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McCain Joins Bush on Campaign Trail; Gore Addresses His Connection to Clinton; How Will the Subway Series Affect New York's Senate Race?Aired October 20, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I know that you share that commitment and belief that the country will be in very good hands with the next president of the United States, Governor George W. Bush.
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JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: John McCain joins his former rival on the campaign trail. Is that a mixed blessing for George W. Bush?
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AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a campaign that I am running on my own. I am who I am.
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WOODRUFF: Al Gore addresses his connection to Bill Clinton, once again, after trying to show his playful side on the talk show circuit.
Plus: the big political game in New York. How will the players be affected by the Subway Series?
And, it's all in how you move on the dance floor and in the political "Play of the Week."
ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff.
WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. Bernie is on assignment.
If John McCain fans were expecting he would be a fixture on the trail with George W. Bush this fall, they may have been disappointed in recent weeks. But today, 18 days before the election, the former GOP rivals appeared side by side.
As our Candy Crowley explains, the Bush-McCain relationship and today's campaign swing have had their share of complications, particularly in New Hampshire. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A town hall meeting in New Hampshire feels like a blast from the past, but George Bush thinks the state that handed him his head in February might stand behind him in November.
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But I'm a better candidate as a result of campaigning last winter in this great state. I am. This is a state that puts you through your paces. Sometimes it gives you a little dose of humility. But I made a lot of friends in this state, and I'm convinced that the friends I made and the message I'm bringing back to this state will help me carry New Hampshire in November.
CROWLEY: Looking to tap into New Hampshire's independent streak, Bush invited the state's primary victor to join him, but John McCain, according to both sides, ran afoul of some rotten crawfish and couldn't make it. So Bush played both parts.
BUSH: He happens to believe, which I hope 50 percent of Americans believe, that what's best for America is to change the tone in Washington, D.C. by having a new leader up there.
CROWLEY: Having conquered the crawfish mishap, McCain showed up in Bangor, Maine, wan, but ready to play his part.
MCCAIN: And I believe I can best help Governor Bush in this campaign by telling the American people of my firm commitment and my belief. And I know that you share that commitment and belief that the country will be in very good hands with the next president of the United States, George W. Bush.
CROWLEY: John McCain is a mixed bag for George Bush. He is one of the country's most popular politicians, but his efforts on behalf of the governor have often seemed dispirited. McCain's presence revives stories of a bitter rivalry that may not have sweetened entirely. And the history of the two men gives grist to Democrats who came at this day loaded for bear and opened up on the airwaves.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, GORE CAMPAIGN AD)
ANNOUNCER: George W. Bush is back in New Hampshire. Will he come clean on Social Security? In this year's election, John McCain said Bush's plan has not one penny for Social Security.
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CROWLEY: Despite the drawbacks of this political duo, Bush needs the independent voters who came to be known as "McCain-iacs," the ones who responded to McCain's reformist message, which Bush long ago adopted as his own.
BUSH: I agree with John McCain. I think we need to have a commission on governmental waste, a commission that sets in front of the Congress programs that have outlived their usefulness, so that once and for all we can eliminate them from the books. It's so important to focus the attention on government on things that work, and I think a bipartisan commission to eliminate wasteful spending makes sense.
CROWLEY (on camera): The Northeast is considered pretty solid Gore country, but the Bush campaign sees windows of opportunity in the independence of voters in Maine and New Hampshire. That, combined with some pretty close polls in both states, gives reason for hope and this late-in-the-campaign visit.
Candy Crowley, CNN, Bangor, Maine.
WOODRUFF: In fact, in that close New Hampshire race, a new poll suggests Bush has lost some ground to Gore. Gore now leads Bush by three points in the Research 2000 survey. The vice president was five points behind in New Hampshire three weeks ago.
Well, as Gore tries to bolster his poll numbers nationwide, some of his Democratic allies are sharpening their attacks on Governor Bush and his qualifications for the presidency.
But, as our Jonathan Karl reports, Gore himself is trying to stay out of that fray and on the talk show circuit.
GORE: Now the way it works is -- you stay right there.
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Gore campaign figured the vice president needed a dose of Regis. Where else could a guy trying to break free from a stiff, Washington image demonstrate the way he used to hypnotize chickens on a Tennessee farm?
GORE: All of a sudden, they go under.
REGIS PHILBIN, HOST, "LIVE WITH REGIS PHILBIN": That's it?
GORE: No, no, no, no. It's not working yet.
All right, now. Regis?
GORE: Between now and November 7.
KARL: Lest you think any of this is totally spontaneous, Regis and his sidekick read their questions from cue cards -- questions designed to elicit short, humanizing anecdotes that Gore aides had shared with the show's producers ahead of time.
It's the way shows like this usually work, and it's why politicians like them so much. GORE: I found a bottle of Nair, and I was in the shower, and so I used my regular shampoo and lathered my hair all up and then, you know, I wiped it away from my eyes and I took the bottle of Nair and I walked out to Tipper and I said, what is this stuff?
PHILBIN: Thank God it didn't work, huh?
GORE: Yes, she was already a little freaked about me losing my hair.
KARL: Gore also appeared on "Rosie O'Donnell" and did a taping of "Saturday Night Live," in a replay of the TV show circuit he did after the Democratic Convention. The shows, aides believe, helped Gore gain momentum then and they hope it will work again. Gore's aides say the vice president, who also dropped in on "The Today Show" while in New York, will also rely heavily on network morning shows in the remaining days of the campaign.
But while Gore shares homespun anecdotes with the likes of Regis Philbin, his supporters are launching some of their most harshly negative attacks against George W. Bush to date, saying the governor doesn't have the level experience or knowledge to be president.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: If there's a crisis at 2:00 in the afternoon -- or 2:00 in the morning, I don't want a president who's asked, "What do we do now?" say, wait a minute, I'll call up a few advisers and whatever they tell me to do, I'll do.
KAREN HUGHES, BUSH CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: During the very first debate he was asked whether he questioned the governor's experience, and he said no. But apparently now he's trying to hide behind surrogates which, again, is not the hallmark of a real leader.
KARL: One senior Gore strategist called the assault on Bush's fitness for the job a, quote, "Whole new front in the campaign." It will be waged largely by high-profile congressional Democrats.
KARL: According to one senior aide, campaign focus groups show that undecided voters who may like Bush personally, say they still have one big lingering question; and that is, whether or not he has what it takes to do the job.
In the coming days, the Gore campaign, with its supporters hammering away at Bush's qualifications, hope to answer that question with a resounding no -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Jonathan Karl on the campaign trail, thanks a lot.
And, adding some urgency to the Gore camp's quest: Our daily tracking poll suggests Governor Bush has gained some support in the past few days. Bush leads Gore by 10 points in the CNN/"USA Today" Gallup survey of likely voters. Now, two-thirds of those interviews were conducted after Tuesday's presidential debate.
By way of comparison, a Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby tracking poll conducted during the same period shows Bush and Gore dead even. The ABC news and "Washington Post" tracking polls both give Bush a four- point lead. Only one-third of those interviews for those surveys were conducted after Tuesday's debate.
Well those numbers may help explain why some Democrats believe that Gore could use a little help from the man already occupying the Oval Office.
Our John King reports on the Clinton-Gore relationship in the spotlight again.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They were brought together this day by tragedy -- the death of Missouri's governor. But this is a picture you are unlikely to see again in the final two weeks of campaign 2000. Friends and advisers say the vice president views the president as more liability than asset, and plans no joint campaign appearances.
GORE: I'm running in my own right with my own vision about the future of our country. We face new challenges in a new time.
KING: The president insists there is no rift.
But this has always been more business than friendship; and the personal and political strains caused by Mr. Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky complicate campaign planning now.
PETER HART, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: The beauty is that Bill Clinton can frame the race better than anybody else. But against that, it makes the moral issue that much more important, and Al Gore wants to make this about economic issues.
KING: But, party sources tell CNN, both the House and Senate Democratic leaders are among those complaining privately to the Gore campaign that the vice president is overdoing it -- running not only from the president's personal life, but from his record, too.
REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MS), MINORITY LEADER: Thanks to President Clinton we're enjoying the longest economic expansion in the history of America.
KING: Republicans delight in any talk of a Gore-Clinton rift; but most say Mr. Clinton is hardly to blame for the vice president's recent struggles.
SCOTT REED, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: What it's boiling down to is some style; and it really is boiling down to Gore's unlikability, and that's the problem.
KING: The president's aides say his aggressive work for the Democratic Party should end up helping Mr. Gore, anyway. Mr. Clinton has logged some 260 fund-raisers this year, raising more than $100 million for Democratic candidates and campaign committees.
And his get-out-the-vote effort now includes recording radio ads and telephone scripts, and interviews targeting African-American and Latino voters. The calendar for the final 10 days of the election season is being held for political travel: Michigan, Florida, California among the major battlegrounds aides say the president is certain to visit. Several more trips to New York are in the works too.
The president is described as frustrated that Mr. Gore doesn't want his help or advice, but he tells aides to defer to the vice president's wishes on travel and other campaign issues.
KING: But the more the vice president struggles, the more pressure there is from nervous Democrats for the president to take a more active role in the campaign's final days -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: John, what is it that you're told the president would like to see Al Gore have done or be doing now that he hasn't done? What would his advice be?
KING: Well, he understands that the vice president does not want to be seen side-by-side with him every day. But what he thinks the vice president should do is what the president himself did yesterday. When Governor Bush raises patients' bill of rights, say he vetoed a bill in Texas then allowed one to become law without his signature. How could he take credit for it?
That he should every day say 22 million new jobs, 4 percent unemployment. He believes -- the president does -- that the vice president is for some reason -- it mystifies the president, we're told -- afraid to stand on the economic record of this administration because he believes if he does so he'll be linked to the president. The president is described at times furious the vice president doesn't spend more time talking about the economic successes.
WOODRUFF: All right, John King reporting from the White House. Thanks a lot.
And for more on Gore's continued effort to distance himself from the president, we are joined by our senior analyst Jeff Greenfield -- Jeff.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Judy, so why is the Gore campaign reluctant to bring President Clinton into battle? Maybe there's some pop psychology going on. All vice presidents want to show they can do it on their own. But there may be something else going on here.
When Nixon dallied before asking for Eisenhower's help back in 1960, Ike was a hugely popular figure. Old Republican hands still think that delay could have cost Nixon the White House. And there's no mystery why Hubert Humphrey didn't want LBJ campaigning for him in 1968. War abroad and upheaval at home had made Johnson into a highly divisive figure. And in 1988, Ronald Reagan was very popular personally. In fact, voters liked him more than they approved of his policies. So his presence was a clear help to Bush that year.
But Bill Clinton? It's much more complicated. Yes, his job approval rating is high. By a 61 to 35 percent margin voters approve of the job he has done. But personally, more dislike him than like him. So if you're the Gore campaign, you wonder: would Clinton on the stump remind people of the work they like or the behavior that they don't. And there is some intriguing evidence that when Clinton emerges politically, it may not help Al Gore.
You remember back last August, when Clinton was making fun of George Bush?
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CLINTON: The Bush campaign is just that. I mean, how bad could I be? I've been governor of Texas. My daddy was president. I own the baseball team?
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GREENFIELD: Now that prompted ex-president Bush to make some sharp comments about Clinton, but what I find intriguing is that in the days just after that dust-up, Al Gore's standing against Governor Bush actually suffered a bit. Now, if we can see that in the polls, it's a pretty good guess that the Gore folks can see it, too. And so they have to be weighing: Does a Clinton reappearance on the stage stir the juices of the party faithful or stir uneasiness among the undecideds? Judy, I think that's the question.
WOODRUFF: All right, Jeff Greenfield. More to think about. From New York, thanks a lot.
WOODRUFF: And still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, E.J. Dionne and David Brooks on the presidential race post-debate and what to expect in the next two weeks.
Plus, Bill Schneider with a political play of the week to keep the candidates on their toes.
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GORE: I know some people are going to keep accusing me of exaggeration, so let me be clear. Those people seek nothing less than the complete destruction of the American way of life.
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BUSH: This is impressive crowd: the haves and the have-mores. Some people call you the elite, I call you my base.
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WOODRUFF: The presidential hopefuls poking a little fun at the 55th Annual Al Smith Dinner in New York City last night.
Well, joining us now, E.J. Dionne of "The Washington Post," and David Brooks of "The Weekly Standard."
Gentlemen, do these sort of appearances in the candidates -- they're doing a number of them now where they're able to show their humorous side, are they making a difference in the contest, E.J.?
E.J. DIONNE, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, they came out a draw. They were both really good. Maybe it's because I am both a political junkie and a Catholic, I watched the whole thing. And I thought they did very well, So I'm not sure last night made a difference.
But I do think appearing on the other shows does make a difference because there are big audiences on those shows of people who aren't necessarily engaged in politics but might vote. And so I think they're doing a smart thing in going on those other show. But it's good that they can laugh at themselves.
WOODRUFF: Is there any drawback, any downside, David, to their doing these shows whether it's "Regis" or whatever?
DAVID BROOKS, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": You know, I'm Jewish, I wish they'd done the Borschtbelt, not the Al Smith dinner.
DIONNE: I heard they're related.
BROOKS: There's some suffering of gravitas, but maybe it would have been for Abraham Lincoln or George Washington but we're way beyond that. You know, our civilization has just deteriorated such that nobody cares. It's fine.
WOODRUFF: Well, you know, all humor aside, it is a serious contest. E.J., lately the polls are showing in the last few days, Bush does seem to be getting edge. There is disagreement in the polls. Does this mean that the debates helped him no question about it or is there something else at work here?
DIONNE: Well, no. I think the first two debates helped George Bush because in a funny way Al Gore got the first two debates backwards. That if he had been sort of easy-going in the first debate and Bush had made the mistakes he made, then no one would have been able to talk about what was wrong with Al Gore. Then in the second debate, Gore was too laid-back. I think the third debate actually helped Gore, and I think if he had lost that, the election would be over.
I don't think it's over today because there a number of issues on the table. Things that Bush said in the debate that aren't true, and the fact that Gore has some issues he can fight on. But it is -- he's in a difficult position, there's no doubt about it.
WOODRUFF: Gore in a difficult position, is that how you see it?
BROOKS: Well that's for sure. He's looking into the abyss. Listen, I think, you know...
WOODRUFF: You think it's that bad?
BROOKS: Yes, I really do, because it's not a question of who won the debates on style points. It's not a question of who loomed over who, who invaded who's space. And it's a question of substance.
Al Gore made a strategic decision at the Democratic convention and then again at the third debate to be a fighter, to be an angry, progressive populist -- not to rush to the center the way people always do at the end of the campaigns but to rush to the left. And the people on the left are happy with him, but it's just not where the country wanted to go. And that is the substantive problem with his campaign. It was submerged a little after the convention. It's looming now.
DIONNE: I disagree with David in this sense, that I think Gore's problem is that he needed to separate himself from Clinton early on, just to say I'm my own man, but that he has messed it up ever since. I think that once he established his independence from Clinton, he needed to embrace the fact that the country is doing quite well now, and he needed Clinton's help.
And I think the two pieces that ran earlier in the show really described that very well, that Gore needs to say, yes, I'm independent, but, yes, if you elect George Bush, you're risking something that we have accomplished in the years that we've been in office. And Gore hasn't done very well at that yet.
WOODRUFF: So, David, do you degree agree that the relationship with Clinton is a crucial part of what's going on?
BROOKS: Absolutely. When Clinton -- the Clinton style was to target upscale soccer-mom voters. The Gore style is to target downscale, non-college-educated working-class voters. total difference of approach. The Gore style is very upbeat, triangulation. Gore talks about false choices between right and left. He was in the center. And this week, Gore talks about big choices, left versus right.
You know, the Republican Party never could figure out how to handle Bill Clinton. But, manna from heaven, Al Gore gives up the triangulated style and emerges as a progressive. Republicans know how to beat progressives.
WOODRUFF: If Gore is going to get back on track, get his bearings at this point, E.J., what are you saying he needs to do?
DIONNE: Well, I think he needs -- see, I disagree with David in the sense that Clinton always managed to do both things at the same time. He was a populist. He did run as somebody who appealed to downscale voters, but he said to upscale voters, you're going to do well under me.
Al Gore can run at this moment and say, look, upscale voters are doing very well under our policies. But our policies have also protected downscale people.
I think the problem that Gore has is he's been unwilling to say the word "Democrat," that George Bush has been very smart in saying, well, I am the nonpartisan guy. I will bring substance and agreement to Washington. But he's not willing to take on the fact that on a lot of these issues, the Republicans have been on the other side.
WOODRUFF: Quick last word -- David.
BROOKS: Well, I think it's just more substantive. He made a strategic error thinking the country was in worse shape, the middle class wanted a fighter. And they don't want a fighter, they want a uniter. Bush has been able to assume that role.
WOODRUFF: All right, David Brooks, E.J. Dionne, thank you both. Have a great weekend.
DIONNE: Good to be with you.
WOODRUFF: Good to see you.
And more now on the unspoken meaning of that third and final presidential debate with our senior analyst Bill Schneider.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Judy, this week we saw not one debate, but two. One was verbal and the other visual. They say actions speak louder than words. Well they certainly did in this debate, loud enough to claim the political "Play of the Week."
(voice-over): The candidates started sending messages before they even opened their mouths: George W. Bush with a friendly wink, Al Gore with a blown kiss -- that's kiss, as in "the kiss."
The dominant feature of this election is the gender gap. Gore is getting crushed among men, so the vice president once again became the alpha male. He moved very quickly to establish his territory. Gore stalked his opponent. He played "space invader," he demanded answers.
GORE: What about the Dingell-Norwood bill?
SCHNEIDER: He stared his opponent down, he leapt into action.
GORE: All right, here we go again.
SCHNEIDER: He disparaged his adversary.
GORE: Here is your man.
SCHNEIDER: Even when he wasn't talking, Gore communicated disdain. Gore was controlling when he was speaking -- and when he wasn't speaking.
Under attack, Gore stood ram rod straight. Message: I'm my own man. I am stone.
Gore dominated the debate, but at a cost. All that strutting and stalking seemed to turn women off. Bush used the debate to catch up to the vice president with women.
The governor assumed a defensive posture. He looked warm and engaging. He played Boy Scout.
BUSH: Here you go. I've got...
SCHNEIDER: Bush was pleading, humble and coy.
GORE: ... that under...
SCHNEIDER: When his opponent got aggressive, Bush seemed alternatively shocked and resigned.
Every once in a while, Bush couldn't hold back his famous smirk. But he knew when to turn it off.
BUSH: The death penalty is very serious business, Leo.
SCHNEIDER: When all else failed, Bush hid behind the moderator.
The polls show Gore won the verbal debate. But the non-verbal debate had more impact on the vote. Bottom line: visual beats verbal and takes the political "Play of the Week."
SCHNEIDER: Now, talk about shrinking sound bites. In this debate, the sound hardly mattered. Body language is the new language of American politics. Huh.
WOODRUFF: All right, thank you, Bill.
SCHNEIDER: Sure. Don't invade my space.
WOODRUFF: I can't help but invade your space. I work next to you every day. All right, thanks a lot, Bill Schneider.
And much more on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. Still to come:
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PAT NEAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An all-out air war is under way in the battleground state of Michigan. (END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Pat Neal on bombarding voters with political messages. And David Peeler checks the latest ad spending. Plus, Al Gore's road to the White House race: We'll preview CNN's in-depth look at the vice president's career.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's Subway Series madness here.
CROWD: Let's go Mets! Let's go Mets! Let's go Mets! Let's go Mets!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Frank Buckley on the Major League event overshadowing politics in the Empire State.
WOODRUFF: We will have more the day's political news coming up. But now a look at some other top stories. Palestinians say it is unacceptable that Israel is considering a timeout in the Mideast peace process: this on a day deadly violence went on despite the expiration of a cease-fire monitoring period. Prime Minister Ehud Barak says if the bloodshed continues after this weekend's Arab summit in Cairo, he will pause to reevaluate the peace process.
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EHUD BARAK, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Immediately after the summit, particularly if, as we see now, the Sharm conclusions are not bringing about a quieting down, we will declare a timeout period in order to reevaluate the situation, reevaluate the political process. We were those who were prepared to consider far-reaching consequences to bring about peace. We are also those who cannot ignore what has happened in the last three weeks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The timeout he is insinuating tonight is probably Ariel Sharon's condition to join an emergency cabinet, stop the peace process, freeze the peace process. And then we have the national unity government. And I am afraid that, when the Israelis say we will assess the situation, that means after the tanks, after the bombardment, after the missiles, after the gunship, maybe tanks will starting rolling in Palestinian towns.
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WOODRUFF: With at least nine people killed in fresh violence today, the three-week Mideast death toll now exceeds 110. Most of those killed were Palestinians. As Israel now considers taking a timeout from the flagging Mideast peace process, U.S. officials are turning to European allies for help in curbing the deadly violence.
Now to the USS Cole. The Navy now says the terrorist attack on the Cole occurred nearly two hours after the ship had been moored, and not during the mooring process, as earlier reported. And in Aden, Yemen, a memorial service was held today for four sailors whose bodies were recovered yesterday. And just about an hour ago, the plane carrying the remains of eight sailors killed in last Thursday's attack landed at Dover Air Force Base.
A former U.S. Army sergeant with ties to exiled terrorist Osama bin Laden has admitted to helping to plot U.S. embassy bombings: 48- year-old Ali Mohamed pleaded guilty today to five counts of conspiracy to kill Americans abroad and to destroy U.S. government buildings. The Egyptian-born U.S. citizen confessed to helping bin Laden establish terrorist positions and identify targets. Among those targets, U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, both bombed in 1998.
When INSIDE POLITICS returns, the TV ad war in Michigan: informative or a matter of overkill?
WOODRUFF: George W. Bush has taken the lead from Al Gore in a new poll in Minnesota. A state that's gone Democratic in the last six presidential elections. Bush leads by three points after trailing by six three weeks ago. Gore has been hurt by Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, who is at 8 percent, about double his support nationwide.
Gore has lost some ground in another battleground state, Michigan, where a new poll shows the race now a dead heat, with Bush and Gore tied at 43 percent. Nader, again, is a factor at four percent.
WOODRUFF: Given the closeness of the race in Michigan, it's no wonder that the television airwaves there are flooded with political commercials.
CNN's Pat Neal reports on those ads and how they're playing with voters.
NEAL (voice-over): An all-out air war is under way in the battleground state of Michigan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're overwhelming; there are just too many ads on TV right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes I think the ads run into each other.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It lets me know who I'm going to vote for.
NEAL: Each side -- the Democrats and the Republicans -- have spent more than $1 million in TV advertisements in Michigan this week alone. GOV. JOHN ENGLER (R), MICHIGAN: Everybody's desperate to reach that last 10, 12, 13 percent that remain undecided.
NEAL: They're hoping to convince undecided voters like Brenda Caroll (ph), a legal assistant; and Linda Adams (ph), a public school teacher.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have my attention when they talk about education.
NEAL: But Brenda says many turn her off.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You get sick of seeing the muckraking and the trashing of the different candidates.
NEAL: But they keep on coming day and night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just keep pumping them out, they're paying the bills.
NEAL: Joe Garnier (ph) runs master control at WDIV in Detroit. The television station estimates up to 50 percent of all the commercials now are political ads.
Besides the presidential campaign, Michigan has hot Senate and congressional races, and a controversial school vouchers proposition. Executives say the presidential campaigns have a buying strategy.
JOE BERWANGER, GENERAL MANAGER, WDIV: They don't like to show their cards too early to the opposing side; and so, oftentimes, they will wait until the very last minute to buy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George W. Bush hasn't been saying much lately about a woman's right to choose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEAL: Gore's getting a boost in Michigan from advocacy groups like Planned Parenthood, Handgun Control and the Sierra Club. So far, they've spent close to $1 million.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: Al Gore wants you to believe he supports the Second Amendment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEAL: Just this week, Bush received some additional firepower from the National Rifle Association.
(on camera): The presidential race in Michigan is so close and the state's 18 electoral votes for up grabs, that more than $11 million has been spent here on TV ads. And that's just since the primaries.
(voice-over): And Democrats have outspent the Republicans.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You spend money in competitive states.
NEAL: In the final days, more airpower may be called in, not only to win over the undecideds, but remind supporters to get out and vote.
Pat Neal, CNN, Detroit.
WOODRUFF: More, now, on the presidential ad spending in key states.
Joining us from San Francisco, David Peeler of Competitive Media Reporting, who has been tracking political ad activity in the top 75 media markets.
DAVID PEELER, PRESIDENT & CEO, COMPETITIVE MEDIA REPORTING: Hi Judy.
WOODRUFF: David tell us, in which states are Al Gore and George W. Bush concentrating their efforts?
PEELER: Well, Judy, as you know, this is the point of the campaign where we spend an awful lot of time tracking the state-by- state spending because you can learn a lot about the campaign tactics by watching the states.
If we look at George W. Bush and the Republican National Committee, over the last two weeks they've accelerated their rate of spending. That first week, they spent about $6 million and in the second week accelerated that spending to over $7.5 million. So, clearly you see, as we get down -- 18 days left to go -- there's going to be an acceleration in the rate of spending.
What's very important here is the states that the money is going into. They're up in California and in Florida. Now, I don't think any of us predicted that George W. Bush would have been spending a lot of money in California at this time in the campaign but, in fact, he is.
Florida, as we know, has become a state that's clearly a battleground state, and the Bush campaign is spending more money there. They've decreased their spending in the states of Nevada and Ohio, Washington; and what was interesting, I think the poll played it out a little earlier in Minnesota -- they went on air about a week and a half ago and they've moved the polls in that state.
As we move on to the Gore and the Democratic National Committee, they're spending in 17 states. In the last two weeks -- in that first week we saw them spend about $3 million and in the last week accelerated that spending to $4.3 million. As we've seen from some of the earlier reports, they've put their money in the states of Florida, Michigan, Maine and New Hampshire.
Those are accelerating -- the rates of spending there -- and they've pulled out of Ohio. So I think you can call Ohio, at least at this point in the campaign, it looks like it's moved over to the Bush camp, and both campaigns are pulling out there.
WOODRUFF: David, Pat Neal mentioned, in her report, some of these independent-issue ads that are airing in Michigan. How much are these groups spending across the country, these independent groups?
PEELER: Well, Judy, I think -- you know, we have talked about it several times during the campaign. And I think that, even post the election, this is really going to be the key story. If we take a look at the groups that are supporting Al Gore, you see Planned Parenthood alone spent over $4 million in the last 30 days -- Sierra Club, Handgun Control, the AFL-CIO all spending significant dollars.
And just recently into the fray, the American Federation of Teachers have jumped in. As we correspond that with what's going on in support of Bush, the $6.4 million that is going pro-Gore, you will see that, against those groups supporting George W. Bush, are far fewer and far less. Coalition for Better Education: $200,000. The NRA, which gets an awful lot of airtime, is not spending as much as we -- as we would have thought at this point in the campaign.
In fact, in total, only about $238,000 being spent by the independent expenditure groups in support of the Bush effort: So that is not something we expected to see. We thought it would be higher at this point.
WOODRUFF: Now, separately, David, there has been much talk about President Clinton's role in this campaign. And you've noticed the president's name coming up in the ad wars as well.
PEELER: Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. We have seen in the state of Georgia that Zell Miller, who is running for the Senate seat down there, the Republicans have now tagged him with the President Gore -- President Clinton brush. And so they have spent about $50,000 in an effort. And let's take a look at it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, GEORGIA GOP CAMPAIGN AD)
NARRATOR: Serving the U.S. Senate is not like serving as governor. In the Senate, you are a member of the Republican team or the national Democrat team. Zell Miller was all right as governor. But now he's telling us he is an independent and like Paul Coverdell? He's no Paul Coverdell.
ZELL MILLER (D), GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE: I am for Bill Clinton, Bill Clinton, Bill Clinton. To be president of the United States of America.
NARRATOR: Is there any real question who's team Zell Miller is on? MILLER: Hillary, I love her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PEELER: Well, we have seen that this was a tactic that was going to come out. We have seen it in Georgia. We also see the Republicans using it in the state of Virginia against Chuck Robb. So I would expect, as we get down to the last couple weeks of the campaign, if they think there is still a state that still has some issues with Bill Clinton, that they will use it there too.
WOODRUFF: All right, David Peeler reporting today from San Francisco. Thanks a lot.
And just ahead, rooting for the home team and competing for attention: baseball and politics in New York.
WOODRUFF: Excitement is building in New York as the Mets and Yankees prepare for the first game of the World Series tomorrow night. With all eyes turned to the first "Subway Series" in four decades, the New York Senate race is taking a back seat to the all-American pastime.
Frank Buckley reports.
BUCKLEY (voice-over): When the New York Yankees went to the White House last year as World Series champs, first lady Hillary Clinton donned a New York Yankees cap, declared herself a fan. Critics declared her, fair or not, a fake.
This year, as the Yankees prepare to take on the Mets in a historic New York-New York World Series, Mrs. Clinton is preparing for election day as a candidate for U.S. Senate, reporters wondering if she'll wear that hat again.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK SENATE CANDIDATE: Well, you know, I'm going to be rooting for the Yankees, I can tell you that much.
BUCKLEY: Mrs. Clinton says she'd like to attend a game, but some say she might face some boos. She's already facing some hoots from the mayor of New York City, her one-time opponent, who included her in a top 10 list on Letterman on the cool things about having the World Series in New York.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN")
MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI (R), NEW YORK: It's so exciting even people who just moved here and are now running for the Senate can enjoy it.
(LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCKLEY: Never mind that Mrs. Clinton's childhood affections for the Yankees were reported in a "Washington Post" article in 1994. The issue remains.
Clinton aides downplay the impact, but they say the first lady's schedule may not permit her to attend any games.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a good man. He's a good man. Sorry, Hill.
BUCKLEY: On the other side, no one questions Rick Lazio's longtime affinity for the Mets. Mrs. Clinton's opponent appeared this summer for a photo-op at Shea Stadium. But he, too, faces issues associated with the Series.
One look at the front page of every newspaper in New York tells the story: It's Subway Series madness here. The Senate race might not even make page 2. For the congressman, who is down in the polls, still trying to break through with a message, that is not good news.
MICHAEL TOMASKY, "NEW YORK MAGAZINE": There are going to be 18 of us paying attention to where these two people are during the World Series. The other 8 million are going to be paying attention to the games.
BUCKLEY: And as you look live at some of the New York City press corps, you can get an idea of the kind of attention that they're going to have to fight. This is the press corps here at a pep rally in Manhattan for the New York Yankees and the New York Mets. Lazio's aides say, however, they hope to turn that focus on baseball to their advantage, punching the point that their candidate, Rick Lazio, is the only native New Yorker in the New York Senate race. They also plan to purchase some air time to run Lazio commercials during the television broadcast of the games.
One image that may appear during these commercials, the image of Hillary Clinton, a strategist telling that the Lazio campaign has purchased the advertising rights to a photo of Hillary Clinton wearing a New York Yankees cap -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Hmm. Well, we'll see about that. Frank Buckley, thanks a lot.
And you know, in New York, holding a rally for the Mets and the Yankees together, you wonder if a fight's going to break out there somewhere.
Thanks a lot.
And still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, becoming Al Gore. We will preview a CNN documentary on the Democrat who would be president.
WOODRUFF: This Sunday night, CNN will air an investigative profile of Vice President Al Gore as part of our "DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA" series of documentaries.
My colleague Bernard Shaw got a preview from the program veteran journalist and political correspondent Ken Bode.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Ken Bode, what does the title mean?
KEN BODE, CNN "DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA": Well, "Becoming Al Gore," he has really zig-zagged his way across the political terrain.
Blessed at the beginning with a very, very prominent family name in the state of Tennessee and a father who was an important senator who gave him a lot of lessons in life about how to follow public affairs, how to work hard. And nobody's ever said anything -- that Al Gore's anything but a hard worker. He's been blessed with that. He's been lucky in that when he is rising in politics he rose through open seats, didn't have to challenge anybody.
He has found a lot opportunities on his own, and he's overcome failures, that have been failures of his own making. So when he steps forward and says, I am my own man, he's as somebody who is trying to step both out of his shadow of his father and out of the shadow of Bill Clinton at the same time. It's a fascinating biography.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA")
NARRATOR: Albert Junior was a son for whom there were only the highest expectations -- political expectations.
As a youngster, he led a divided life, the school year was spent where his father worked, in Washington, in a hotel. There he grew up in a world of adults. When his father talked to President Kennedy on the phone, young Albert listened in on the extension.
ALBERT GORE SR.: Al game back into the dining room and did this, Daddy, I didn't know that presidents talked like that.
NARRATOR: Summers and holidays were the other part, the better part. Those were spent on the family farm near the small town of Carthage, Smith County, Tennessee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BODE: It was very much a divided life. And the ambition that his father gave him in Washington had to be nurtured and really spring out of the roots of Tennessee. And you see that in his record of public life.
SHAW: Gore's accused of changing his mind, needless exaggerations. Do you help the viewer in sorting out these accusations?
BODE: These things, Bernie, go on even as we speak, this problem's going on. But it's been going on for a long time where Gore has, for some reason, attributed to himself things that don't seem to hold up 100 percent. What we do is take a question that is really fundamental, that grows out of Tennessee, and that's the question of tobacco. The Gore's grew it, they profited by it for years. His sister died of lung cancer. He became a crusader for -- against tobacco at the 1996 convention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA")
NARRATOR: Some say that he grew during his years in office, others say he has been expedient.
GORE: She looked up, and she...
NARRATOR: They point to the matter of tobacco and his convention eulogy to his sister, Nancy, who died of smoking.
GORE: In a very short time, her breathing became labored, and then she breathed her last breath.
NARRATOR: An emotional and revealing moment -- and Gore added a personal policy commitment.
GORE: Until I draw my last breath, I will pour my heart and soul into the cause of protecting our children from the dangers of smoking.
NARRATOR: However, for seven years after Nancy's death in 1984, the Gore family kept its federal tobacco allotment and earned income from tobacco.
GORE: She was forming a question...
ROGER WILKINS, TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY: To make that speech about his sister on nationwide TV, I thought -- I thought the speech was quite astonishing before I knew the ownership of the tobacco. But I think the two things put together are mind boggling and very troubling.
NED RAY MCWHERTER, FORMER TENNESSEE GOVERNOR: No one knew it was harmful. And when they learned it was harmful, many people changed their mind about tobacco. I think that that happened to Al.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BODE (on camera): There are in his history on the issue of tobacco very many zigs and zags. What we tried to do in the documentary is lay out those zigs and zags let the viewer make up his or her own mind as to what Al Gore really means on the issue of tobacco and what it's meant in his life.
SHAW: The subtext of the Gore versus Bush contest is that the vice president is far more ready to be president than is Governor Bush. Can the Gore campaign back up that claim? BODE: Well, Gore can back it up in the sense that he's been in public life for 24 years. That he has been in touch with a lot of issues and a lot of different opportunities to deal with important issues. His vice presidency can, I think, reasonable be said to be perhaps the most involved vice presidency of any of the history.
And we show how Gore, when he disagreed with Clinton, almost unique amongst vice presidents, could say to Bill Clinton you are wrong, Mr. President. Or Mr. President, get with the program. Stop diddling around. Get with the program in front of staff. This wasn't private advice.
So in a sense there were many issues that really he was involved in. He had the Russia account for the Clinton administration with Chernomyrdin and they can make that case. I got to tell you, I don't think he's made it very well in the debates, however.
WOODRUFF: "Becoming Al Gore" airs Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN. A profile of George W. Bush will air the following Sunday.
And finally, a correction. Yesterday during a discussion of key House races we meant to show you a picture of Republican state senator Sam Graves who's running for an open seat in Missouri's 6th District. Unfortunately, we showed the wrong photo and we regret the error.
That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff. "WORLDVIEW" is next.
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