South Carolina Primary: Bush Wins Decisively; McCain Promises Fight in Michigan, ArizonaAired February 19, 2000 - 7:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN's coverage of the South Carolina Republican primary, with anchors Bernard Shaw, Judy Woodruff and Jeff Greenfield.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us.
The polls have just closed in the state of South Carolina in its Republican primary, and CNN is prepared to declare a winner. He is Texas Governor George W. Bush. The candidate who was trounced by John McCain in New Hampshire has been resurrected in the Palmetto State.
And, Bernie, the McCain campaign is already saying it's due to a lot of negative advertising.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: That's not surprising, Judy, Jeff. Indeed, Bush had the win; McCain wanted to win. McCain needed a record turnout of independent and Democratic voters. They had a sizable turnout, but it was not enough for John McCain.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: And for the fourth straight time in a contested Republican primary, the front-runner was bloodied in an early primary, and South Carolina came to the rescue and resurrected, as you say, the front-runner. It is true Rick Davis, who is a high-ranking official to the McCain campaign, is already on record, saying were it not for the mass of negative campaigning and the religious community, we would have carried the state.
But the fact is Bush is headed for a sizable victory. That sound you hear is not the giant sucking sound of Ross Perot, but the massive sigh of relief from all those senators, and congressmen, and governors and contributors that anointed Bush, saw him beaten in New Hampshire, and they're now thinking, OK, maybe he's on his feet.
WOODRUFF: Republicans all over the country, who lined up with George W. Bush early on, thinking he was the obvious, strongest candidate for the Republicans, but clearly had some second thoughts after New Hampshire.
SHAW: And as is our wont we, know tend to move on. The road show moves on to the next state. We know about Michigan, and we know about the other state, which the primary is going to be, but let's concentrate on South Carolina.
SHAW: Are politics different now, especially in the Republican Party, given what's happened there?
GREENFIELD: I think what you can say is in some ways, they are the same; that is, people are arguing that South Carolina had changed, that the South Carolina of 1980, and '88 and '96 had been supplanted, new high-tech people, a younger generation of politicians, like Lindsey Graham and Mark Sanford in the Congress, backing the challenger John McCain, and what appears to have happened is while there was a big turnout of independents and Democrats, there was also a big turnout of Republicans, who appear to have overwhelmingly supported George W. Bush.
SHAW: As we indicated, Texas Governor Bush has something to crow about.
Let's go to Bush headquarters in Columbia, South Carolina -- Candy Crowley.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Bernie, Governor Bush joked the other day that should he win in South Carolina, he was going to nickname his plane "rebound." How did he do it? Basically, Bush took the lessons he learned in New Hampshire and applied them in South Carolina.
CROWLEY (voice-over): If South Carolina was to be a firewall, George Bush needed to light the match.
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And if you're looking for somebody who can bring a fresh start to America after a season of cynicism, someone with a record of reform, with positive results, from outside Washington D.C., you've got a home in this campaign.
CROWLEY: With new banners on the wall and his Texas record in hand, Bush reached out to independent voters, polishing up his own image as a reformer, even as he questioned McCain's credentials.
BUSH: He said he wouldn't take political action committee money. Then he's taken over $300,000 of political action committee money.
CROWLEY: A more aggressive ground war combined with aerial assaults Bush saw as defensive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, BUSH CAMPAIGN AD)
NARRATOR: John McCain's ad about Governor Bush's tax plan isn't true, and McCain knows it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Beyond the message, there was a new method?
BUSH: Yes, ma'am?
CROWLEY: The Q&A sessions were longer, the speeches were shorter, the podium came down and he gave it some juice.
BUSH: And if you're going, make sure you take some friends, and relatives and neighbors with you.
CROWLEY: In the final hours, Bush turned homeward to his voting base, conservative, traditional Republicans. If enough of them turn out, he thinks he can win. He warned them that Democrats might cast mischief votes in the open primary, and he hit their most favorite target.
BUSH: Here in South Carolina, we can begin the end of the Clinton era in Washington D.C.
CROWLEY: As Bush worked the South Carolina crowds, his organization was working the phones and mailboxes. Hundreds of thousands of calls and over a million leaflets wept out to likely GOP voters.
CROWLEY: There will be no change of strategy between now and the Michigan and Arizona primaries. With only three days to go, Bush will Michigan like any candidate in the final days of a contest: He will be trying to rally the vote.
I imagine, John King, with the McCain campaign in North Charleston, that's pretty much how John McCain will act in Michigan.
JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Candy, publicly the McCain campaign blaming that negative Bush advertising onslaught for the defeat here tonight, but privately, behind the scenes, McCain headquarters, they are second-guessing much of their strategy here in South Carolina. Exit polls show South Carolina Republicans viewed George Bush as the reformer in this race. McCain aides say they definitely need to get back to their basic message there.
Also, they are severely disappointed about the reaction to running that negative ad, comparing George Bush to President Clinton. They think that was a mistake, because voters here then viewed John McCain as just another politician. Now that they've lost their way, McCain aides say, they've also lost their momentum.
KING (voice-over): New Hampshire's landslide winner was determined to avoid a South Carolina stall. To the very end, veterans were the anchor of the McCain strategy here.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So I'm relying on you, my old comrades, our men and women, to go out there and get this vote out today. We need it. And again, I will never be able to thank you enough.
KING: The Arizona senator entered the stretch in South Carolina hoping his stunning margin in New Hampshire would offset George W. Bush's advantages here. Christian conservative forces were largely in the Bush camp. And while Democrats and independents are allowed to vote in the GOP contest here, there is far less tradition of such crossover voting than in New Hampshire or Michigan, one of next Tuesday's battlegrounds. Not that McCain didn't try.
MCCAIN: I want independents. I want Democrats. I want libertarians. I want vegetarians. I want everybody to vote for me for tomorrow.
KING: McCain knew what it would mean to win a state Bush led not long ago by more than 20 points.
MCCAIN: Once we win, they're never going to be able to stop us. They're never ever going to be able to stop this campaign.
KING: But as late polls suggested the state was breaking Bush's way, the senator at times seemed fatalistic, talking about how he would like to be remembered.
MCCAIN: John McCain ran an honorable campaign, and one that we're always proud of, and our message has already taken hold in the Republican Party and America.
KING: Enough money flowed in after New Hampshire to keep McCain going for a while, regardless of South Carolina's results. He's heavily favored to win at home in Arizona, so Michigan is the key battleground three days from now. Virginia, Washington State and North Dakota on February 29 then offer a chance for momentum, heading into the decisive March 7 showdowns in California and a dozen other states.
KING: Urgency in the McCain campaign tonight. Put simply, a senior campaign official told us a short time ago, we had to win New Hampshire, Bush had to win South Carolina, now we must, must, must, win Michigan or we're out of the race.
Back to you at the anchor desk.
SHAW: OK, John King, Candy Crowley, please stand by. We're going to bring in Bill Schneider now.
You've been looking at the exit polls. The governor of Texas has won by a substantial margin. How did he do it?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Bernie, the empire has struck back. McCain says he wants to change the Republican Party, because in his words, the party lost its way. Well, the response from Republican voters today in South Carolina, to Hell with that. Two-thirds of the Republican voters in today's primary voted for George W. Bush. McCain was relying on independents and Democrats to come into today's primary and save him. Well, independents and Democrats did vote heavily for John McCain. While the proportion of independents and Democrats was a little bit higher than in the past, Republicans still made up over 60 percent of the voters today. It's their primary, and it's still their party.
Bush can thank one group in particular for today's victory. He may want to say tonight God bless the religious right. They voted nearly 3-1 for George Bush over John McCain. Ralph Reed, the former executive director of the Christian Coalition delivered for Bush. Gary Bauer, who endorsed John McCain, did not.
Now, let's take a look at today's primary voters who were not members of the religious right. McCain carried them narrowly. If it had not been for the religious right, Bernie, we would have a very different story to report tonight and perhaps a very different future for the Republican Party.
SHAW: The Christian Coalition, even though Reed is not at the helm anymore, they sent out more than a quarter-million notices to people, urging them to get out the vote, with their voter guides.
SCHNEIDER: That's right. The view was that high turnout would help John McCain, but apparently there was also a very high turnout of religious right voters, conservatives and hardcore Republicans for George W. Bush.
GREENFIELD: And what's interesting is in talking to some of the senior officials in the Bush campaign today, they were at pains to say that George Bush united the economic and social conservatives. I think as they head into Michigan, to places like California and New York, if they have to go there, they certainly don't want Governor Bush to be seen as the candidate of the religious right, because it's a much less potent force in those states.
WOODRUFF: But it's going to be difficult, because there were statements that Governor Bush made, not only about abortion, but about other issues that matter to the religious right. They are going to have to think about how they get the governor back to the center.
SCHNEIDER: Yes, and there is a lot of time to do that, because remember, the election is not until November. If he can consolidate the nomination quickly, I think we're going to see George W. Bush starting to move to the center, where he's most comfortable as a compassionate conservative.
SHAW: John King, in the McCain camp, they have to assess what's happening to them tonight in South Carolina. They won a biggie, they set the Republican establishment on its heels by winning New Hampshire. They lose tonight in South Carolina. They won one, they lost one, and as you pointed out, they made some mistakes. Is their attitude, we're going out of here going into Michigan and to Arizona, we're still in play, this thing is not over?
KING: Well certainly, the senator is expected to win his home state of Arizona. They now view Michigan as critical. As they go into Michigan though, just two full days to campaign. Polls there showing McCain slightly ahead or essentially a dead heat, but they expect Governor Bush will get a bounce out of his South Carolina win. Senator McCain could be constrained, however, by his promise here not to go negative. They believe that Governor Bush's visit to Bob Jones University here, for example, would hurt him among Catholic voters in Michigan, because of the chancellor of the university's very critical comments about the pope. However, Senator McCain promised not to go negative.
So as they go into Michigan now, a much smaller percentage of cultural conservative. They believe the demographics favor them. But time is running short, and they promised not to go negative.
WOODRUFF: Candy, what about in the Bush campaign, are they worried that events, like the campaigning appearance at Bob Jones University, statements the governor made in South Carolina, may hurt them in Michigan?
CROWLEY: Not that they've said openly, Judy, and I have not heard them say it privately either. They believe that the governor who was questioned about this throughout this past 10 days, has adequately answered the questions. He's been on record as saying, look, I -- you know, I don't favor a policy that doesn't permit interracial dating. He's come out on all of the issues that you are talking about. You know, probably it is more problematic for them in the general race where they expect it will come up. I don't think that that's what they're looking at in Michigan.
Basically, what they think in Michigan is that the same thing they thought here was they need to get their Republican base out. As you know, they have a big boost there with Governor John Engler, who may also be a liability as well, only because there are so many Democrats that are ready to organize against Engler. So it will be an interesting race up there, but I'm not sure they believe that the Bob Jones University will figure prominently in it.
GREENFIELD: Candy and John, wrestle with this one, the Bush campaign was particularly pleased that at the exit polls more people saw Bush as a reformer than they did McCain. And the McCain strategists I spoke to said flat-out, we missed this, we never thought Bush could define himself as a reformer as against us. So, Candy, do you expect the governor to hit the reform theme hard in Michigan, and, John, what does the McCain camp do to combat it?
CROWLEY: The first answer is yes, I expect them to do exactly what they did here in South Carolina. They believe that in New Hampshire, because George Bush didn't hit back on certain things that Senator McCain said that he lost New Hampshire because John McCain came out as the reformer and the outsider. Bush has hit that very hard here. They feel it does have some pull with independents, they have been trying to shave off some of the independents that seemed like they were going to the McCain camp. So I expect to see the exact same template in Michigan.
GREENFIELD: John? KING: What they assumed here was that South Carolina Republicans had paid close attention to the New Hampshire primary. It turns out that was a mistake. A senior McCain campaign official saying all along they should have stressed the reformer image in their advertising as well as in their speeches.
They go back to basics now, look for the senator to emphasize campaign finance reform, his attacks on lobbyists, but again, he's constrained by his pledge not to go negative, because as Candy pointed out, Governor Bush came on with a reform message here.
One example cited in a Bush ad that made the McCain people furious, Governor Bush says that he had a patients' bill of rights in Texas. He first vetoed that law, then allowed it to become law without his signature, but he's taking credit for it now in his TV advertising. But, Senator McCain, if he points that out, might be seen as violating his pledge not to go negative in this campaign.
SHAW: Bill Schneider, embroider on that.
SCHNEIDER: Well, you remember something, John McCain was riding very heavily on media momentum coming out of New Hampshire. In fact, he didn't have the money, the resources of George W. Bush. He didn't have the organization, but he had a lot of momentum and a lot of coverage in the press. Some people -- Republicans would say, support from the press. Now he may have lost that.
Bush described the New Hampshire primary result as a bump in the road and it looks like it may have been just that. The question is where is McCain going to go without the momentum? In the state of South Carolina he had two important things going for him. One, he had a tremendous effort there.
The press gave Bush a pass on Delaware and on Iowa, because McCain didn't contest those states, but he certainly contested South Carolina, and South Carolina allowed Democrats and independents to vote in their primary. So the question is: you know, McCain had an effort, he had some advantages there, he didn't make it, he's lost the momentum.
GREENFIELD: It's very interesting that the two camps describe South Carolina in completely opposite ways, the Bush adviser I spoke to said, well, you know, this was a fine state for McCain, he had the momentum, the two young Congressman, a lot of veterans, he spent almost as much as we did. The McCain adviser I spoke to a few hours later said, you know, this was Bush's best state, we have much better ground to go to in Michigan and Arizona.
I think this is just another example of the old political rule that, you know, where you stand depends on where you sit. But to listen to the two of them describe the -- South Carolina, you'd think it was on different planets.
SHAW: Well, the governor of Michigan is licking his chops right now, John Engler, we're going to talk to him live. We're also going to have live reports from the state of Michigan, our correspondent there, Bruce Morton, as well as from Arizona. And we're going to hear from Texas Governor George Bush, as well of course, John McCain.
WOODRUFF: That's right, but coming up next, you are going to hear from the "CAPITAL GANG," and we'll be back after that.
WOODRUFF: Polls in the state of South Carolina closed a little more than 15 minutes ago. CNN has declared George W. Bush the winner by a substantial margin, a big comeback.
SHAW: Indeed. And standing by in Washington, Al Hunt and the "CAPITAL GANG."
AL HUNT, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": Welcome to the CAPITAL GANG. I'm Al Hunt with Kate O'Beirne here in Washington, and in South Carolina for the GOP primary today, Mark Shields and Robert Novak in Columbia, and Margaret Carlson in Charleston.
All right, Robert Novak, a big Bush victory. How did he do it?
ROBERT NOVAK, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": He did it by painting John McCain as something less than a Republican. You cannot, even in South Carolina where Democrats and independents can vote, win Republican primaries without Republican votes. And John McCain really never fought back. He never really gave evidence that he was a conservative Republican. This is a conservative party, as much as the Washington media would like to say, gee, they aren't, and John McCain I think blew this when he didn't have to. If he acted more like a Republican, he might have won it.
HUNT: Is it that simple, Mark?
MARK SHIELDS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Not that simple, Al. George Bush deserves credit for a very convincing victory. Let's establish that. John McCain faces an uphill battle in Michigan. But quite frankly, for a man who is running a national campaign, he ran a totally local campaign here. From Judd Gregg in New Hampshire he went to Ralph Reed down here and had a different face on this campaign and one that's going to dog him.
But I think what he did, in the final analysis, was to run a campaign that I'd call follow the follower, it was a Zelig-type campaign. He closed the gap by emulating John McCain. He convinced people he was the reformer, not McCain, he had town meetings, he became press accessible, he became the campaign finance reform guy. All things that looked like artifice, but worked quite frankly, and he convinced people that he was in fact a reformer who got results.
HUNT: Margaret, from the eastern part of South Carolina, does it look any different? Was it a Bush success or it was the McCain failure that marked today's primary?
MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Bob is right when he says that Bush painted John McCain as less than a Republican, but to do so he painted himself into a corner, where he is now a bedrock conservative Republican who could be president of South Carolina. That's hard to take with you to the other states, particularly to Michigan.
It's not going to work there among Reagan Democrats and moderate Republicans to be the Republican that George Bush was here, not a uniter, but a divider, and painting John McCain sometimes falsely, given his voting record, as not conservative enough when his record is quite conservative. And the mail drops that he did in South Carolina bordered on being totally false and libelous.
HUNT: Kate, we don't exactly have a consensus?
O'BEIRNE: I had a feeling. There was so much rooting going on for John McCain. I had a feeling that there would be a temptation to minimize George Bush's...
HUNT: Was there rooting on the Bush side, Kate?
O'BEIRNE: Well, no, it just seems to me we should first look at what he did. He wanted all age groups. I mean, despite McCain's specific appeal to young people, George Bush decisively carried younger voters, aged 18-29. He won decisively among women. And I think part of what -- it is a conservative electorate, of course, but he did win 42 percent of people who said I'd never voted in any GOP primary before. He also has some assets that I think people have undervalued as a governor with a record. He was given credit for being a stronger leader than John McCain. He was given credit by these voters for being more likely to be elected, and he was given credit by these voters as having better experience to be president, which again, is an asset governors enjoy that senators don't. And all of that combined I think could give him a really substantial victory.
HUNT: Well, it certainly an incredibly impressive victory. I would make a couple points. I think it was clear that the Bush advertising down there, the Bush marketing campaign, was quite successful. I saw in the exit polls, for instance, when they asked the question, is John McCain consistent as a reformer? A plurality said no. Now a lot of people don't like John McCain's reforms on campaign finance, which is what the question was, but he certainly has been consistent on it over the years.
The other point I would make is -- I think John King put his finger on it. McCain has a dilemma now, Mark. I mean, he is a guy who said he's not going to go negative. He's got a lot of ammunition going up to Michigan. I mean, those Macomb County voters would really despise and be threatened by some of the anti-Catholicism of the fundamentalists Bush supporters in South Carolina, but McCain is going to be hard-pressed to use that now, isn't he?
SHIELDS: Hey, Al, he's going to be hard pressed, I'll tell you this, he'll be hard-pressed, and he'll be dry cleaned if he doesn't. The reality is quite simple, with the Michael Dukakis not respond and lose, with Bill Bradley basically knocked out by the race by a defeat in New Hampshire when he failed to respond early enough. Now John McCain -- just one second, Bob. Now John McCain went the high road, he went the high road, and it was a lonely road, and there was not much traffic up there in South Carolina. NOVAK: Listen, the John McCain I heard in several town meetings in South Carolina, said I'm not going negative, but there was no question that he was very critical of Bush. I mean, the idea he was on the high road. He was very critical in that debate, but he looked like he was whining in the debate: Boy, you are attacking me. As good a campaigner as John McCain was in New Hampshire, he wasn't very good in South Carolina.
O'BEIRNE: I think one thing John McCain did effectively in South Carolina was, effectively, go negative by accusing the other guy of having gone negative. When he accused George Bush, who was pointing out that John McCain in the past has voted for public funding of campaigns, which in fact, is true, he called that "savagery." George Bush had made a savage attack on him by point out what was true about his voting record. So in his own way, he has very effectively -- quote -- gone negative, which I don't fault any of them for.
I also think that based on the vote today, more voters in South Carolina thought that John McCain had attacked George Bush unfairly than the opposite, than faulted George Bush, and I think that's that Clinton ad, when John McCain made the mistake of running an ad in the GOP primary accusing George Bush of being like Clinton. It was late when he then started saying he was going to be so positive.
SHIELDS: I'm sorry. The last week here, Kate, all it was George Bush's advertising saying that John McCain was negative. I mean, that was a message that was delivered not by McCain, quite frankly, but by Bush.
NOVAK: Let me...
HUNT: Bob, let me just Margaret Carlson in for a second.
Margaret, do you -- I think McCain did make a mistake with that Clinton ad, don't you?
CARLSON: It was a mistake because it went on McCain's own message. I mean, he stepped on who he was. The Bush people would have found another premise. They came out of Austin, they knew what they were going to do after New Hampshire. You know, if they hadn't had that, it would have been something else, and if you're going to carpetbomb with ads yourself claiming the other guy is negative, then people are going to think it was the other guy who is negative. It's just a battle of the negatives.
On the Michigan thing, I mean, the McCain people here are saying they will find a way to get the message to Catholics, everything but going to mass tomorrow morning. They're leaving early for Michigan; they could make early mass.
HUNT: Bob, I cut you off, and you know I hate to do that. You want to...
NOVAK: Let me just say one thing.
O'BEIRNE: Oh, just let him finish, Al. NOVAK: I sat next to mark in Iowa...
SHIELDS: And you enjoyed it.
NOVAK: Well, I always like to sit next to you. But I said that Senator McCain had made a huge mistake in his tax policy, which was just out, in not wanting to cut across the board on rates and having tax increases, and everybody said, look at the polls, people don't want tax increases. Let me tell you this...
SHIELDS: Tax cuts.
NOVAK: Tax cuts. People don't want tax cuts. Let me tell you this, the Republican candidate who is not for tax cuts is always going to suffer in Republican primaries, and in Republican primaries, mostly Republicans vote. That's a rule of law and something I think you should know by now.
HUNT: Bob, let me confuse you with some facts here. The exit polls show that of all the voters in South Carolina today, only 14 percent thought the tax cut was the most important issue. In fact, moral values was what really drove the Bush victory down there today and the religious right. One-third of those voters today in South Carolina were members of the religious right. That will not be the case in the state of Michigan.
SHIELDS: Al, a capital gains tax is pornographic. That's Bob Novak's definition.
NOVAK: Capital gains tax, not a tax cut.
HUNT: I just want to look ahead for a second. We only have a couple of minutes left. I was in Michigan before the South Carolina primary, and I thought if McCain had won in South Carolina, it would have been a tidal wave in Michigan. The question now, is this defeat devastating enough that's it's going to end any momentum McCain had in Michigan -- mark?
SHIELDS: Well, I think that, Al, it's absolutely an uphill fight for John McCain and a scramble for him to make Michigan right now, and if he doesn't, then I think it takes a lot of the wind out of the sails, and it makes it tougher to go on.
NOVAK: McCain still has to find a way to get Republican voters, and he's not going to find a way in Michigan. I'm not talking about McComb County Democrats, I'm talking about suburban Republicans, he's not going to find a way to get them, and rural Republicans in two days.
HUNT: Margaret, quickly, what do you think?
CARLSON: It's going to be much harder not coming out of South Carolina with a bounce. But McCain has one thing going for him. He can be who he is in Michigan, whereas George Bush is going find yet a third persona to go to after having painted himself acceptable to the Christian coalition here. HUNT: OK -- Kate.?
O'BEIRNE: I think a significant win by George Bush in South Carolina will probably evaporate the lead that John McCain enjoys in Michigan, and I think when George Bush gets to Michigan, he's going to find a lot of conservative voters. There are different kinds of conservatives. There will be Catholic conservatives who all voted for Governor John Engler, but I think the conservative message, the reformer message that clearly won across age groups and carried women's vote in South Carolina gives him something to work with in Michigan now.
HUNT: I think Michigan is much more of a real slice of life than South Carolina. I think this is a real setback for McCain, but Michigan is going to be a different ballgame. I think he still has a shot out there. But he has to win Michigan. If he loses Michigan, McCain is absolutely gone. Bush had to win South Carolina today, and I think that there's no question that McCain has to win Michigan. You wouldn't even...
O'BEIRNE: It still might not be enough, Al, if McCain wins Michigan, but at least...
HUNT: No, oh no, but then we get back to high noon in California, March 7.
All right, we will be back at 10:30 tonight. This is Al Hunt for the CAPITAL GANG.
And back to Bernie and Judy.
SHAW: Thanks very much. It's still victory time in South Carolina for the Texas Governor, who retained his base by more than two-thirds of the Republican voters turning out.
GREENFIELD: And here is the really surprise. If 72 hours you had said to any of us, or most of us, suppose there was a huge record turnout, half a million people, who would have won? Almost all of us would have said McCain.
So, Bill Schneider, what happened.
SCHNEIDER: What happened was we had apparently a record turnout. We're informed it might be as much as twice as high as its been in previous years. But here's a law of political physics: For every mobilization, there's likely to be counter-mobilization. McCain reached out to Democrats and independents, invited them to vote in the primary, and that threatened Republicans, and they came out in large numbers, too.
The bottom line: In previous Republican primaries in South Carolina, 65-69 percent of the voters call themselves Republican. Today, 61 percent. Very nearly the same. In previous primaries, 64- 66 percent of the voters described themselves as conservatives. Today, 62. What that means is both sides mobilized, and in the end, nothing much changed. WOODRUFF: And we are going to be talking about that all night. But we're going to take a break now. And when we come back, we've already been talking about what's next, Michigan in particular, and Arizona. They're only two or three days away. We're going to go live to correspondents Frank Sesno in Phoenix and Bruce Morton in Detroit, and we will hear from them, and we'll take a break and be back.
SHAW: Texas Governor George Bush does in South Carolina what he had to do. He's a winner tonight. We have just some preliminary returns coming in. CNN estimates that this man has won in a record turnout. The counting of the ballots in South Carolina in our coverage tonight will be somewhat slow because they use paper ballots. You can see this is the percentage, 2 percent precincts in.
WOODRUFF: And if South Carolina -- if it's Saturday it must be South Carolina, and if it's next Tuesday it must be Michigan and Arizona, and indeed that's what we want to talk about now. We have two of our correspondents. Bruce Morton is in Detroit for us, Frank Sesno is in Phoenix.
And gentlemen -- Bruce, I'm going to come to you first, but if George Bush had -- what -- 18, 19 days to pull himself out of the loss of New Hampshire, John McCain only has two days to pull himself out of his loss in South Carolina -- Bruce.
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Has to move quickly, I guess. The candidates are all getting here tonight. The people already here, the paid staffers and the volunteers are demonstrating an old rule, the closer the election gets, the harder you have to work, the faster you have to work, and we saw some of that in Michigan today.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are going to go door to door. I have some maps here.
MORTON (voice-over): 9:15 a.m., McCain workers meet, get maps, head door to door in one crucial area, Wayne County, near Detroit, temperature around 30, a light overnight snow. Campaigning, you win some.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, this is the man right here for me. This is the man.
MORTON: And you lose some.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Actually, I'm voting for Bush.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, my name is Linda. I'm a volunteer with the Bush for president campaign.
MORTON: Not far away, at a Macomb County car dealership -- they're closed here on Saturdays -- Bush volunteers are calling undecided voters for their man. They have winners and losers, too. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I tell Governor Bush you will support him in the February 22 Michigan primary? OK. Well, thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to be supporting him in the February 22 Michigan primary? Thank you.
MORTON: Both sides are doing what you do the weekend before a primary, trying to make sure their voters vote. But in this open primary, independents and Democrats can vote, too.
CANDICE MILLER, MICHIGAN SECRETARY OF STATE: I think it is very disingenuous for people, who intend to vote for the Democratic nominee in November, to be into the Republican primary here just to muck it up.
MORTON: But, she adds, Democrats and independents who really support a Republican are welcome. Will the South Carolina result affect this state?
GOV. JOHN ENGLER (R-MI), BUSH MICHIGAN CHMN.: South Carolina is going to be important, but in many ways it probably won't have that great an impact. Michigan is going to make its own mind up.
MORTON: Well, maybe, but the fact is, McCain's stock here in Michigan went way up after his win in New Hampshire. What will happen after the South Carolina verdict remains to be seen.
Of course, some questions, is there an organized Democratic effort to embarrass Engler by voting for McCain? Yes, but it's led by one state representative who's not very heavily regarded, not seen as much of a heavyweight by his contemporaries.
On the other hand, some Democrats and certainly large numbers of conservatives will vote for McCain out of genuine conviction. How many of them vote, how many Republicans vote is going to decide this. The latest polls are extremely close.
Now to the other battleground and my colleague Frank Sesno in Phoenix.
FRANK SESNO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bruce, thanks very much.
This is, of course, John McCain's home state. I spoke with an Arizona Bush campaign official just a few moments ago who said the win in South Carolina, he predicts, will be closely watched here. Even though there's a big edge for McCain just now, this official predicts a tighter race now.
SESNO (voice-over): Arizona is McCain country, he's represented the state for 17 years, won his last election with about 70 percent of the vote. A Friday "Arizona Republic" Poll put him up by 23 points in the primary race. But George W. Bush, eying Arizona's 30 convention delegates and a public relations windfall, is trying for a land grab in Tuesday's winner-take-all primary. The state's Republican governor, Jane D. Hull, backs Bush. She says McCain's temperament is an issue, so does the Republican state Senate leader. He says McCain rarely engages on issues that affect his state
RUSSELL BOWERS, BUSH SUPPORTER: It's vogue to be a maverick, you know, I'm the Don Quixote. But what does that accomplish? You have to work with people. You have to have that skill to get something done rather than always stabbing at people, and so I think that's a weakness.
SESNO: Leading McCain's forces, his U.S. Senate colleague Jon Kyl, who's McCain's national campaign co-chair.
SEN. JON KYL (R-AZ), MCCAIN NATIONAL CO-CHAIRMAN: He's not subtle. You know, if he's going to go attack somebody's special pork project, he does it straight on, and that may upset somebody. That doesn't bother John too much.
SESNO: McCain has barely campaigned in his home state and has spent almost nothing here. By contrast, Bush has spent over $1 million in his Arizona air war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, BUSH CAMPAIGN AD)
UNIDENTIFIED NARRATOR: George W. Bush is a family man who shares our conservative values.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESNO: For months, Bush was actually leading here. McCain's huge victory in New Hampshire changed all that.
KRIS MAYES, "ARIZONA REPUBLIC": When the history of this campaign is written, especially as it pertains to Arizona, people will look back at that victory as being absolutely key. I think people began to see that John McCain had a chance of winning after he won that first state and that's what they were looking for.
SESNO: Only registered Republicans can vote in Arizona's Tuesday contest, so McCain gets the home-court advantage, but none of those independents and Democrats who flocked to him before.
SESNO: And so now the discussion is over the expectations game. People in the Bush camp say that home-state advantage, the favorite son usually wins by 40, 50 points, and they say McCain is not going to do that. So he may not have the bragging rights out of Arizona he'd like. They are going to try to turn whatever the state situation is into an advantage for Bush. Conversely, John McCain, though he won't spend much time here, does plan a victory and would like to crow coming out of his home state.
Back to the anchor desk.
WOODRUFF: All right, Frank and Bruce, while we have you both, all of us have questions for you. I just want to come back to that point we brought up just a moment ago. Whether it's Bush or McCain, they've only got two days literally to make something, in Bush's case, out of his victory here, and in McCain's case, to turn things around. What do they do within such a limited time, Bruce?
MORTON: Well, in the sense, of course, they've been here for some time. They have volunteers here. The phone banks are working, as you saw. The leaflets were going out. More important, there have been a lot of television ads here. I don't have firm numbers, but it seems to me I have seen a lot of Bush's negative ads about McCain. Fewer McCain ads, those mostly positive.
So I think this campaign is well underway. I don't know that the personal visits -- everybody is getting here tonight, everybody is working very hard over the weekend -- are going to make that much difference. I think the big difference is going to be how voters here in Michigan react to George W. Bush's big win in South Carolina.
SHAW: And, Bruce...
SESNO: Yes, here in Arizona, the situation, of course, is different. This has been a fairly low-key primary campaign. Days go by when it's barley on the front pages at all. George W. Bush has only spent about four days campaigning here. John McCain hasn't campaigned here physically at all. What McCain had hoped for was to win in New Hampshire, win in South Carolina, a tough win in Michigan and just to take cruise to, sort of, favorite son victory here in Arizona, so he could say, look, I have geographic reach. Now deprived of South Carolina and maybe with something to look over his shoulder about in Michigan, it's going to much more difficult.
SHAW: Bruce Morton, Governor Bush's ads in South Carolina were very effective in defeating John McCain tonight. John McCain has indicated that he's not going negative in Michigan.
Our White House correspondent John King was stressing the fact that the McCain was saying that his people and he the candidate will not be negative in Michigan. Given McCain's loss in South Carolina tonight, is it smart to keep the no-negativity theme in the campaign?
MORTON: Well, there's certainly some evidence, Bernie, that the Bush negative ads has worked here. Polls are tricky in primaries. But one poll, one of the newspaper polls that came out, was taken over a four-day period, had McCain ahead by I think it was seven or eight points. But in the two-day poll, Bush's negative ads had started running by then, he was ahead by only one point. So there is fragmentary evidence that the Bush negative ads are working here as apparently they've worked in South Carolina. It's awfully late for McCain to try to turn that around with new ads of his own, I think. SHAW: OK, Bruce Morton, Frank Sesno, thanks very much.
Do you have something, Jeff?
GREENFIELD: Yes, just one thing. There's no doubt in the McCain campaign what's happened here. One of his senior aides said, look, a loss of double digits is going to mean we come into Michigan with an uphill fight. The poll tonight in Michigan taken before the primary had it at pretty much a dead heat. The McCain aide himself concedes he expects to be a few points behind by tomorrow. So they know that Michigan, which they must win by most calculations, is going to just be much, much tougher.
WOODRUFF: They knew that a double-digit loss was a problem.
GREENFIELD: Big difference between a two or three-point loss, and that double digit really, if that's what this is heading for...
WOODRUFF: if that's what it is.
GREENFIELD: ... which may well be, is really a problem.
SHAW: Well clearly, You have a question or two in your mind about John McCain, what he must be thinking, as do we.
Coming up, a live interview with Senator John McCain. As our coverage continues of the South Carolina primary, George Bush, the winner.
WOODRUFF: Texas Governor George W. Bush a very happy man tonight. CNN has declared him the winner in the South Carolina Republican primary. We are going to be talking with Governor Bush in just a moment. We are also, at this hour, waiting for John McCain to come out and address his supporters in Charleston, South Carolina, and we want to go there right now to our own John King -- John.
KING: Judy, we expect Senator McCain here in just a few minutes. He had hoped to come here much later tonight to deliver a victory speech. Instead, he will be here earlier to give a concession speech so that he can quickly get on to Michigan, obviously the key battleground now.
We're told Senator McCain called Governor Bush a short time ago to congratulate him on his victory here, and also promise to contest the Michigan primary.
Now here's one quick immediate fallout we hear from the McCain defeat here. Because of the size of defeat, we're told by McCain officials they are dropping consideration of spending a lot of money in Northern Virginia, trying to encourage not only moderate Republicans, but also Democrats and independents to turn out in February 29 Virginia GOP caucus. Instead, they will dedicate all their resources to Washington State that day. One lesson they say they've learned here: When you have to campaign so openly, so publicly to get Democrats and independents to turn out, you might succeed, as Senator McCain did today, but you also motivate Christian conservatives to come out.
McCain wanted this to be referendum on negative campaigning. Instead, they believe Governor Bush successfully turned it into a referendum on who should pick the Republican nominee.
Back to you.
SHAW: John, is there any dispute within the McCain camp over the strategy for not being negative, not being aggressive in Michigan?
KING: Well, certainly, they would like to draw some contrasts with Governor Bush, like to point out what the McCain people consider holes in the Texas governor's commitment to reform. But we asked Senator McCain that yesterday on the bus, and he sensed this was coming. He was very upbeat, trying to encourage turnout, but their polling showed conservatives were breaking heavily for Governor Bush, and he said despite that, that he would continue to stay positive in Michigan. He did say he would draw some contrasts. So it will be interesting to see where they draw the line in Michigan at contrasts and going negative. WOODRUFF: John, that really gets to my question to you as well. I mean already, the analysts are saying McCain is boxed in. He has rejected after trying negative advertising, negative campaigning, he said it didn't work, I'm putting that aside, I'm going on the run a positive campaign. Does he really -- can he possibly turn back to a negative strategy now?
KING: This has always been a longshot campaign. Governor Bush had much more resources. The one hope of the McCain camp was to the ride the wave as the reformer, very much like Senator Bill Bradley in the Democratic race. They were taking on the front-runner. They wanted to do things differently. To make that succeed, you need to catch a wave. They believe their mistake here getting into a tactical fight with Governor Bush. And certainly, they now deeply regret running that ad that compared him to President Clinton. Ironically, that ad really wasn't on TV here that much in South Carolina, but it became a national news story, and it got Senator McCain involved in a tactical debate about negative politics and away from what he believes is the only message that might work: running on the idea of government reform.
He said he wanted a hostile takeover of the Republican Party. Aides think that was a mistake. He should talk about transforming the Republican Party, not taking it over, because that alienates many core Republicans, they think.
GREENFIELD: John, what Judy Woodruff mentioned a moment ago, you know, is very much on point here, which is, how do you do this in 48 hours, or 60 hours from now, when the polls in Michigan are open? If in fact John McCain has failed to reach core Republicans with his message. How do you do it in 60 hours when in fact, in South Carolina, George W. Bush had 19 days? Do they have -- have they given you any sense of how that message is going to start resonating in a couple hours when he gets to Michigan?
KING: There are certainly hoping on a number of factors. One, there is no deep tradition here of Democrats and independents crossing over to vote in a Republican primary. So Senator McCain had to urge them publicly them to do so. More of a tradition of that crossover voting in Michigan. He will be counting on that.
Number two, much less of an influence by the so-called Christian right, Michigan a more traditional Republican state. If you look at tonight's exit polls, Senator McCain lost big among very conservative voters, but he did quite well among those who say they're moderately conservative. He's counting on that in Michigan, and also much like he was hoping here that the young Republicans, Lindsey Graham and Mark Sanford, two congressmen, would carry him to victory against the old Republicans, Carol Campbell and David Beasley, both former governors.
In Michigan there is growing discontent, at least according to the McCain campaign, with Governor John Engler. They're hoping to ride a number of factors, but as you mentioned, they know very well time is running short. And they make no secret about this tonight, they need to win Michigan, or they're on the ropes.
All right, John King in Charleston, as you wait for John McCain to come out, we have an interview coming right up with Governor Bush. He is seated and ready. We're going to take a break. We'll be right back with that.
SHAW: Fifty-four minutes ago, CNN declared the winner of the South Carolina Republican primary, Texas Governor George Bush. He joins us now.
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hi, Bernie.
SHAW: Hi there. Good to have you on, sir. Let's take a deep breathe and step back from the confetti and the cheering, and explain to us, one, we knew you had to win, you did win. Tell us how you did it.
BUSH: Well, I came into this state energized. I was -- I dusted the snow off my suit as a result of getting beat in New Hampshire. I won in Delaware. But I came in knowing I had to tell the people of this good state what was in my heart. That I had -- that I was a reformer with positive results when given the chance to lead in the state of Texas. And I intended to take that attitude to Washington, D.C.
I laid out an agenda that the people of this state could understand, whether it be education or strengthening the military to keep the peace or an economic growth plan that included cutting taxes. And the people heard my message loud and clear. I did a better job as a candidate. And as a result the turnout was big. Our margin was good. And a lot of young voters came to my side as well, for which I'm most grateful.
WOODRUFF: Governor, it's Judy Woodruff -- and congratulations.
Let me just ask you, at the same time you had to run -- you ran in South Carolina, one of the nation's most conservative states, a very conservative campaign, there was talk of your position on abortion. You just mentioned cutting taxes. Doesn't that make it harder for you to now to move back and appeal to the center, which you must do to win this nomination and the election?
BUSH: Well, Judy, actually, I think if you were to follow my campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire and Delaware and South Carolina, I didn't change anything I was saying. I mean, I've got the exact same positions in all four states. And in this state, my message happened to catch on. I energized the people and people turned out.
I think in some of the earlier states, I didn't do a good job of defining who I was. As a matter of fact, I got defined. But people now in this state know I've got a good heart. And as importantly, a reform agenda that will make a big difference in Washington, D.C.
GREENFIELD: It's Jeff Greenfield, Governor. Let me add my congratulations.
To follow up on what Judy was asking you, one of the silver linings the McCain campaign claims from the exit polls is that while you won big amongst self-described conservative Republicans, you lost to McCain among moderate and liberal Republicans. And in South Carolina there's an extraordinary number of conservatives. As you go into a place like Michigan or New York, if that battle becomes necessary, are you at all concerned that the tenor of this campaign has, as one Gore aide told me, maybe marginalized you, made you less able to reach out with the kind of message you had for those many months before the campaign began about inclusion?
BUSH: I don't think so, Jeff. I talked a lot about compassionate conservatism here. I am a conservative. But I happen to believe my conservative philosophy will lead to a better tomorrow. I look forward to the debate if I'm the one standing up against Al Gore to talk about who ought to have the surplus, whether the government ought to keep it or the people ought to get some of it.
Now I look forward to taking my philosophy and explaining to people why it has got compassionate results. And that's what happened here in South Carolina.
You know, I haven't seen all the exit polls. I know this, I won overwhelmingly amongst Republicans because I united the Republican Party. And I know I won amongst a lot of young voters as well, which is -- and young voters come out because they see somebody who's optimistic and hopeful. And that's why I attracted the young vote.
GREENFIELD: If I can just follow up. One of your senior aides told me a few hours ago that this election is not going to be decided on the issues, that to a large extent you won because you were gracious in defeat in New Hampshire. They showed -- you showed you could get up off the canvas and fight. Do you agree with him that this is not going to be an issue campaign either now or in the fall?
BUSH: No, I think it is an issue campaign. I mean, I think it's a campaign not only of issues but of leadership. I think it's a campaign of vision, who can set a positive and hopeful vision and unite America to follow. It's also a campaign of saying who can bring honor and dignity back to the White House. People all across America are asking that question. And in this state of South Carolina, they answered it loud and clear.
SHAW: Tell us about the phone conversation you had with McCain. And also, how long do you think he's going to be a nuisance to you?
BUSH: John's not a nuisance; he's a viable candidate. He's a good man. I had a very good phone call with John. He was gracious. I got to call him in New Hampshire and he got to call me in South Carolina. I really appreciated the phone call.
John's a viable candidate. Both of us are heading to Michigan after tonight, and it's going to be a good contest there in Michigan. I think I'm going to win it, but I take nothing for granted. I'm going to continue saying the same things I said here in South Carolina in Michigan.
SHAW: What I'm asking is how long is this going to be a contest between the two of you?
BUSH: Well, I'm not sure, Bernie. I've got a long-term view. I mean, I view this as a marathon. And I understand there are a lot of hurdles on the way to the finish line, and I crossed a big one tonight by winning here in South Carolina.
SHAW: You certainly did.
WOODRUFF: Governor, this has been, in South Carolina, a very negative race in the opinion of many folks who have been watching it closely. You say Senator McCain started it, but you certainly continued it right up until the end. Is this the way it has to be to win a close contest like this?
BUSH: Well first of all, Judy, most voters here didn't think it was a negative race. If you listen to the opinions of the people who actually saw the campaign ads and listened to the speeches, they thought I ran a very positive campaign, and that's why they voted for me.
I stand by what I did. I defended myself. I defended my tax cut plan. I will continue to defend my record based upon the facts, but I'll treat John with respect, and I'm going to continue talking about my platform that will lead to a better tomorrow in America.
WOODRUFF: So you have no problems with the multitude of ads that were run in this campaign, hundreds of thousands of dollars that were spent on both sides and by independent groups that came in, most of them against Senator McCain.
BUSH: Well, listen, you talk about independent groups, in the earlier states I had a lot of independent groups against me. And I don't particularly like it when people run ads against me, but this is America. there is freedom of speech in the country.
And I don't know what you mean by "multitude of ads." We ran some ads that laid out my vision for the future. I did defend myself when John McCain questioned my trustworthiness and compared it to President Clinton. I did talk about the differences of our opinions. But by far, the vast majority of ads I ran on TV talked about what I intend to do, and that's why I won. The people heard the message.
Listen, the young voters of South Carolina would not have responded the way they had had they not heard a positive message, and that's exactly what I gave them.
GREENFIELD: And yet California and Michigan, Governor, that response ad you did, saying to John McCain, that ad of yours was over the line. You're running that response ad even though John McCain's ad is nowhere to be seen in those states. Why?
BUSH: Well, that ad basically says, don't question my trustworthiness. Let's debate the issues. And then I talk about, Jeff, what I intend to do. I talk about my record as a reformer.
SHAW: How are you going to hold your Republican base? You did it by more than two-thirds in South Carolina tonight, more the 60 percent of the voters turning out were Republicans. But as Jeff indicated a few minutes ago, in Michigan there are oodles and oodles of moderates, and those are the people the McCain folks are going to go after. How do you get a piece of them?
BUSH: Well, first of all, you've got to understand, I've got a record as a leader. People in our Republican Party are looking for a leader, somebody who has got a record of reform that I can point to. I can point to high test scores in the state of Texas, because I understand how to reform the education system. I can talk about lower taxes, because I have done so. I can talk about bringing faith-based programs to help people in need, because I've done so. And that's what I'm going to continue talking about in Michigan.
WOODRUFF: Governor, you are in a somewhat ironic position of having started out this campaign talking about expanding the Republican Party, bringing new people into it, but here at the end in South Carolina, you were disagreeing and saying -- you were questioning whether Democrats should come in and vote in the Republican primary.
Which should it be? Should it be the Republican Party welcomes outsiders or it doesn't?
BUSH: Of course they do, but here's what I was referring to, Judy. I was referring to people that announced quite clearly that they intended to vote in the Republican primary during the primary season and switch back to Al Gore in the general election. That's exactly what -- listen, I welcome Democrats and independents into the primary, so long as they're in it to is stay with whoever the nominee is in the general election.
WOODRUFF: Well, do you agree with Carroll Campbell, the former governor of South Carolina, who put an ad on in South Carolina for you in the last few days, saying in effect there's a conspiracy among the Democrats?
BUSH: Well, what Carroll was referring was referring to is -- and hear me out now on this -- what Carroll was referring to, he was talking about the spouse of Al Gore's chairman, who said, "I'm going to vote for John McCain." And I'm pretty confident that the spouse of Al Gore's chairman would go back the Al Gore in the general. That's what Carroll was talking about. What I really agree Carroll about is the fact that he supported my candidacy and we won a big victory today.
SHAW: As part of that victory, CNN is updating its reporting on Governor Bush winning the South Carolina primary tonight. CNN now estimates that Governor Bush will have won South Carolina primary by a 13 point margin: George W. Bush, 54 percent; Senator John McCain, 41 percent; Alan Keyes, 5 percent.
Governor Bush, 13 point margin. How much a factor of Christian conservatives?
BUSH: The factor in this race was the candidate, in all due humility.
I was able to rally the party and lead us to victory. It may be hard for you to believe, Bernie, but it's true.
SHAW: I'm not disbelieving; I'm asking questions to get information and points of view.
BUSH: Well, I appreciate it. I did a good job of uniting our party, and I'm thrilled with the victory.
GREENFIELD: And, in fact, Governor, now that it's over, I want you to take the ultimate candor step. What would have happened tonight if the result had been the opposite? I mean, how much would it have been that some of early supporters would be looking to jump ship, that your donors would have called and said, oh my God, what's going on? I mean, how big a sigh of relief is being exhaled in the Bush headquarters and the Bush family right now?
BUSH: Jeff, I can imagine what this interview would be like.
It would have been a more difficult interview. And you can tell, my spirits are high. I feel great about the outcome of the election. Obviously this sends a strong message to the people who are supporting me not only in South Carolina but around the country. And there is a lot of people who are sighing relief. And I feel great, and I'm honored and I'm humbled by the support I've gotten here.
WOODRUFF: Governor, we can also say that based on our projections, this will have been a turnout of 600,000, which more than doubles the turnout in the last Republican primary in the state of South Carolina.
BUSH: Well, that's good news. It means that somebody has come along that's energized the Republican Party and independents and some of the Democrats who want to see something different in Washington, D.C.
And I remember when all the pundits were saying a big turnout would hurt my candidacy. I felt just the opposite. I felt like a big turnout would help my candidacy, because I could see the enthusiasm and energy of the crowds and the people that are on my side who couldn't wait out to vote and take friends to vote.
SHAW: Last question. Obviously you are changed and you're a better candidate coming out of South Carolina than when you came out of New Hampshire. Was it good for you that you lost New Hampshire?
BUSH: Well, I guess in retrospect it was. It didn't seem like it at the time, to be frank with you. But I am a better candidate. And I think it's important to know that you can learn in life. And I learned; I've learned a lot during the course of this primary so far.
I'm becoming steeled to become you president. And I'm ready for the job, and I'm looking forward to the primaries. I understand there's a lot more to go. And I'm going to revel in the excitement tonight, but I'm packing up bags, I'm getting on a airplane tonight, and I'm going to start cranking up in Michigan first thing in the morning.
SHAW: Well, you'll beat us there.
Bruce Morton is already there. Texas Governor George Bush the winner of South Carolina's primary.
Senator John McCain is in South Carolina now, and let's watch, let's listen. Also, a little bit later we're hoping to talk to the senator in person.
WOODRUFF: This is Charleston.
MCCAIN: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, my dear friends. Aren't you proud of the campaign that you just ran? Aren't you proud of it?
(APPLAUSE) Well, my friends, you don't have to win every skirmish to win a war or a crusade. And although we fell a little short tonight, our crusade grows stronger.
By the way -- by the way, I'm told that we won Charleston. And as the beautiful city of Charleston goes, so goes the nation.
I congratulate Governor Bush on his victory here and wish him a happy celebration and a good night's rest. He's going to need it, my friends.
He's going to need it, my friends, for we have just begun to fight. And I can't wait for the next round.
MCCAIN: I'm going to fight with every ounce of strength I have, but I'm going to keep fighting clean. I'm going keep going to keep fighting fair, and I'm going to keep fighting the battle of ideas.
And my friends, we -- we -- are going to win. I will not take the low road to the highest office in this land.
I wanted the presidency in the best way, not the worst way.
The American people deserve to be treated with respect by those who seek to lead the nation. And I promise you, you will have my respect until my last day on Earth. The greatest blessing of my life was to have been born an American, and I will never dishonor the nation I love by letting myself -- I will never dishonor the nation I love or myself by letting ambition overcome principle -- never, never, never.
My friends, I say to you, I am a uniter, not a divider. I don't just say it, I live it. I'm a real reformer. I'm a real reformer. I don't just say it, I live it. And I'm a fighter for this country. And I don't just say it, I live it.
(APPLAUSE) As this campaign moves forward, a clear choice will be offered: a choice between my optimistic and welcoming conservatism and the negative message of fear, between Ronald Reagan's vision of exclusion and the defeatist tactics of exclusion so cherished by those who would shut the doors to our party and surrender America's future to Speaker Gephardt and President Al Gore, a choice between a record of reform and an empty slogan of reform, a choice between -- a choice between experience and pretense.
MCCAIN: So tonight...
So tonight, my friends, we leave for Michigan and then on to home, to my beautiful Arizona, with our heads held high, proud of the battle we fought. And ready to ask Michigan and Arizona to send their message to America, a message of hope that our party and our country -- that our country and our party is bigger than the sum of its divided parts; a message of reform that we will take our government back from the big money special interest and the Iron Triangle of money, lobbyists and legislation will no longer stop us from building a bigger America; and a message of honesty, that we will honor our obligations to each other by using our prosperity to pay down the debt and save Social Security and Medicare.
Americans aren't demanding tax cuts for those of us who are doing just fine. They want us to cut our children's taxes tomorrow by acting like responsible adults today.
My friends, this is the message we will fight for. This is where I stand my ground.
MCCAIN: And together, we will prevail for our children's sake and for the sake of the country we love so dearly.
Now I want to thank you. Now is the emotional part. Now I want to thank all of you who worked so hard here to get us close and take us to the next round against such overwhelming odds. First my wife, Cindy, and my children, Doug...
And my children, Doug, Andy, Sydney, Megan, Jack, Jimmy and Bridget. As always, you are the best attribute of my campaign.
Thank you to my sister, Sandy, and my brother, Joe, and all my old, old friends, many of whom I had the special privilege of serving with a long time ago. Thank you for always keeping me honest. And thank you to my wonderful new friends who represent the best hope for the future of South Carolina, Mark and Jenny Sanford...
Terry and Gloria Haskins...
Reuben Greenberg. Reuben Greenberg.
SHAW: Arizona Senator John McCain at this moment in North Charleston, South Carolina, in a concession speech that we just covered. Mr. McCain accusing, implicitly accusing, the Bush administration of running a campaign that has a negative message of fear, and McCain indicating that he is a choice.
WOODRUFF: Well, if anybody thought that John McCain was going to go out of South Carolina with his tail between his legs, he has just fired a cannon to the states of Michigan and Arizona, and the rest of the country. This is some of the toughest language we have heard from John McCain: "I want the presidency in the best way, not the worst way. I'll never dishonor the nation I love and myself by letting ambition overcome principle."
Jeff, this is very tough talk.
GREENFIELD: You know, I'm a little stunned, because it is some of the toughest language that a defeated candidate has used. Now, we all remember Bob Dole in 1988 snapping at Governor Bush's father "to stop lying about my record." He certainly didn't go that far, but the implicit message of this concession speech is, George Bush won dirty.
SHAW: Well, in his mind he's saying that "I'm using the language of principle." He's says, "I'll not take the low road to the highest office in the land."
GREENFIELD: Well, he's saying something else. I mean, they can read exit polls better than we can, and they see that John McCain has to get a message to Republicans and the message to Republicans is not only "that Governor Bush won by fighting unfairly and by appealing to our worst instincts, but that if you follow Governor Bush you're going to wind up with Speaker Gephardt and President Gore." That's the message he's taking to Republicans. He's blinking Governor Bush's campaign tactics with a potential for electoral disaster.
WOODRUFF: Well, he tried comparing George W. Bush to Bill Clinton, "He twists the truth like Bill Clinton." That went too far, he got his hand burned when he tried to do that, he pulled it back, and now we are seeing how they're going to do that, Bill.
SCHNEIDER: Yes. He said this -- I mean, look, the indication is this is going to be a fight to the death. Anyone who would have imagined that this is going to be concluded quickly, as George Bush clearly hopes this is going to be over soon, clearly it's a fight to the death. This is an outraged and angry John McCain determined to stand his ground. I thought the most explosive thing he said was, "this is a choice between experience and pretense."
WOODRUFF: Yes, very...
SCHNEIDER: "Pretense." That's virtually calling Governor Bush a phony.
WOODRUFF: Very tough talk.
GREENFIELD: Well, he also used the phrase -- remember when he used the phrase in the debate "the grown-up mentality."
GREENFIELD: He once again talked about that, he -- the implicit message here -- and we are not reading at the end of this, I think it's fair to say is, George W. Bush is what Molly Ivins once called him, he's a shrub, he's really not up to the job. And he's drawing this contrast: "What George Bush does is to talk about reform, talk about uniting, talk about fighting for your country, I've actually done it." This is really ratcheting up the rhetoric in a way that, frankly, I didn't expect.
SHAW: Well, it's clear that McCain lost the Republican base in South Carolina and it sounded from what he said in this speech we just covered that he's actually throwing a line to moderates now in Michigan.
SCHNEIDER: That's right, that's what he's trying to do. I think he's trying to rally his side of the party to fight George Bush on -- in part because he's saying George Bush can't win: "Do you know what you're doing if you nominate George W. Bush?"
WOODRUFF: But he's not conceding the Republicans at the same time.
SCHNEIDER: No, no, no.
WOODRUFF: I mean, he's reminding everybody he's the patriot, he fought for his country. He said "I don't" -- what did he say -- he said, "I didn't just say it, I lived it."
GREENFIELD: "I lived it."
WOODRUFF: "I lived it."
SCHNEIDER: That's right. But what he's really saying to Republicans is, "you want to nominate a loser, go nominate George Bush." GREENFIELD: It -- this change between the start of his concession speech, "I'm so proud of this campaign, because I'm going to fight clean and I'm going to fight fair," now it's perfectly -- you know, I'm not suggesting that it's unfair to draw these lines, I'm only suggesting that in a campaign in which Governor Bush successfully painted McCain as the negative campaigner, this rhetoric -- to me it's like nitroglycerine. It's very powerful. It's very dangerous.
WOODRUFF: You could almost get whiplash, because in the beginning, you're right, Jeff, he started out saying, "Aren't you proud of the campaign," then he turns right around with the -- literally the toughest rhetoric we've heard.
SHAW: But isn't it implicit in McCain's mind that he believes that Governor Bush will continue the same kind of advertisements that he continued in South Carolina when he gets to Michigan? I mean, what do your polling data show as to why Bush won tonight in South Carolina? It sounds to me as if McCain is saying, "Well, I know this is going to continue in Michigan. This is why I'm talking tough tonight."
GREENFIELD: It already is.
GREENFIELD: Those ads are up.
WOODRUFF: They're already out.
SCHNEIDER: Bernie, let's take a look at what happened to John McCain today. McCain was relying on veterans, on first-time Republican primary voters and on the reform issue. How reliable were they? Let's see.
Bring on the veterans. A tie among veterans, they split between McCain and Bush, no payoff for McCain among his fellow vets.
Bring on the first-time Republican primary voters. Now, they did come through for John McCain, but more than twice as many voters were repeaters who had voted in past GOP primaries. McCain's new voters were overwhelmed by those old believers who went heavily for Bush.
Now, McCain won New Hampshire on the reform issue. What happened to that issue in South Carolina today? The answer is, Bush stole it. He stole it. He came out calling himself a reformer with results and the voters apparently said that's right, more South Carolina voters called Bush a reformer than McCain. South Carolina voters did not say, we don't need no stinking reform, they said, Bush may be our kind of reformer.
And finally, that negative campaign seems to have backfired on McCain. More voters said McCain attacked Bush unfairly than said that Bush was unfair to McCain. McCain made a big show of pulling his negative ad a week ago, but Bush made sure that, that ad accusing Bush of being as untrustworthy as Bill Clinton remained an issue in this campaign and apparently, it was. WOODRUFF: And he's still running that -- not still -- I mean, he's been running and continues to run that ad in other states.
SHAW: That's why I say perhaps it should not be surprising to hear the tone and tenor of John McCain as we just heard it in north Charleston. He knows this is going to continue in Michigan.
GREENFIELD: It certainly bespeaks, if you like a good fight...
SCHNEIDER: And a fight to the finish, to the death figuratively.
GREENFIELD: Well, figuratively.
WOODRUFF: All right.
SHAW: We have a group of people who fight verbally, the members of "CROSSFIRE," and they're coming right up as soon as CNN takes a break, as our live coverage of the South Carolina primary continues.
WOODRUFF: It's all over but the shouting in the Republican primary in the state of South Carolina. CNN estimates George W. Bush substantial win. In fact, Bernie, we are estimating by a margin of 54- 41 percent the Texas Governor George Bush will defeat John McCain. But we just heard a few moments ago some incendiary words coming out of the mouth of John McCain, I think those are some words we are going to be thinking and looking at for some time.
Right now, though, we want to go right to our -- well, are you incendiary tonight, Bill Press and Mary Matalin? Let's here what the two of you have to say about this -- Mary.
MARY MATALIN, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Well, Judy, this is a huge victory for Governor Bush, not just that it was the fourth out of the fifth primary that he won, not just that it was those 37 delegates that he picked up, but he won, as you all have been pointing out, women, all age groups, all income groups, he won be the reform vote.
But the most important thing that he showed tonight is what his team needed to show was that he could get up after that whipping in New Hampshire. He -- they need to see that he would and that he could fight and he did that and he did it in a big way, and that's a much bigger victory and an opportunity to address what had been the weakness coming out of New Hampshire, and he was tested and he found true.
BILL PRESS, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Well, Mary, I have to congratulate you first of all, your guy won, he won big. It was an important win. Bush had to win in South Carolina and he did. For McCain, it certainly was -- have we heard this phrase before -- a bump in the road. He has to -- he goes on now to Michigan, which he now has to win.
But the other thing McCain had to do was to take the gloves off and I just saw -- think we saw -- I know we saw, McCain is willing to take the gloves off. I think one of the lessons of this primary is you've got to respond to charges. You can't just let them lay there. Bill Bradley learned that lesson. Now McCain has learned that lesson and he's come out fighting and is going to be red hot in Michigan.
MATALIN: OK. But, Bill, Al Gore was lying about Bradley. What George Bush did to McCain was say, look, here's your record, you're saying one thing, you did another thing. That was the most ungracious, negative, venomous concession speech I have ever heard. And people aren't stupid. That was negative.
When he says, "I'm not going negative," and then he calls George Bush everything from an -- again, empty to unprincipled, that's why people in South Carolina said despite his making a big hooray about pulling down his ads that McCain unfairly attacked Bush more than the other way around. People are not dumb. That was venomous and that is not the right way, particularly given this reform candidacy that he appears to be -- or he alleges to be waging -- to be going into the next primaries.
PRESS: No, no, no. Look, Mary, you know, the negative ads worked. That's what we saw there. Bush was able to say something utterly preposterous, that "I'm the real reformer, not John McCain," and the people believed it.
But I have to say, Mary, the big winner tonight -- you know who I think is in South Carolina? Is in Al Gore. I mean, you're hearing a big sigh of relief among Democrats, because it looked like maybe the Democrats -- the Republicans were going to put up the strongest candidate, instead they put up the weaker candidate, a guy who is a lousy debater, he's got the wrong message, he's gone so far to the right on abortion and on taxes that he can't win in November...
MATALIN: He's gone -- Bill, Bill...
PRESS: ... so thank you for really maybe clearing the field.
MATALIN: You know, unlike Al Gore who was leaping to the left, George Bush has said everything from Iowa to South Carolina, he hasn't changed any positions. He hasn't moved to the right, and I know this pains you, I know you can't understand it, but he is a real reformer, he has a record to run on, on education reform, tort reform, health care reform. We'll put that record up against Al Gore's record and for the moment John McCain's record anytime. And his debate performance has steadily increased.
MATALIN: He's a stellar candidate.
PRESS: Mary, we've watched him...
MATALIN: Put your money where your mouth is, Bill.
PRESS: We watched him in South Carolina. What Bush did in South Carolina, he has never done before: He wrapped himself in the mantle of the Christian Coalition and the religious right. He comes out of this primary as the social conservative candidate. He didn't want to run for that. Let me sell tell you something, Bob Jones helped him in South Carolina. It will haunt him in November. Mark my words.
MATALIN: Bill, he won overwhelming, two to one, three to one Republicans. He united the party, the fiscal conservatives and the social conservatives. Get over it. It's a big, broad party. He united them all, and he's going to do so in the next couple of primaries and in the general election. Get used to it.
PRESS: You know as well as I, the conservative Republicans in South Carolina are not the same Republicans that you have in California and Michigan. We'll see what happens.
From the left. I'm Bill Press.
MATALIN: And from the right, I'm Mary Matalin.
Now back to the anchor desk in Atlanta.
WOODRUFF: We had a feeling that the two of you might have a few words of disagreement.
SHAW: And I have a fire extinguisher right under the desk here.
WOODRUFF: But we're too far away, because we're in Atlanta and they're in Washington.
We're going to take a break. We have much more coming up, including an interview with John McCain.
We'll be right back.
SHAW: They are honest. They are tough. They are fair. They are reasonable.
WOODRUFF: And they are Mike McCurry, Tony Blankley, and we're dying to hear what you fellows have to say about this win that George W. Bush has pulled off in South Carolina. Who owe goes first?
MIKE MCCURRY, FORMER CLINTON PRESS SECRETARY: I have to let Tony go first, because it's his primary night. It's the Republican story tonight, but it's a very interesting night for them. I'll talk in a second about the Democrats.
But take it away, Tony.
TONY BLANKLEY, FORMER. GINGRICH PRESS SECRETARY: This was obviously a big night for Bush. It teaches us, if we have to learn once more, that advertising matters. That's why Ford and Chevy advertise. McCain thought that having a media wave of information coming out of New Hampshire would help, but in fact, all the people found out is what they heard on the advertising.
Where we go from here, I think it' s not only an uphill battle for McCain, but almost straight uphill. They've got the money. They've got $15 million. They're going to spend it right through to California and New York. But I think Michigan is very hard to turn around in 72 hours.
I think the most interesting think about this whole primary season, culminating tonight so far, is that really both the Bush and the McCain campaigns are trying to define some alternative to the traditional Reagan-issue set. Now I think that Bush kind of got diverted back in South Carolina back to the old issues. I think were now going to see him move to something more, sort of, about reform. McCain is the first effort to redefine the whole issue set. It's not the end of that battle. It's only the beginning, and it's going to be an (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the battle in the Republican Party, and it's going to ugly over the next year or two.
MCCURRY: You know, Tony is right about a lot of that. I'll tell you one thing, Bush won a Republican primary tonight. I think that's the most significant thing tonight. Less than 10 percent of the vote was Democratic. There's a lot of speculation about whether in South Carolina Democrats would turn out to vote. My own little focus group, two good Democrats in South Carolina, my parents, said they weren't going to vote because they didn't want to corrupt their own ability to vote in their own caucuses down the road. Well, who would have thought, you know, that would have an effect, but it did. Loyal Democrats did not, at the end of the day, want to go out, turnout and vote in what was a Republican contest, one that was very central to the Republican primary fight.
So what we have now is really, I think, still two candidates ready to go the distance. John McCain tonight didn't give any sense that he was ready to capitulate to the, you know, Republican Party establishment. He is going go on his message of reform, and some of things that he's been talking about in his campaign will probably resonate a lot more in Michigan. More importantly, looking ahead, you now have got to go to Virginia, to Washington, even to the little state of North Dakota, which is now interposed between now and March 7. Those are all critical contests and all places where I think John McCain's message might actually resonate a little more. We'll see what kind of institutional strength the governor's in those states, who have endorsed Bush, can bring to the contest.
BLANKLEY: You know, one thing to look for as we move forward toward California: If McCain can get to California in descent shape, that is, if he can win Michigan and Arizona, then he gets to a state where there really is a de-connection between the voters and their parties. South Carolina was not an example of that. California is. In California, you can actually run a campaign without winning your base, so that's what I think I'd be looking for, if he can get as far as California credibly.
WOODRUFF: All right.
MCCURRY: One last point, Judy. Remember the Democratic candidates, Al Gore, Bill Bradley , who are still running for president. We sort of forgot about them in the last couple weeks, because they've been in that black hole. They're coming back, and now they're part of the story, too.
WOODRUFF: All right, we are going to ask both Mike and Tony to stand by, because joining us right now from North Charleston South Carolina is Senator John McCain.
Senator McCain, we just heard your concession speech there before a crowd of your supporters. Is this the new tack that we can expect, your talking ambition is never going to be your choice over principle? This was some very tough talk from you.
MCCAIN: Well, I think it's accurate. It's what we've been trying to say. It's our entire message, that some people talk about reform. I'm a real reformer. I've lived it and I've been involved in it for years. And the fact is that we will not in Michigan be heavily out spent the way we were in South Carolina. We won every segment of the electorate here except for the religious right. And we feel very good about Michigan. And I'm fired up and ready to go. And we had a great time here in South Carolina even if we lost.
SHAW: John McCain, I wanted to ask you the opposite of the question I put to Governor Bush and analyzing why and how he won. Take a deep breath and walk us through why you think you lost, how you lost in South Carolina tonight.
MCCAIN: Well, I've spent a lot of time contemplating it, Bernie, except to say that we were outspent eight or 10 to one. Outside groups, like the tobacco companies and many others came in, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars. There was the phone campaigns.
But look, we probably didn't do a good enough job. The responsibility lies with me. This is like a 12-round fight. You get knocked down in the second round here. We are back on our feet. We're going hard. And I'm having a great time. And I'm very optimistic about my home state of Arizona as well, of course, as Michigan, which will be very important.
GREENFIELD: Senator, it's Jeff Greenfield. How you doing?
MCCAIN: Fine, Jeff. How you doing?
GREENFIELD: Well, I want to get on the Straight Talk Express for a minute.
GREENFIELD: The language you used tonight. When you say, I will not take the low road to the highest office. I want to win in the best way, not the worst way. I will not dishonor the nation by letting ambition overcome principle. Talk about negativism and that we have to act like responsible adults, the only sensible, rational way to read those words is you are talking about Governor Bush as someone who isn't this. Isn't that a kind of tactical nuclear weapon in this intra-party fight? I mean, that language is so tough.
MCCAIN: Well, we saw what happened here in South Carolina. And we saw the kind of tactics that were used here. They're very well known. But the fact is, I want to assure the people that I will always take the high road, that I will always act on principle. I am a reformer. I don't talk -- I have not talked reform and not done anything about it. And that's my message and that's what I'm sticking to.
GREENFIELD: Are you -- if I can follow up. Are you saying that you lost in South Carolina because Governor Bush played dirty?
MCCAIN: No, I'm saying I lost in South Carolina because we didn't do a good enough job. But we won every segment of the vote with the exception of one. And that was the Christian right. And we will not have quite that formidable opposition in other states in America. And I'm very optimistic about our chances.
WOODRUFF: But you are saying, Senator, just to be clear, just, again picking up on Jeff's question, when you're saying I'm a uniter, not a divider, you're saying that Governor Bush is a divider. When you say I'm a real reformer and I don't just say it, I live it, you're saying he's just saying it and you've lived it. Is that right? I mean, there's no mistaking...
MCCAIN: I'm saying that I'm -- I'm saying that I'm trying to reach out in this party. I know that negative ads depress turnout. I wanted more people to come because that's what Reagan was able to do and Theodore Roosevelt. I want to be an inclusive party and not an exclusive party. I've been a reformer for 17 years in Congress. And I'm proud of that record and I'm going to make sure that everybody knows about it.
SHAW: Senator McCain, let's talk tactics for a moment. First of all, our exit polling shows that you won 47 percent of the veterans vote, Governor Bush won 47 percent. How do you explain that?
MCCAIN: Oh, I think, again, being outspent and money and other things that -- including a very incredible event that he had here which he got a lot of -- where he stood next to a bogus veteran and accused me of abandoning the veteran's, which was really a shameful act and everybody knows that. Caused five senators who were Vietnam heroes to write and tell him to apologize. So -- but look, we did the best we could. We did a great job. I'm proud of our supporters and I'm proud of the job we did. And I'm eagerly looking forward to Michigan.
SHAW: Do you wish you'd not run that ad likening George Bush to President Clinton? How much of a mistake was that?
MCCAIN: Bernie, he and his supporters called me Clinton, Al Gore, everything, hypocrite, everything you can imagine. We fought back...
SHAW: I'm not asking you that. No, I'm not asking...
MCCAIN: Well, I'm telling you. I'm telling you why we ran the ad. And we took it down. And we ran nothing but a positive campaign for the last 10 days. That's what I'm really proud of.
SHAW: Last quickie.
GREENFIELD: Are you angry at George W. Bush tonight? It sure sounds like it.
MCCAIN: Of course not. I'm a happy man. We had a wonderful campaign here. We have wonderful friends. We're pressing on. I am so happy about this campaign. We were 20 points down a couple of weeks ago. I couldn't be happier with our campaign, with our friends and the way we've been running this campaign. And I'm very proud of it.
SHAW: Our man covering you -- our senior White House correspondent, John King, reports that your campaign has decided not to spend a lot of money in Northern Virginia in the upcoming Virginia primary. Why?
MCCAIN: I haven't got a clue, Bernie. I don't control those things. We're looking at Michigan and Arizona right now. I am -- we look -- we go from one state to the next.
WOODRUFF: Senator, is it fair to say now that you have to win Michigan, which is what some of the people around you are saying?
MCCAIN: Well, I think we've got to do very well. We'll do the best we can. We're in this thing until March 7th, no matter what. And I can't be happier with the way things are going. I'm exuberant. We won New Hampshire big. We lost here. We're going on to Michigan and Arizona. I'm sure about Arizona. And I can't tell you how proud I am of the campaign we ran. And I'll look back a long time from now and say we ran a campaign we can be proud of.
WOODRUFF: But it sounds like you're tone has changed tonight.
MCCAIN: I don't know how. I've always expressed my pleasure and my happiness with our campaign and our friends. I expressed it tonight. And I will continue to express that. I couldn't be a happier guy. This is the greatest opportunity of my life and I'm loving every minute of it.
SHAW: John McCain, I'm making an inference and I want you to check me to make certain it's right or wrong. You just said, we're in this thing until March 7th.
SHAW: My inference is that if it's conclusively against you after March 7th, you will not go on to March 14th?
MCCAIN: Oh well, March 7th is a seminal event. I kind of think that with that many states that night that it -- but if it's not decided on March 7th then we'll go on to March 14th and beyond if there's any states after that like Guam or something. SHAW: OK. I just wanted to be clear what you were saying.
MCCAIN: Sure, sure.
GREENFIELD: I just want to make sure I understand this, Senator -- it's Jeff Greenfield again. You say you haven't really changed the message, but none of the language that you used tonight implicitly accusing the governor of dishonoring the nation, you never used that language until you suffered this loss in South Carolina. I'm not quite clear how you can say you haven't changed the language. This is a sharply different tone than anything we've heard.
MCCAIN: Then why don't you come to some of my town hall meetings. It's the same message that I've been saying throughout this entire campaign in South Carolina. And I'm sorry you haven't had the time or the energy to come down and join us. You'd enjoy it, Jeff.
GREENFIELD: Well, in all honesty, Senator, I've seen a lot of them and I've never heard you say about dishonoring the nation and, you know, this kind of language about negativism. It just -- you know, it just sounds like something's happened tonight.
MCCAIN: Well, what has happened tonight is that I've repeated my message. We ran an honorable campaign. We're proud of the campaign. I couldn't be happier about it. We're going to make sure that everybody knows that we stand for reform and we stand for the future and inclusiveness in the party. That's the message that I've been giving and that's the message that I'm giving tonight. And I'll give it again tomorrow morning as soon as we get to Michigan.
WOODRUFF: All right. Senator John McCain, we thank you very much for joining us from Charleston -- North Charleston. And we assume you're now on the way to Michigan tonight.
MCCAIN: We're -- as soon as we finish this and one or two others, we're on our way. We're looking forward to it.
WOODRUFF: All right. Senator, thank you very much.
So there you have it, and unchastened, shall we say loser in the state of South Carolina's Republican primary.
SHAW: Which is in character. He's a fighter.
WOODRUFF: He is a fighter. And he said it again tonight. In fact, there were a few times when I was writing down what he said during his speech, which was not a concession speech, I didn't think, when it sounded like he was talking like George Bush did after New Hampshire -- I'm a fighter, I'm going out of here a fighter.
GREENFIELD: Well, he was picking up George Bush's precise words and turning them back against the governor.
WOODRUFF: "We've just gun to begun to fight."
GREENFIELD: That's Al Gore's line. WOODRUFF: I can't wait until the next...
GREENFIELD: But it's interesting, did you find it all obscene that -- you know, John McCain does have a reputation of precisely what he means, of not particularly suffering from this, gladly, and I must say, I thought I detected tonight. I heard what the senator said, I don't want to get into a fight with anybody. But there was a tone and a message tonight that I have not heard, and I was at a lot of those town meetings in New Hampshire, watched a lot of them in South Carolina, this is a different message, and it is a message laid down the night that he loses a very important primary. I mean, how this plays out, I haven't a clue, but we are in for some 60 hours between now and the time the polls open in Michigan.
WOODRUFF: I think it's fair to say that the themes that he struck tonight are some of the same themes that he's been striking for the whole campaign, but the frame, the language that he used, the framework is striking and very tough.
SHAW: Well, it could be that Michigan Governor John Engler is wearing an asbestos suit. We're going to talk to him live and find out. He being a big Bush supporter up there in Michigan. He also is the governor of Michigan. We're also going to hear again from Tony Blankley and Mike McCurry as CNN continues its live coverage of the South Carolina primary. Texas Governor George Bush, if you're just joining us, the winner by a very, very wide margin.
Back in a moment.
WOODRUFF: Almost two hours now since the polls closed in the state of South Carolina, Republican primary. CNN, when they closed at 7:00 Eastern, declared the winner Texas Governor George W. Bush with 41 percent of the precincts reporting -- this is the raw vote total, these are real numbers, folks -- George Bush 53 percent, over 100,000, John McCain 42 percent, Alan Keyes 5 percent, and a straggling few going in another direction.
We will just tell you once again that we are told that this is the biggest turnout ever in a Republican primary in modern history -- modern political history in the state of South Carolina, maybe 600,000 people voting. Back to Washington now to two gentlemen who were in the middle of making a point a few minutes ago before our interview with John McCain, Tony Blankley, Mike McCurry.
Mike, you want to pick it up this time?
MCCURRY: Well, the only thing we have been talking about here is the fact this is -- this really was a Republican primary if in fact 600,000 plus voters voted tonight in this primary. We know that in fractions, in probably single digits were Democrats, so the whole speculation about Democrats turning out and voting for John McCain, a worthy guy, but certainly not a Democrat, that didn't hold up.
What did hold up was an incredible turnout effort by the part of Governor Bush's campaign. I mean, they really must have scoured that state and brought out every single loyal Republican to come and vote. I think that had a lot to do with the turnout tonight.
Now, we are going into a series of contests in which that organizational strength is very, very important. Part of it is because the way the whole nomination contest is structured now. In the Republican Party, you start winning, you can win big, because it's winner take all. The way the rules work in the Republican Party, institutional strength counts, and Governor Bush could very quickly sew this up unless John McCain can revive his message.
Now, you know, obviously you've all been playing with the fact that John McCain looks like he wants to fight tonight. I think you're overstating a little bit the degree of his feistiness tonight. He's -- you know, he lost tonight and he kind of shows that, and so he's going to go into it now. Tony, disagrees with that.
BLANKLEY: Look, I heard that speech and I agree with Jeff. I thought that the senator was in very much aggressive fighting trim. It was the most negative positive statement I've ever heard and understandably so. I -- as someone who has worked with politicians over the years on the other side of the aisle, speeches made after 8:00 or 9:00 at night can sometimes be dangerous because people tend to be a little bit more freewheeling with their thoughts than they are at 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning.
I have a feeling that what we heard the senator say tonight will at least be passed vigorously by the media over the next 24 hours. Regarding the turnout, the turnout, of course, is one of the great stories not only for Bush, but for the Republican Party. Pollsters in both parties will tell you that they -- what they want to have is independents and the other party people coming out and voting in their own -- you know, for us, for Republicans, or for Democrats, and -- because once you vote two or three times for one party you tend to get hooked.
So getting a big turnout, getting 30 percent of the electorate independents, one out of 10 of the Democrats coming out to vote for a Republican, is something that pollsters will tell you will be a little nerve wracking for the Democrats, and suggestive that there is going to be a big turnout in November for Republicans.
So I think what you're beginning to see is a very exciting campaign on the Republican side generating a lot of thought. I think you're going to see Bush, who is probably going to be the winner, begin to steal the best ideas from McCain, as every winning candidate steals a few good ideas from the other guy, and they may in fact end up in a pretty strong position for Bush by March 14.
MCCURRY: Last point before we give it back to you, you know, the Democrats really are the forgotten, you know, party tonight and I guess that's understandable, but this, you know, message about reform and the way we need to change politics -- that is powerful and if it begins to drift away from John McCain as a result of the vote tonight, it could very well go to Bill Bradley, which might reinvigorate the Democratic Party contest which has sort of been in the doldrums the last couple of days, but we'll have to watch that in the days ahead.
Back to you, Atlanta.
GREENFIELD: That's a very interesting point that Mike just made. I talked to a couple of Bill Bradley's aides today and said, you know, where are you guys, what's going on, and what they said in no uncertain terms is that beginning tomorrow on the Sunday talk shows, Monday in the debate that you will be hosting at the Apollo, that I'll be a part of, they're going to raise the issue of trustworthiness and character directly at the vice president, and I think Mike's point is right.
If the Democrats, who were flirting with McCain begin to see the McCain star fading, it may give Bill Bradley a chance to get a second look.
WOODRUFF: But you don't get the sense that McCain is going to give up that reformer label very willingly. I mean, he brought it up several more times tonight. We heard it again in the interview we did with him just a moment ago. This is not somebody who is going to go away quietly.
SHAW: No, and I think very much in character of the senator from Arizona.
GREENFIELD: I think this is one fellow who -- you know how they talk about some people who when the voice drops that's when you can tell that they're getting a little bit emotional or at least firm? I'll use that term. That for some people it's not when they yell a lot, it's when they got very quiet. John McCain was very quiet in his timber with us, but the message was coiled steel.
WOODRUFF: Yes, very tough.
SHAW: Well, the same as Ronald Reagan's message was in New Hampshire when he grabbed the microphone and said, "Mr. Green, I paid for this microphone," very low voice, very firm, coiled steel.
GREENFIELD: I'm -- I can't tell you how curious I am to see how this plays out, because it's either going to be seen as the fighting McCain up from the canvas ready to do battle, or it's going to be seen as a sore loser, and I for one wouldn't place a nickel on the outcome.
WOODRUFF: Well, we heard our "CROSSFIRE" colleague Mary Matalin say that it was one of the most venomous, most negative concession speeches she's ever heard. We just heard Tony Blankley just now say that it was -- he was aggressive. So you're right, there are going to be -- there's going to be some parsing of those words, I think, tomorrow.
GREENFIELD: Tony's neutral phrase was a very good one, a lot of examination tomorrow.
SHAW: Well, you say you don't know how it's going to play out. We do know it's going to play out in Governor John Engler's state, Michigan. When we come back, we will talk to him.
WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us once again.
It has been a record turnout in the state of South Carolina. The voting is over. The polls closed two hours ago. The winner, George W. Bush by a substantial margin. And here's what the numbers look like with 45 percent of the percents reporting: Bush 53 percent, John McCain 42 percent, an 11 percentage point advantage. At this hour, Alan Keyes very far back, at 5 percent.
We want to go now to campaign headquarters for both Bush and McCain. Candy Crowley is at the Bush headquarters there in Columbia, South Carolina.
Candy, not only are they thinking about what their man said, but they also must be wondering about John McCain's pretty tough concession speech tonight.
CROWLEY: Well, a lot of them watched it on television as it came in. I have not had a chance to talk to the governor. Perhaps we'll get a chance to the plane flight to Michigan. I will tell you that when I asked one of his aides, what did you think of McCain's speech? He said I thought it was lacking in grace, I thought it did not compare favorably to Bush's bush's concession speech in New Hampshire, which they felt was gracious, and said as sort of an aside, I think it will hurt him. So they were a little stunned by it, and you know, you move on. So it will be interesting to see what the governor has to say about it.
Basically, I have to tell you, it doesn't much matter to this group what John McCain said tonight. The speakers up on the stage now, state party officials, Republican officials, saying that today was a defining moment for the Republican Party, for the Republican race and for South Carolina. They really feel as though they've pull off a pretty good victory here. So there's not a lot of worry about what John McCain said, but a lot of relief and a lot of upbeat people here waiting for Governor Bush to come, which we expect in the next couple minutes.
SHAW: Candy, please save your voice for a moment. We're going to pop over to North Charleston and John King at the McCain headquarters -- John.
KING: Bernie, everything you need to know is to be seen with the crowd behind Candy. A very empty hall here. The McCain supporters have emptied out the hall very quickly after his concession speech tonight. A lot of focus, obviously, on the tone of that speech. Senator McCain has promise in his final days here in South Carolina and in his speech tonight that he would not run a negative campaign, but he sent very clear signals tonight that as we move on to Michigan, 48 hours before the critical primary there, that he will not hesitate to draw aggressive contrasts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MCCAIN: As this campaign moves forward, a clear choice will be offered, a choice between my optimistic and welcoming conservatism and the negative message of fear, between Ronald Reagan's vision of inclusion and the defeatists tactics of exclusion so cherished by those who would shut the doors to our party and surrender America's future to Speaker Gephardt and President Al Gore, a choice a choice between a record of reform and an empty slogan of reform, a choice...
MCCAIN: ... a choice between experience and pretense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: You can see from those remarks, Senator McCain very aggressive as we move forward to Michigan. In his campaign, some resentment that Governor Bush was able to steal the label of reformer in this race, but privately, they very much give Governor Bush credit in the McCain campaign, begrudgingly so, but give him credit for seeing what was working for John McCain and realizing that if he were to blunt the McCain momentum from New Hampshire here in South Carolina, Governor Bush needed to adapt his own campaign. Now it is Senator McCain looking to adapt as we head into two very aggressive days of campaigning in Michigan. And McCain aides making no secret about the fact they need to win in Michigan or they're in serious were trouble.
Back to you.
GREENFIELD: John King, why don't you answer this question for us if you can. The kind of language that the senator used tonight -- "surrendering our future," "dishonoring America," is that language that he has used before tonight?
KING: Certainly not in any public setting like this at all. On the bus, we have had hints of his resentment of Governor Bush, his anger at Governor Bush, his unhappiness with the Bush campaign, but certainly no language like this, this a very bare-knuckle address.
Now Senator McCain wants to make the case heading into Michigan that he is the adult -- he used that term tonight -- and that he is the only Republican who can win in November, but his aides concede there's a difficulty in making the case that you are the most electable Republican when you're not winning any Republican primaries. So Michigan obviously key now to the to the McCain effort to get back on track.
WOODRUFF: Candy, any sense of the kind of points that Governor Bush is going to want to make tonight in his remarks?
CROWLEY: I'm not sure you're going to hear that many substantive points. It's kind of a time to thank people. The governor will point out that he's four out of five at this point, in terms of primaries, that he's anxious to move onto Michigan, and that he believes that he will become the president of the United States and put a beginning of the end to the Clinton era. So I'm not sure you'll here anything you -- maybe some stuff you haven't before, but nothing of the nature that we heard out of the concession speech from John McCain.
SHAW: Candy Crowley, John King, thanks very much.
Watching this coverage from the great state of Michigan, the governor, John Engler, the Republican who backed Texas Governor George Bush, the winner tonight South Carolina's primary.
Governor Engler, Governor Bush's opponent tonight, Senator John McCain, said that he will not take the low road to the highest office in the land and he implicitly accused Governor Bush of running a negative message of fear in his campaign. What will this kind of relationship between these two candidates do to the Republican Party in Michigan?
GOV. JOHN ENGLER (R-MI), BUSH SUPPORTER: Well, I don't think it will do very much. I think that many of us believe that Governor Bush has the character, the values that allow him to be a very strong candidate on the general election ballots here in Michigan. We certainly think that that's just one of the many reasons we ought to be for him and make him our party's nominee.
I think that Governor Bush, coming as an outsider from the governor's chair, comes from the strength of the party, comes from the part of the party where there's been innovation and reform taking place, and in fact, Governor Bush is right, he is the reformer, and John McCain is wrong; he's not the reformer. There's nothing in his record in two decades in Congress that makes him a reformer. There's no results to show for it, and his behavior tonight in that speech was somewhat surprising and in sharp contrast I think to the gracious approach that Governor Bush took after he just got pounded in New Hampshire, and I think Governor Bush won a lot of friends in the last couple weeks by showing that he could get back up off the mat and sort of put his shoulder to the wheel.
And this is a big, impressive victory in South Carolina. It's going to help in Michigan, too.
WOODRUFF: Governor, I want to ask you about that, we're watching -- we want to say as we speak with you, we are watching Governor Bush about to speak at his campaign headquarters there in Columbia, but while we are waiting, let me just ask you, you said to Bruce Morton in an interview yesterday that South Carolina probably will not have an impact, that Michigan is going to make up its own mind.
ENGLER: I said it would be marginally beneficial or marginally negative. I thought we would win. But I do think that it is not fair to say as South Carolina goes so goes Michigan. I certainly would urge any of our supporters and people who have been working so hard in Michigan not to ease up tonight, but to redouble their efforts for the next three days.
We have a lot of work to do, and just like in South Carolina, our key is in getting the Republican support that's so overwhelming for George Bush to the polls to make sure that nothing untoward happens on Election Day by the intervention of non-Republicans who cast votes in this open primary. GREENFIELD: Speaking of the effort, I gather there are a fair number of state officials who have taken vacation time to coincide with this primary so they can spend February in Michigan. Just how much of that effort do you think is going to be in the field for Tuesday?
ENGLER: Every bit of it that we can muster. You know, Monday is a holiday, so we get a break there, President's Day, everybody is off, and I can tell you a lot of people are going to be hard at work. Today, even tonight when the results came in there was a big cheer and a hooray that went up, and then everyone went right back to the phone lists dialing for voters for Tuesday.
We are expecting -- our secretary of state has estimated a 950,000 vote total. Four years ago, it was 660,000. So that's a 50 percent increase. So we are looking for bigger numbers and we want to make sure that those numbers include Republicans. And George Bush has attracted a lot of people with his record, with his personality, and I think that we look at this as, what do we have to do to get rid of Al Gore.
WOODRUFF: Governor, we are going to interrupt you for just a moment and come back to you. We're going to listen to Governor Bush there in South Carolina.
BUSH: Laura and I are honored and humbled by the huge victory we had here in South Carolina.
It is the victory of a message that is compassionate and conservative. And it is the victory of a messenger who is a reformer with results.
South Carolina has spoken.
And tonight -- and tonight there are only 263 days more to the end of Clinton-Gore.
The people of South Carolina -- the people of South Carolina endorsed my agenda of better schools and lower taxes and a stronger military.
The people of South Carolina embraced my visions for high standards and local control of our schools. They embraced my plan to challenge the soft bigotry of low expectations.
(APPLAUSE) My reform agenda stands in stark contrast to the current administration, which defends the status quo in education. My reforms will give every child the quality education that is key to opportunity. And the key must fit the door of every public school all across America.
The Clinton-Gore administration has squandered America's strength and purpose in the world, causing low morale in the military that is underpaid, under-trained and over-deployed.
In stark contrast -- in stark contrast, I have a reform agenda to increase pay, expand research and development, and build the best hope for peace and freedom in the world. And that hope is a strong military, and a steady, peaceful presence of the United States of America.
This administration has played politics with Medicare and Social Security. In stark contrast, I have a reform agenda and a proven record of bringing people together to make sure that we save and strengthen those important programs.
Clinton-Gore have the unfortunate legacy of the highest taxes in America since World War II. In stark contrast, I understand clearly that today's surplus is not government's money, it is the people's money.
BUSH: I have a reform agenda to cut our taxes -- not for the favored, not for the few, not for the targeted, but for everybody who pays taxes here in America.
I'm often asked about my tax cut plan. They say it's not popular in the polls. Why won't you back down, Governor? And I say, you've got the wrong man.
I make my decisions on what's best for America. I make my decisions based upon principle, not based upon polls and focus groups.
South Carolina heard my call to usher in the responsibility era in America. Responsibility begins with leaders who behave responsibly.
I will make sure when American parents and their children look at the White House, they will see not an embarrassment, but an example of which they can be proud. (APPLAUSE)
Tonight in this great state of South Carolina, we have ignited our cause and united our party. We ignited a record turnout from Republicans all across the political spectrum.
We have reached out to independents and conservative Democrats, who embraced our principles. And we have ignited young voters in the state of South Carolina...
... young voters who turned out in large numbers, because my vision for America is positive and hopeful and optimistic.
No, tonight is the beginning. Tonight is the beginning of the end of the Clinton-Gore era in Washington, D.C.
AUDIENCE: No more Gore! No more Gore! No more Gore!
BUSH: I want to commend two tough competitors, Senator John McCain and Ambassador Alan Keyes.
I want to thank their supporters for being involved in the political process.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: But this is Bush country.
BUSH: I want to thank their supporters for their hard work in fighting for a cause in which they believe. But most of all, I'm here to thank my supporters. The thousands...
They oftentimes talk about an Iron Triangle in Washington. We've got an Iron Triangle here in South Carolina, and that's my three co- chairmen: the great lieutenant governor, the great attorney general and the great speaker of the House, friends of South Carolina.
WOODRUFF: Governor George W. Bush telling his many supporters gathered in that hotel room -- we assume it is -- in Columbia, South Carolina that he thanks them and talking about the kind of campaign that he's run, the kind of campaign that he wants to continue to run.
We want to go back now to one of Governor Bush's strongest supporters in Michigan, the governor of the state of Michigan, John Engler. Governor Engler, we've listened to Governor Bush just now, but I want to ask you about one of the things that happened during this campaign in South Carolina, not only some very conservative language coming from Governor Bush himself, but from groups supporting him, and his appearance at Bob Jones University, a very conservative place, banned interracial dating. Is this the kind of activity in a campaign that you and other Republicans around the country can endorse?
ENGLER: Well, I think that Governor Bush addressed that himself directly in the debate with Larry King. And I think what Governor Bush did was put together a coalition tonight that was broad based, across all sectors, all types of Republicans. That campaign appearance there, Governor Bush made it clear that he didn't go there to endorse policies, and in fact, when asked, he made it clear that he disagreed with policies. I can tell you that that school and some of the previous leadership there have said things about Catholics.
I happen to be a Catholic, and we certainly don't agree on those kinds of statements that are so inflammatory and awful, but Governor Bush is reaching out to all kinds of people. The venues that he goes to are to get his message out, not to endorses the message or the statement of a dead forefather of a, you know, of a current president.
So I think he's handled that well. I thought in the debate actually that your network carried, CNN, that he came back very nicely when he pointed out some of the things Warren Rudman had said about the Christian Coalition and probably won some points for that.
And the people who are running have to stand on their record, and they take positions based on what they believe in. You know, Democrats who visit Al Sharpton cause lots of people to worry, too, but I assume they don't go there so they can endorse what Al Sharpton believes.
SHAW: So the road show comes to your state your way. Thanks so much.
ENGLER: Well, we're ready for him. He looked presidential tonight. We're going to goal him on the road to nomination when he gets here.
SHAW: We'll cover it all the way. John Engler.
ENGLER: Thank you very much.
SHAW: You're quite welcome. Thanks for joining our coverage.
SHAW: Still more live coverage from us here at CNN. Coming up still, "LATE EDITION" with Wolf Blitzer. Among his guests Pat Robertson and Congressman J.D. Hayworth of South Carolina, plus much, much more when we return.
SHAW: Did I say Arizona?
WOODRUFF: You said South Carolina. It's Arizona.
WOODRUFF: The contest is over in the state of South Carolina. Governor George W. Bush of Texas the winner.
Bill Schneider, you've been taking a close look at the people who voted for him and what that says about his victory.
SCHNEIDER: Well you know, John McCain has said the great center is what wins elections. Well you know, to a lot of conservatives, the great center is the great Satan, and boy, did McCain pay a price for that.
Let's take a look at self-described conservatives today in South Carolina. They went better than 2-1 for George Bush. Now wait a minute, is George W. Bush a hero to conservatives? You may recall in New Hampshire, the conservative vote split between Bush and McCain a few weeks ago. Why did conservatives suddenly close ranks behind Bush? Well, because McCain won a big victory in New Hampshire, and conservatives were determined to stop John McCain.
McCain may be just as conservative as Bush on the issues, but conservatives have fought for decades to gain control over the Republican Party, and they felt that John McCain wants to take that control away from them. He threatens them by saying he move the party to the center, just as Clinton did for the Democrats. McCain has used the example, he wants to do for Republicans what Clinton did for the Democrats. He wants to Clintonize their party, No wonder conservatives shut him out. The late Lee Atwater designed the South Carolina Republican primary to be a firewall to maintain conservative control over the party. Congratulations, Lee, it's still working.
WOODRUFF: But, Bill, you know, if John McCain were sitting here with us, he would argue, not argue with your point, but he would say, wait a minute, that may be what they think I'm trying to do, but what I am -- I am every bit as conservatives as the conservatives in this party. I just think we need to be more inclusive.
SCHNEIDER: But he does say he want to change the message of the party. He wants to make it a reform party, and he did say he wants to move it to the center, and he wants to duplicate what Clinton did for the Democrats. That, to them, is deeply threatening. They've been struggling and fighting for years to make the Republican Party their party, and he's going to take it away from them.
GREENFIELD: And yet, look what Bush said. It's striking. He went back to traditional themes, which if you remember, back before McCain emerged as an alternative, angered some conservatives. Not just compassionate conservatism, he talks about the soft bigotry of lowered expectations. He talks about a tax cut, not as a sock to the rich, but I don't deal with polls, I'm doing that because it's right, and I want a tax cut, you know, to hope ordinary Americans. It is very much a message designed to appeal to the middle that he used from the time he announced for president, and he's right back doing it tonight.
So while he's a hero to conservatives in South Carolina, this is a message tailored to a much broader base.
SHAW: Two points of high symbolism coming out of this South Carolina race as we heard Governor Bush. As he was speaking, did you notice that the Republican establishment leader was there in South Carolina was there as if to say, we won, we prevailed, former South Carolina governor Carroll Campbell. Another high symbolic point, did you notice to Governor Bush's -- to hit right, to his left, as you looked at the screen, a man wearing a collar which was blue with white dots? That is the high highest military award this nation can bestow upon any serviceman or woman: the Congressional Medal of Honor. And you reported in your exit polling tonight that Bush managed to get 47 percent of the veterans voting in South Carolina.
SCHNEIDER: That's right.
SHAW: Two points of high symbolism I saw.
SCHNEIDER: And the other thing that Bush did in his speech a few minutes ago, was he didn't pay any attention to John McCain; he mentioned him very causally along with Alan Keyes. He focused his attention on Bill Clinton and Al Gore. And he did one interesting thing with the tax issue. He said, you know, the polls say my tax plan is not popular. Well, he's right. It's not a popular plan. Even among the Republican voters in South Carolina, they said it was more important to protect Social Security, but he said if you think I'm going back down from this because of the polls, you've got the wrong man, and then he compared himself with Bill Clinton. He knows that the image of Bill Clinton was a man who is totally driven by politics. And George W. Bush is saying, I'm a contrast with Clinton, I'm not totally driven by politics, I'm going to stand for what I believe in, even if it's not popular.
WOODRUFF: Which calls to mind what John McCain said in his concession speech shortly before Governor Bush's, where he said, I will always put principle ahead of ambition, a clear reference to Governor Bush. It was almost as if Governor Bush had listened or been told what McCain said, and said no, no, no, no, no, I'm the one who's got the principle.
GREENFIELD: Sorry. I was just making quick point, that being gracious is always much easier when you've won an important contest. It's a real test to see if you can be gracious when you lose. I think that's going to be an interesting dynamic that plays out over the next couple days.
SHAW: You were making the point that people are driven in politics. Well, Wolf Blitzer is driven, with the desire to inform.
Coming up Wolf Blitzer, "LATE EDITION," as our coverage of the South Carolina primary continues.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: Just moments ago, Governor George Bush of Texas met with his supporters in Columbia, South Carolina, thanked them all, said he was honored and humbled by what he called his huge victory.
Our own Candy Crowley is there at Bush -- the ballroom where Bush spoke with his supporters. Candy, what did you hear? What struck you among the governor's words that he chose tonight?
CROWLEY: Basically, Judy, everything you heard in that speech he has said throughout this campaign, the compassionate conservatism. What struck me really was that the line about, you know, this is the however many days left to the Clinton-Gore era. That's always been the Clinton era before, so Al Gore now has a new first name and it's Clinton. So this is -- it struck me that this was not about John McCain. This was about Al Gore.
So, you know, they're clearly -- you know, want to have that image of, you know, moving out of here with steam and trying to get some of that sort of aura of invincibility back to him. He hasn't quite done it with South Carolina, but he's clearly gotten a good hit here and they're going to use it as much as they can and move on out to Michigan and see what they can do up there.
WOODRUFF: Candy, what is the schedule for the governor from here?
CROWLEY: He -- we leave tonight in about five minutes and we go up to -- fly up to Michigan, Grand Rapids. He's going to spend the day in Grand Rapids, go to church, but then do some campaigning rallies on Monday as well and then some kind of poll event, as they call it on, Tuesday. So it's -- all they're doing really is getting out the vote.
They know they can't change strategy at this point. There's only, you know, three days until it's voting day, and as you know, in the final days of any campaign you move into rally the vote, so that's what he is going to with the help of John Engler.
WOODRUFF: And they won't be skipping down to Arizona, we gather?
CROWLEY: Not that I know of, no. There were some early plans to do that, but that's when Bush was quite competitive in Arizona. I don't think there are any plans to go back there. It's all Michigan until Tuesday.
SHAW: Well, shouldn't we be considerate and let you pack your bag and get on the bus and get to the airport?
WOODRUFF: She better already be packed.
CROWLEY: Well, I can tell -- I was just going to say, they were on the bus at 6:00 this morning, so I don't have to worry about the bag, but, no, we are off and running, as they say.
SHAW: We'll see you from Michigan.
CROWLEY: OK, bye.
SHAW: Candy Crowley.
WOODRUFF: See you there. Thanks, Candy.
SHAW: Thanks very much.
We indicated earlier that in South Carolina the primary balloting is tabulated by hand, not by machine, and that's what's going on right now, so the raw vote total will continue to drift in as our coverage continues tonight.
But if you're just tuning in, Texas Governor George Bush wins by a very wide margin in South Carolina this night. Here now the latest, latest numbers with 64 percent of the precincts in: Bush 54 percent, McCain 41 percent, Alan Keyes, 5 percent.
WOODRUFF: Now we are going to go to our own Wolf Blitzer to his Saturday night edition of "LATE EDITION" -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, HOST, "LATE EDITION": Thanks, Judy and Bernie.
Clearly, one of the reasons for George W. Bush's victory tonight is that conservatives, particularly Christian conservatives turned out in big numbers.
Joining us now is the president and founder of the Christian Coalition and a George W. Bush supporter, Pat Robertson. He's in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Also with us from Phoenix, John McCain supporter, Congressman J.D. Hayworth of Arizona. Arizona holds its Republican primary, of course, on Tuesday. Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us.
Pat Robertson, on Sunday, last Sunday when you were on "LATE EDITION" you said that if McCain were to capture the Republican nomination that would destroy, that would devastate the Republican Party. Did you and your Christian coalition colleagues help save the Republican Party today?
PAT ROBERTSON, PRES., CHRISTIAN COALITION: Well, I would like to think so, Wolf. We were part of a great coalition, but we worked our heads off. I know Roberta Combs (ph) had, I think, 45 county coordinators on the telephones. We sent out thousands of pieces of mail. We worked very, very hard night and day on this particular campaign to turn the people out, and I believe what was said and done had some impact, at least John McCain gave -- said we are the major segment of those that went against him.
BLITZER: John McCain did indeed say that several times. Congressman Hayworth, why wasn't John McCain more of an attractive candidate among Christian conservatives in South Carolina?
ROBERTSON: I tell you, the thing that is so important was that Warren Rudman had made these unbelievably bigoted statements in a book he wrote, saying that these people were homophobes and radical abortion -- anti-abortionists, and you know, they were opposed to free speech and on and on and on, and McCain refused to disavow those statements. He said, well, he's entitled to his opinion. Well, this man is his campaign chairman and was going to be his attorney general.
The other thing, Bernie, that's so important was McCain-Feingold, when people began to realize that McCain-Feingold, the so-called campaign finance reform bill gave a free ride to labor unions while it crippled the citizen organizations, which in a sense were a major part of the Republican coalition, when people began to understand the nuts and bolts of that campaign finance issue they turned against McCain and a lot of the luster came out of that New Hampshire primary.
BLITZER: Congressman Hayworth, what do you say about that -- those criticisms of your candidate John McCain?
REP. J.D. HAYWORTH (R), ARIZONA: Well, Pat is certainly exulted in his victory, and we congratulate the Bush folks. They have a great sense of relief tonight. It was a must win for the governor of Texas. While there is relief in the Bush camp, there is resolve in the McCain camp.
You'll note my good friend, Pat, didn't talk about J.D. Hayworth being a friend of the Christian coalition, J.D. Hayworth's 100 percent conservative voting record in the first session of 106th Congress, the fact that I'm a national co-chairman of the Bush campaign, the fact that Gary Bauer, a very strong-minded Christian conservative was likewise aligned with John McCain.
And the fact is, over and above the fine folks of the Christian Coalition you had so many different groups coming into South Carolina, so many phone calls, sadly so many pamphlets without any clear authorship, so many outrageous e-mails and Internet rumors out there, that John McCain felt the brunt of an incredible attack and yet he's still standing, and the road to the nomination comes right here through Arizona on Tuesday and Arizona Republicans will flock to the polls and support their favorite son.
BLITZER: Well, do you think that, Congressman Hayworth, that Arizona is a lock for John McCain at this point?
HAYWORTH: I think Arizona will be a strong win for John McCain and I think he will rebound in Michigan as well. I think you're going to see John McCain pick up the mantle now. In essence, we are one and one in terms of the major primary states now, and we will move along with our message of real conservative reform and win here in Arizona and win in Michigan and get back on the road to the nomination.
BLITZER: Well, what do you say about that, Pat Robertson, if John McCain does turn around and win Michigan and Arizona that could pull the steam out of this South Carolina victory pretty quickly?
ROBERTSON: Bernie, I don't think so. You know -- excuse me, Wolf. The win he had there was bigger than Ronald Reagan, it was 53 percent, Reagan only got 51 percent. He won Iowa by the biggest percentage in those caucuses. I'm aware of. I think he set a historic record. This guy is a winner. He's won Delaware, he's won Alaska, he's won Iowa, he won South Carolina. He's rolling them up. He's going to win Virginia, which is coming up. There's no question about that. And the polls show that he's begun to close in on McCain and probably will give a close race in Michigan and maybe win it. And so if McCain takes his home state, I don't think it's a very big deal,
And J.D. is one of the great congressmen. I'm so proud of him. He's got a wonderful record in Congress. And I don't see how in the world he can ally himself with Warren Rudman, because I cannot believe he shares the same philosophy of Warren Rudman on so many of these social issues.
HAYWORTH: Pat, you and I know that the whole idea about winning campaigns is to reaching out to a variety of people. In fact, Governor Bush made the same point about one of his appearance last week's in South Carolina. And the fact is, I find it incredibly ironic that John McCain is being criticized for reaching out to folks, for reaching out the fastest growing segment of voters, independents, reaching out to those disenfranchised Democrats ready to abandon the Clinton/Gore gang, and yet invective was heaped upon McCain in South Carolina for the very act of trying to make the Republican Party more inclusive, and I find that an unfortunate signal. But we'll see what happens Tuesday here in Arizona and also in Michigan.
BLITZER: Pat Robertson, let me just ask you, in all of his recent elections, when he was running for senator in Arizona, John McCain was always generally supported by Christian conservatives. In fact, the Christian conservative voter guides in Arizona usually gave him very high marks on issues like abortion and other issues very central to your agenda. Why is it now that you think that as he is poison to the Republican Party?
ROBERTSON: Well, he's begun to waffle, for example on Roe versus Wade. He said I don't think Roe versus Wade needs to be reversed. When he was going to put Warren Rudman in as his attorney general, Rudman is the man that gave us David Souter in the Supreme Court.
HAYWORTH: Pat, let's be fair. President Bush gave a statement...
ROBERTSON: Yes, I know, but Sooner came into the New Hampshire Supreme Court on Rudman's say so, and I think it's attributed to him, but that's the kind of philosophy...
HAYWORTH: And Governor Sununu.
ROBERTSON: He's definitely against life. That's the thing that's so significant. And the right-to-life people just burned up McCain in South Carolina, and we were concerned about McCain/Feingold. McCain/Feingold would have destroyed the Christian coalition.
BLITZER: The campaign finance reform.
I can't understand why people don't understand this so-called campaign finance reform is going give a free run to labor unions.
HAYWORTH: Rev. Robertson, just to check, have you seen Governor Bush's plan? The fact is, I disagree with both plans for campaign finance reform. We need only two things. Number one, full disclosure, so everybody knows who's giving what to who. And number two, paycheck protection, that means that labor union members would not have their dues taken and put into political campaigns again their will. I think we can agree on that, and quite frankly, that's not the position of either major candidate. Those are the two things we need to reform.
ROBERTSON: J.D., God bless you, you know that John McCain voted against paycheck protection, which is an important reform act, and you know, that's to me -- I totally agree with you. I ran for president, and I know about campaigns, and how much it costs and what it is. I think the current laws are really extremely restrictive for candidates. It means you're out raising money all the time. And if there's going to be reform, what you said is exactly what's needed, I agree with that, and you know, your man did vote against paycheck protection, which is very important.
BLITZER: All right, let's move on.
Congressman Hayworth, tell me -- I'm going to ask the same question to Pat Robertson in a minute. Tell me why you think John McCain would be a more formidable challenger to Al Gore or Bill Bradley than George W. Bush would be?
HAYWORTH: Well, take a look at the latest polling nationally. John McCain leads Al Gore by 16 points. John McCain can be the commander in chief who is ready from day one. He is uniquely qualified. I think Pat agrees with me, we have to rebuild our national defense in the wake of the Clinton/Gore gang tearing it asunder, taking contributions from the communist Chinese, turning a blind eye to the espionage conducted by those folks in the communist regime from China, and we have to rebuild our national defense. I believe John McCain is best qualified to do that.
I'd also say, with reference to his votes for social conservatism, on the floor of the Senate of the United States earlier, in the Congress of the United States, there is no clearer signal of how you would act as president than the way you voted on the floor of the Congress or the Senate. So I think those votes make him a good choice for president.
BLITZER: Pat Robertson, why do you think George W. Bush would be a more formidable opponent to Al Gore or Bill Bradley?
ROBERTSON: I think Bush has proven that he can work together with disparate groups. He has had a tremendous record of working with minorities, Hispanics, African Americans, Democrats. He brought a Democrat legislature to come along with his programs in Texas. He's been a tremendous unifier, and he's an executive, he's the chief executive of one of the biggest states in America, and this is the kind of experience -- I don't know of any training ground for the presidency that's any better than being a governor. I don't think being a member of a legislative body for 16, or 17 or 18 years is exactly the qualification somebody needs to be CEO.
BLITZER: Congressman Hayworth, all this negative campaigning that we saw in South Carolina, is that going to hurt the Republican Party down the road?
HAYWORTH: Well, I think it is unfortunate. And even more, that it wasn't so much negative campaigning from Governor Bush personally, but so many surrogates, with so many different messages, so personally damaging to Senator McCain. I don't think that served anybody well. And I must tell you as a former South Carolina Republican, as a Republican in Greenville County, I was so sorry that over 20 precincts were not open in Greenville County today. I think that sends the wrong signal. I know it was something that not, I'm sure, intentional on the part of the folks in Greenville County, but I think it served, unfortunately, to disenfranchise some people who wanted to cast a vote for John McCain.
But on balance, I believe that our party will move in a constructive fashion with a real reformer at the top of the ticket, in John McCain, and again, we're very happy the road to the nomination comes straight through Arizona on Tuesday. John McCain will win here and win again in Michigan as well.
BLITZER: All right, Pat Robertson, John McCain did say something tonight that was seen by many as at least a not so subtle swipe on George W. Bush, when he said, he is not prepared to take the low road to the highest office in the land, implying of course that George W. Bush is doing that.
ROBERTSON: Well, Wolf, you know, the statement that McCain made in television ads against George Bush that he didn't tell the truth any more than Bill Clinton. That was outrageous. All Bush was pointing out was the fact that John McCain, who comes in as an outsider, wasn't really an outsider, that he was chairman of a very powerful committee, that he had taken millions of dollars from the corporations who were regulated by his committee. He's up to his hip boots in all kinds of money from lobbyists, over half his campaign staff are lobbyists, and to make believe that he's some kind of outside-the-Beltway reformer just wasn't accurate, and so I think George Bush pointed that out. He didn't say anything that wasn't true. It's a true statement.
HAYWORTH: And let's carry on the true statements, Pat. We know that Governor Bush, through disclosure, has taken five times the amount of funds from Washington lobbyists as has John McCain. And in terms of the insider label, more of the Washington professional corps has signed on with Governor Bush than with Senator McCain, so I think fairness compels us to make that point as well.
ROBERTSON: Well, Bush didn't come out and say, I'm going to reform government. First of all, J.D., you've been up there. You know how tough it is to move Congress, to move the court system, and for somebody to stand up and say, well, I want to give you back the government, you know that's disingenuous. I mean, I've been around long enough, and so have you, that, you know, that won't play, but that's what his campaign has been about, and I don't believe it's very honest.
HAYWORTH: I'd never underestimate John McCain, Pat. BLITZER: J.D. Hayworth and Pat Robertson, on this historic day, this South Carolina primary, thank you so much to both of you for joining us on this special LATE EDITION segment. Thanks so much for joining us.
HAYWORTH: Thanks very much.
BLITZER: And CNN's special coverage of the South Carolina primary will continue right after this.
SHAW: Texas Governor George Bush the winner of the South Carolina Republican primary. Let's take a look at where they stand now in the tabulation. With 74 percent of the precincts in, Bush 54 percent to McCain's 41 percent, Alan Keyes with 5 percent.
WOODRUFF: Bernie, and we should point out, at least I would like to point out.
SHAW: Please so point.
WOODRUFF: That we have been saying tonight that it's expected that based on our projection 600,000 people will have turned out in this Republican primary in South Carolina.
If you look at those numbers just quickly, we're not -- we are saying 75 percent of the precincts are reporting, but we are not that close to 600,000. Clearly what that must mean, Bill and Jeff and Bernie, is that some of the precincts yet to be counted must have a lot of people in them.
GREENFIELD: There will be a prize for the first person to finish this arithmetic puzzle.
I did want to point out one thing that struck me, because of all the conversations that we've been having up until this primary, and that is just change one little fact, let's pretend that the South Carolina primary had happened three days after New Hampshire, the way the Michigan primary will, that McCain would have ridden in on that huge bounce, that there would not have been time for Governor Bush to recover and McCain had won in South Carolina, you know, the conversations that would be going on tonight is Bush finished, what happened to the $50 million, how many Bush supporters are going to jump ship, because it is not a secret that there were people who had signed onto Bush -- a couple of them already moved, Bill Jones in California, Dan Evans from Washington State -- but there were others that the McCain campaign was counting on to change allegiance had Bush lost and McCain won in South Carolina.
And now what everybody is talking about is not is Bush finished, but can McCain hold on and possibly win Michigan. It's an amazing fact.
SHAW: But what does Bush's victory in South Carolina do to the pox on the calendar argument... SCHNEIDER: The pox on the calendar argument, which is?
SHAW: Argument. Right. The front loading, et cetera, et cetera?
SCHNEIDER: Well, what's going to happen now is...
SHAW: Bush lost New Hampshire, Jeff points out with this went he had plenty of time to overcome his defeat.
SCHNEIDER: Yes. Well, remember that this was planned by the late Lee Atwater. When all of the Southern states formed Super Tuesday he said he wanted to keep the Republicans in South Carolina separate earlier than the rest of the South, because he said, we can rely on Republicans in South Carolina to protect the hard fought conservative victory over the GOP, and he knew what he was doing, and that's of course exactly what happened this time.
GREENFIELD: But, Bernie -- I'm sorry. Bernie's point is striking, but one thing...
SHAW: But my point is...
GREENFIELD: ... we talked about the other night, Bill, was that these front loaded primaries, the first half dozen offer to Democrats and independents to enter and that, that was a powerful asset to McCain. In losing tonight, that facet has been substantially eradicated, even though independents and Democrats can vote in Michigan and in Washington and in Virginia, and I think that's the point.
SHAW: That's the point...
GREENFIELD: This is why this victory tonight was so absolutely critical for Bush, because it takes that card off the table, to use a metaphor.
SCHNEIDER: That's right.
SCHNEIDER: Many of those Republican primaries do now, including Michigan, allow Democrats and independents to come in, but the momentum has just been taken away from the McCain campaign. And why do they allow so many Democrats and independents to come in deliberately? Because they thought there would be a lot of Reagan Democrats who would come in and reinforce the party's conservative message, but they're all gone. I mean, they've become Republicans. The Democrats who are coming in now are not particularly Reagan Democrats.
WOODRUFF: There are some Reagan Democrats still around, maybe a few in the state of Michigan.
SCHNEIDER: You know what they're called these days, Republicans.
WOODRUFF: They're just called Republicans.
GREENFIELD: The most important part about that for me is that the Reagan Democrats, who actually were Nixon Democrats in '72, moved on ideological grounds, they moved to the Republican Party because of law and order, because of bussing, because of values, and then in 1980 because the economy had gone sour in the Midwest.
What was so interesting and what is interesting about the McCain challenge is these -- he is trying to beckon people not on ideology, but on a general discontent with the political process and that message I think is a very difficult one to sustain because it's not driven by strong ideology, by a feeling that the country is going to pot, literally and figuratively, the way it was in the '60s, or driven by economic concern. And whether McCain can pull this off in Michigan...
SCHNEIDER: It's Perot's message.
SCHNEIDER: Ross Perot's message.
SHAW: Last night, Jeff Greenfield, you told your "NEWSSTAND" audience that we were going to cover the South Carolina primary until the last dog dies and then we're going to cover the funeral, when we come back, more coverage of this primary.
This esteemed gentleman will have the latest on exit polling, what the South Carolina voters told us tonight, plus we're going to go live to Michigan. That and much more as CNN continues covering the primary that Texas Governor George Bush won tonight in South Carolina.
WOODRUFF: Some call it the New Hampshire of the South. It is the state of South Carolina. The voters of the state have spoken. The polls closed there three hours ago exactly. The winner in the Republican presidential primary: George W. Bush. You can see the numbers right there, 77 percent of the precincts reporting, 54 percent to 41 percent.
For The Winner In New Hampshire, John McCain, a very difficult day, difficult evening for Senator McCain.
Not too many minutes ago, Governor Bush came out and addressed his supporters in Columbia, South Carolina.
Here's part of what he had to say.
BUSH: Laura and I are honored and humbled by the huge victory we had here in South Carolina.
It is the victory of a message that is compassionate and conservative. And it is the victory of a messenger who is a reformer with results. South Carolina heard my call to usher in the responsibility era in America. Responsibility begins with leaders who behave responsibly.
I will make sure when American parents and their children look at the White House, they will see not an embarrassment, but an example of which they can be proud.
Tonight in this great state of South Carolina, we have ignited our cause and united our party. We ignited a record turnout from Republicans all across the political spectrum.
We have reached out to independents and conservative Democrats, who embraced our principles. And we have ignited young voters in the state of South Carolina...
... young voters who turned out in large numbers, because my vision for America is positive and hopeful and optimistic.
No, tonight is the beginning. Tonight is the beginning of the end of the Clinton-Gore era in Washington, D.C.
SHAW: Although he suffered defeat tonight in that South Carolina primary, Arizona Senator John McCain through the tome and substance of his remarks brushed aside last rites.
MCCAIN: My friends, I say to you, I am a uniter, not a divider. I don't just say it, I live it. I'm a real reformer. I'm a real reformer. I don't just say it, I live it. And I'm a fighter for this country. And I don't just say it, I live it.
As this campaign moves forward, a clear choice will be offered: a choice between my optimistic and welcoming conservatism and the negative message of fear, between Ronald Reagan's vision of exclusion and the defeatist tactics of exclusion so cherished by those who would shut the doors to our party and surrender America's future to Speaker Gephardt and President Al Gore, a choice between a record of reform and an empty slogan of reform, a choice between -- a choice between experience and pretense. MCCAIN: So tonight...
So tonight, my friends, we leave for Michigan and then on to home, to my beautiful Arizona, with our heads held high, proud of the battle we fought. And ready to ask Michigan and Arizona to send their message to America, a message of hope that our party and our country -- that our country and our party is bigger than the sum of its divided parts; a message of reform that we will take our government back from the big money special interest and the Iron Triangle of money, lobbyists and legislation will no longer stop us from building a bigger America; and a message of honesty, that we will honor our obligations to each other by using our prosperity to pay down the debt and save Social Security and Medicare.
SHAW: And as Mr. McCain takes his campaign on to Michigan, Bill Schneider, I wonder how miffed can Senator McCain be that Governor Bush took from the McCain playbook some of his best?
SCHNEIDER: Pretty miffed. Let me tell you something. You know what the top quality that the voters were looking for in South Carolina today? They said it was somebody who stands up for what he believes in. Well, guess what? The votes who were looking for that quality went for John McCain. And you know they could not have been disappointed to hear McCain's defiant concession speech we just heard tonight. McCain's defiant concession speech we just heard tonight. McCain's message: I stand up for what I believe. He insists that he keep fighting for those principles and that he won't let George Bush steal them.
Now McCain also warned Republicans that he, not Bush, was the candidate who could beat Al Gore. Well, not according to the voters in South Carolina today. We asked them who was more likely to beat the Democrat in November. They said Bush by a substantial margin. And among those voters who said more than anything else they were looking for a winner, Bush did even better. He got over 70 percent of their vote. McCain's argument that Bush is a loser did not find much resonance among South Carolina voters today.
GREENFIELD: I think...
GREENFIELD: I'm sorry, Bernie. My -- I think what we heard tonight from McCain was something different. Not just, if you go with Bush you're going to get Speaker Gephardt and President Gore, which is designed to strike fear in the heart of every conservative Republican, but that George W. Bush is inauthentic. He didn't use the word phony, and I don't want to put that word in his mouth, but when he talks about pretense...
WOODRUFF: But he came very close.
SCHNEIDER: He certainly came close.
WOODRUFF: He came close.
GREENFIELD: ... I mean, that, in the language of politics, is about as close as you get without putting that word on the table. And that's why I was so, I guess, startled by the speech, because it ratcheted up the division so starkly on the night when he lost his first big test..
WOODRUFF: And yet when we asked McCain that very question, Jeff, when we were all three talking to him, we said this is much tougher language than you've been using, he said, no, I've really been saying this all along...
GREENFIELD: And what did John King tell us?
WOODRUFF: ... not wanting to acknowledge that, and then when we asked John King, he said -- our correspondent who has been following McCain day in and day out for the last few weeks, he said, no, he hasn't been saying that.
SHAW: Not publicly.
SCHNEIDER: Yes, well...
WOODRUFF: Not publicly.
SCHNEIDER: Here are his words, he said, "I have a record versus a slogan," meaning for Bush it's nothing but a slogan, that sort of says he's a phony. He said "experience versus pretense." What does pretense mean? When you say someone's involved in a pretense that means he's false.
SCHNEIDER: He's a hypocrite.
SHAW: But this is the question, how will what McCain said in South Carolina tonight play in Michigan? That's the question.
GREENFIELD: I would say that's the $64 question, but with inflation that doesn't mean anything anymore. That's I guess the million dollar question.
SHAW: How does it play?
GREENFIELD: Well, you know, the thing that we keep reminding the audience when we're I think loose ends, we don't know. I mean, I'm at a -- I'm absolutely at a loss to figure out whether this is going to hit home, or whether it's going to seem like he's a sore loser.
SHAW: Let me say why... WOODRUFF: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) go ahead.
SHAW: I just want to say why I passionately asked the question, here Governor Bush took two-thirds of his Republican base in South Carolina, more than 60 percent of the voters were Republican, they're looking at moderates in Michigan, what does McCain do to get these moderates? Was he not trying to speak to them tonight, Judy?
WOODRUFF: Well, in the state of South Carolina, McCain did well among moderates and so-called liberal Republicans, is that not right?
SCHNEIDER: There weren't very many liberals, but there are a lot of moderates in the state, and there are going to be even more in Michigan. I think there are two messages, one is that George Bush has gone too far to the right. The Bob Jones University -- we're going to see that again and again, possibly with McCain, certainly with Al Gore if Bush is the nominee. He's going to talk as painting himself into a corner.
The other is -- and this is -- going to be a little hard for him to argue -- that he is not a winner. Now, we have found that the polls are getting closer and closer between George Bush and Al Gore. Bush was leading Gore by 19 points about two weeks before the New Hampshire primary. You know what the margin is now? Five. It's getting too close to call. My guess is if the polls start turning around, and they may not turn around after tonight, but if they were ever to turn around showing Bush slipping badly behind \Al Gore, McCain could score some big points.
GREENFIELD: Well, in fact, up until about a few days ago, McCain was running much stronger against Gore than was Bush, and he -- you had this weird dichotomy where the polls were saying McCain runs stronger, but Republicans were saying even after New Hampshire, Bush is more likely to win, and this victory can only help that Bush argument.
But the question is that -- I understand why it's asked so passionately, I just don't know what the answer is. Do you appeal to moderate Republicans and do you appeal to some conservatives by arguing that your principle opponent is not -- I'll use the word -- is kind of a phony, is not real?
SCHNEIDER: I'll tell you how you do it, and this is something McCain has not done a very good job with, Bill Clinton. You know, the one thing that George Bush did that I thought really galvanized those Republican voters in the debate was he targeted Bill Clinton, and he did it again tonight in his speech, in his -- it wasn't a concession -- his acceptance speech.
But he said, "I'm going to beat Bill Clinton, I'm going to go after Clinton and Gore." He showed fight. That's what Republicans respond to. McCain shows passion, but his passion is for reform, for changing the political system. He's got to get the nomination first ,and he can only do that on the one issue that unites Republicans, and it ain't taxes, it's Bill Clinton.
WOODRUFF: And he did mention, in fairness, McCain did mention Gore and Gephardt, he didn't mention Clinton tonight. But he talked about, we need to...
SCHNEIDER: He's got to start talking about Clinton, because that's the issue that rallies Republicans, end the Clinton years. You heard George Bush say it at least twice in his speech.
WOODRUFF: And when he mentioned in that ad, and then I'll let you talk, Bernie, he got in trouble for it in South Carolina, when he said...
GREENFIELD: Well, when he compared Bush to Clinton.
WOODRUFF: When he compared Bush to Clinton.
SCHNEIDER: He compared Bush to Clinton. Yes, that was offensive to a lot of Republicans.
WOODRUFF: Right, right, OK.
SHAW: Well, all roads to the presidency for nomination lead through Michigan, and when we come back we'll take you there, and Bruce Morton.
SHAW: These are the very latest figures from South Carolina's republican primary, with 80 percent of the precincts in. Texas Governor George Bush a solid winner tonight, with 54 percent, John McCain, Arizona senator with 41 percent, former ambassador Alan Keyes 5 percent.
WOODRUFF: In Michigan, joining us, our man Bruce Morton, who's been there for several days now, Bruce, our crack correspondent. And, Bruce, I know you've been watching these results, I know you've been talking to people in that state, is South Carolina going to have much of an affect on what happens there Tuesday?
MORTON: Well, I think it may, you know. McCain was way down there, went way up when his big win in New Hampshire was on television and the newspapers. It's not unreasonable to think South Carolina would be a bounce for Governor Bush. But this is a very different kind of place. It's the first really big, pretty much typical of the country industrial state, and it's not the old Michigan. It's not some union members at assembly lines in the old Henry Ford way. In auto factories nowadays the robots do all the heavy lifting.
So you're talking about an electorate that's changing. You may be a Democrat, but you're probably not quite as staunch a union Democrat as your father was. A lot of these people now work in high- tech. There are computer companies here. There are industrial design companies here. These are the people. There is no party registration in this state. Most of the people you talk to think there are more independents than either Republicans or Democrats. Anybody can walk in and vote. A lot of independents I've met like McCain. Some veterans I've met like McCain. There will be a lot more people voting.
The secretary of state, Candice Miller, who we bumped into at one George Bush phone bank today, thinks maybe 950,000 or so. There are about just under 7 million registered voters in this state. Again, no party registration, so anybody can show up. How these people will go is hard to say. Bush has the organization, has Governor John Engler, whom you've had on the air tonight.
There were -- I told you -- just mentioned one phone bank -- there were 18 phone banks in this cone county, Macomb County, which is traditionally kind of a swing county, home of the Regan Democrats and all that. They say they have phone banks in every county in the state. So if organization can matter, and in a big state that's hard to measure, too, Bush should do well, but this is still in play I think.
SHAW: Bruce, you've heard both Governor Bush in his victory statement and Senator McCain in his barely conceded statement, conceded defeat that is, which candidate's message is going to play to the party base, the Republican base in Michigan? Governor Bush attacked President Clinton by name, Vice President Al Gore by name, he talked about his themes, his message in his campaign, and Senator McCain talked about the differences between himself and Governor Bush?
MORTON: Well, Bernie, I think the Bush message is going to play simply because the establishment party, Governor Engler and all of the people who were with him, and he's very popular, a very successful third-term governor here. They want their guy in the White House, and their guy is George W. Bush.
There are Republicans backing John McCain -- William Milliken, a former governor -- but Engler is the dominant political figure in this state. He has the dominant political organization in this state, and it's going to be beating the drums for the Bush message.
John McCain, I thought, sounded angry, but I don't know that the voters here or anywhere else much respond to anger.
GREENFIELD: Yes, Bruce, that's what I wanted to ask you about. I mean, in thinking back over political history -- and you're about the best in the business -- it has never struck me that Michigan was a powerful reform state. It's a state where Democrats are sort of traditionally liberal. Republicans can be moderate or conservative. But the reform message, unlike a state say like Oregon or in New England, that generally hasn't played all that much in Michigan, has it?
MORTON: No, not really. Michigan is in a funny phase right now. For years, economics played here. I mean, you know, "It's the economy, stupid," was a perfect Michigan slogan, because big automobile companies were in trouble, workers were worried about getting laid off. Now the state is prosperous. Unemployment is below the national average, has been for some four and half years. So those people are doing well. They're free to worry about other things. But I don't get a lot of people -- I haven't run into a lot of people -- talking about political reform. They talk about values. They talk about Clinton. They talk about education. People do not grab you by the lapel and say "political reform."
SCHNEIDER: Bruce -- this is Bill Schneider -- a quick question. I've heard and seen news stories about anti-Engler Democrats -- Engler's a Republican, of course -- anti-Engler Democrats who are urging minority voters, union members to go into the primary and vote for John McCain to embarrass the governor. Is that anything that's happening on a large scale.
MORTON: I think it's happening on a small scale. The small scale is a state representative from Democrat named Lamar Lemmons. I saw him in a church last night urging people to do just this. He is described by other Democrats in the state as -- quote -- "something of a loose cannon" -- unquote. That's when they're smiling. I don't think that great legions are going to march behind him on this.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bruce Morton, reporting from Detroit.
And, Bruce, we're going to be watching you work hard there for the next three days, until the voting there on Tuesday, and we'll be back to report on the results Tuesday night.
Right now, we're going to take a break. When we come back:
SHAW: We're going to go to Frank Sesno, our Washington bureau chief, who is not in Washington. He's in Phoenix, Arizona. That's where Senator McCain will be awaiting returns Tuesday night when the Michigan and Arizona primary results will be made known.
Frank Sesno coming up, as we continue our coverage. Back in a moment.
WOODRUFF: We are going to go to Phoenix, Arizona right now to our own colleague, Washington bureau chief Frank Sesno, for a look at that state, which votes on Tuesday -- Frank.
SESNO: Judy, as you said, the state votes on Tuesday. It's not expected that it's going to be really tough sledding, or it wasn't expected that it would be really tough sledding, or it wasn't expected that it would be tough sledding for John McCain. Back in October, polls showed he was trailing George W. Bush by about four percentage points after the New Hampshire primary. That all changed. "The Arizona Republic," published a poll on Friday, yesterday, that showed McCain up 23 points. Folks in the Bush camp tonight are saying, hey, 23 points. First of all, that's not so much, because usually a favored son wins his or her own state by quite a bit more than that. And secondly, watch this race tighten as a result of the bounce out of South Carolina for George W. Bush.
Judy, I should tell you something, there is some bad blood in this state for John McCain. It's going to be quite interesting to watch now what happens with George W. Bush's win in South Carolina. The governor is backing Bush. The state senate majority leader is backing Bush, and even those congressional delegations -- in fact, you heard from J.D. Hayworth in the evening, though they're backing McCain, they disagree with some of the things that McCain is running most strongly on. For example, his formula for campaign finance reform. In "The Arizona Republic" just today, an article published, "McCain's Strategy Confuses Arizonans," It's an article about the difference between even those who are supporting him, the congressional delegation, on subjects, not just such as campaign finance reform and taxes, and his other opponents in the state.
So it's going to be a very interesting thing to watch here in Arizona, even though it's home territory for McCain.
WOODRUFF: All right, Frank Sesno, in Phoenix, we appreciate it, and we are -- we're just about out of time.
Bernie, Tuesday night, we're going to be right back here reporting on Arizona and Michigan.
SHAW: Starting at 7:00 p.m. And before that, the Monday night debate between Vice President Al Gore and Senator Bill Bradley, 8:00- 9:30 p.m. from the Apollo Theater in Harlem.
WOODRUFF: Bernie will be moderating. Jeff Greenfield will be one of the questioners.
SCHNEIDER: We'll be here Tuesday night with more states.
WOODRUFF: Bill and I will be joining them Tuesday night with Arizona.
GREENFIELD: And I'll be in Washington for "LARRY KING," but I'll be joining you from time to time in the coverage, as we see what happens.
WOODRUFF: And we look forward to it.
It's been quite a night. A big political story: George Bush pulls it out, at least a 10-point margin, maybe 12 or 13, in the state of South Carolina.
SHAW: Much, much more of our coverage coming up in just a moment with the "CAPITAL GANG," from Washington and elsewhere.
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