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Inside Politics

Bush, Accused of Dirty Tricks, Puts on a Happy Face; Ghosts of Democratic Presidential Campaigns Past; Christian Right Rallies

Aired October 31, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: George W. Bush puts on a happy face this Halloween. But are his ad men going for a big scare?


AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's never been a time when I've said something untrue.



BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Al Gore's aides accuse Bush of dirty tricks. But are they ready to unveil some new scare-tactics of their own?

WOODRUFF: We'll look at the ghosts of Democratic presidential campaigns past, and how Gore measures up.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you walk in to cast your ballot, walk in as sons and daughters of the living God!


SHAW: The election-year rallying cry for the Christian right.

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

SHAW: Thanks for joining us.

There has been a lot of talk, as we enter this final week before the election about the confidence George W. Bush is exuding out there on the trail.

WOODRUFF: But a new Bush-campaign ad hammering Al Gore on the credibility issue suggests the governor's team may be feeling jittery about the closeness of this race this late in the game. Our Candy Crowley is traveling with Bush today in Washington state, Oregon and California, where Bush tried to ooze compassion, even as his ad team went negative.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): George bush's last campaign stop in California had no music, no raucous crowds, no confetti. It did have the poignant story of a former addict.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to live, you know, like my other half, you know, clean, you know, not being looked at as a convict -- you know, just being looked at as a child of God.

CROWLEY: In the last seven days of the election, George Bush returned to the opening theme of his 17-month campaign: compassionate conservatism. At an urban charity center in San Jose, Bush outlined his agenda to encourage faith-based and civic programs designed to help those in need. He listened to stories of lives that have changed and told them his own.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was able to share with some of the men and women here that I quit drinking in 1986 -- haven't had a drop since then. It wasn't because of a government program, by the way, in my particular case. It's because I heard a higher call -- that these men and women don't stand alone.

CROWLEY: While Bush was gently closing the California campaign, his ad men were up and out with a blistering ad.


NARRATOR: Remember when Al Gore said his mother-in-law's prescription cost more than his dog's? His own aides said the story was made up. Now Al Gore is bending the truth again. The press calls Gore's Social Security attacks "nonsense."


CROWLEY: The high-flying, confident Bush campaign said it was going to run only positive ads in this final week. The decision to run this one is acknowledgement that Al Gore's assault on Bush's Social Security plan has had an impact. "We are," said an aide, "setting the record straight." -- that, and then some.


NARRATOR: Governor Bush sets aside $2.4 trillion to strengthen Social Security and pay all benefits.

GORE: There has never been a time in this campaign when I have said something that I know to be untrue. There's never been a time when I've said something untrue.


CROWLEY: The Gore campaign went ballistic: "George Bush lied to the American people when he said he would run a positive campaign," said communications director Mark Fabiani. "Bush is losing and desperate. And now he has proven himself to be a hypocrite."

(on camera): No apologies from the Bush campaign -- communications director Karen Hughes noted: "We always said, if Al Gore misrepresented the facts, we would respond." And they have. It's beginning to look like a rough seven days ahead.

Candy Crowley, CNN, San Jose.


SHAW: The Bush camp says that new anti-Gore ad will begin airing today in 20 battleground states, including Florida, Illinois and California. Gore is campaigning in the Golden State today, as well as in Oregon.

And, as our Jonathan Karl reports, the vice president's campaign is ready to unleash some new attacks of its own.


GORE: I don't know why anybody would think that. You know, I just don't understand why they would think that the national press corps has gotten out of hand. What do you think?

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the candidates, it's more tricks than treats for Halloween.


NARRATOR: Now Al Gore is bending the truth again. The press calls Gore's Social Security attacks "nonsense."


KARL: As his campaign cries foul over the latest Republican attack-ad, the vice president is mocking Governor Bush's promise to change the tone in Washington.

GORE: We need less partisanship for sure. But the real question is: Who does he want to get along with? The special interests who want to pry open more loopholes in the tax code? The HMOs? The insurance industry? The oil companies? The big drug companies?

KARL: The Gore campaign hopes to make Bush pay for going negative, even as he promises to be positive.

CHRIS LEHANE, GORE CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: The people of this country are beginning to question whether he has what it takes to be president. As a result of those very, very serious questions, they have panicked. They have decided they need to run these personal negative attack ads.

KARL: But Democrats unleashed their own Halloween tricks, hoping to scare voters with horror stories about Bush's record.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My mother died in June, 1995 after her nursing-home attendants caused and failed to treat her shattered hip bone. One week later, George W. Bush signed a law that weakened nursing-home standards in Texas.


KARL: Officials say the recorded phone calls are targeted to swing voters in five key states. And the Gore campaign is ready to hit the airwaves with the line of attack that Bush does not have the experience, judgment or knowledge to be president. As one Gore aide said, in the final days of the campaign -- quote -- "The mud will be flying from both sides."

GORE: I want you all to hear this. She is a Republican who has already voted for me.

KARL: Gore started the day off on a more positive note, greeting people at a Portland restaurant and sitting down with an Oregon family, who he promised a treat: more cash in their pockets if he's elected president.

GORE: We added up what you would get under the tax-cut proposal that I'm putting forward, and what you get under my opponent's plan. And there's a -- you get a lot more under -- under my plan.

KARL (on camera): Gore also used a new line to attack Bush's tax-cut plan, calling it -- quote -- "a form of class warfare on behalf of billionaires."

Jonathan Karl, CNN, Portland, Oregon.


WOODRUFF: And we are joined now by Ron Brownstein of the "Los Angeles Times."

Ron, what gives with this new lower level of discourse in the campaign? What's going on here? And let's start by talking about Bush and this very tough ad that they're running.

RON BROWNSTEIN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": Well, this is the point in the campaign where you can usually tell what's going on with the candidates, more by what they do than what that say.

So, on the one hand, as you said, Bush has been exuding confidence. The fact he's spending a day-and-a-half in California, a state that he's unlikely to win and won't need to win, even if he does, suggests that he feels very good about the way this race is going. On the other hand, the fact that he has put out this ad, which is really an attempt to discredit the messenger on Social Security, is a sign that he may be somewhat concerned about how it is playing.

You know, we did polls yesterday at the "L.A. Times" in three battleground states: Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania. And Gore was ahead among seniors in all of them, especially in Florida, where they have been really focusing this attack on Bush's Social Security plan. And I think the ad may be a sign that the Bush campaign has some concern about whether that's working.

WOODRUFF: And what about -- well, let me ask you this: Why do it right now? I mean, and -- is Bush, by doing this, in any way running the risk that he's undoing this -- this effort that he's maintained -- over a few days anyway -- to run a very positive campaign?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, there is a little cognitive dissonance, and there's always has been in the Bush campaign, because his primary message to independents down the stretch -- and really for most of the campaign -- his primary message to independent and swing voters has been that he can end the acrimony in Washington -- you know, that one hand held out the olive branch and the other hand, you know, have the hammer.

So there is a little bit of that problem. But it doesn't seem to have been insurmountable for him. I think that he really hasn't paid too high a price. Voters haven't seen him as particularly negative. And, you know, they tend to view attacks on politicians as the thing that politicians do. So I'm not sure that this will hurt him that much. And I also wonder how much either of these attacks back and forth may move voters in the final days.

WOODRUFF: CNN was told today that this new Bush ad is running in some 20 states -- 20 states including California, Illinois and Florida. The Gore phone calls that we saw in Jonathan Karl's piece.


WOODRUFF: He said targeted to swing voters in five states. Now what has Gore accomplished with this?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think Gore -- Gore and Bush seem to have very different goals in the sort of questions they're raising about each other, the personal questions. For the most part, I think Bush is primarily aiming at his base when he goes out and he talks about ethics. When he talks about not trusting -- not being able to trust gore, he is bringing -- he is poking at the nerve that is still the most exposed for Republicans: the desire tend to the Clinton era, to repudiate Clinton by defeating Gore.

Now, on the other hand, I think when the Democrats are talking about Bush's experience and questioning whether he's ready to be president, they are primarily, I think, aiming at independent voters who have clearly made -- it seems clear like Bush better, think he's more trustworthy than Gore. But this is the one area where they still have the most personal doubt about him. I'm sorry, like Bush better -- think of him as more trustworthy than Gore. But this is the area where they have the most doubt about Bush: experience, readiness to be president. So I think they have different strategic goals: Bush primarily talking to his base; Gore primarily talking to swing voters.

WOODRUFF: All right, we're going to also bring in now to this discussion our senior analyst Jeff Greenfield.

Hello, Jeff.


WOODRUFF: You know, some people look at this and say, well, it always gets nasty at the end of the campaign. Is that the case, and how do you see what's going on here?

GREENFIELD: Maybe it's because I used to work in politics in another, you know, geological era -- first of all, I think this has been one of the most civil and issue-driven campaigns in a very long time. Second, I think you have to make some distinctions: for one campaign to challenge the other's experience and the other campaign to challenge the other's credibility, seems to me in the context of what we used to think of as dirty campaigns, pretty clean, pretty fair game, let's say. Neither of them strike me as beyond the pale.

The things that I think that we have heard recently that ought to raise an eyebrow are ads that suggest that somebody is directly or indirectly sort of indifferent or callous about somebody's, you know, death. I mean, the idea that -- it's what Bush did to McCain about breast cancer, or rather an independent group did, attacking McCain in the New York primary; the notion that the -- this NAACP ad that implies that a Bush refusal to sign a bill is like killing this woman's relative all over again.

Now, that's not -- those aren't campaign ads, but that's where the rough stuff is. And my sense is the really rough stuff is going to come a) through independent expenditures and b) beneath the radar screen, you know, in direct mail and phone calls rather than on television.

WOODRUFF: All right, let's -- I want to keep Jeff part of this conversation and get back to you, Ron, you talked about the "Los Angeles Times" closer look yesterday at three battleground states. Share with us what your finding there underneath the numbers, the obvious numbers on top that show a very close race in all three.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think the overriding story is that all three states are very much still up for grabs. We looked at Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, the three states that are now the most fiercely contested --the Democrats have sort of peeled back their efforts in Ohio -- and what was striking, Judy, was that you get the feeling heading into the final week of this election that there are virtually an infinite amount of variables that could go one way or the other and tilt these states.

Let me give you one example, in Pennsylvania we had Bush up by 2 points, I know some other polls have had Gore slightly up. We had Bush drawing well enough among union members to hold Gore to 57 percent among union households. The AFL-CIO goal nationwide is to hit 62 percent vote for Gore among union households. If the AFL-CIO hits its target, which is now just slightly below, and nothing else changes in Pennsylvania, the two men are in a dead heat. I think that's the kind of race we have all the way across the country.

You can look at very small changes in voter preferences in this last week, the share of the Nader vote that Bush -- I'm sorry -- that Gore is able to peel back in Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Wisconsin, very small changes that in an ordinary year wouldn't matter much matter a lot this year because of the underlying parity of the parties and the basic even division of the country between these two guys.

WOODRUFF: And, Jeff, all of this spells problems for Gore, right?

GREENFIELD: If you -- I think actually -- and it spells problems for both of them, because you would think -- you would think in a -- and I don't even know how to describe a normal year anymore, but in a normal year, yes, the fact that Gore seems to be having to fight for more states than he should have put away than Bush.

But what -- I think Ron Brownstein is dead on: every time there's been a close election, in 1960, in '68 and '76, these battleground states we talk about have sort of split almost 50/50. For the last 20 years, virtually all of these battleground states have gone with the winner and it's not -- it's that these things are so close that I think the normal confident prediction of folks is, well, we know where this vote or that vote is going, really doesn't apply this year.

I think somebody figured out that there are several dozen variables right now in which if the states break the right way you will have a tie in the Electoral College, which, you know, we talked a little bit about yesterday. This election, I think -- we are coming into an election that is less predictable in more places than any election I can remember going back, you know, to I don't know when, to John Kennedy and Richard Nixon, I guess.

WOODRUFF: A great story, but please give us a rule that we can count on. OK, Jeff Greenfield, Ron Brownstein, thank you, both.

Still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, inspiring the voters to cast ballots -- a look at get-out-the-vote efforts in key battleground states.


SHAW: With a presidential race that could hinge on turnout, efforts in this final week will shift to mobilization. Members of the religious right are turning once again to churches to get out the vote.

Kate Snow reports on the effort in Missouri.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On any Sunday, you'll find most of Springfield, Missouri, in church.

REVEREND JESS GIBSON: Our problem in America today, there's chaos. There is confusion. Bad is called good. Good is called bad.

SNOW: On this Sunday, Pastor Jess Gibson is preaching salvation for the nation.

GIBSON: Ladies and gentlemen, the soul of America is at stake.

SNOW: Heed the call, Gibson says, vote.

GIBSON: And when you walk in to cast your ballot, walk in as sons and daughters of the living God.

SNOW: For Christian conservatives, religion and politics are intertwined. Ushers hand out voter guides. The guides are controversial, touted as unbiased, they list the candidates' positions on issues important to the religious right, like abortion, school vouchers, homosexuality. They are produced by the Christian Coalition.

(on camera): The Christian Coalition has had some hard times. Financial problems and leadership changes have plagued the nation's largest Christian conservative group. But with the election just days away, its leaders say it's more energized than ever before. They're sending out nationwide some 70 million voter guides.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can get you more if you need more.

SNOW (voice-over): In southwestern Missouri, they're putting out nearly 50,000 voter guides. About a third of voters in Missouri call themselves members of the religious right, compare that to 17 percent nationwide. They are mainly in the South and the Midwest, in rural areas, and increasingly in the suburbs, and they are almost universally Republican.

JOHN GREEN, UNIVERSITY OF AKRON: Governor Bush needs to have a high turnout among conservative Christians all across the country, but particularly in these close Midwestern battleground states. A high turnout among those groups might be the difference between winning and losing.

SNOW: During the primaries, Bush spoke openly of his own Christian beliefs in an effort to solidify his conservative base. But in the general election, the governor hasn't courted the Christian right vote as actively. He skipped the Christian Coalition convention in September, sending a six-minute video instead.

LARRY SABATO, POLITICAL SCIENTIST, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Bush has had an interesting calculus that seems to be working. He's decided that, because most Christian conservatives hate the Clintons, they hate the current Democratic administration, they will turn out in large numbers and vote for him whether he makes a specific appeal to them or not. BUSH: We need to lift the spirit of this nation. We need to raise our sights; we need to call upon the best of America to make sure the American dream touches ever willing heart.

SNOW: In this church, Bush's words resonate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he has a Christian background that will be good for us.

SNOW: George W. Bush doesn't have to worry about motivating these voters. Pastor Gibson (ph) is doing it for him.

Kate Snow, CNN, Springfield, Missouri.


WOODRUFF: In the battleground state of Pennsylvania, one get- out-the-vote effort is being targeted at African American voters.

As Maria Hinojosa reports, Democrats are doing all they can to mobilize this crucial voter group.


MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Early morning in Philadelphia, and black voters are getting a pretty loud wake-up call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You'll get more with Gore! November 7 is the day! Al Gore is the candidate!

HINOJOSA: Democrats are moving into high gear trying to energize their African American voting base in the best way they know how..

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I understand that polls have their place, but in our community, it's touching voters one-on-one, face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball.

HINOJOSA: In a close race, African American turnout could be decisive. So, with days to go, it's Al Gore in Philadelphia at Martin Luther King Jr. High School.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we ready to rumble?

HINOJOSA: Al Gore in Detroit at a black church.

GORE: Not only with our votes, but with the number of votes.

HINOJOSA: All over black radio in several states, deejay's push for voter turnout.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tuesday November the 7th is Election Day; and if you need a ride to the polls, call us here at WDAS.

HINOJOSA: And run NAACP ads made by the daughter of James Byrd, who was dragged to his death in Texas.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dragged three miles to his death, all because he was black. So when Governor George W. Bush refused to support hate crimes legislation, it was like my father was killed all over again.


HINOJOSA: The Bush campaign doesn't have a Philadelphia office, but they do have their own radio ads.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Do you want to open a new store, start an Internet company? The Republican Party supports policies and programs that help cut taxes for small businesses.

HINOJOSA: At "The Philadelphia Tribune," the oldest black newspaper in the country, more Gore ads, but a sense that Bush has made some inroads.

ROBERT BOGEL, PRESIDENT, "THE PHILADELPHIA TRIBUNE": George Bush has done a significant job of neutralizing the African American vote by saying, I want your vote, which is the first time any president that I can recall in the Republican Party as having said. I mean, that in itself -- I mean, he smiles, he skins and grins, and he doesn't say anything that makes you feel he's a threat.

HINOJOSA (on camera): Pennsylvania is just one of several battleground states where black voters make up anywhere form 10 to 30 percent of the electorate. States like Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina and Florida, where how many African American voters actually make it to the polls on Election Day could swing the election for one candidate or the other.

Maria Hinojosa, CNN, Philadelphia.

SHAW: And there's much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

WOODRUFF: Still to come:



UNIDENTIFIED CHILD ACTRESS: I want to be disillusioned...



UNIDENTIFIED CHILD ACTOR: When I grow up, I want politicians to ignore me.


WOODRUFF: Still swinging at the two major parties: a look at Ralph Nader's determined, long-shot campaign. Plus:

SHAW: Missouri's very unusual Senate race -- our Brooks Jackson sorts out the legal arguments. And later:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been here over 20 years, and Nixon has been a perennial favorite.


WOODRUFF: Mixing Halloween and politics for a little campaign- style trick or treat.


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

Taiwanese officials say the death toll has reached 65 from the Singapore Airlines 747 crash in Taipei today, but information is still sketchy as to the fate of all the 179 people onboard. An airline spokesman would only say that 75 passengers were unaccounted for, that 68 were injured and another 16 walked away.

He also described the incident as an aborted takeoff, saying the plane's flight commander reported hitting an object on the takeoff run. Other reports said the plane experienced some sort of wind shear upon takeoff. The weather was bad, with the island bracing for a typhoon. Here is one survivor's account.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was shaking from this wind, and eventually they started on the runway and all of a sudden this plane broke up -- broke apart; and I was sitting in the tail section, fortunately, the last seat and the tail section was completely on its side. We couldn't open the emergency door because it was on the ground, it wouldn't open; and we couldn't use the other emergency door because it was several feet up, you know, it was up on top.

And it started filling with smoke and I was afraid that we would be getting a fire and burn alive but, fortunately, it did not ignite; and I covered my face with a handkerchief and eventually -- there was confusion -- we better get out of this tail section and we stumbled over debris and finally we made our way out and it was very difficult.


WOODRUFF: Flight 006 was scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles at 6:15 tonight, Los Angeles time. The airline has set up a number for families to call for information: it is 1-800-828-0508; or people can look at the Web site,

Acting Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami has postponed his visit to Washington scheduled for Wednesday; no explanation has been given. The visit is being rescheduled. More people were killed in new violence today in the Middle East. The death toll now exceeds 160.

CNN correspondent Ben Wedeman was among those wounded today. He was shot while covering an Israeli-Palestinian clash in an area between Gaza and Israel. Doctors say Wedeman will recover.

SHAW: From David Letterman to Milton Berle, comedians are paying tribute today to Steve Allen. Allen, one of television's originals, died in his sleep overnight while visiting his son, William.

He's perhaps best remembered as the original host of "The Tonight Show," back in the 1950's. Letterman called Allen, "an enormous influence on television."

Said Milton Berle, "We have lost one of the great icons of show business and the theatrical world, and any world." Steve Allen was 78 years old.

When INSIDE POLITICS returns, our daily tracking poll numbers. How does Gore's support compare to past Democratic winners and losers?


WOODRUFF: Exactly one week before the ultimate presidential poll, the election, our daily tracking poll suggests the race has tightened heading into the home stretch. Right now, George W. Bush leads Al Gore by three points in the CNN/"USA Today" Gallup survey when interviews conducted over the past three days are averaged. Bush led by the same margin yesterday.

But since Friday, he has lost some ground while Gore has gained some. Looking at the longer term trend: A six-day average of our tracking poll interviews shows Bush with a five-point lead. Comparing our poll to others: Bush is ahead by three points in the Reuters/MSNBC survey. The Texas governor is up by one point in "The Washington Post" poll. And Bush and Gore are dead even in the ABC News poll. Bernie, you got all of that.

SHAW: Certainly do. Our Bill Schneider is here now to take a closer look at Gore's poll numbers with history in mind.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's exactly right. We've got one week left, and Al Gore just can't seem to develop a real lead in this race. What's his problem?

Let's compare Gore with three Democrats who have won: John F. Kennedy in 1960; Jimmy Carter in 1976; and Bill Clinton in 1996. Now each of those Democrats got about 50 percent of the vote. That is Gore's goal. How effectively did they rally their party? The three winners averaged 82 percent of the Democratic vote.

Now take two Democratic losers: Walter Mondale in 1984, and Michael Dukakis in 1988. They did a little less well at rallying the party. Just under 80 percent of Democrats voted for those two losers. And how is Gore doing with fellow Democrats? Wow. Gore's really got his party behind him. Eighty-five percent of Democrats are voting for Gore.

The same is true for liberals. Gore is getting 80 percent of the liberal vote, which is better than both Democratic winners and losers have done in the past. Conclusion: Gore has rallied the Democratic base with his populist message.

So, what's his problem? Take a look at independents. Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton all got 43 percent of the independent vote. They didn't carry independents, but got enough support from them to win. Mondale and Dukakis got just 40 percent of the independent vote. How is Gore doing with independents? Terrible. Less than 40 percent.

Gore doesn't have the centrist appeal of Kennedy, and Carter, and Clinton. Despite so many new Democrat credentials, Gore is seen as a liberal. Now that's OK with women. Gore's getting just over half the women's vote, which is about the same as Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton. But Gore's liberalism is costing him dearly with men. Men are giving Gore even less support than they gave Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis.

Now what is Gore's problem with men? Men say Bush, much more than Gore, shares their view of government and independents feel the same way. Gore's just too liberal for them. Gore says he's a fighting liberal, of course, while Bush calls himself a compassionate conservative. But what's driving the vote isn't style. It's substance.

SHAW: On that point, Bill, elaborate please, when you say what's driving the vote isn't style, it's substance given all of the talk we've heard about character, et cetera, et cetera.

SCHNEIDER: There's a lot of talk about style and personality and character, but really, what differentiates the vote here is the view of government. And I think where Gore is having a problem is he's talking about a lot more about government. He can do it, he believes -- Democrats believe -- because this is surplus and there's a lot of money. So Gore can claim that he is fiscally responsible while he's going to spend a lot more money on government programs.

The problem is, by doing that he's defining himself as a liberal. He's kind of in a box. he had to fight Bill Bradley for the nomination which means that he had to move to the left and now he has to worry about Ralph Nader as a competitor in the general election. So he still has to watch out for the left. But he's defining himself as a liberal, and that's not a good place to be as a Democrat.

SHAW: Thank you, Bill Schneider, makes sense.

Despite Mr. Gore's strong support among Democrats, the man that Bill Schneider just mentioned, Ralph Nader, remains a thorn in his left side. While the Green Party presidential candidate gets just 3 percent in our nationwide tracking poll, state surveys indicate he is draining support from Gore in several key battlegrounds -- states Nader is focusing on now.


SHAW (voice-over): Ralph Nader's final week of campaigning takes him through the swing states where he could do Al gore the most harm. Michigan today, then Minnesota, Wisconsin, and California.

RALPH NADER, GREEN PARTY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have raised 1 percent of the money and received 1 percent of the media coverage, but we are at 6, 7, 8 percent in some states all over the country.

SHAW: Along with the rallies, a new TV spot, a take-off on a popular Web site ad.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to vote for the lesser of two evils.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to be lied to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to be apathetic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want tax breaks for the very rich.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I grow up...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to be disillusioned.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I grow up, I want politicians to adore me.


SHAW: Gore's allies are fighting back. Planned Parenthood will spend $1 million on an ad warning that Bush could overturn Roe vs. Wade. And the National Abortion Rights Action League says it will spend an extra $1 million on this explicit warning.


NARRATOR: Voting for Ralph Nader helps elect George W. Bush. Before voting Nader, consider the risk.


SHAW: Others have been working to persuade Nader to endorse the vice president at least in the swing states, but instead of an endorsement of Gore, Nader offered contempt.

NADER: I mean, can you imagine, he is in a neck-and-neck race with a bumbling Republican governor in Texas with a horrific record? and he still is in a neck-and-neck race? What does that say about the Democratic Party?

SHAW: A few Web sites are appealing directly to Nader's swing state supporters to trade votes with Gore backers in less critical states. But two of the sites, voteswap2000 and voteexchange, have shut down amid questions about the legality of brokering vote exchanges. Others, including nadertrader, are still up and running, but their impact is uncertain.


SHAW: Tonight, Nader is in Minnesota where he will appear at a town hall forum with Governor Jesse Ventura. Ventura has not endorsed any of the candidates, but he says he won't vote for Bush or Gore.

WOODRUFF: While Nader and Ventura reach out to the disillusioned voters, many Americans remain turned off and tuned out. Curtis Gans of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate predicts voter turnout this year will be about as poor as in 1996: 49 percent.

CNN's Anne McDermott, has more on that non-voting theme.


ANNE MCDERMOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Don't look for Mikey Wright at the polls next Tuesday. This guitar player doesn't think the candidates care about him.

MIKEY WRIGHT, NON-VOTER: Does Al Gore, does Bush actually represent what I stand for? what I believe in? I don't think so. I don't think those guys would have dinner with me.

MCDERMOTT: He's not alone, and Wright knows this because the Hollywood guitar shop he works in is a sort of modern day barber shop where guys get together to play and sometimes talk politics.

WRIGHT: Just kicking it around, everybody seems to have that same apathy towards the whole voting routine. They're just like, it doesn't matter. You know, my life's going to go on as it is, you know?

MCDERMOTT: Well, not everyone here's like that.

JOHN NELSON, VOTER: My wife and I kind of feel like if you don't vote, don't complain.

MCDERMOTT: That works for him, but this fellow isn't complaining, and he's not voting either.

Have you ever voted?



ROSEN: I don't believe in the government.

MCDERMOTT: Wright won't go that far, but he is highly critical of the campaigns that he's seen.

WRIGHT: You wonder, are they really making contact with people, or are they just like a sausage: Hi, how you doing? Nice to meet you, Mr. Sausage, Mr. Sausage, all these people.

MCDERMOTT: Mikey Wright says he's no sausage, and a politician will have to earn his vote before he'll bother to cast one.

Anne McDermott, CNN, Los Angeles.


WOODRUFF: Just ahead, can Missouri voters elect the late governor? Brooks Jackson on the arguments. Plus a controversial issue in rural Vermont and how it is shaping the gubernatorial race.


SHAW: Consider this: Next Tuesday, Democrats must pick up five seats to gain control of the United States Senate. In that Missouri race, Democrats are urging supporters of the late governor Mel Carnahan to vote for him with the promise that his wife, Jean, will take his place in the Senate. Now, that strategy has left a lot of legal questions and angered Missouri Republicans, as our Brooks Jackson reports.


BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Call this a political ghost story. Polls show Democrat Mel Carnahan could win the Missouri Senate race even though Carnahan, who was Missouri's governor, died in a plane crash October 16th. That would mean defeat for the very much living Republican incumbent, John Ashcroft. Or would it? Republican ghostbusters already are predicting legal and political challenges to deny Carnahan a posthumous victory.

MARK BRADEN, GOP ELECTION LAWYER: There is no question there will be a challenge, no question whatsoever.

JACKSON: Missouri's new governor says he'll appoint Carnahan's widow Jean to the Senate should her deceased husband get more votes than Ashcroft. Is that legal? A 1999 Missouri law says specifically that if a deceased candidate gets enough votes to win, quote, a vacancy shall exist. And then, Missouri law says: "The governor shall...appoint a person to fill such vacancy" until a special election can be held.

But the Senate does not automatically have to accept the governor's appointment. The Constitution says: Each house shall be the judge of the elections and qualifications of its own members. So, Senate Republicans, if still in the majority, could refuse to seat the widow Carnahan and call for a special election. BRADEN: I think that the best argument is that she didn't get elected, that the voters of Missouri, not the lame duck governor who's about to leave office, should determine who is senator.

JACKSON: For one thing, Republicans point to the Constitution's requirement that a senator must be, quote, an inhabitant of that state for which he shall be chosen. Whether Carnahan, in death, is an inhabitant, could be debated on the floor of the Senate. Democrats say Jean Carnahan is an inhabitant, whatever her late husband's status, and that Republicans would have no valid grounds to refuse seating her.

BOB BAUER, DEMOCRATIC ELECTION LAWYER: Nothing that they've said is rooted in any known legal or Constitutional principle. It's all poppycock.

JACKSON: They say it's all aimed at spooking Democratic voters.

JAY NIXON, MISSOURI ATTORNEY GENERAL: This is just an effort to make people believe when they go into the voting booth that they're doing something either wrong or illegal.

JACKSON (on camera): Control of the Senate could come down to this one seat, so this one could haunt Washington for months to come.

Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: In Vermont, a single issue is having a great deal of impact on Governor Howard Dean's bid for re-election. It is a state court decision allowing civil unions between same-sex couples.

As Bill Delaney reports, Dean's opponent is trying to milk the issue.


BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Calling the cows in for a spot of lunch, Ruth Dwyer, Vermont farmer, former Republican legislator and, just maybe, the state's next governor.

RUTH DWYER (R), VERMONT GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: I know my staff gets mad at me. All of a sudden they'll call and say, oh, but, you know, you've got to be here an hour earlier. Guys, you can't do that to me, I can't be there an hour earlier. I can't do it. I haven't fed the cows yet.

DELANEY: Down-home stuff. Not that Dwyer's not also at home backstage at a recent debate, with her call for more local control and opposition to civil unions. The gay marriages, in all but name, allowed by the Vermont supreme court and legislature as of last summer, the issue that now shadows all Vermont politics including the political future of Democratic Governor Howard Dean. He strongly supports civil unions. GOV. HOWARD DEAN (D), VERMONT: The court made a decision that people were being deprived of their rights, and when the court makes a decision like that, you have to obey it.

DELANEY: Dwyer still trails Dean. The wind in her sails, though, is the fired-up opposition to civil unions.

DWYER: It has created huge divisions, you know, friends and neighbors, people within communities. It's been very divisive.

DELANEY: Though it's united, the Take Back Vermont movement, that's Dwyer's mostly rural base, and she's got even more than that going for her.

(on camera): In Vermont, a gubernatorial candidate must win 50 percent of the vote. Any less and the legislature will choose a winner in January, which could very well happen here, partly because there's a wild card in the race.

(voice-over): Anthony Pollina, Vermont's Ralph Nader-esque progressive candidate. His voters could keep Dean from reaching 50 percent, and a newly Republican-dominated legislature could make Dwyer governor.

ANTHONY POLLINA (I), VERMONT GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: There's no such thing as a spoiler in a democratic election. The sad thing is is that there are people who would discourage people from having a choice.

DELANEY: What's sad, Dwyer says, is the turbulence in once-so- laid-back Vermont. Over civil unions, she predicts only more frustration if there's no change.

DWYER: We will have a backlash. People do have concerns about the future. You know, what is this going to do culturally to a very small state?

DELANEY: Since last summer, there have been more gay civil unions in Vermont than traditional marriages.

Bill Delaney, CNN, Ryegate, Vermont.


SHAW: When we return, spooky scenes from the campaign trail.


WOODRUFF: As it turns out, Halloween is a holiday not just about children and candy. As our Bruce Morton points out, it has political overtones as well.


BUSH: Let's get some pictures here.

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's Halloween on the campaigns too, of course. On the George W. Bush campaign, lots of people dressed as -- no surprise -- George W. Bush, a boy, a dog. There was one Gore -- We think it's Gore -- wrong hair, of course, and no earth tones, but we think it's Gore. And some shirts with one of campaign 2000's famous phrases, "big time."

At Masters Costumes in Arlington, Virginia, ordinary people are buying politicians' masks too, along with other masks. This man's pick?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why would you be Gore?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I really wouldn't have to say that much or exhibit that much personality. I would just kind of have to be there.

MORTON: Overall, though, is this a trend? have we learned something? Bush masks are outselling Gore masks. Why?

JONATHAN BOVEE, MASTERS COSTUMES: I think Bush has been more popular because he has more of a party image. The people buying these masks are obviously going to Halloween parties, and I think they like him. He is more of a frat boy, party type of a character.

MORTON: At CAPAS in Audubon, New Jersey, Bush leads too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the past week or so, Bush sales have gone up a little bit.

MORTON: Don't put heavy money on this poll. Michael Dukakis sold well, they say, and look what happened to him.

There are masks of pols past: Clinton, Monica. She's not big this year, Bovee says, and yet, and yet...


MORTON: ... know that beret anywhere, wouldn't you?

Lots of masks, lots of politicians. No, Mrs. Clinton is not in great demand, but this is Jersey. She's running in New York. Lots of masks. That's the politician on the left.

Best political mask ever? still going strong? might surprise you.

BOVEE: It would have to be Richard Nixon. I've been here over 20 years and Nixon has always been a perennial favorite.

JOHN CAMPBELL, CAPAS: Nixon still today is the best-selling political mask.

MORTON: So the governor and the vice president both have a way to go yet. And some legends are bigger than politics. On the Gore campaign today -- hey, isn't that Elvis?

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: You could be Abe Lincoln and I'll be George Washington.


WOODRUFF: That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. But, of course, you can go on-line all the time at CNN's

We'll see you again tomorrow when George W. Bush will be on the campaign trail in Minnesota and Iowa. And Al Gore will be campaigning in Florida and Pennsylvania.

SHAW: And this programming note, tonight on "COUNTDOWN TO ELECTION 2000," our own Wolf Blitzer will interview Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura. That will be at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. I'm Bernard Shaw.

WOODRUFF: And I'm Judy Woodruff.



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