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Inside Politics

Bush and Gore Crank up the Volume as Election Day Nears

Aired November 2, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET






GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I want your vote, and I want your help.



GORE: On that one day, you have the power.



BUSH: There's a better day ahead for America.


BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: The presidential candidates crank up the volume and the confetti as the campaign clock runs down. We'll update the strategy behind the shouting.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): The fat lady is singing, some Republicans say -- the opera is over. Is it?


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Bill Schneider explores the theme of our 11th-hour turnaround.

SHAW: Plus, political ads not designed to be taken too seriously. Will they help candidates have the last laugh on Election Day? ANNOUNCER: This is INSIDE POLITICS with Bernard Shaw at CNN election headquarters and Judy Woodruff in Washington.

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us.

On the presidential campaign trail, just five days before the election, the pace and the pitch seem to intensify by the hour. Today, George W. Bush is charging through three Midwestern states: Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri.

Our Candy Crowley reports on Bush and his endgame, as well as the governor's latest verbal gaffe.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The race is so close you can see it; George Bush did, landing in St. Louis as Joe Lieberman's campaign plane was getting ready to take off. The struggle is so intense you can hear it; reporters did, when 40-or-so Gore supporters tried to move closer to a Bush rally in a St. Louis County arena.

And the time is so short you can feel it.

BUSH: In the great state of Missouri, I'm here asking for the vote. I want your vote, and I want your help.

CROWLEY: As his campaign keeps a finger on the pulse of Florida, George Bush prowls the Midwest with a message that can cross state lines.

BUSH: We say to poor seniors, we'll help you with all your medical -- prescription drug bills. And we'll help all seniors afford prescription drugs.

CROWLEY: Thursday, from Des Moines to St. Louis to Chicago to Milwaukee, Bush focused on prescription drugs, Medicare and Social Security, pushing his programs while reassuring the elderly who vote in greater percentages and worry in larger numbers.

BUSH: We're going to say to Al Gore, not this time and not this year are you going to scare the seniors into the voting booths.

CROWLEY: While reassuring seniors their checks are safe, Bush touts his own plan to let younger workers invest a part of their Social Security taxes into individual, private portfolios. Al Gore opposes privatization of Social Security.

Bush went a little overboard making that point.

BUSH: Because they want the federal government controlling the Social Security, like it's some kind of federal program.

CROWLEY: Social Security is, of course, the federal government's largest entitlement program. The Al Gore-big government theme, seen by Bush strategists as a swing vote winner, permeates the Bush rally speech. It underlies his arguments for tax cuts, education reform and prescription drug coverage. Al Gore's plan, he says, is a maze of new mandates and regulations.

BUSH: He says he's for a step-by-step plan for universal coverage. No folks, he's for a hop, skip and a jump to nationalized health care.


CROWLEY: With four days and a few hours left in campaign 2000, Bush strategists say they feel good about what they see on the ground and in the polls. But they also know that the ground can shake and the polls can change -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Candy, the people around Governor Bush making very much of the Social Security comment?

CROWLEY: No, you know, they said, look, he -- you know, he always makes a point of, you know, privatization and using a little bit and that that will become your money -- and this was just George Bush sort of moving ahead with his themes. I mean, they say, obviously he knows that Social Security is a federal program.

So, no, they're sort of tossing it off as, sort of some of the Bush-speak we see along the way.

WOODRUFF: All right, Candy Crowley on the campaign trail with Governor Bush. And we'll see you tomorrow.

And now, to the Gore campaign -- Bernie.

SHAW: Thank you, Judy.

The vice president is stumping today in New Mexico, Illinois and Pennsylvania. A new poll suggests Gore has regained the lead in the keystone state. He is 6 points ahead of Bush in the ARG poll. But, in Illinois, a new survey offers further evidence that Gore's lead has narrowed in the land of Lincoln. He is ahead by 3 points in the Mason-Dixon survey.

CNN's John King is traveling through the battlegrounds, where Gore is trying to gain ground.


JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a familiar scene in the campaign's final days: Al Gore rallying the troops in another big state where the big late-summer lead is now just a memory.

GORE: I need your help! I need your vote! I need Chicago! I need Illinois! I need your help because I want to fight for you!

KING: Thousands packed Daley Plaza in Chicago to hear the vice president's closing pitch.

GORE: Who is it you want your president to fight for: the special interests or for you? I want to fight for your and your family.

KING: Flashback a few hours: different state, same urgent appeal.

GORE: With your help, we're going to win Pennsylvania five days from now.


GORE: And we're going to win the White House on Tuesday.

KING: The national polls are not so good. Governor Bush has a narrow lead. So the vice president's task is to convince the voters to think again.

GORE: The last eight years have seen progress. We turned the biggest deficits into the biggest surpluses. We -- instead of a triple-dip recession, we have got a tripling of the markets.

KING: And again.

GORE: In the state of Texas, they have a record that has them 50th out of 50 in health insurance for families.

KING: And again.


NARRATOR: Today Texas ranks last in air quality. Now Bush promises the same $1 trillion from Social Security to two different groups. He squanders the surplus on a tax cut for those making over $300,000. Is he ready to lead America?


KING: The Gore camp insists the state-by-state outlook is more favorable than the national polls. The vice president is banking on a base of 175 electoral votes from a dozen states and the District of Columbia. The search for the remaining 95 electoral votes necessary to win the White House centers on 15 states still viewed as competitive.

The Gore victory scenario counts on wins in Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan and West Virginia. Adding those 81 electoral votes to the Gore base would still leave the vice president 14 shy: Florida, Missouri, Wisconsin, New Mexico and Gore's home state of Tennessee, the remaining major targets.

Turnout is the focus in the closing days.

STEVIE WONDER, MUSICIAN (singing): The only way for America to win is...

KING: Stevie Wonder on hand here to help the vice president rally African-Americans and unions, critical to the Democrat's chances in most of the big battleground states. (on camera): Democrats say their turnout drive will feature 50,000 volunteers, and as many as 50 million phone calls to targeted voters. And while acknowledging there is little room for error, the Gore campaign insists history is on it's side: all but Florida among the major battleground states still in play backed the Clinton-Gore ticket twice.

John King, CNN, Chicago.


WOODRUFF: Thank you, John.

Well, the Gore's campaign take on the electoral map seems to mesh with CNN's state-by-state analysis. Our new map shows Bush leading in 26 states, including Missouri, which we had in the toss-up category earlier this week. Now, that would give Bush 225 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House. Based on our analysis, Gore still has a lead in 11 states and the District of Columbia. And that gives him 171 electoral votes. And we have 13 states in the toss-up category. Together, they have 142 electoral votes.

We're joined now by David Broder of the "Washington Post."

David, before we get to that map, what -- if you had to distill the message or messages that the voters out there have to choose between right now, what would they be?

DAVID BRODER, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, I think there are two very different messages, Judy. On the Republican side, they're trying to cash in on the disenchantment with Washington, D.C., the political culture, the corruption, the sense that there's too much hypocrisy and too much partisanship in the politics here.

And Governor Bush is saying to people: If you want to change the culture of Washington, you have to find somebody who is not completely a product of that culture, as Vice President Gore, who was born and raised here, tends to be seen. On the Gore side, the clear message -- and we've heard it just in these speech excerpts -- is: It's fine to talk about changing Washington, but Bush will change the policy direction that has brought this country to eight years of prosperity.

He will threaten Social Security. He will threaten Medicare. All of the things that people don't want to have changed, he says are at risk if George Bush becomes president.

WOODRUFF: David, whether it's the national polls you look at or the electoral map that -- projections that you look at, George W. Bush does seem to have the advantage here. What exactly does he have going for him at this hour?

BRODER: Well, I think the thing that's helped him a great deal is that, in the end, people have kind of filtered out a good deal of the content, and are trying now to decide: Which of these people am I more comfortable with having as my president for the next four years? And to the extent that the Bush personality seems to be a more agreeable personality to many American voters that I have talked with, particularly in this last two weeks on the road, I think that may be why he is edging ahead.

But Judy, I've been on the phone now for three straight days to states, battleground states around the country, and I cannot tell you for the life of me who is going to win this election.

WOODRUFF: And for David Broder to say that, it's pretty significant.

David, what about the enthusiasm factor here? what do you see?

BRODER: Well, what I found when I was travelling, particularly in states like Wisconsin and Washington and Oregon, which have not seen Republican full-scale presidential campaigns at this late stage of the race for two or three past cycles, the Republicans are clearly, have a lot of energy simply from the fact that their candidate is still there, still battling, still in the game And this is not just my view, it's what the Democrats in those states were telling me, and it is one reason why they are concerned about whether there is sufficient energy for mobilization of Election Day on their side of the battle.

WOODRUFF: David, is Al Gore making a mistake by not using President Clinton much more at this stage?

BRODER: Well, in the view of these Democrats that I've been talking to, it's a terrible mistake. I spoke with the leading Democrat in one of the Midwest battleground states, I shouldn't be more specific than that, who said that he was desperately eager to get President Clinton in there on Sunday, two days from now, that the president was willing to come and that the Gore headquarters in Nashville said don't you dare invite him. He's pretty frustrated.

WOODRUFF: All right, David Broder from the "Washington Post," we appreciate it -- Bernie.

SHAW: Now, let's check our new tracking poll numbers. George W. Bush maintains a small edge in our CNN-"USA Today"-Gallup survey. He leads Al Gore by 4 points when interviews conducted over the past three days are averaged. A six-day average of interviews shows Bush 3 points ahead of Gore. Comparing our poll to others: Bush is up by 3 points in the Reuters-MSNBC tracking poll. The governor has a 4-point lead in both "The Washington Post" and ABC News polls. And a CBS News survey shows Bush with a 1-point advantage.

Well, are those poll numbers likely to change much between now and Election Day? Our Bill Schneider has been thinking about the final act of Campaign 2000.

SCHNEIDER: Well, the fat lady is singing, some Republicans say. The opera is over. Is it? Can Gore turn this race around? Let's look at close races in the past and see if anything ever changes near the end of the campaign. Well, we had a close race between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960. The lead went back and forth several times between August and November. In October, after the debates, Kennedy built up a small lead. Just like George W. Bush has right now. But look at what happened at the very end of the campaign. In the final Gallup poll, Nixon, the incumbent vice president, started picking up votes. The race ended in a virtual dead heat, one of the closest elections in American history.

Nineteen sixty-eight, another close one. But it didn't look that way in September. After the disastrous Democratic convention, Nixon was 15 points ahead of Hubert Humphrey. But look at what happened as the campaign went on. Nixon sat on his lead, and Humphrey, the incumbent vice president, started picking up support, mostly at the expense of independent candidate George Wallace. By Election Day, it was another dead heat.

Nineteen seventy-six, the conventions ended and challenger Jimmy Carter was 15 points ahead of Gerald Ford. Then what happened? Uh- oh, the incumbent president started to catch up. By Election Day, to everyone's surprise, it was neck and neck. Carter beat Ford by just 2 points.

Good news for Gore. Incumbents often gain at the end. Voters start out liking the challenger, but as Election Day gets closer, buyer's remorse sets in. But there's also some good news for Bush. In the end in those elections, the voters said, let's take a chance.

They said that in 1980, too, at the very end. The 1980 race started out close. By late October, President Carter had a slight lead. Voters desperately wanted change, but they were afraid of Ronald Reagan. They had buyer's remorse before they even bought Reagan. Then, one week before Election Day, we had the one and only debate between Carter and Reagan. Reagan reassured people he was safe, and the floodgates burst. Millions of voters shifted in the last few days of that campaign, and Reagan won in a landslide.

So, don't let anyone tell you that it's over, that nothing ever changes in the last few days. The fat lady is still trying to get into her costume.

SHAW: And gargling.

SCHNEIDER: That's what she's doing.


SHAW: OK, thank you, Bill Schneider.

And still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS: the road to Capitol Hill. From the steel mills to the suburbs: a look at Pennsylvania, its voters and three key House races.

Plus, running against the odds: Bill Delaney with the story of one long-shot campaign.


WOODRUFF: The Democrats need to pick up seven seats next Tuesday to take over control of the U.S. House of Representatives. In Pennsylvania, there are three House races that are a virtual microcosm of key House battles around the country.

Our Jeanne Meserve traveled to this battleground state for an update.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Pennsylvania steel country: one of the hottest Congressional races in the country.

MELISSA HART (R), PENNSYLVANIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I'm glad that everything worked out here.

MESERVE: Republican state Senator Melissa Hart is running an energetic, well-funded race against Democratic state Representative Terry Van Horne. In the heavily-unionized 4th District that blends prosperous Pittsburgh suburbs with old steel and mill towns, Hart stresses her working-class roots.


HART: Both my grandfathers were coal miners who taught me the value of hard work.


MESERVE: But Van Horne and his supporters say the issue is her record, which earned her a 12 percent rating from the state AFL-CIO.

TERRY VAN HORNE (D), PENNSYLVANIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: She really doesn't represent the interests of a lot of the -- the middle- class and blue-collar families.

MESERVE: Hart and Van Horne have both put up some tough-hitting ads.


NARRATOR: Maybe Hart doesn't want you to know that her campaign has taken thousands from big insurance and drug companies.


MESERVE: But despite the Democratic leanings of the district, polls show Republican Hart ahead with voters.

HART: They make decisions based on the candidate and the issues more than they made it based on the party years ago.

MESERVE: In the 13th District, Philadelphia's upscale suburbs, the tables are turned. GOP state Senator Stewart Greenleaf is making a bid. STEWART GREENLEAF (R), PENNSYLVANIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: This district is overwhelmingly Republican. And I am a moderate Republican.

MESERVE: True, but Democrat Joseph Hoeffel appears to be on his way to reelection, because of this district's liberal lean on social issues.

REP. JOSEPH HOEFFEL (D), PENNSYLVANIA: I am pro-choice. I support the Second Amendment, but think that we ought to do a better job with gun regulation and gun safety programs.

MESERVE: The 10th Congressional District is a hybrid, encompassing the Democratic city of Scranton and vast rural areas.

TERRY MADONNA, MILLERSVILLE UNIVERSITY: As one wag put it, it's an area, outside of the city, of rocks, rattlesnakes and Republicans.

MESERVE: Patrick Casey, son of former governor Robert Casey, is in a rematch with incumbent Don Sherwood, who beat him by just 515 votes two years ago.

REP. DON SHERWOOD (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I represent everyone -- Republicans, independents, Democrats -- and we all have the same problem.

MESERVE: Casey says that isn't so.

PATRICK CASEY (D), PENNSYLVANIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Every major corporation in the country is coming here to advertise on my opponent's behalf because they want to send him back to Congress

MESERVE: There is plenty being spent on Casey's behalf, too.

(on camera): These three congressional races have two things in common. They are all vital in the contest for control of the House of Representatives, and they all demonstrate that the political parties can no longer count on old-time constituencies to deliver votes and elections.

ED RENDELL, DNC GENERAL CHAIRMAN: I think what it shows, basically, is that this American electorate is becoming more and more independent, that you can't categorize them.

MESERVE (voice-over): And that means some very volatile congressional races.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.


SHAW: In Missouri, today, the Senate campaign of the late Democratic governor Mel Carnahan is releasing a new ad featuring his widow, Jean. In the ad, Mrs. Carnahan refers to the difficult time since the governor's death in that plane crash, and she asks for the support of Missouri voters. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CARNAHAN CAMPAIGN AD)

JEAN CARNAHAN, WIDOW OF GOV. MEL CARNAHAN: Soon, Missourians will reaffirm their belief in self-government by casting their vote. Mel Carnahan's name will still be on that ballot and his vision for Missouri can still prevail, if we want it to.

With the support of my family, I've decided to do what I think Mel would want me to do, what he wants all of us to do, to keep fighting with all the strength we can muster for the values and ideals that he lived for.

Now the choice is up to you.


SHAW: Missouri Governor Roger Wilson has said he will appoint Mrs. Carnahan to the Senate seat if voters choose her late husband over incumbent Republican Senator John Ashcroft.

In Vermont, Republican Senator Jim Jeffords is heavily favored to win re-election next week. For Jeffords' challenger, the uphill campaign has been as much about who he is as about where he stands on the issues.

Our Bill Delaney reports.


BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not all that long after the crack of dawn, Democratic Senate candidate Ed Flanagan, in Burlington, Vermont, out tilting at windmills again.

A man given virtually no chance of winning, waving at passing cars, hoping for a few friendly honks in return.


DELANEY: In a political year in Vermont, when who is matters every bit as much as what he stands for.

(on camera): Unlike any candidate for statewide office in the country this year, Ed Flanagan is openly, proudly gay. That's not been an issue in the races he's run for state auditor since he came out five years ago. It is an issue this year.

(voice-over): Because of civil unions.

Last summer, the Vermont Supreme Court and legislature gave gay couples most of the rights of traditional married couples.

FLANAGAN: It's an issue in every race in Vermont. This is about equality and fairness and nothing more.

DELANEY: It's also about running a race against popular incumbent Republican Senator Jim Jeffords, who supports civil unions or you might say doesn't oppose them.

SEN. JIM JEFFORDS (R), VERMONT: I support the Supreme Court in their interpretation of it and that's the end of issue as far as I'm concerned.

DELANEY: A modulated approach that seems, among Vermont voters, to have avoided getting hardly anyone mad at Jeffords in a state that's never seen such a bitter political season.

GARRISON NELSON, UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT: Running against Jim Jeffords is a recipe for disaster. I mean, Jim is very popular. He's kind of the Jimmy Stewart of Vermont politics.

DELANEY: Flanagan, with the same basic position of support for civil unions, seems more like the Rodney Dangerfield of Vermont politics.

FLANAGAN: I have become a bit of a lightning rod. It's raised with me on the street as I travel around in campaign. There is strong support. There is also for the first time some very negative and sometimes very hostile reaction about my lifestyle and my personal life that had never happened before.

DELANEY: Flanagan, though, son of an Irish immigrant father, points out his symbol's the bull dog. He can handle being the underdog.

FLANAGAN: The system -- I'd like to think the system works in the long run.

DELANEY: What keeps you going if you're a long shot.

Bill Delaney, CNN, Burlington, Vermont.


WOODRUFF: There is much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

Still to come, George W. Bush talks to our Candy Crowley about the final days of the campaign.

And later...


MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Both the Democrats and the Republicans have narrowed this battle for the Latino vote to just a few states.


WOODRUFF: Maria Hinojosa on the efforts to sway key minority voters.


PAT NEAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The next president may be decided by the oldest and most reliable voting bloc in Florida. They're called condo commandos.


WOODRUFF: Pat Neal on the loyal troops getting out the vote in Florida's older communities.


SHAW: We will have more of this day's political news coming up, but now a look at some other top stories.

Israeli and Palestinian leaders say they will honor a cease-fire in spite of a car bombing that killed two Israelis and injured at least nine others. The bomb went off in a crowded marketplace in Jerusalem about the time the cease-fire was to start. A group saying it is part of the Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility. President Clinton had harsh words for those behind the blast.


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This morning, we were reminded once again in Jerusalem that there are those who seek to destroy the peace through acts of terror. This cannot be permitted to prevail. It is now time for those who believe in peace to stand together to stop this violence and to work against the terrorists.


SHAW: Also today, clashes in the West Bank killed two Palestinians.

The Navy says a bomb blast did more damage to the USS Cole than originally estimated. CNN has obtained these photographs from Navy sources. They show the hole in the side of this destroyer to be about 20 feet wider than initially thought. Seventeen sailors died and 39 were injured when suicide bombers attacked the ship on October 12 in Yemen.

WOODRUFF: Bridgestone/Firestone is expanding its warranties in an apparent effort to regain public confidence in its tires. The company says it will offer free replacement for three years from date of purchase and four years from date of manufacturer on nearly all tires, and will cover failures due to workmanship or materials. The company is also offering a 30-day test drive guarantee on any new tire purchase.

When INSIDE POLITICS returns, the women behind the Gore-Lieberman ticket head out on their own to rally the vote.


GORE: That day that comes around every four years is Tuesday, November the 7th, five days from now.


SHAW: Another clip from Al Gore's campaign swing through Chicago today as both candidates race through the home stretch of Campaign 2000.


BUSH: You know what I think's going to happen on November 7, I think the great state of Missouri is going to be Bush-Cheney country.


SHAW: Governor Bush also predicting a Midwestern victory this day as he stumped in the battleground state of Missouri.

Now, let's hear more from Governor Bush. He sat down with our Candy Crowley for an interview in Illinois a short while ago.


BUSH: I never expected to get his support anyway. You know, there's an attitude out of people who spent too much time in Washington that you have to have spent your adult life in Washington in order to be qualified to lead the nation. I just don't agree with that and neither will over -- the majority of Americans who vote on November the 7th. They understand a governor is somebody who knows how to lead. And there is a fundamental difference between a chief executive, like I have been and a legislator, somebody, one out of a hundred. And I've got a record. The people know I have got a record and that is one of the reasons that I think I am going to become the governor -- I mean the president, excuse me. I am the governor, yes.

CROWLEY (on camera): I am curious as to whether just personally it makes you mad when you hear something like that.

BUSH: No, not at all. I mean, Joe Lieberman is, I guess what he is supposed to do. He is, they kind of put him out on the front line of the attacks, and that's politics. That doesn't bother me in the least because I've got great faith in the American people. That they will look at my experience as governor of the second biggest state in the union and say we want this man to be the president.

Secondly, I also remember what they used to say about Ronald Reagan, and Ronald Reagan became a great president, because the people trusted him. And that is what's going to happen in this election. People will trust me to be their leader.

And there's a fundamental difference between a chief executive, like I've been, and a legislator -- somebody, one of 100. And I've got a record, the people know I've got a record and that's one of the reasons I think I'm going to become the governor -- I mean the president, excuse me. I am the governor.

CROWLEY: I'm curious as to whether just, personally, it makes you mad when you hear something like that.

BUSH: No, not at all. I mean, Joe Lieberman is, you know -- I guess that's what he's supposed to do. He is, they've kind of put him out on the, you know, on the front line of the attacks, and that's politics. But it doesn't bother me in the least because I've got great faith in the American people, that they'll look at my experience as governor of the second biggest state in the union and say, we want this man to be the president.

Secondly, I also remember what they used to say about Ronald Reagan, and Ronald Reagan became a great president because the people trusted him, and that's what's going to happen in this election, people will trust me to be their leader.

CROWLEY: Do you think at this level of politics, the trust is more important in the presidency than the details? And I ask you because one of their criticisms has been, you don't know the details of your own Social Security plan. You don't know the details of what you want to do with Medicare.

BUSH: Yes, it's utterly ridiculous for them to say that. Of course I know the details, I'm the person who's proposing them. They don't like the details because it frees people. They trust government; my plans free people to make decisions.

And you know, again, it's any excuse that they try to make and it's this Washington, D.C. mentality that where all the power's got to be in Washington, all decisions have got to be made by Washington, and that's what the people are going to reject.

I've been the governor of a big state. I'm very aware of my proposals; I proposed them for a reason, because it's going to make America a better place. And we had a chance to debate our issues and I am pleased we had the debates. The American people got to the see firsthand the difference between me and my opponent.

CROWLEY: Two political questions.

BUSH: Sure.

CROWLEY: Give me your prediction.

BUSH: Well, I think I'm going to win. I take nothing for granted; I mean, I'm working my heart out. But I can tell you, these crowds are huge and the enthusiasm is about as high as I've ever seen in a presidential campaign. And our grassroots organization is invigorated and strong in places like Minnesota or in California. I know -- I think one of the big surprises of this campaign is what's going to happen on California on November the 7th.

CROWLEY: Florida?

BUSH: Yes, we'll win there, yes. CROWLEY: Pennsylvania?

BUSH: Well, I think I'm going to win every state you ask, only because I'm such an optimist.

CROWLEY: Massachusetts?

BUSH: Well, maybe not that optimistic.

CROWLEY: OK; I just want you to fill in the blank here: If George Bush wins the presidential election November 7, it will be because he campaigned on...

BUSH: Philosophy and issues. That I set the pace on the Social Security issue and I'm talking about Medicare reform; that I've had a tax relief plan from day one that I strongly believe in; that I want to rebuild the military to keep the peace; and that, not only do I have a record on education, but I've got a vision for the federal role in education that trusts local people to run the schools.

And I think the people understand where I'm coming from. I haven't been one of those people that tried to fine-tune my message in the midst of the campaign or reinvent myself in the course of the campaign. I've been steady from day one. People in America appreciate that.

CROWLEY: Do you think there's any voters out there that are voting for you because they're still mad at Bill Clinton?

BUSH: No, and I would certainly hope that they're voting for me because they know I can do the job and lead this country and unite the nation and get rid of the bitterness in Washington, D.C. and bring people together to get positive things done.

But I don't think so. I think this election is too important for people to be looking backwards, they're looking forward.


SHAW: We hope to bring you a one-on-one interview with Vice President Gore tomorrow here on INSIDE POLITICS.

WOODRUFF: Barbara Bush has been campaigning for her son. Among other things, she took part in a "W. Is For Women" tour that also featured George W. Bush's wife, Laura. The women behind the Democratic ticket have launched a similar campaign swing. Today in they were in Michigan, where a new poll gives Vice President Gore a 5- point lead.

CNN's Patty Davis reports on the Democratic women on the trail.


ANNOUNCER: The next first lady of the United States, Tipper Gore, accompanied by Hadassah Lieberman. PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With the battleground state of Michigan up for grabs, four generations of Gore and Lieberman women campaigned as a group.

Along with rock star Melissa Etheridge, the hugely popular Tipper Gore and Hadassah Lieberman, their daughters, granddaughters and mothers hope to woo women and independent voters.

TIPPER GORE, AL GORE'S WIFE: I want to speak directly to the woman of Michigan. You know, women can decide the outcome of this election, and it's in women's self-interests to vote for Gore- Lieberman.

DAVIS: A "Detroit Free Press" poll shows, while the race in Michigan remains tight, Gore has moved ahead of Texas Governor George W. Bush with women, 52 to 33 percent.

(on camera): But even with that strong female support, strategists say it might not be enough to carry this crucial state. The vice president isn't doing nearly as well among men.

(voice-over): The "Detroit Free Press" poll shows men prefer Bush 48-38 percent.

It was a united and attention-grabbing group, touting not only women's issues, but the campaign's signature themes: Social Security and the economy -- issues Tipper Gore says are her husband's main concerns.

T. GORE: Al Gore has stood for them and stood up to the special interests and fought for the rights that women need to know could be on the line in this presidential election.

DAVIS: Hadassah Lieberman talked about character.

HADASSAH LIEBERMAN, JOE LIEBERMAN'S WIFE: And as women, we know these men are men of integrity, of vision, of community, of values.

DAVIS: Earlier this week, candidates Gore and Lieberman stumped in Michigan with the hard sell; with just days to go until the election, the Gore-Lieberman women are working to close the deal.

Patty Davis, CNN, Rochester Hills, Michigan.


SHAW: And just ahead, mobilizing support from Chicago's Hispanic community to the condominiums of Florida.


WOODRUFF: A new poll shows Al Gore with a 6-point lead over George W. Bush in Gore's home state of Tennessee. Other recent polls had shown the race very tight or even Bush slightly ahead in Tennessee. In Oregon, a new poll today shows the vice president with a 1-point lead. Governor Bush led by 4 points in an Oregon poll a week ago. In California, a new survey shows Gore with a 7-point lead. A week ago, the vice president was on top by 10 points in a California poll.

Both candidates are courting the Hispanic vote in a number of battleground states. Nowhere is the fight for Latino support more evident than in Illinois.

Our Maria Hinojosa takes a closer look at the efforts to reach these key swing voters.


HINOJOSA (voice-over): It's the kind of voter enthusiasm any candidate would want to see: young voters, young Latino voters, in a southside barrio, revved up by Al Gore.

SUSANA MENDOZA (D), ILLINOIS STATE HOUSE: The Democratic Party has made the attempt to reach out to us. We are very much energized by that effort.

HINOJOSA: The Democrats say they will garner 80 percent of the Latino vote in Illinois, helped by thousands of new citizens, despite a strong Bush appeal.

DANNY SOLIA (D), CHICAGO ALDERMAN: They've probably matched us dollar for dollar in terms of what they've invested, but they certainly haven't gotten what they've invested in.

HINOJOSA: But the Bush-Cheney campaign believes Latino suburbanites will give them more than the 20 percent of the Latino vote they garnered in the last presidential race.

JOE GALVAN, ILLINOIS STATE CHAIRMAN, HISPANICS FOR BUSH: The Latinos in Illinois are going to be at about 40 percent. In Illinois, in Ohio and Michigan, it's going to make the difference. I really believe that the Latino vote is going to be the swing vote.

HINOJOSA (voice-over): Both the Democrats and the Republicans have narrowed this battle for the Latino vote to just a few states, including Florida, New Mexico, and Michigan. But the Gore campaign is counting on a solid Latino turnout in states like Illinois, where Latinos make up four percent of the electorate.

(on camera): Nonpartisan Latino organizations doing their own outreach say neither party is courting Latino voters aggressively enough.

JUAN ANDRADE JR., U.S. HISPANIC LEADERSHIP INST.: If this election is going to boil down to just 100,000 to 200,000 votes and we are sitting on over five million Latino votes, I would be going out of my way and moving mountains and parting rivers.

HINOJOSA (voice-over): That doesn't mean Latino voters won't be reached by the candidate's Spanish language ad blitz.

MARTIN SANDOVAL (D), CHICAGO WATER COMMISSION: We've bought over $140,000 worth of radio, nine or 10 radio channels, La Buena, Radio Unica, etc., etc. We're also buying advertisements in all of the Latino newspapers, you know, the major Latino newspapers: "Exito," "La Raza," the smaller papers. We are out there, our troops are out there.

HINOJOSA: Out hitting the streets in this heavily Democratic town, where a few Latino votes can make a difference.

Maria Hinojosa, CNN, Chicago.


SHAW: In Florida, the candidates are also reaching out to elderly voters in what has become a very close race. The latest Mason-Dixon poll shows likely voters favoring Bush 46 percent to 44 percent. But the latest ARG Poll shows Al Gore ahead with 49 percent to Bush's 44 percent.

Pat Neal takes a closer look at the battleground and Democratic activists known as condo commandos.


SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D-CT), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: It's a real important election.

NEAL (voice-over): The next president may decided by the oldest and most reliable voting bloc in Florida.

LIEBERMAN: This is an incredible stronghold here.

NEAL: They're called condo commandos, thousands of Democratic retirees who moved from the Northeast to the condominiums of southeast Florida.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're here for one reason, you and I, and that's to get Gore-Lieberman elected.

NEAL: At Century Village in Deerfield Beach, 82-year-old political director Amadeo Trinchi Trinchitella predicts he'll deliver 11,000 out of the 12,000 registered voters.

AMADEO TRINCHITELLA, CENTURY VILLAGE POLITICAL DIR.: I think we'll break every record this year because of Joe Lieberman being on the ticket.

NEAL: Democrats say the addition of Lieberman energizes an already dependable group. Here at Holly Brook in Hollywood, residents vote in large numbers. This year, Democrats are mobilizing for more.

MITCH CESAR, BROWARD CO. DEMOCRATIC CHMN.: They are an amazing part of the Democratic base. They've always been, but perhaps this year more than ever before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't just sit back and let things happen; we make them happen. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were raised to vote and we vote.

NEAL: These are New Deal Democrats who idolized Franklin Delano Roosevelt and learned first-hand elections have an impact on their everyday lives.

TRINCHITELLA: When you go through a war, a depression, a Holocaust, whatnot, you want come out to vote. You want to decide your future.

NEAL: And to help sell the Democrats' message, Roosevelt's grandson told seniors to make sure and vote for the Gore-Lieberman ticket.

FORD ROOSEVELT, GRANDSON OF FDR: We must support them. They're carrying on the legacy of my grandparents.

NEAL (voice-over): Now the focus is on turnout. At 11:00 on election day, the political team here at Century Village will make it's first assessment of voter turnout. Whoever hasn't shown up at the polls, the team will go door to door to find them.

TRINCHITELLA: You'll see people with walkers, with wheelchairs, with canes.

NEAL (voice-over): Experts say the condo commandos are unique in American politics.

JIM KANE, FLORIDA VOTER: When they pass on, I don't think we're going to see voters of this quality, if you will, and caliber, who want to turn out and make a difference.

NEAL: And this year, Democrats say their commandos will count more than ever.

Pat Neal, CNN, Deerfield Beach, Florida.


SHAW: And when we return, having a little fun with political advertising. Brooks Jackson on humor and politics.


WOODRUFF: From the presidential race to local elections, political ads are a key tool in the effort to reach voters.

Our Brooks Jackson checks the ad reels for those spots that present a political message as well as a laugh.



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



NARRATOR: Al Gore is bending the truth again.


BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hold on. Enough of that stuff. Aren't there any funny ads? We've seen some slapstick.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Pretending he lives on a farm.

NARRATOR: Roger Kahn tells us he's a farmer. ? He's a millionaire carpetbagger from Buckhead.


JACKSON: And we've seen cartoons.


NARRATOR: Some people call Steve Chabot the PACman.

JACKSON: Retro humor. How '80's is "Pacman?"

NARRATOR: Over $1.5 million from special interest PACs.


JACKSON: And we've seen cute.


NARRATOR: Babies like these all have one thing in common: They've lived in New York longer than Hillary Rodham Clinton.


JACKSON (on camera): These are really attack ads, just trying to soften their tone. But funny? Let's keep looking.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he can win this thing in November.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Andy Ewing is a nice, nice man, but he is kind a goober.


JACKSON (voice-over): What's really funny is the goober won that primary.


NARRATOR: On the frozen tundra known as Minnesota...


JACKSON: Here's whimsy in a positive ad, a candidate canvassing ice fishermen.


NARRATOR: Mike Ciresi, crisscrossing the state in a determined effort hear from every Minnesotan.


JACKSON: Not really funny, but cute. He lost his primary, too.

(on camera): Truth is, really funny ads are scarce this year. Issues like Social Security, Medicare and failing schools just aren't laughing matters.

MasterCard didn't thing this Ralph Nader parody was funny.


NARRATOR: Promises to special interest groups: over $10 billion. Finding out the truth: priceless.


JACKSON (voice-over): MasterCard sued.

And the AFLAC insurance company went to court over this.


NARRATOR: Paul Coverdale's successor should be a true conservative.



JACKSON: Senator Mack Mattingly pulled the ad off the air.

This Vermont Democrat ridicules Washington.


NARRATOR: Instead of standing up for what's right, they make a compromise here and an adjustment there.


JACKSON: But what's his point? That he's got a better arm than the incumbent? This Montana ad is nice. Not funny, but nice.


NARRATOR: I grow wheat, alfalfa and mint. Got a couple hundred head. Married to one beautiful woman, with three great kids and three working dogs.


JACKSON: At least the wife got better billing than the dogs. More cow humor from this Utah candidate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do we get all these cows registered to vote on November 7th? Do you think a young, single, Jewish Democrat can win in the 3rd District?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I think everybody needs a change.


JACKSON (on camera): If you doubt that it's a tough year for funny political ads, look here. This the best that Comedy Central had to offer.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Before you vote this fall, make sure you're well-informed about the issues and the candidates. For example, did you know I was in the military? No, seriously.


JACKSON: They could at least have found McCain a uniform that fit. And hey, McCain was a Navy captain, not a lowly lieutenant.

(voice-over): Finally, our award for the most politically incorrect humor goes, of course, to Pat Buchanan.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please listen for your language. For Spanish, press one. For Korean, press two.

NARRATOR: Do you ever miss English?


JACKSON: Remember the old phrase, "funny as a rubber crutch?" This ad may qualify.

(on camera): It's been that kind of year, but only a few more days to go. Keep smiling.

Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: Sometimes it's hard to keep smiling.

That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. These programming notes: CNN will have the first results from a nationwide mock election involving more than 10 million students tonight on "COUNTDOWN TO ELECTION 2000." That's at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

And former Reform Party presidential candidate Ross Perot is expected to endorse one of the presidential candidates tonight on "LARRY KING LIVE." That's at 9:00, Eastern. I'm Judy Woodruff.

SHAW: I'm Bernard Shaw. "WORLDVIEW" is next.



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