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Bush's Reported Push to Overhaul Social Security Spurs Al Gore to Pounce; Gore's Global Vision; White House Goes HollywoodAired May 1, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: A report that George W. Bush may make a new push to overhaul Social Security spurs Al Gore to pounce.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Also ahead, Gore's global vision and his negative spin on Bush's international policy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You like me. You really like me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: The president's new role: Is the White House going Hollywood?
ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Judy Woodruff and Bernard Shaw.
WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us.
We begin with new red meat for Al Gore, who has been tearing into George W. Bush's campaign platform with new aggressiveness lately. At issue: Social Security reform and an apparent trial balloon floated by the Bush camp. Gore is so eager to seize on the story that he is setting aside any reluctance he has shown about talking with reporters.
More now from CNN's Jonathan Karl -- Jonathan.
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, Al Gore is poised to attack, ripping into George W. Bush's plans on Social Security reform even before the Texas governor has had a chance to announce those plans. The vice president called reporters to his residence here in Washington this afternoon to respond to a front-page story in "The New York Times" outlining some of George Bush's ideas on Social Security reform, ideas that Vice President Gore says would lead the country to bankruptcy.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) (voice-over): This spring, Bush plans to outline a series of principles for Social Security reform, including preserving benefits for seniors while allowing younger workers to invest part of their Social Security taxes privately. Bush has talked about his ideas in general terms since clinching the nomination.
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is going to be an important debate in the campaign for president. It's the status quo, an administration that has not tried to reform Social Security, versus an administration that will put capital on the line to say to both Republicans and Democrats, let's come together to make sure there's a Social Security system available for women and men in the long run.
KARL: His aides say that Bush will not offer a specific plan but will make the case that private investment will keep Social Security solvent. The basic idea is to let workers under age 45 or so invest part of their Social Security payroll taxes in certain government- approved private investment plans in exchange for a future reduction of benefits.
"If Gore doesn't like the idea," Bush's aides say, "he should debate fellow Democrats like Bob Kerrey and John Breaux, who have co- sponsored a Social Security reform proposal that also would allow young workers to invest some of the Social Security taxes privately."
Changing Social Security, perhaps the most popular government program, has long been considered politically taboo, but Bush's aides say the dynamic has now changed, citing polls that show a majority supporting some private investment.
KARL: And nearly 50 percent of Americans now have personal experience investing in a stock market that has consistently given better returns than Social Security. But there is a flip side to that, of course pointed out by Vice President Gore's partisans. And that is that the recent wild fluctuations of the stock market, especially over the past month, lend some credence to the vice president's charge that this is a risky scheme that would jeopardize retirement funds. The vice president has also pointed out that the money that would go towards investing into private stocks is money that he says should go towards paying down the debt.
As for those Democrats like John Breaux and Bob Kerrey who also advocate some form of private investment, the vice president said today he simply disagrees with them, too -- Bernie.
SHAW: Thank you, Jonathan Karl.
Apparently, Gore is hoping to gain greater advantage over Bush on an issue that has traditionally helped Democrats. When Americans are asked who would better handle Social Security and Medicare issue, our new poll shows Gore has a five-point edge over Bush, down from nine- point advantage in mid-March.
Our Bill Schneider joins us with more on the latest numbers.
Bill, where does the presidential race stand now?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Bernie, same place it stood six weeks ago. Bush is leading Gore by five points. In mid-March, the numbers were almost exactly the same. In fact, Bush has been leading Gore in every match-up that we have taken this year.
SHAW: How have the recent Elian Gonzalez developments affected Gore?
SCHNEIDER: Well, you know, there is no evidence of any direct damage to Gore, but there was an opportunity cost. We asked the public to compare Gore and Bush on various personal qualities, like which one shares your values, understands complex issues, and has a vision for the future. There was not more than five points different between them on anything, except one quality: a strong and decisive leader. That's the one quality where Bush has a clear and decisive advantage.
Now Gore tried to demonstrate his independence when he distanced himself against President Clinton in the Elian Gonzalez matter. Bad choice of issues -- it didn't work. But luckily for Gore, there's time for him to try some more. Another vice president, whose name happened to be George Bush, was not seen as a strong and decisive leader until after the conventions. He turned that perception around, and he won the election.
SHAW: Well at this point, are we seeing any differences between these candidates on the issues.
SCHNEIDER: Well, we are, and some of them are really surprising, Bernie. Take a look on the issues where Bush has the advantage: crime, taxes, guns and world affairs. Wait a minute -- guns? Yes, guns. Isn't that supposed to be a terrific issue for Democrats? Well, no, it isn't. Not much evidence there that there's a groundswell of support for gun control.
One more thing about this list, Bush's issues -- crime, taxes, world affairs, even guns -- are not the voters' top concerns this year. What are the voters' top concerns? Now take a look at this list: health care, Social Security, Medicare, education. Those are the voters' top issues, and Gore has the lead on all of them.
What about the economy? Well, it's not a big issue this year. Times are good. And it doesn't particularly pay off for Gore. The economy has been neutralized. Still, if Gore can get people to vote the issues, he wins. But Bush is the one who has been making headway on the issues.
Take a look at Bill Clinton's advantage over Bob Dole on these same issues in 1996 -- much bigger. For instance, Clinton led Dole by 31 points on education. Now Gore leads Bush but by just five points on education. Bush has gotten within striking distance of Gore on all of those traditionally Democratic issues. Bush's aim is to neutralize those issues, just as he seems to have neutralized the economic issue. Without an issue advantage, then the election becomes purely personal. And then Gore's in trouble.
SHAW: Bill Schneider -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Well, as Bill mentioned, when it comes to the candidates' handling of international policy matters, our poll shows Bush leading Gore, though by a statistically insignificant one point. Gore tried to turn those numbers his way over the weekend when he gave a major speech comparing his world view with that of Governor Bush's.
Here is our national security correspondent, David Ensor.
DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On global policy, Al Gore is on the attack, seeking to sew doubts about George W. Bush.
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Stuck in a Cold War mindset, Governor Bush continues to view Russia and China primarily as present or future enemies.
ENSOR: The vice president presents his opponent as inexperienced and out of date. He even uses the worst word in the foreign policy lexicon: the "i" word.
GORE: What he has said has often been isolationist in tone. He said, for example, that he would never engage and intervene in a case that involved the kind of ethnic cleansing that we saw in Bosnia and Kosovo.
ENSOR: Never mind that Governor Bush supported the air campaign against Serbia over Kosovo. He took too long saying so, says Mr. Gore.
But the Balkan wars do highlight a real difference between Bush and Gore on a key question: when and where to deploy U.S. troops overseas. Governor Bush says it should only be to defend the United States, its allies and its clear strategic interests.
Leon Fuerth has been for 20 years Al Gore's closest national security adviser.
LEON FUERTH, GORE GLOBAL SECURITY ADVISER: There are circumstances where you really do have to consider the use of force to intervene in what some might see as an essentially humanitarian issue, because that issue may, as it disintegrates further, damage American interests in the region or because it so violates our own deepest principles that we can't look away from it.
ENSOR: Gore is also pushing what he calls a "new security agenda," that U.S. policy towards the world must focus more on new threats --terrorism, drugs, corruption, and disease pandemics like AIDS -- and that the U.S. must do much more for Africa.
GORE: Although Africa represents a vast untapped market, has major health and environmental concerns that directly impact us, and the reaches of modern terrorism took American lives in two of our embassies on that continent, Governor Bush said that Africa, and I quote, "doesn't fit into the national strategic interests."
ENSOR: As a vice president trusted by his boss to run parts of U.S. global policy, Mr. Gore must also defend the administration's record, especially his own part in it. Was Gore too cozy with senior Russian officials and too slow to accept mounting evidence from the intelligence community of their corruption?
FUERTH: The vice president engaged with the duly elected leaders of these countries, and he did so in the interests of the United States and of the people of the United States.
ENSOR: And what about that champagne toast with Li Peng, known as the butcher of Tiananmen Square?
FUERTH: The trip to China was undertaken by the vice president against the counsel of many of his advisers because they knew how difficult it could be. He made that decision because he felt that it was an important step towards bridging the wall of silence between ourselves and the Chinese and helping us get our relationship with China on some kind of even keel.
ENSOR (on camera): But the vice president's seven-plus years in the White House would appear to offer him more advantages than drawbacks in the international policy arena. After all, aides say, if elected, he will not need much on the job training.
David Ensor, CNN, the White House.
SHAW: We're joined now by Gore global affairs adviser Professor Coit Blacker and Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, a Bush supported who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Senator, the vice president accuses the governor of having a cold war mentality, and being aligned with isolationists in the Republican Party. Is that a fair criticism?
SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: Well, obviously, the vice president and his advisers didn't read Governor Bush's speech that he gave in November of last year at the Reagan Presidential Library. A matter of fact, the day after he gave that speech, both the "New York Times" and the "Washington Post" praised that speech, and some of the things they talked about was the fact that Governor Bush was an internationalist, he was not a captive of the protectionist wing of any party; that he was a forward- thinking candidate. This is the foreign policy thinking of Colin Powell, of George Schultz, of Jim Baker, John McCain, hardly an isolationist, protectionist speech.
I would advise the vice president and his advisers to focus on their concept and their vision of the world and try and elevate the debate and not politicize foreign policy.
SHAW: Professor Blacker, did you read that speech? COIT BLACKER, GORE GLOBAL AFFAIRS ADVISER: I did.
SHAW: You were unimpressed?
BLACKER: I hope very much that, in fact, foreign policy can be dealt with in a serious and nonpolitical fashion. I think the vice president took a very important step in this context on Sunday when he spoke, I think, forcefully to a very important set of global issues that confront us in a new global era.
So I hope in fact we can deal with foreign policy in the serious and responsible manner that we must.
SHAW: Well, you heard Senator Hagel call Governor Bush a man who engages in forward thinking when it comes to global affairs, do you agree with that?
BLACKER: I do not. I think the record of the Republican Party on foreign policy is at best spotty, and I think that, in fact, what the Clinton-Gore administration has tried to do over the last seven years has been important to the development of U.S. interests and to the protection and advancement of those interests.
SHAW: Senator Hagel?
HAGEL: Well, the fact is the Republican Party has not been the party in power conducting foreign policy in this country as the Clinton-Gore party has been. I think there is ample evidence, when you look at trade and the fiasco in Seattle in November, that the president's own actions precipitated talking about taking the protectionism of environmental and labor issues and loading those on top of a trade agenda speak volumes; the way that the president and the Clinton-Gore team handled the Chinese premier last spring, even going against the Clinton-Gore trade ambassador after she had done such a magnificent job of putting together a first rate bilateral trade arrangement. Haiti, I mean, my goodness more deployments in national security than we have ever had, longer deployment, our recruitment, retention, and readiness of foreign policy measured by our national security interests are in trouble.
So the linking of trade, foreign policy, national security is one where I think the Clinton-Gore team comes up rather short.
SHAW: One question for each of you, and gentlemen, I have to ask you to be rather brief because we are fast running out of time. Senator, and professor, since each man is untested as a president, and certainly untested as a president conducting foreign policy, how can either of you say that one would be better than the other in the Oval Office, professor?
BLACKER: I would be very comfortable with Al Gore as president of the United States. He brings 20 plus years of experience in foreign policy issues from his earliest days in the Congress, he has worked side by side with Bill Clinton on this very complex series of issues. I think he's very forward thinking, and I think, in fact, he would be a marvelous foreign policy president, and I think all indications point to that.
HAGEL: Well, first of all, leaders must prioritize their agenda. Governor Bush has prioritized an agenda and will develop that, and is doing that now. That agenda must focus on trade issues, foreign policy, national security issues, and he, the president, must bring a team around him that's first class and can help that.
But you also must also believe in things, just a governor from California by the name of Reagan did in 1980, and rebuilt our national security, and put this country in a competitive focused international arena. So Governor Bush is prepared to do that and would do that.
SHAW: Senator Hagel, Professor Blacker, gentlemen, thank you.
HAGEL: Thank you.
SHAW: You're Welcome.
And still ahead here on INSIDE POLITICS: The latest on that New York Senate race, as both candidates reach out to a third party and a third hopeful enters the race.
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SHAW: A new poll in the New York Senate race shows no sympathy bounce for Mayor Rudy Giuliani since his announcement that he has prostate cancer. The Quinnipiac College Poll shows Hillary Clinton with 46 percent to Giuliani's 44 percent. This survey was taken throughout last week, but pollsters say there was no shift in results after Giuliani's announcement on Thursday. Mrs. Clinton led by three points in an earlier April poll.
Mayor Giuliani says he is cutting his Senate campaign schedule in half while he undergoes tests and reviews his treatment options. But over the weekend, the mayor stuck to his schedule and, as with the first lady, he spent two days out on the campaign trail.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The next United States senator from the state of New York, Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
SHAW (voice-over): Just one day after announcing he's fighting prostate cancer, Rudy Giuliani was campaigning for the Senate in upstate New York.
MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI (R), NEW YORK: I'm still in the process of trying to figure out what the best thing to do is to make sure that I have a complete cure.
SHAW: Giuliani told more than a thousand fellow Republicans in Saratoga Springs that if his medical treatment permits it, he hopes to be their candidate.
GIULIANI: You need a senator who's going to sit down and make the federal government responsive. And doesn't it make sense to have a governor who's had success at doing that in the toughest city in the world?
SHAW: Giuliani's saying his seven years as mayor and previous record as a prosecutor make him a better choice than first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Republican party leaders are confident that despite his illness, Giuliani will stay in the race.
BILL POWERS, NEW YORK GOP CHAIRMAN: Rudy's a tough guy. He's had a lot of challenges in his life. This is just one more challenge.
SHAW: Giuliani spent the weekend rallying the G.O.P. faithful, but also reminding other New Yorkers he stands against the party when he disagrees with it.
GIULIANI: If you're looking far a candidate that can be honestly described as an independent in the realistic context of American politics, I think I can say to you, you're not going to find one that probably fits the bill more than I do.
SHAW: Giuliani telling delegates of the independent's party, now New York's arm of the reform party, that he'd like their endorsement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.
SHAW: Mrs. Clinton told the same forum she would accept their endorsement only if presidential candidate Pat Buchanan is not at the top of the ticket.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK SENATE CANDIDATE: I cannot, and will not, as the price for any endorsement, embrace or excuse those who use hateful rhetoric that separates and divides.
SHAW: Right now, neither Clinton nor Giuliani has a primary in their own parties, which have a combined eight million registered voters. But they could find themselves in a September primary for the independents' party line and its 172,000 voters.
GIULIANI: It would give us a chance to win an election before the actual, you know, main election.
SHAW: Now, former congressman Joseph DioGuardi says he is also entering the New York Senate race seeking the independents, right to life and conservative party nominations, small parties, but with enough votes to turn a close election.
JOE DIOGUARDI, NEW YORK SENATE CANDIDATE: Fifty-one percent of New Yorkers want to see a third alternative in the race. The Siena Research Institute said that 51 percent of Democrats want someone other than Hillary Clinton and 39 percent of Republicans said they want someone other than Rudy Giuliani.
(END VIDEOTAPE) SHAW: DioGuardi says if Giuliani drops out, party leaders should consider him as an alternative. Congressman Rick Lazio says the same, but Lazio has told the mayor that he will not challenge him for the Republican nomination.
WOODRUFF: And much more ahead on INSIDE POLITICS.
SHAW: Still to come: looking ahead to 2004, will early primaries be the norm? A look at the future of the presidential election calendar. Plus:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I guess that's why you're covering and commenting on my mood, my quiet, contemplated moments, my feelings during these final months in office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: A lighthearted look at how the president is filling his days at the White House.
WOODRUFF: We'll have more of this day's political news coming up. But now, a look at some other top stories:
Cuban President Fidel Castro devoted much of his speech at an annual may day rally today to the plight of young refugee Elian Gonzalez. Castro warned a crowd in Havana that the 6-year-old boy may not return. At the end of his speech, Castro took a cell phone, telephone call from father Juan Miguel Gonzalez and passed along greetings to the crowd. The family remains in seclusion at a Maryland farm.
SHAW: Demonstrators in several cities gathered for may day rallies Monday. In some places, the gatherings turned violent.
Our Berlin bureau chief Chris Burns reports.
CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a city legendary for more than a century and a half of political street battles, thousands of police were deployed to try to keep the peace. It was Berlin's first may day as Germany's new postwar capital.
At this demonstration in depressed former communist east Berlin, hundreds of far-right and Neo-Nazi skinheads rallied in a square, facing off with about 100 counter-demonstrators chanting "Nazis out."
Some 2,000 riot police were deployed, watching their every move. Far-right banners underlined anger and frustration in the east, where unemployment is as high as 20 percent in some areas. Others flew the colors of the former German empire, and some Spanish far-right demonstrators joined in. Far-right supporters oppose spending for immigrants and the European Union. Shoving matches broke out after some leftist protesters breached police lines, but officers managed to regroup and regain control. Thousands of anti-fascists, Communists and anarchists organized their own march in Berlin. Elsewhere in the capital, thousands of union members demanded more government action to fight unemployment.
Overnight, several hundred anarchists rampaged in the northern port of Hamburg, smashing windows and setting bonfires. Police used water cannons to subdue them and detained 120 people. More than a dozen officers were injured.
Chris burns, CNN, Berlin.
WOODRUFF: Back to this country, South Carolina is now the final U.S. state to recognize the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Governor Jim Hodges signed the bill earlier today. State civil rights activists are not celebrating, however. They say they're upset because the bill also establishes a permanent holiday honoring confederate veterans on May 10th. State lawmakers are still considering whether to remove the confederate flag from the statehouse dome.
SHAW: When INSIDE POLITICS returns, this question: Does the front-loaded primary season have a future?
WOODRUFF: A Republican advisory panel is to issue its report tomorrow on recommendations for the 2004 presidential primary season. Over the weekend, the rules committee of the Democratic National Committee advocated a later starting date, but otherwise keeping the same primary schedule as this year. The Democrats also urged the Republicans do the same. Their plan would protect the first-in-the- nation status of Iowa and New Hampshire, which has come under attack in some quarters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning. How are you?
BUSH: Good to see you.
WOODRUFF (voice-over): Many critics of the current primary calendar say Iowa and New Hampshire's influence on presidential politics should be closer in line with their size -- that is to say, minimal. The argument goes that largely rural Iowa and mostly white New Hampshire are unrepresentative of the nation as a whole and punish candidates with the broad appeal needed to win in November.
New Hampshire has a long record of backing insurgents and weakening the establishment candidate. As for Iowa, the arcane caucus system is easily dominated by special interests -- labor on the Democratic side, the religious right on the Republican -- forcing the candidates away from the middle. And while these two states enjoy tremendous influence, some big states that hold their contests late in the schedule, Pennsylvania for example, have become largely irrelevant.
One proposed solution to the imbalance: a national primary, where all states vote on the same day. This year's March 7th contest came close, with the two biggest electoral prizes, California and New York, combining to knock out John McCain and Bill Bradley. A national primary would suit the party leaders fine, since multistate primaries tend to favor the candidate with the ad money and the organization to fight in several places at once.
But Iowa and New Hampshire have tenaciously defended their lead- off position, moving up their contest dates as other states angle to get in ahead of them. And the parties so far have shown no interest in knocking them off.
WOODRUFF: And joining us now to talk more about the primary schedule and its problems, from Sacramento, California's Republican secretary of state, Bill Jones. And in Boston, the director of Harvard University's Shorenstein Center, Thomas Patterson.
Professor Patterson, to you first. Is the current schedule, primary schedule, so bad?
THOMAS PATTERSON, SHORENSTEIN CENTER, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Well, voters don't like it very well. In fact, in our polls we find that voters would like almost any alternative to the present system. And the complaints they have about the system are that it starts way too early and lasts too long and that it's essentially unfair to those states that come late in the process. The nominations are decided fairly early, and, therefore, you know, states like Pennsylvania that are scheduled late in the process, you know, people can vote, but the votes don't really count towards the selection of the nominees.
WOODRUFF: But Bill Jones, Mr. Jones, what the argument of Iowa and New Hampshire that this gives the candidates a chance to get out there and meet the people one on one, to shake their hands, have them look them in the eye?
BILL JONES (R), CALIFORNIA SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I think that retail politics, as we call it, Judy, is important. And small states do provide that, something the large states do not. The national secretary of states have promoted the rotating regional concept, which would divide the country into four sections and then rotate them. And I think that has a lot of merit.
WOODRUFF: How would that work?
JONES: Well, it would work by simply dividing the country into four different regions, as they -- really the country is now -- the Northeast, the South, the Midwest and the West -- and then allow them to rotate, first, say, starting in the East the first year and moving to the West, and then changing and letting the East go to the last and the West move up. And so over a period of time every region in the country would have a chance to make a difference.
California had not made a difference for 30 years until we moved up to March the 7th. I think you're going to continue to see a front loading end up a national primary, which I do not think is going to work, a national day, because it's just not enough time for people to get around and meet the candidates. So small states up front are good, but a rotating system with a couple of small states up front, I think, would be the best possible solution.
WOODRUFF: But, Tom Patterson, I know you're aware that both national political parties have said they don't like the idea of a rotating regional primary. Why not?
PATTERSON: Well, I -- you know, I think when you look at the process and you look at it from the voters' perspective, you know, people need a slow start to the campaign. They need an Iowa, they need a New Hampshire, and then they need a period of time essentially to get on top of the candidates, to begin to understand their choices.
And, you know, when you come up against that first round of the regional primaries, that might well decide the election. A well- funded candidate with substantial name recognition and party support could well, you know, take the nomination at that point. You wouldn't have it numerically, but psychologically you'd have it, and the other candidates might well throw in the towel. And yet you've got three regions that haven't participated it yet.
And I think for a region not to participate is different from Pennsylvania not participating. When people in the West don't have any say in the nominations or people in the South don't have a say, I think what people are going to say, this isn't a fair system. We're not players in this system. And you can see, well, maybe eight years from now or maybe 12 years from now you'll be a player, but I don't think that's going to satisfy the voters in a particular election year.
WOODRUFF: What about that, Secretary Jones...
WOODRUFF: ... that having one region go first leaves everybody out and it gives a huge advantage to the candidates with money?
JONES: Well, the fact of the matter is that it's the only fair system, because it has to be fair or everyone's going to want to be first. The other alternative that's being discussed is a all the small states go first, all the big states go last. And I can just tell you the big states are never going to accept that because of the point Tom just made, that, you know, the whole motivation for the primary system now is to get it over early by the parties and by the national candidates.
You know, we've gone through two or three states this year, and everyone was almost already gone out of the primary competition. So the whole motivation is to get it over early. In order to be able to be fair, you have to allow all the states at some point to be able to move to the front. And I think the rotating regional system is the only one that provides that option.
WOODRUFF: Tom Patterson, given the different views here on the part of the secretaries of state of all the states, the state legislatures, the two national parties, what do you believe we're going to end up with in 2004?
PATTERSON: Well, I think the parties are going to have to come together. You know, I think the secretary of state's proposal deserves serious consideration, and I think the parties are going to probably taker a second look at that proposal.
But, you know, the Republican and Democratic parties are quite far apart on this. The Republican Party is tending toward that idea that you start in the least-populous states and end in the most populous. And then the Democrats are talking about keeping the current system. Well, you can't get those two pieces to work together because the state legislatures have a role in this, and they're not going to schedule one arrangement for the Republicans and another arrangement for the Democrats. That's much too expensive. So somewhere in this mix the parties have to come together and come to some compromise agreement.
WOODRUFF: And compromise, Bill Jones, would represent what...
JONES: Well, I think...
WOODRUFF: ... a national...
JONES: Tom is right. I think that the point is the parties are what will drive this to a conclusion, if we find one. We do not, as Republicans, have flexibility to move these states after our convention in July. So if we don't do something about providing flexibility to our Republican National Committee or our rules committee, this will be a moot question for the next four years, and I don't think anyone wants to see that.
So first, Republicans need to provide some flexibility for decision making in the intervening time between national conversations.
And second, then we need to look at making sure the parties do come together. And I think Tom is exactly right about the points that have been made. We need to reconcile those. But I think it's doable, because I personally don't believe that anyone is going to want to stay with the current system.
And Wyoming's already passed a bill that says wherever New Hampshire is, they're going to be there, too. And all the state are going to start moving up. We have to resolve this in the next four years, and I think we're well on our way to doing that, but both political parties have to agree.
WOODRUFF: Well, this is just a first take on a complicated but a crucial political question. And we want to thank both of you for joining, California Secretary of State Bill Jones, Tom Patterson, professor with the Shorenstein Center at Harvard, thank you both.
PATTERSON: Thank you.
JONES: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: And up next, TV's "West Wing" or the Clinton White House? A look at the comic convergence of government and entertainment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLISON JANNEY, ACTRESS: Good afternoon, I have no comment today but I will take questions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: Actress Allison Janney took a brief turn at the podium in the White House Briefing Room this day , mirroring her role as C.J. Craig, presidential press secretary on television show "West Wing." That gag prompted a reported to ask her real-life counterpart, Joe Lockhart, if there is a blurring of the lines between Hollywood and Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE LOCKHART, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, let me he tell you, I spent some time looking at a group of actors in the fake briefing room in Hollywood, and looking out at you, no, not at all, not at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: Lockhart may have a way with the laugh line but guess what happened over the weekend? He was trumped by his boss, who did his part for enhancing the Washington-Hollywood connection. For those who may have missed it, check out now Mr. Clinton's new cinematic performance, which the introduced at the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You might be interested to know that a film crew has been following me around the White House, documenting my remaining time there. This is a strange time in the life of any administration, but I think this short film will show that I have come to terms with it.
Could we see the film?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOCKHART: Well, with the vice president and the first lady out on the campaign trail, things aren't as exciting as they used to be around here. In fact, it's really starting to wind down.
CLINTON: There is bipartisan support for it in Congress. And it meets the principles I set out in my State of the Union. If they send me the bill in its present form, I will sign it.
OK, any questions?
HELEN THOMAS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL: Are you still here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Radio just doesn't capture the sadness, the isolation of it all. So I've just stopped reporting it.
CLINTON: Joe? Anybody home?
CLINTON: John? Maria?
TIM RUSSERT, NBC NEWS: What am I going to ask the guy? I have nothing to ask him.
SAM DONALDSON, ABC NEWS: He's yesterday's news. Who's next?
CLINTON: Hello, White House, hold please.
Hello, White House, please hold.
Hello, White House, White House, hello, hold please, please hold. No, Mr. Podesta is not here now. Would you like his voice mail?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been by for him. It looks like he has nothing to do.
JOHN PODESTA, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I'm a little bit worried about him. This morning, for example, he came into the Oval Office for our meeting. And I said, "Mr. President, is everything all right?"
And he said, "Yeah, what's the matter?"
And I said, "Mr. President, you're wearing your pajama bottoms."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really have nothing to say about that.
HILLARY CLINTON, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I wish I could be here more. But I really think Bill has everything under control.
CLINTON: Honey, wait, wait, wait, wait! You forgot your lunch!
ALBERT GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think his legacy is going to be the natural environment, improving the green spaces of our country. I've urged him to spend more time on that.
BETTY CURRIE, SECRETARY TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: The president's schedule is just as busy as ever. He's just doing different things.
DONNA SHALALA, SECRETARY OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES: I feel really bad for him. I wish there was something that would cheer him up.
CLINTON: Yes! Hey, there you are. Come with me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, Mr. P, ready to start?
CLINTON: Show me e-mail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, let's light this candle.
CLINTON: I want to see eBay.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, yeah, yeah, just like that. You're riding the wave of the future, my man. Now what do you feel like buying?
CLINTON: I want to buy a smoked ham.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excellent choice. Right, you're there. You're almost there. How many are you going to buy?
CLINTON: Wait a minute...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the problem? Chicken...
CLINTON: What does it cost?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Name your own price, my man.
CLINTON: Well, we're stalking for a winner.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, you did it, my man.
GENERAL HENRY SHELTON, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: You sunk my battleship.
CLINTON: Yes! I want to thank the Academy for this tremendous honor. This may be the greatest moment of my life. I mean, ever since I was a little boy I wanted to be a real actor.
No, no, just leave your money in your pocket.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sweet.
CLINTON: Pretty good, huh? Get all you want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: You like me, you really like me.
SHAW: Standing ovation is rare by that crowd, truly extraordinary.
WOODRUFF: I wonder if he got the car cleaned.
SHAW: I don't know, but also in addition to Mr. Clinton's self parody our own Wolf Blitzer was ribbed at the Correspondents' Dinner Saturday night.
WOODRUFF: And it was done by a professional, the "Tonight Show"'s Jay Leno.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY LENO, HOST, "TONIGHT SHOW": We have all picked on President Clinton, but how do White House correspondents behave? Like you see them out front there and they got the nice suit or the raincoat, and they are doing the little stand up thing, but when you take a White House correspondent, you send them to California, suppose he doesn't know the camera is on, suppose he stopped by the "Tonight Show," how would he behave?
I don't think we want to see Wolf get naked, OK, that is about enough of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: We will never ever let Wolf live that down ever.
SHAW: No, definitely not.
WOODRUFF: Still ahead, more the showbiz and politics beat.
SHAW: Tipper Gore has some numerous times, before that she has rhythm, the latest example when we return.
WOODRUFF: Finally, a very different picture of a woman who may be first lady. SHAW: Over the weekend, Tipper Gore once again showed off her way with a pair of drumsticks.
Tipper Gore performing at a gay rights event here in Washington Saturday, billed as part fund-raiser, part consciousness raiser, and part gay Woodstock. Melissa Etheridge and Garth Brooks were the headliners, but Mrs. Gore wowed many of the 45,000 people in this audience with a talent that admitted is not called for much on the campaign trail.
That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Bernard Shaw.
WOODRUFF: And I'm Judy Woodruff. "WORLDVIEW" is next.
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