ad info

 Headline News brief
 news quiz
 daily almanac

 video archive
 multimedia showcase
 more services

Subscribe to one of our news e-mail lists.
Enter your address:
Get a free e-mail account

 message boards

CNN Websites
 En Español
 Em Português


Networks image
 more networks

 ad info



Inside Politics

John McCain and George Bush Debate Tax Cuts; Bill Bradley Attacks Gore's Record on Tobacco

Aired January 11, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET



SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Make no mistake: We can afford a tax cut, and American taxpayers deserve one. But it must be a tax cut promise that a leader can keep.


BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: John McCain fleshes out his tax-cut plan and tries to turn up the heat on George W. Bush.

Tobacco has been used as a campaign weapon before. Now, will it help Bill Bradley against Al Gore?

And the Grand Canyon: Is protecting it political?

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

SHAW: Thanks for joining us. Judy is off today.

John McCain and George W. Bush haven't exactly taken the gloves off, but as the first big GOP presidential contests get closer, they are increasingly going after one another on the subject of tax cuts.

McCain's speech today outlining his tax proposals only added more fuel to the fire. We have two reports: on McCain's remarks in New Hampshire, and Bush's response in South Carolina.

First, CNN's Candy Crowley, on the road with McCain.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Few issues say "Republican" louder than tax cuts, and few states are as rabid about tax-cutting as New Hampshire.

Which brings us to Concord less than three weeks before the primary, and the unveiling of John McCain's economic plan.

MCCAIN: Make no mistake: We can afford a tax cut, and American tax-payers deserve one. But it must be a tax cut promise that a leader can keep. CROWLEY: McCain insists that is not a shot at George Bush. On the other hand, the senator's $240 billion, five-year tax cut proposal, is about half the size of the governor's.

Bush, McCain notes, doesn't spend a penny on bolstering Social Security for oncoming baby boomers. This is not a shot either.

MCCAIN: Others suggest that we should use every penny for tax cuts, forgetting we have promises to keep and a fleeting opportunity to keep our word without imperiling the economic future of our children and generations to come.

CROWLEY: McCain envisions using part of the surplus on Social Security and another part for debt reduction. He is also eying corporate America as a revenue source.

MCCAIN: I will pay for my tax-cutting with the money saved by eliminating tax inequities and corporate welfare, combined with a responsible share of the surplus. This is the conservative way to cut taxes, rather than based on ever-shifting economic assumptions.

CROWLEY: Also not a shot.

Bolstering Social Security, debt reduction and modest tax cuts, critics complain that McCain's surplus spending program looks more Democratic than Republican.

In the primary season, where GOP voters are largely from the conservative wing of the party, that is not a criticism to be ignored.

MCCAIN: True conservatism both protects the interest of those who pay an overly heavy tax burden today, and those who are young to pay taxes -- but not too young to be threatened by a potential failure of a crushing debt of $5.6 trillion, and a broken Social Security system.

CROWLEY: McCain said the words "conservative" or "conservatism" a dozen times in his 20-minute speech.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Merrimack, New Hampshire.



JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is John King in Charleston, South Carolina.

The front-runner was forced to play a little defense for a change, defending his five-year, $483 billion tax cut plan against a new, more modest $237 billion proposal unveiled by chief rival John McCain.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is a fundamental difference, and it is that John believes that the money is best stayed in Washington. I believe the money ought to be passed back to the taxpayers.

KING: South Carolina's primary is the conservative proving ground for candidates who survive Iowa and New Hampshire.

Bush leads here, and voices confidence his tax-cut plan will have more appeal than McCain's among Republican primary voters.

BUSH: I think it's a mistake. I think we need to drop the rate from 15 percent to 10 percent so that people at bottom end of the economic ladder get a tax cut.

KING: But Bush says it is a debate worth having, now and through November.

BUSH: We are in the midst of a tax debate during the primary, and that is healthy for the Republican Party, it is healthy. And I can assure you, if I am the nominee, we will be in the midst of a tax debate with whomever the Democrat nominee is.

KING: Yet for all the optimism, it's clear the Bush camp is sensitive to McCain's argument that such a big tax cut would put Social Security at risk.


BUSH: Our greatest generation deserves our greatest respect. This begins by keeping our word.

ANNOUNCER: Governor Bush will save and strengthen Social Security. His plan is clear.


KING: The new ad begins airing in South Carolina on Wednesday.


SHAW: John King joins us live from Charleston, South Carolina, and Candy Crowley is with us from Merrimac, New Hampshire.

First to you, Candy. What is each candidate trying to do in appealing to those very pivotal independent voters in New Hampshire? Who's plan will best appeal to this group?

CROWLEY: I think you have to go with McCain on this. I mean, first of all, McCain's whole style, his persona, is much more geared and in keeping with the independents in New Hampshire. Right now in the polls, there is something like 47 McCain, 29 Bush, among the independents. In that this plan is more moderate, is closer to the middle, certainly McCain's plan is going to appeal more to that voter group which, as you say, is really pivotal in the upcoming primary.

SHAW: John?

KING: Bernie, the Bush campaign says it will never out- independent John McCain, so what it's trying to do is out-Republican him. President Clinton consistently has frustrated Republicans -- not only in Washington, but activists around the country -- by refusing to endorse an across-the-board tax cut. Governor Bush, in a sense, ceding some of the independent vote to Senator McCain, but looking for more Republicans to turn out in the primary by pushing what he says is a much bolder, much more Republican, tax-cut plan.

SHAW: Now, the two of you, if you would -- Candy, you are in New Hampshire, John, you are in South Carolina. What is Governor Bush trying to do in these final days in the run-up to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina? And also with Senator McCain, Candy. First you, John.

KING: Well, Governor Bush believes he has the luxury of a lead in Iowa, and a close race in New Hampshire. He believes he can spend a little more time in places here, like South Carolina. This, much like it was for his dad back in 1988, is Governor Bush's fire wall. He hopes to win big in Iowa, thinks perhaps Senator McCain might win in New Hampshire. Governor Bush views South Carolina as decisive, so he's spending more time here campaigning a little bit with the luxury of a front-runner.

SHAW: Candy?

CROWLEY: I think, Bernie, McCain would agree with Bush that South Carolina as that sort of fire wall, that also helped Dole win the nomination last time around, is going to be pivotal. He talked today, McCain talked today a little bit about wanting to win here in New Hampshire, of course, where he spent so much time, and then on to South Carolina.

But a win is a win is a win. He notes, McCain notes, that really expectations are all, and that if he does better than expected in Iowa, where he hasn't campaigned at all, if he does well in New Hampshire, if he does well in South Carolina, he doesn't necessarily have to win, is how he put it out there: although most pundits will tell you that having spent so much time here in New Hampshire, it would be a big blow to the McCain campaign if he didn't win in New Hampshire.

SHAW: Thank you, Candy Crowley, John King.

Now, back to taxes, and this time we are going to look beyond the Bush and McCain spin, and consider who would benefit most from their competing tax plans.

CNN's Brooks Jackson has been looking at the nuts and bolts of these proposals, and their bottom lines.


MCCAIN: You know, your people are running around saying that your tax cut is bigger than mine, that yours is bigger than mine.

BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a Republican shoot-out -- huge, dueling tax cuts being proposed by the two leading Republicans. BUSH: The senator and I have a fundamental disagreement.

JACKSON: Well, lets stop and take a look.

First thing, George W. Bush's tax cut is bigger, twice as big. He'd cut federal income taxes $483 billion over five years. McCain, $237 billion.

Now, who gets those billions? Bush's plan does much more for the rich. Under Bush's plan, the top income tax rate falls to 33 percent. McCain would leave it where it is, 39.6 percent.

MCCAIN: For a lucky millionaire, who is currently paying 325,000 on an income of $1 million, I give a tax cut of $3,500. Under Governor Bush's plan, the tax cut is worth $50,000.

JACKSON: McCain's smaller tax plan concentrates benefits in the middle. Both he and Bush would double the $500-per-child tax credit for families, and both would sweeten deductions for married couples.

And McCain would expand the lowest 15 percent tax bracket, which currently tops out at $43,050 for a married couple, raising the ceiling to $70,000. But 43,000 is taxable income, so in practical terms, McCain's rate relief would start at about $60,000 a year.

At lower income levels, Bush's plan actually does more, adding a new bottom rate of only 10 percent. It's not much. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, Bush's plan cuts taxes an average of $43 per family for the bottom 20 percent of federal income-tax payers. McCain's plan would give them zero relief.

(on camera): A final point: Neither candidate offers any help for the real working poor, those who earn too little to pay income taxes but who do pay Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes. That's about one taxpayer out of every five -- Bernie.

SHAW: Thank you, Brooks Jackson.

For more perspective on tax cuts, Bush economic adviser Larry Lindsey joins us from Austin, Texas, and McCain economic adviser Kevin Hassett is with us from Manchester, New Hampshire.

Gentlemen, on Brooks Jackson's last point -- why don't your plans help the working poor, people who earn too little to pay federal income taxes? Why not -- Mr. Hassett?


I disagree with that point completely. The senator is setting money aside to help save Social Security, and Social Security is the most important federal program for people down at that end of the income distribution. Now the tax plan can't help those folks, because it's a tax plan, not a welfare plan, and people aren't paying taxes below a certain point. But we're helping them with Social Security.

SHAW: Larry Lindsey? LARRY LINDSEY, BUSH ECONOMIC ADVISER: The current tax code gives those families as much as $4,200 in earned-income tax credit. What we want to do is help those people get off the situation where they're being paid money by the federal government and move into the middle class. We want to take down the toll booth to the middle class. You know, if you combine all these tax credits and things, those people face a higher tax rate under current law than do people making 10 times as much. And Governor Bush's plan fixes that.

SHAW: Kevin Hassett, and also, Larry Lindsey, aren't these two tax proposals on mushy grounds? Neither of you can say with confidence what the projected surplus will in reality be, can you?

HASSETT: Well, mushy ground -- I mean, all economics is mushy ground, in the sense that surplus estimates change from year to year, but that is exactly Senator McCain's point. You know, a few years ago, we were forecasting deficits as far as the eye could see, and now we're forecasting surpluses. The Bush plan is assuming those surpluses are going to happen with probability one, for sure. And McCain is far more skeptical about that, and that's why he's more cautious in moving toward cuts right now.

SHAW: What about that, Larry Lindsey?

LINDSEY: Well in fact, what we have done is to assume 2.7 percent growth. Bernie, you've seen the news stories as well as I have. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office is going to pick something close to 3 percent growth. We are expected to have twice as much money as we thought just a couple months ago.

So in fact, I think the economy is booming. There not only will be enough room for tax cuts, but there will be plenty of money left over to meet other national priorities.

SHAW: Please, both of you, tell our viewers what Governor Bush and what Senator McCain would do if the projected budget surpluses are half, in reality, of what they're said to be? Would your guy junk his plan or what? What would they do?

HASSETT: Now remember, Bernie, the most likely scenario, is that in a few weeks, there's going to be a big increase, as Larry said, in the budget surplus numbers, and the plan that we've set out today is prudent course toward something like a flat tax. We're going to use those revenues to march closer toward a flat tax.

Now if revenues are falling short, then that's probably because we're heading into a recession. And John McCain said on the record today as well, that if we're in a recession, that across-the-board, Reagan-style tax cuts are the right recipe.

SHAW: Do you agree with that, Larry Lindsey?

LINDSEY: Absolutely. Governor Bush has made that point now for months, that we need to have some insurance just in case things don't work out. So if things go well, we're going to be fine; we're going to have more than enough money to take care of the tax plan and other national priorities. If things don't go well, Governor Bush has put an insurance policy on the table.

SHAW: Whose plan appeals most to the Republican base? Either of you can go first on that one.

LINDSEY: We're both economists and not political experts; you'll have to ask the pollsters that.

What Governor Bush...

SHAW: But these economic plans do not occur in a vacuum, we agree, right?

LINDSEY: Well, when Governor Bush asked the group that I led to come up with it, he said, I want you to tell me what the right thing it do for the economy is. And that's what we did. We looked at the most egregious problems with the tax code -- high marginal tax rates on single moms working, earning $25,000, or high tax rates on entrepreneurs, or the marriage penalty, and those are the kinds of changes we made to the tax code. We think that's the way to go.

HASSETT: Bernie, you know, we agreed that the Bush plan has some good aspects to it, but we think we have a better plan. And you know, Republicans have been trying to get something like a flat tax or a consumption-based tax, a fundamental tax reform, through Congress for a decade, and we're further now than we've ever been from that objective. What Senator McCain did today is he set that objective as our goal, and he described the process that will take us there. We'll give a supply-side tax cut to the middle class now. And when revenues increase because of the supply-side effects, we'll march closer to a flat tax.

SHAW: Kevin Hassett...

LINDSEY: I have to take exception to the supply-side tax cut.

SHAW: We've run out of time.

LINDSEY: Only one taxpayer in seven gets a marginal tax cut.

SHAW: I'm sorry, Larry. We've run out of time for exceptions.

OK, Larry Lindsey, Kevin Hassett, thanks for showing us some of the underpinning of your guy's proposals.

HASSETT: Pleasure to be here.

LINDSEY: Thank you, Bernie.

SHAW: Pleasure to have you, too.

Up next on INSIDE POLITICS: a new bone of contention in that Democratic race; Bill Bradley tries to turn the tables on Al Gore by hearkening back to his past votes in the Senate. We'll have an update on both Democratic hopefuls on the trail, in Iowa.


SHAW: Bill Bradley opened a new front against Al Gore today in their ongoing battle over health care. Bradley accused the vice president of flip-flopping in Senate votes on smoking and tobacco. Gore in turn said Bradley sounds as though he's getting desperate. Both candidates are stopping in Iowa today.

CNN's Jonathan Karl is covering the Bradley campaign. He joins us from Des Moines.

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bernie, Bradley's assault on Al Gore's record on tobacco came just about a half hour ago here at Wallace Elementary School in Des Moines. First, Bradley started out by talking to students about the dangers of cigarette smoking and about the health anti-tobacco provisions of his health care plan, including $1 billion that he wants to spend for the Centers for Disease Control on anti-tobacco programs.

Speaking with reporters afterwards, Bradley took on Al Gore.


BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That if you believe something over time and you feel deeply about it, then you have to be consistent over time. And I've been consistent over time with regard to tobacco. And I think this illustrates that he hasn't. I mean, there are a number of things, not only that vote, but the whole question about addiction on the label, the whole question about what he said here in Iowa in 1988, and then the next day, going into North Carolina and saying something else.


KARL: The Bradley campaign distributed a press release, citing what they called three examples of pro-tobacco positions taken by Al Gore. The first was a Senate vote back in 1985 on an amendment that would have raised tobacco taxes to pay for Medicare. The second was a letter that Gore wrote to a newspaper back in 1988, where he said he opposed a ban on tobacco advertising. The third was a newspaper quote for "The Raleigh News Observer," again, back in 1988, where Gore said that he was in favor of aid to tobacco farmers. Now these are all more than a decade ago. But Bradley also questioned Gore's commitment to anti-tobacco programs here today.


BRADLEY: My point was to emphasize my commitment to fight against big tobacco, to emphasize my record to call attention to something that has been ignored in the campaign so far, which is the health care plans thrust in being anti-tobacco. The health care plan that he has announced has nothing in it in terms of being anti- tobacco. I do.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KARL: Now, on the stump out here in Iowa, Bradley has consistently criticized Al Gore for going negative, saying that politics should not be about negative, it should be about positive, about what you want people to vote for you for -- the reasons positively, not the reasons negatively. He denied today that he was going negative.


BRADLEY: ... some time this was going to become comparative. And I said throughout the campaign that I was going to be positive. I still am going to be positive. I'm still going to try to give people something to vote for.

But I think that it's absurd to get into the question of saying that anything anybody ever did, anything, any position anybody ever took is somehow or another off-limits.


KARL: Now I asked Bradley's senior advisers why tobacco, why today, why here in Iowa. And what they said is they want to show a part of a pattern on the part of Al Gore, a pattern of what they consider untrustworthiness, where he has changed his position. They cite the situation with the so-called "litmus test" on the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff regarding the position on gays in the military. They also cite Gore's record on public financing for abortion. He has been opposed to it in the past; now, he's in favor of it.

They say, you add all this together and it raises a question about whether or not you can trust Gore's commitment to the issues. They say you can't. They say Bradley is the guy you can trust -- Bernie. 0

SHAW: Jonathan Karl with one side of the story from the Hawkeye state this day.

Now to Al Gore's day in Iowa. As CNN's Patty Davis reports, Gore defended himself on that tobacco issue while trying to undermine Bradley's position on protecting Medicare.


PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While the polls show he is leading his Democratic opponent, Bill Bradley, in Iowa, Vice President Al Gore is not taking for granted one of Iowa's largest voting blocs: seniors.

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's time to give seniors some help in buying prescription drugs as part of the Medicare program.

DAVIS: Speaking to 250 seniors in Davenport, Iowa, Gore took his own informal poll on who had the most grandkids.

GORE: How many?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have 13 great great great ones.

DAVIS: Gore used the event to step his attacks on Bradley's health care proposals.

On prescription drugs...

GORE: Under Senator Bradley's proposal, you would have to pay $800 out of your own pockets before you would get a penny of any help. I don't think that's a good bargain.

DAVIS: On Medicare...

GORE: And if he's wrong on not putting enough money into Medicare today, than maybe he'd be wrong in guiding our economic policy. We might make the kind of mistakes that have been made in the past.

DAVIS: On drug prices, he chastised Bradley for backing a measure to extend drug company patents for costly brand-name drugs. But Gore also found himself responding to attacks from Bradley on the issue of tobacco.

Bradley is accusing Gore of voting against higher tobacco taxes in the Senate in 1985 and opposing a ban on tobacco advertising. Gore said Bradley's charges smacked of -- quote -- "desperate negative campaigning" and he accused Bradley of voting against higher cigarette taxes in 1982 among other votes favorable to the tobacco industry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's unfortunate that the candidate who holds himself out to be the philosopher king has resorted to this type of negative politics, particularly after months and months of saying that he wasn't going to engage in these types of negative personal attacks.


DAVIS: With the Iowa caucus just under two weeks away, both candidates are taking the gloves off. Both candidates plan to spend a lot more time here in the state of Iowa touting their own plans and also sparring with one another -- Bernie.

SHAW: Patty Davis in Iowa, thank you.

And still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, the latest on the split over where to hold the Reform Party's convention. And a split that hits would-be presidential candidate Donald Trump closer to home.


SHAW: A new round has erupted in the Reform Party's fight over where to hold its national convention. Chairman Jack Gargan said yesterday he was changing the site to Saint Paul, Minnesota from Long Beach, California. But Vice Chairman Gerry Moan says he will hold a third vote on the site within a couple of weeks. This dispute is another example of a bitter fight between the faction headed by Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura and that of party founder Ross Perot, who favors the Long Beach site.

Reform Party presidential candidate Pat Buchanan also weighed in on the issue.


PAT BUCHANAN (REF), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In fairness, we probably ought to have the convention somewhere outside the city that is dominated by one of the principal figures in the Reform Party race.


SHAW: There is also disagreement on just when the Reform Party will hold its convention. Gargan says he would like it moved up from the original date of August 10th through the 13th.

Would-be Reform Party presidential candidate Donald Trump apparently has taken his latest girlfriend out of the running to be first lady. Trump associates say the real estate tycoon has split with model Melania Knauss. Trump reportedly decided a presidential campaign and his businesses would not leave much time for a relationship. That may have come as news to Knauss, who appears in an upcoming magazine spread in a bikini lying on a rug bearing the presidential seal.

And there's much more ahead here on INSIDE POLITICS. Up next...


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is not about locking lands up. It is about freeing them up.


SHAW: President Clinton moves to protect areas around the Grand Canyon and to convince some Republicans he's not trying to step on their toes.

Plus, who is running and who is not running attack ads these days, and why?


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that's wrong. And by the way, it's a lousy picture too. I wish they'd fix that.


SHAW: And later, political takes on the statements of Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile. We'll talk to Bob Novak and Mark Shields of "CROSSFIRE."


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

Is America prepared for biological and chemical terrorism? Not yet, according to "The Journal of the American Medical Association."

As CNN medical correspondent Dr. Steve Salvatore explains, your local hospital probably doesn't have a plan.


DR. STEVE SALVATORE, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The 20th century ended with a heightened concern about terrorism. Bombs are usually thought to be the terrorist weapon of choice. But now more than ever the perceived threat of a chemical or biological attack against civilian populations is high.

The question is: Are we ready?

DR. JOSEPH BARBERA, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: I think there's a general consensus among emergency planners and among the health-care community in the United States that our health-care preparedness for catastrophic chemical terrorism is not where we want it to be.

SALVATORE: Experts say biological and chemical attacks shift a large part of the burden away from police and firemen toward hospitals and health-care workers. According to an article in this week's "Journal Of The American Medical Association," hospitals need new disaster plans.

"Today, about 25 percent of hospitals are at some stage of readiness for a chemical or a biological incident, and most of those are in major population centers where such attacks are most likely to occur," that's according to a statement from The American Hospital Association. One facility that is ready is New York's Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Neal Flomenbaum heads up the emergency department.

DR. NEAL FLOMENBAUM, N.Y. PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL: We had to consider our proximity to areas that might likely be involved. The logistics of decontaminating large numbers of patients, the likelihood that after a period of time the ground floor of the hospital could be contaminated.

SALVATORE: And large quantities of antidotes and antibiotics are being stockpiled in case of a bioterrorism attack.

(on camera): Experts say there is no guarantee of protection against a biological or chemical attack. When you live in a free society such as ours, it's a risk that we all take. However, they say that doesn't mean we shouldn't be well prepared.

Dr. Steve Salvatore, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SHAW: United States immigration officials are deciding their next move in the case of 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez. The INS had ordered Elian returned to his father in Cuba by this Friday. But yesterday, a state family court ruled Elian should remain in the United States until a custody hearing in March.

Jesse Jackson says he will appeal the latest ruling regarding six African-American students in Decatur, Illinois. A federal judge today upheld their expulsions for fighting at a high school football game. The judge said there was no evidence white students were disciplined any differently.

A new report finds half the ropes used to stabilize Texas A&M University's bonfire were removed hours before the logs collapsed. Twelve students were killed in that November accident. A school adviser says cutting some of the ropes is standard practice.

INSIDE POLITICS will return in a moment.


SHAW: President Clinton traveled to one of this nation's natural wonders today to extend national monument status to lands around the Grand Canyon. Republican critics are charging the president is ignoring local concerns.

Our CNN White House correspondent Chris Black was with the presidential party.


CHRIS BLACK, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There is nothing in America exactly like it.

CLINTON: We know as President Roosevelt said we cannot improve upon this landscape. So the only thing we can add to it is our protection. President Roosevelt challenged us to live up to that ideal.

BLACK: Ninety-two years to the day after President Theodore Roosevelt made the Grand Canyon a national monument, President Clinton doubled the protected area around it with a new monument designation for the canyon's vast north rim watershed. Arizona Republicans, reflecting the leave-our-land-alone sentiment so prevalent in the West, stayed away and accused the president of acting autocratic.

MCCAIN: Now this administration with an Arizonan as secretary of the interior has just by fiat without consulting anyone. Not a single person who lives in Arizona was consulted on this decision.

BLACK: Administration officials say the Interior Department held more than five dozen meetings, including two large public meetings with Arizona residents and groups on this land. The Grand Canyon Sierra Club is running ads in Phoenix this week criticizing Senator John McCain for opposing the designations.


UNIDENTIFIED NARRATOR: Why is he attacking the president's plans to protect our national forests and to create the Grand Canyon- Parashant National Monument?


BLACK: The designation sharply restricts economic activity, including mining and logging, protecting untouched stands of Ponderosa pine in this remote stretch of federal land. Secretary Babbitt, a member of an Arizona pioneer family, says the president is finishing the job begun by three other presidents: Teddy Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover and Lyndon Johnson.

BRUCE BABBITT, INTERIOR SECRETARY: After a full century of looking at the totality of this landscape, our president, President Clinton, has written a full final chapter to the protection of this canyon.

BLACK: The Antiquities Act is almost 100 years old, and during the 20th century, every president except for three -- presidents Nixon, Reagan and Bush -- have created national monuments. No president has ever been reversed. Mr. Clinton first used the act in 1996 to protect two million acres in Utah.

(on camera): This is the most recent example of President Clinton using his executive authority to bypass a hostile Congress and achieve his policy goals, and White House officials say it won't be the last.

Chris Black, CNN, Grand Canyon.


SHAW: First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton said today she will formally announce her Senate candidacy early next month. Campaigning in Rochester, Mrs. Clinton told reporters she hopes to have the president and daughter, Chelsea, at her side for the announcement.

A new Marist College Poll shows Mrs. Clinton's favorable rating among New York voters has fallen below 50 percent for the first time since she began considering the race. Mrs. Clinton was at 52 percent last month and her high was 68 percent last February, near the time of the impeachment vote. Sixty-one percent had a favorable opinion of New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Mrs. Clinton's likely opponent, and the poll shows Giuliani leading the first lady by 9 points, the same as last month.

Staying in New York, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush reportedly is trying to knock his chief rival, Senator John McCain, off the ballot in the state's Republican primary. "The New York Times" is reporting that the Bush campaign yesterday took the first step in a possible challenge by filing general objections to the nominating petitions filed by McCain. These petitions would get McCain on the ballot in 25 of the state's 31 congressional districts. It is a common practice for front-runners in New York to try to get petitions of underdogs disqualified.

And when INSIDE POLITICS returns...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is something you need to know about George W. Bush.


SHAW: Campaign attack ads -- a look at why so far there have been very few in this race for the White House.


SHAW: You know, when campaigns heat up, the candidates often resort to that old standby, the attack ad. But unlike recent elections, that may not be the case for campaign 2000.


MCCAIN: I'd like to shake hands right now; we will not run negative ads.

SHAW (voice-over): With that, George Bush and John McCain pledged not to run negative ads, but they're not giving up much.

ED GILLESPIE, GOP CONSULTANT: The mood is not there. The ground is not fertile for negative attack ads.

SHAW: In the 2000 campaign, attack ads have been remarkably scarce, in sharp contrast to the last three GOP nominating contests.


UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: George Bush says he won't raise taxes period. Bob Dole straddled, and he just won't promise not to raise taxes. And you know what that means.





UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Bush promised to cut spending, but our national debt has gone up $1.1 trillion.



UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Since 1982, Bob Dole has voted for 16 tax increases, raising income taxes, taxes on phones, gas, even Social Security.


SHAW: So far in 2000, there has been just one attack ad, from Steve Forbes.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's something you need to know about George W. Bush: In 1994, he signed a pledge with my organization that he would not support sales tax or business tax increases. In 1997, unfortunately, he broke this pledge.


SHAW: Forbes pointedly rejected the negative ad pledge in Monday's debate, saying principled candidates will tell the truth, even if the truth is negative. Forbes attack ads pulled Bob Dole's poll numbers down in '96, but they did little to help Forbes. There is even less reason to think negative ads will work now.

GILLESPIE: When the economy is going strong, when there is general contentment with the way the direction of the country, when they feel like there is no reason to throw the bums out, attack ads don't resonate as strongly.

SHAW: On the Democratic side, Al Gore has gone even further than McCain, asking rival Bill Bradley to agree to a ban on all ads, an offer Bradley refused. But like the Republicans, Gore and Bradley have so far refrained from overt attacks in their TV spots. Of course, with two weeks to the Iowa caucuses, there's still plenty of time for the candidates to go negative. And if the race turns into a long war of attrition, all bets are off.


SHAW: While there has yet to be a rush by the candidates to use attack ads, that is not the case with independent expenditure ads. Most of the ones used so far in the campaign have been negative, and most of those have been showing up in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Joining us now from New York, David Peeler of Competitive Media Reporting.

First, David, first of all, of these ads, which group has spent the most so far, and who are the targets?

DAVID PEELER, COMPETITIVE MEDIA REPORTING: Well, Bernie, the leading spender so far is the Republican Leadership Council. They've spent about 2/3 thirds of $65,000 targeting Al Gore and Bill Bradley. The remaining 1/3 the Council has spent against warning Steve Forbes about running negative ads.

Let's take a look at it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, RLC AD) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now I hear he's starting with the same negative ads again. That's just going to help the Democrats. Someone needs to tell Mr. Forbes, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.


SHAW: David, of the ads running now, which one has specifically targeted McCain?

PEELER: Well, the Americans for Tax Relief have spent about $35,000 really taking John McCain to task for his position on campaign finance reform. And we have an example of that ad also.


UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: McCain's bill would leave labor unions, trial lawyers and proabortion groups free to attack Republicans, just like they for Bill Clinton. So call John McCain and tell him to leave the Republican Party alone.


SHAW: Now what can you tell us about the two groups whose ads, for the most part, are attacking the Republican front-runner?

PEELER: Well, the Sierra Club is spending $25,000 in the state of New Hampshire, taking to task George W. for his position on the environment. And the National Abortion Rights Action League has spent between $30,000 in both the state of Iowa and New Hampshire. So both of those groups are using attack campaign tactics.

SHAW: The Americans for Quality Nursing Home Care also has an ad out, What's it about?

PEELER: Well, here's the one we looked at, Bernie, that was finally positive. It's the only ad out there that we see for Orrin Hatch. It supports position on Medicare and nursing home care. Interesting about this campaign, is this group has spent a tremendous amount money over the past couple of months supporting other House members in their local districts and states. In this case, they're supporting Orrin Hatch in the state of Iowa and New Hampshire. It's the only media spending that we see in support of Orrin Hatch at this time.


UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Call Senator Hatch, tell him that his vote to restore Medicare and continue quality nursing home care made a difference. He kept the promise.


SHAW: OK, David Peeler, on the independent expenditure ads, thanks very much.

PEELER: Thank you, Bernie.

SHAW: Quite welcome.

Now we're going to return to a story that appeared yesterday here on INSIDE POLITICS concerning Bill Bradley and his agriculture plan. Our report suggests that Bradley had offered few specific details on his plan and had not set a price tag for it. Well in fact, while the senator has generally declined to discuss the specifics of the plan with reporters on the trail, his campaign did release a detailed description of the plan last October. Its price tag: $1.32 billion. And that's for the first year.

Still to come on INSIDE POLITICS: John McCain and George W. Bush -- we'll be talking about the Republican race with Mark Shields and Bob Novak.


SHAW: Joining me now with their perspectives on this day's political news, Bob Novak of "The Chicago Sun-Times" and syndicated columnist Mark Shields.

John McCain of Arizona, another man with a tax plan. Mark?

MARK SHIELDS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Bernie, I hate to change the subject, get off the Federal Communications Commission, and what John McCain is betting is that Bob aside that there is less of a compulsion on the part of Republican primary voters this year for a tax cut, especially a tax cut of the magnitude that George W. Bush has proposed.

He hearkens back does McCain -- and it will be interesting to see if it catches on -- to an earlier era when conservative meant fiscally responsible. I mean, we spent $283 billion this year on interest on the national debt. Interest! More than we spent on education, on natural resources, on national parks, on the environment, on space, on veterans, anything: $283 billion in payments on the national debt. John McCain wants to pay it down. He's betting that's going to have some appeal.

SHAW: Appeal?

ROBERT NOVAK, "THE CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": Bernie, I'm afraid that the senator has spent too much time on the back of the bus talking to liberals like Mark Shields...


... because the fact of the matter is that his rhetoric about the class welfare, about 60 percent of George W. Bush's tax cut going to 10 percent of the electorate is the class warfare sort of thing that the Democrats have been planning.

You know, there were several people in the McCain campaign who told me, well, he said that once, he's not going to say it again. One thing you can't do, you can't control Senator John McCain. That's one of his most attractive qualities, and they couldn't stop him from saying that.

He said it again last night in Michigan. He said it in the interviews afterwards. And in Michigan, they said, isn't that class warfare? He said, no. He said, what class warfare is the gap between the rich and the poor.

I'm telling you, that is not Republican rhetoric. It is fine for a Democratic primary. It doesn't work in the Republican. I think it hurts him badly.

SHAW: Now, Mark is saying that he thinks it's going -- you think it's going to play.

SHIELDS: I think he's obviously rolling the dice. He was not going to get into a bidding war on who was going to have the bigger tax cut with either Steve Forbes or with George W. Bush. And I have to say this: He's got with it, Bernie, 50 -- 50 -- closing over 50 different loopholes, oil and gas and all the rest of it.

But I think that the most interesting comment was made to E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post, the columnist, a report on Ray LaHood. There isn't a more experienced Republican in the House than Ray LaHood.

And he said, I don't know why George Bush, whom he's backing, has come back with this big tax cut, because you have -- he said, you have to do it to win the party's nomination or to raise money.

NOVAK: But Ray LaHood hates tax cuts. Ray's a very nice guy, very competent guy, but he hates tax cuts. And he's not in step with his own problem.

See, the problem is not just that it's a lesser of a tax plan. It's that it's got all these loophole closes, which are tax increases. I'm telling you, he's taking more money out of people to pay for them.

And the other problem is that this is the kind of rhetoric that was used against Ronald Reagan by the Democrats.

Now, one other thing is -- and the other thing is that this has split the McCain people. They are very badly divided, and I know because I talked to them.

SHAW: Changing subjects: Steve Forbes, attack ad -- Governor Bush. Subject: abortion.

SHIELDS: It's a powerful ad. It really is. I think it's a powerful spot.

I think that Steve Forbes is obviously turning up the heat. The question has always been when he was going to start drawing differences and making contrasts. And he has started doing it with emphasis.

NOVAK: The question that I don't understand about Governor Bush in the debate last night is he says, no, no, no litmus test for a vice presidential candidate. I can understand him saying that. But when he said he wouldn't come out flatly in support of the anti-abortion plank in the platform, you can't -- you just try to change that and you're going to have trouble.

You remember what happened to Bob Dole at San Diego?


SHAW: We'll be at the convention all night.

NOVAK: And I think even again some of his supporters are amazed why he wouldn't say, OK, we just keep the same old anti-abortion plank.

SHIELDS: Bernie, just one thing on Bob's point about Steve Forbes, and that is the Forbes 400. In order to get into the Forbes 400, the 400 richest people, you needed $235 million more in 1999 than you did in 1992. You had to get $58 billion to be No. 1. It was 2 billion in 1992.

The point is that the rich have done very well. They've already had their tax dividend, and Bob should know that.

NOVAK: Well, see, that's -- that is not Republican rhetoric, though. That is the left-wing glock that you've been putting out for years, Mark.

SHAW: To the other side of the aisle, Vice President Al Gore's campaign manager, Donna Brazile. I've been talking to some people in the campaign, and they feel that she is a disaster. It was a mistake to name her. It was not the right person for a supposedly centrist Democrat who, if he's nominated, has to run from the middle of the road. It's too late to fire her. She's an African-American woman; you can't fire her.

What I am hearing from Gore supporters is tell her to shut up. No interviews.

SHIELDS: Bernie, you don't call Colin Powell, the most respected American -- blacks, whites, Southern, Christian conservatives, you name it, the most respected American -- you don't call him an Uncle Tom. And then the vice president picks up the phone and calls on the phone and says, I didn't apologize. Well, why did he call him? Did he call him to talk about, you know, pro football, the Super Bowl?

Donna Brazile just ought to -- no more press interviews at all.

NOVAK: Shut up.

SHIELDS: That's it.

SHAW: Mark Shields, Bob Novak, sorry to shut you up.


But we've run out of time. SHIELDS: Great segue, Bernie.

SHAW: Yes. Well, that's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. We'll see you again tomorrow when our Jennifer Auther will be reporting from Arizona, where Barbara Bush will be on the trail for guess who. And you can go online all the time at CNN's

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


Enter keyword(s)   go    help

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