sure that he, once and for all, finally leaves.

KING: There's no argument there, but Gore backers say the governor didn't get the nuance when he called for Russian mediation. The Gore camp says Slobodan Milosevic lost, so there was nothing to mediate.

And administration officials say Moscow embraced the election results only after days of pressure from the United States and others; and even now, administration officials say faith in the Russians might be misplaced: Moscow is said, still, to be open to some role for Slobodan Milosevic in Yugoslav politics, something Gore and the administration say is unacceptable.

It is sure to be a topic in round two of the presidential debates but, for now, the main event in this race is the debate over taxes and spending. This Orlando rally, a joint Democratic assault on the Bush- Cheney tax cut plan. Fresh from his big night, Senator Lieberman took the lead.

JOE LIEBERMAN (D-CT), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, when you've got extra money, does it make sense to give the most to those who need it least, and the least to those who need it most?

KING: The vice president had a Bush debate line in mind when he took after the Texas governor's tax cut as being tilted heavily in favor of the rich.

A. GORE: Those facts aren't fuzzy. Those facts are real.

(CHEERING)

They're real. They may be inconvenient. They may be inconvenient, but they're not fuzzy. They may not like to hear them, but they're not fuzzy.

KING: The elderly matter most here, and the vice president took pains to paint Governor Bush's economic plan as a threat to Social Security.

(on camera): In the end, both campaigns agree it will be the debate over taxes and spending -- domestic priorities -- that determines the outcome of the presidential race. But to the extent that international policy is an issue, the Gore camp believes the vice president can't help but benefit.

John King, CNN, Orlando.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: With just 32 days before Americans cast their ballots, likely voters remain divided about candidates Gore and Bush. After two days in which we saw an upswing for Gore, it is neck and neck again in our daily CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup tracking poll, with Gore ahead by one point.

About 2/3 of interviews were conducted after Tuesday's presidential debate. The race is also tight in our new CNN/"TIME" magazine poll, conducted Wednesday and Thursday, after Tuesday's debate -- though in this survey, Bush has a two-point lead.

For more on the latest polling, our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, joins us now from Atlanta.

Bill, tell us, why is the race so close? Didn't the polls show people thought Gore won the debate? That's what we saw in those instant polls.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, they did. In fact, our own CNN/"TIME" poll shows a majority of debate viewers thought Gore won the debate. And it wasn't even close. It was 51 to 37 percent. But they're not voting for Gore. The same poll shows Bush slightly ahead in the presidential contest.

Those figures should have shown a two-point Bush lead. A third of the people who thought Gore won the debate are voting for Bush -- which all goes to prove: Winning the election is not the prize for winning the debate. Those are different competitions.

WOODRUFF: Well, Bill, why do people think Gore won the debate?

SCHNEIDER: Very simple: the issues. By nearly two to one, viewers thought Gore had more to say about the issues. They also thought he had a better command of the facts and was a better debater. Gore won the debate this week on points.

WOODRUFF: So why isn't that translating into the -- winning in the presidential contest?

SCHNEIDER: Well, in part, Judy, it's personal. People like Bush more than they like Gore. And they also trust Bush more. One of the biggest differences between them is the number who say each candidate would say anything to get elected; 60 percent say that applies to Gore. Only 43 percent think that describes George Bush.

People see Gore, more than Bush, as someone who is totally driven by political calculation. His record as a serial embellisher may be beginning to catch up with him.

WOODRUFF: So are Gore's problems right now just personal problems?

SCHNEIDER: Well, no. They're also ideological. Voters are more likely to say that Bush shares their view of government more than Gore. You know how Bush keeps charging that Gore's program would create too much big government? Well, that message is getting through. A majority of voters agree that Gore's budget proposal would increase the size of government substantially.

In other words, he's too liberal. Even though the voters like a lot of the things that Gore wants government to do, apparently, voters worry about liberal backsliding by Gore and by the new Democrats who are supporting him -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider in Atlanta, thanks a lot.

In the coming days, our polling should give us a better sense of how last night's vice-presidential debate played with voters. But as you would expect, supporters of Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman are giving them each good reviews today.

CNN's Pat Neal has more on the vice presidential candidates on this day after their debate. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAT NEAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The band played James Brown's "I Feel Good," defining Dick Cheney's mood the morning after the vice-presidential debate.

D. CHENEY: We must be in Shreveport.

(CHEERING)

NEAL: A looser, relaxed Cheney was telling jokes, then turned serious. Cheney carried over his Thursday night attack on Gore's credibility. He targeted Gore's call that the U.S. military is at full readiness.

D. CHENEY: Either one, he doesn't know what the state of the U.S. military is today, or there's an alternative: He's decided not to tell the truth about it.

NEAL: His wife, Lynne, echoed the theme.

LYNNE CHENEY, WIFE OF DICK CHENEY: I once wrote a book called "Telling the Truth."

(CHEERING)

And I am sending an autographed copy to the vice president.

(CHEERING)

NEAL: A packed gym at Louisiana State University's Shreveport campus cheered as Cheney said the Republican ticket's $1.3 trillion tax cut would help all Americans, while Gore's rewarded only a select group.

D. CHENEY: Now, Al Gore will tell you that his tax package helps working families in America. Hogwash. Fifty million American taxpayers get absolutely no benefits whatsoever under the Gore proposal.

NEAL: Joe Lieberman joined running mate Al Gore in the battleground state of Florida for a post debate rally.

A. GORE: Didn't Joe Lieberman do a great job winning that debate last night?

(CHEERING)

Great job, Joe. That was a clear win if I have ever seen one.

NEAL: Lieberman praised the tone of the debates with no negative attacks.

LIEBERMAN: In some ways, in the debate last night, America won, because we got to talk about the issues. And when we talk about the issues, the Gore-Lieberman ticket wins for America's future. NEAL: And after Lieberman's debate performance, Tipper Gore dubbed the senator a new superhero.

TIPPER GORE, WIFE OF AL GORE: Superman, Batman, Lieberman! I love it!

NEAL (on camera): Both candidates feel they convinced the American people they are worthy of becoming president if necessary. Now it's back to the campaign trail, where their task in critical states like Louisiana and Florida is to energize their party's base of support, in this, one of closest elections in decades.

Pat Neal, CNN, Shreveport, Louisiana.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: And we're joined now by David Brooks of "The Weekly Standard," and E.J. Dionne of the "Washington Post."

E.J., of course, the wives and the supporters are saying they're both superstars. Was either vice-presidential candidate a superstar last night?

E.J. DIONNE, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, you know, it's funny, they were more like Robin than Batman. But I think they were very effective because they were so calm.

I think, in some ways, you could argue that Dick Cheney beat George W. Bush "big time," in the sense that he looked much more in command, especially on foreign policy, than George Bush did in his debate -- and that Joe Lieberman really is going to have to play Dale Carnegie to Al Gore for the rest of this campaign and teach him how to make friends, because his affect was so much more affective than Al Gore's was in that earlier debate.

I think, on the substance, as the your poll showed, Gore really did win that debate. But these personality problems he has...

WOODRUFF: You are talking about the presidential debate now.

DIONNE: The presidential debate. I'm sorry. Yes, the presidential debate. But personality problems really worked against him. And Joe Lieberman clearly does not have those kind of problems.

WOODRUFF: What struck you about last night, David?

DAVID BROOKS, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Well, I thought they were both fantastic. I'm voting for the Cheney-Lieberman ticket -- which you can't. You know, they spoke in coherent sentences. They were natural. They knew what they were talking about. To me, it was an indictment of the way we select our presidential candidates, that the best people don't want to go through the hell of running.

So we don't get the best people at the top. And the party apparatchiks focus on somebody so early in the campaign, we are basically stuck with them. To me, it was a real indictment of the way we select our nominees.

WOODRUFF: Well, whatever happened last night, E.J., does it change anything in this race?

DIONNE: I don't think, actually, this debate changes anything fundamentally. I think, in some ways, as David says, each of them may have hurt their principal a little bit, rather than helping them, because there was, by comparison, because there was that response.

I think that Cheney left some issues on the table. Asked if the Bush -- if Bush as president would cut Social Security benefits, he didn't answer that. He didn't answer, when asked about RU-486 and what a Bush-Cheney administration would do about it. So once again, you have issues operating, I think, on behalf of the Gore-Lieberman ticket.

But if these polls are right -- I think we're, by the way, in a year where either the voters fire the pollsters or the pollsters fire the voters, because they seem to be moving around so much. But if these polls are right, the issues are not yet trumping the person.

WOODRUFF: David, same question, what -- you mean, his -- last night, for what -- all the compliments that are now being heaped on Cheney and Lieberman, is it changing what's going on at the top?

BROOKS: Yes, though I can't predict what's happening. I can't predict the past. But Cheney was fantastic. But one of the things he didn't do was attack Gore on the character issue. It was the high- minded nature of that debate. Somehow the Democrats have it defined that the media, in their assistance, that to raise the issue of Al Gore -- whether he's a liar or whether he's a fiber is sort of -- that's dirty campaigning.

But the fact is, this is a crucial issue in the campaign.

WOODRUFF: Well, they are doing it on the campaign stump every day.

BROOKS: They're doing -- right, but -- right.

WOODRUFF: But you are saying he should have done it last night.

(CROSSTALK)

BROOKS: These are the big arenas. The debates are the big arenas, when you are reaching tens of millions of people. And somehow, that is considered beneath our notice: Al Gore's character.

DIONNE: Although I don't think that was Cheney's view. I think that the -- that Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman both made a decision, in part on their own behalf, to say they didn't want to mix it up in that way. And also, in terms of the media, the media has raised a ton of issues about Al Gore.

I think the notion there is a pro-Gore media out there, when you look at normal the day-to-day coverage, is just hard to sustain. WOODRUFF: David, what about the developments in Yugoslavia, number one: just the fact that Milosevic is now overthrown, and then number two: this sort of mini-dispute over who was right about what was said in the Tuesday debate?

BROOKS: Right. Well, looking at the pictures from Yugoslavia reminds me of what we are going to see in Washington this January when we have to get Clinton out of the White House, because we are going to have to surround the place and drag him out.

But listen, this was a triumph for NATO policy, for American policy, for American aggression abroad: the ability to project American power. And one of the disturbing things you see, especially among George W. Bush, is when he talks about using American might abroad, it's always about: with restrictions. It's a very isolationist, not -- or a quasi-isolationist attitude.

So this -- this posture is almost contrary to the events we see, which is a triumph of, really, American extension of power.

DIONNE: I agree with that. I think that's it a -- you know, broadly speaking, it's a triumph of the policy the administration pursued, with support from some Republicans. Bush has been very reluctant to endorse the use of American power abroad. And his answer on -- in the debate, I think the problem is, when you looked at that section of the debate, it wasn't clear either that he had full command of the information. And he seemed to want to negotiate our way out, rather than say: No, Milosevic has to go.

But, of course, today, they're saying that wasn't what -- the point he was trying to make at all.

WOODRUFF: Yes, the Bush campaign, it seems to me, is trying to say, you know, he really was prescient in that he was saying get the Russians in, and a few days, that's what the administration did.

BROOKS: Yes, but it's good to be luckily. I mean, Milosevic seems to have taken his Prozac. He's going -- going away happily. So it -- there will be no harm.

DIONNE: And it's not clear the Russians got him out. It seems that the people in the streets got him out. And the military in Yugoslavia, by not siding with him, helped get him out.

WOODRUFF: All right. Still an exciting campaign out there.

DIONNE: Sure is.

WOODRUFF: E.J. Dionne, David Brooks, thank you both.

DIONNE: Thank you.

BROOKS: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Great to have you. Have a good weekend. And when INSIDE POLITICS returns: the Clinton-Lazio agreement in New York to ban soft-money ads. Are those who said it wouldn't last being proven right?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Just two weeks after a landmark campaign-finance agreement was struck in the New York Senate race, the deal to ban soft-money ads appears to be in trouble.

CNN's Frank Buckley is covering the Hillary-Clinton-vs.-Rick- Lazio race -- Frank.

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, people thought this was potentially historic, if this ban were to stay in place. Few expected that it would stay in place. And this evening, it appears as though the dam that was holding back soft money in the New York Senate race may be about to break.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BUCKLEY (voice-over): The Clinton campaign accuses Rick Lazio of breaking the deal to ban soft money and outside spending in the New York Senate race.

BILL DEBLASIO, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: We have been following the agreement. And we were hoping adamantly that everyone else would. And we were very, very hopeful until just hours ago. And now to be confronted with this level of violation is just very, very disturbing.

BUCKLEY: Their complaint concerns this ad, paid for by Lazio 2000 and the Republican National Committee, spending the Clinton campaign says is prohibited under the agreement outlined in a letter written by Lazio's campaign, which said: "The candidates have agreed to use Lazio 2000 and Hillary Rodham Clinton for U.S. Senate as their sole respective funding sources for their U.S. Senate campaigns. They hereby commit and pledge to bar soft money and third-party entities from influencing their election efforts."

But today, Lazio said, while the money for the ad did come from the party, it was hard, not soft money.

REP. RICK LAZIO (R-NY), NEW YORK SENATE CANDIDATE: The truth is this is not soft money. It's hard money. It is not an independent expenditure, it's a contribution, and Mrs. Clinton's campaign and my campaign are eligible for the same help from both of the national committees. She has already taken advantage of that, in part, as I understand it, which is perfectly fine.

BUCKLEY: Mrs. Clinton's campaign says that coordinated party hard money was discussed, but an agreement was never reached on the issue.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BUCKLEY: The Clinton campaign now says that it is considering and weighing its options with regard to how to respond. In a conference call this afternoon with Mike Murphy, the chief strategist for the Lazio campaign, and other members of the campaign, Murphy said that this was, in their view, legal. They stressed that this was legal. They also said that they have at least one other ad that is now being funded by the Republican National Committee along with Lazio 2000. They plan to release two additional ads that will be funded in the same way, and they have believed all along this was part of the agreement with the Clinton campaign, and they fully expect the Clinton campaign to air similar ads -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Frank, how strong a desire is there really on the part of these two campaigns to ban soft money ads?

BUCKLEY: Well, all along, the soft money ban was seen as an advantage for Rick Lazio, to the extent that Mrs. Clinton has raised millions of dollars in soft money accounts. It was seen as victory for Rick Lazio to have this ban in place, which is why Clinton aides today were telling me that they were astonished that, in their view, the Lazio campaign has broken this agreement.

They publicly were saying, gee, we're upset that this campaign ban has been broken, but privately they were also not gleeful and happy, but they were also realizing that they now had, in their view, a chance to unleash some of that soft money.

WOODRUFF: Sometimes you just have to peal away the layers. Frank Buckley, thanks a lot.

And a programming note: CNN plans live coverage of the second debate between Hillary Clinton and Rick Lazio. That's this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Eastern.

There's much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. Still to come: George W. Bush tells Iowa voters to "Just Say No" to Al Gore. Plus...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Did Al Gore fabricate a story about overcrowding at this Florida high school?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Our Brooks Jackson with a lesson on political truth telling. Also...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the faces of Ohio's new swing voters, the up-and-coming movers and shakers of America's changing heartland.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Maria Hinojosa on the key voters in the battle for the Buckeye State.

And later, a political play of the week for putting the thrill back into politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: We'll have more of the day's political news coming up, but now a look at the main international story of the day. Ousted Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and the head of the country's army today issued televised addresses congratulating president-elect Vojislav Kostunica. Kostunica says he is convinced that a peaceful transfer of power will take place. Milosevic thanked the Yugoslav people during his address and said that he would take some time off.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC, PRESIDENT OF YUGOSLAVIA (through translator): I congratulate Mr. Kostunica for his electoral victory, and I wish to all citizens of Yugoslavia a level of success in the next period of the new president. Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Milosevic's acceptance of defeat triggered even more jubilant scenes like this one. More than half a million people stormed the parliament building in Belgrade yesterday and overthrew Milosevic's government.

Well, President Bill Clinton wasted no time reacting to these latest developments in Yugoslavia. CNN's White House Correspondent Kelly Wallace joins us now with more on that -- Kelly.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, the president's national security adviser, Sandy Berger, informed him about these latest developments. The president was said to be, quote, "very pleased upon hearing this news," according to White House Press Secretary Jake Siewert.

But Mr. Milosevic in his remarks said, not only congratulated the opposition, but said that he would be spending time with his family and then returning to public life. The White House said that Mr. Clinton's comments from earlier this afternoon still stand, the president believing it would be a terrible mistake for Mr. Milosevic to remain active in public life in Yugoslavia: the president saying that was not what the people of Serbia voted for. Mr. Clinton also saying the U.S. cannot ignore the War Crimes Tribunal.

But on this day, the U.S. president said it is not a time to address hypotheticals and what ifs. He said it is time to address, in his words, "the extraordinary victory for the Serbian people," and he heaped a great deal of praise on the man he considers the newly elected president of Yugoslavia, Vojislav Kostunica -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Kelly Wallace at the White House. Thanks very much. And when INSIDE POLITICS returns, multimillion dollar campaigns and a city in the spotlight. David Peeler with the latest on the ad wars.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The Justice Department has issued subpoenas, now, in the investigation into who sent a videotape of George W. Bush's debate preparations to the Gore campaign last month. The Justice Department has now subpoenaed the Gap clothing store. Earlier, the FBI questioned Yvette Lozano, who is an employee of Bush's media consultant Mark McKinnon. Lozano mailed a package from an Austin post office about the same time the debate material was mailed at that post office. She says that she was just returning a pair of Gap pants. The Gap spokesman says the company is cooperating.

On the campaign trail today, the GOP presidential hopeful praised his running mate's debate performance and returned to the issues, this time using a new anti-drug plan to criticize his opponent.

Candy Crowley reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Armed with statistics citing increased teen drug use, George Bush unveiled a $2.7 billion drug abuse program and slammed the Clinton administration for a lackluster effort.

BUSH: One of the president's first acts was to slash the staff of the drug office by 80 percent. The number of workers there went from 146 to 25. In other words, about half the size of the White House public relations operations. That says something about priorities.

CROWLEY: On all fronts the Clinton administration and the Gore campaign take large exception to Bush's figures, calling them ancient numbers and misleading. Clinton-Gore staffers claim drug abuse is down; and, while they concede large staff cutbacks early on, the Clinton anti-drug office says it's been at full staff for 5 years.

Speaking at an Iowa community center, Bush described a plan that, at its core, empowers and supports local and private anti-drug efforts. He promises, as well, stepped-up federal enforcement on drug interdiction and a new attitude at the top.

BUSH: Drug use is wrong because it's immoral, and it is immoral because it enslaves the mind and destroys the soul.

CROWLEY: Moving from Iowa into the electoral powerhouse of Illinois, Bush picked up the pace and the volume at an airport rally and continued on with one of the major themes of Tuesday night's debate.

BUSH: His view of the surplus is to increase the size and scope of the federal government. More bureaucracy. More IRS agents to figure out what his targeted tax cut means.

CROWLEY: In the debate postscript of recent days, the Texas governor has also begun to make fun of his own ability to the trip over words, and he offers a different way to look at the view that Gore is a more polished debater, a more certain speaker.

BUSH: They're good talkers, but what we need is doers in Washington, D.C.

CROWLEY: At this stage of the game, these rallies are mostly aimed at getting on TV in important states and getting out the vote on November 7.

AUDIENCE: No more fuzzy math! No more fuzzy math!

CROWLEY: It's not exactly "go team go," but, "no more fuzzy math" has become a bit of a mantra in Bush crowds.

(on camera): Bush wraps up his campaign week in Florida, a must- win state that's looking a little dicey for him. From there, it's back to Texas and two days of preparation for next week's debate, another pivotal moment in a campaign year that seems to have more than its fair share.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Marion, Illinois.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: For both Governor Bush and Vice President Gore, Ohio is a key campaign prize.

As Maria Hinojosa reports, the state's Hispanic voters may decide which candidate claims this battleground state.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HINOJOSA (voice-over): Seventy-two-year-old Juan Rivera tries to recreate a sense of his Puerto Rican homeland, tending to his exotic flower garden, cherishing a replica of his casita, his small house on the island -- all memories because, for over 50 years, this Puerto Rican has been living in Cleveland, Ohio.

(on camera): Do you feel like a Puerto Rican or do you feel like you're an Ohioan?

JUAN RIVERA: I've been here so many years now that i feel like a -- this place is like my hometown. I feel comfortable in Ohio now.

HINOJOSA: A Puerto Rican, Ohioan.

RIVERA: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

HINOJOSA (voice-over): All across Ohio the visible signs of Latino-ness abound: colorful murals in Cleveland, Mexican social clubs way out in Lorain. A changing state and political battleground.

(on camera): The Latino population here has boomed in the past several years, rising by as much as 20, 30, even 40 percent in 30 counties across the state of Ohio. And while Latinos are still a small percentage of total voters here, in a tight election every vote, every Latino vote, counts.

(voice-over): So these are the faces of Ohio's new swing voters, the up-and-coming movers and shakers of America's changing heartland.

The gore campaign is waging an aggressive get-out-the-vote drive, sending surrogates like Aida Alvarez, the first and only Latina to serve in a presidential cabinet to Ohio. The Gore campaign believes 2 percent of Ohio's voters are Latinos, half of those first time voters who could swing 30 Ohio counties and win Al Gore the state.

AIDA ALVAREZ, U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION: 1 percent can make the difference between who gets to be president of the United States and not. And we are not going to take any vote for granted, least of all, the vote of Latinos.

HINOJOSA: Lou Reyes formed a nonpartisan Hispanic PAC, or Political Action Committee to help activate the untapped Latino electorate.

LOU REYES JR., OHIO HISPANIC PAC: We plan to make an Ohio battleground. We plan on making this the Midwest capital for the Latino community politically.

HINOJOSA: All of Governor Bush's Ohio campaign stops have included Latino neighborhoods.

RAFAEL DAVILA, CUYAHOGA COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY: Places where you normally expect a Latino to show up no longer holds true. It's a different face of the country, and Bush recognizes that.

HINOJOSA: Aurea Lopez Rivera hopes to register hundreds of new Latino voters, searching everywhere from parking lots to makeshift stands -- selling typical Puerto Rican pinchos -- to bodegas, squeezing through the multicolored food aisles, the Virgin Mary watching from above.

AUREA LOPEZ RIVERA: If we get all of those people to vote that are not registered, which are Hispanics, it will make a difference.

HINOJOSA: A difference to Latinos living in these unlikely parts and to the candidates who need their votes.

Maria Hinojosa, CNN, Cleveland, Ohio.

WOODRUFF: To find out how much Gore and Bush are spending to reach voters across the country, I talked with David Peeler of Competitive Media Reporting, who has been tracking political ads in the top 75 media markets. I asked him how much the candidates have spent in the last two weeks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID PEELER, PRESIDENT & CEO, COMPETITIVE MEDIA REPORTING: Well, Judy, we've seen, in the two weeks leading up to the debate, we saw Governor Bush and the Republican National Committee, combined to spend about $9.4 million in 19 states. That's as opposed to Vice President Gore and the Democratic National Committee, which have combined to spend $8.4 million in a smaller number of states, 16 states.

WOODRUFF: In this election cycle, David, is there one city that stands out in terms of the amount of spending?

PEELER: Well, Judy, clearly there is. It happens to be Scranton, Pennsylvania. You know, it's the political equivalent of the perfect storm.

What's combining are three very, very competitive races. Obviously, we know that Pennsylvania is about a battleground state for Governor Bush and Vice President Gore. We've talked about that many times. But it also had a very hotly-contested Senate race and, actually, Scranton falls in the 10th district, which is one of those House seats that's in the balance.

So if we go and look at the numbers of what's been spent, which is 12,000 ads, $4.3 million, here's what it looks like: In the presidential lineup, Gore and the DNC have spent $884,000. The Republicans, including Governor Bush, have combined to spend $680,000. Independent groups, including the AFL/CIO and others have combined to spend $90,000 just in the presidential race, alone.

In the House race, Republican Don Sherwood has spent $186,000 against his challenger Pat Casey's $175,000. But here's the story, here: Independent groups, including the AFL/CIO, Citizens for Better Medicare and others have spent, in total, almost $1 million, $935,000 in that single House seat alone. That's a tremendous amount of money.

In the Senate race, Senator Rick Santorum, who is the incumbent, being challenged by Congressman Ron Klink, has spent $140,000 against Clink's $267,000. Independent groups weigh in with $25,000.

So, if you are an ad salesperson in Scranton, Pennsylvania, this is a very, very good year.

WOODRUFF: A very good year, indeed. I mean, those numbers are mind-boggling.

David, tell us what the ads spending in places like Pennsylvania will tell us over the next few weeks before the election?

PEELER: Well, Judy, here is what we expect. You know, the debate really didn't change the landscape very much. There wasn't any big gaff. There wasn't any big issues that changed coming out of the debates.

So, I think that what we're going to look for is, not so much the states that the presidential candidates spend in, but those states that they start to the pull funds from.

Those states are the states that I think we are going to see some candidates looking at the polling numbers, starting to feel that they can't really win. If they can't win in those states, they're going to start pulling that money and putting it into the states that they can win. The other thing that I suspect we'll see is that, you know, given that this is a very, very tight race, it is going to be about those margin voters, those people that are sitting on the fence.

So you are likely to see creatives that target very, very specific messages to individual states, where a single issue or a single topic may move an individual voter group.

WOODRUFF: Well, David Peeler, we are going to be looking to you for indication of all those things. Thanks a lot. We appreciate you're being with us.

PEELER: Thank you, Judy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: That interview taped yesterday.

Still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS: Al Gore and the great desk debate. Does his story about an overcrowded school check out?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Now, a closer look at one of the Bush campaign's latest lines of attack on Al Gore's credibility -- at issue: an antidote Gore told in this week's presidential debate designed to personalize his education proposals.

Our Brooks Jackson reports that, despite the Bush camp's claims to the contrary, Gore's story does check out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Did Al Gore fabricate a story about overcrowding at this Florida high school? George W. Bush's spokeswoman says he did.

KAREN HUGHES, BUSH CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: This is another in a disturbing pattern of the vice president simply making things up.

JACKSON: According to Bush's spin, it's just another Al-Gore whopper. So let's check it out.

A. GORE: I'd like to tell you a quick story.

JACKSON: Gore said he had received a letter from this man, Randy Ellis, about his 15-year-old daughter, Kailey Ellis, enclosing a newspaper article.

A. GORE: Her science class was supposed to be for 24 students. She is the 36th student in that classroom -- sent me a picture of her in the classroom. They can't squeeze another desk in for her, so she has to stand during class. --- JACKSON: Did he make it up? Not even close. The newspaper article says -- quote -- "She has 36 classmates, all assigned to a laboratory that was designed for 24 students," just as Gore said. Gore's error was grammatical, using present tense.

A. GORE: So she has to stand during class.

JACKSON: Kailey is not standing now.

KAILEY ELLIS, SARASOTA HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: It did kind of make the assumption that I was still standing.

JACKSON: Understandably, local school officials were upset with Gore.

DAN KENNEDY, PRINCIPAL, SARASOTA HIGH SCHOOL: A matter of not checking facts and verifying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have plenty of desks.

JACKSON: They said Kailey only had to stand for one day and said Gore should have been more careful. Bush's spokeswoman echoed that.

HUGHES: When under pressure, the vice president simply makes things up. Now, the president of the United States cannot do that.

JACKSON: But now school officials concede other students also did without desks for days and weeks. The school district is still struggling with a $17 million budget cut. Local voters refused to approve a tax increase.

ELLIS: I need to have smaller classes to learn better.

JACKSON: There's an irony here. Despite budget troubles, Kailey's elite high school is already one of the richest in Florida, with its own Web site, where it boasts of having its own TV studio rivaling any network facility. And it's not clear whether the added spending Gore proposes would actually do this school any good.

Its budget of nearly $8.7 million includes less than $27,000 in federal aid -- for gifted and disabled students.

(on camera): So the Bush camp may have missed an opportunity to criticize Gore's policy in their eagerness to attack his character. But the fact is this is one story Gore didn't make up.

Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Still ahead: voter participation and the "Political Play of the Week." Plus: Our Bruce Morton reflects on the Yugoslav struggle for democracy. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Our new CNN/"TIME" poll finds slightly more Americans believe Vice President Al Gore would do a better job on world affairs than George W. Bush. On this issue, 47 percent favor Gore; 43 percent favor Governor Bush.

In this week's debates, American voters heard a lot from the candidates and their running mates on both international and domestic issues. But was that enough to generate real political excitement?

Our Bill Schneider joins us once again with his view -- Bill.

SCHNEIDER: Judy.

You know, cynicism has poisoned American politics. Don't vote, the cynics say. It only encourages them. Americans need an uncynical political experience, a moment when politics can be thrilling again. That would be remarkable. It would also be the "Political Play of the Week."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): Most Americans don't bother to participate in politics. Fewer than half of all voting-age Americans showed up to vote in the last presidential election. This year's primaries saw the second-lowest voter-turnout in history.

Only 1996, when there was no contest at all for the Democratic nomination, saw fewer people participate. Has politics become a spectator sport? No. Most people aren't watching either. The audience for Tuesday night's presidential debate was way down from 1992 levels. It's been 40 years since the first televised presidential debates in 1960.

The country is much larger. But the audience watching the debates has shrunk by a third. Don't elections mean anything anymore? They do -- in other countries, where the experience of democracy is still exhilarating. We saw that this week in Yugoslavia. They had an election last month. The voters spoke loudly and clearly: They wanted Slobodan Milosevic out.

But Milosevic refused to acknowledge the result. This week, the people of Belgrade took to the streets. What are they demanding? Just this: that the rules of democracy be respected, that elections count. The message to cynical Americans: Take heed.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you walk out of here, if you turn on CNN, you'll see the emergence, I hope, in Serbia, with a lot of young people like you fighting for the future you take for granted.

SCHNEIDER: For once, political opponents in this country were united. They offered support, not spin.

BUSH: The people have spoken. It is time for Mr. Milosevic to go.

A. GORE: What we have seen is the power of people who vote to express themselves in a decisive way.

SCHNEIDER: The people of Yugoslavia put their lives on the line. For what? For an election result. This is not a case like Tiananmen Square, where American democracy is a beacon to the world. This is a case where another country is a beacon to the U.S.

VOJISLAV KOSTUNICA, YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT-ELECT (through translator): The change of power happened. And it is good, because it has proved that democracy has finally happened in Serbia.

SCHNEIDER: Maybe one day, Americans will find democracy just as exciting as Kostunica's forces now do. But this week, the "Political Play of the Week" is not ours. It's theirs.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: And there's another lesson here for the United States. The U.S. did not directly intervene to force Milosevic from office. The Yugoslav people did it themselves. That's what made it democratic and truly legitimate -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Bill -- and a reminder of why we are so fortunate to the live in the democracy that we do -- thanks a lot.

Well, the people of Serbia join a long line of men and women throughout history who have fought for freedom and democracy.

Our Bruce Morton remembers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The dream is as old as human kind. A Greek who died 500 years before Christ wrote, "Because we fought to crown Greece with freedom, we lie here enjoying timeless fame." He died. Freedom lived.

"Government of the people, by the people, and for the people," Abraham Lincoln wrote. And America elected a president in the midst of a civil war. Freedom lived. In our own time, Adolf Hitler enslaved millions, but the thousand-year reich collapsed. And the idea of freedom flickered back to life.

Then Joseph Stalin enslaved millions. Freedom lived. Hungarians fought for it in 1956, men against tanks. They lost, but freedom lived -- lived in communist Poland, occupied by communist troops. But a Pole whispered to me once, "We are writing a constitution." Freedom lived and finally triumphed there, free men at the Gdansk shipyard. Free men knocked down the Berlin Wall and the two Germanys came back together.

Dictators fled in Romania, fled in Hungary, where the tanks had won a generation before. Freedom flickered to life even in the Soviet Union, when an unlikely, bear-shaped man stood on a tank and declared the old order had ended. Free men dragged down the statues of the dictators.

Freedom lives -- lived in the Philippines, when Ferdinand Marcos finally had to flee -- lived in Nicaragua, when the left-wing Sandinista government ordered an election, lost, and agreed to the result.

(SINGING)

Freedom lives in China where, in 1989, young people massed in Tiananmen Square with a statue they called democracy, where one man -- one -- demanded respect from a tank. The students lost. Their songs and banners could not stand against the guns and tanks, but who would bet that freedom won't return one day?

Freedom lives in Jerusalem, where two peoples struggle for a homeland, for the right to live free. It lives in Belgrade, where the Serbs are taking back their country. "Freedom's just another word" -- the old Janis Joplin song goes -- "for nothing left to lose. Nothing don't mean nothing, honey, if it ain't free."

The Serbs are learning that this week. Freedom lives. It doesn't guarantee success or happiness, but you won't get them without it, we keep learning. So the fight goes on. Freedom wins here, loses there, moving toward the impossible, inevitable dream: "From every mountainside, let freedom ring." Serbia's turn this week.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Let freedom ring.

That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. But you can go online all the time at CNN's allpolitics.com. This programming note: Our own Bernard Shaw will be a guest tonight on CNN's "CROSSFIRE." He'll talk about the vice-presidential debate he moderated. That's at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.

I'm Judy Woodruff.

"WORLDVIEW" is next, with the latest on the Yugoslavia.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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