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President Meets with Marching Mothers; Politicians Come Together for Farewell to Cardinal O'Connor; What Will Bush-McCain Meeting Bring?Aired May 8, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am subdued, I'm frustrated, I am very sad because I don't want any more kids to die.
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JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: The president gets emotional about gun control as mothers prepare to march on Washington and the NRA counter attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUSAN HOWARD, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: We all want safe kids and the NRA knows how to make kids safe.
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WOODRUFF: Also ahead...
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GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't anticipate any changes on his part or my part, but there is a lot of area for us to -- on which to agree and I look forward to having that discussion.
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WOODRUFF: When McCain and Bush meet tomorrow will there be more agreement or disagreement?
Plus, today's farewell to Cardinal John O'Connor and the politicians he brought together.
ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff.
WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. Bernie is off today.
We begin with Cardinal John O'Connor's legacy. Among the tributes at his funeral in New York today, the sight of rival politicians, including Al Gore and George W. Bush, and Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, all brought together in his memory.
Our Candy Crowley has more on the mass and the ways in which it touched the political realm.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Born of working-class parents in Philadelphia, Cardinal John O'Connor was mourned in the Gothic splendor of St. Patrick's Cathedral.
There are 60 million Catholics in the U.S. His was the most prominent voice.
CARDINAL WILLIAM BAUM, ROMAN CURIA: He was not afraid to speak in ways that were politically incorrect to draw criticism from some, but he always did it with love, with comprehension.
CROWLEY: His power was born of belief, honed by wit and eloquence, supported by the faithful.
CARDINAL BERNARD LAW, BOSTON ARCHDIOCESE: No one proclaimed what Pope John Paul II has called the Gospel of Life with greater effectiveness than Cardinal O'Connor. It was in proclaiming that gospel of life that he became a national and international public figure.
CROWLEY: Cardinal O'Connor used his pulpit and his voice as a fierce advocate for the poor, the disabled and the working class. He used it as an unrelenting opponent of homosexuality and abortion.
LAW: Inevitably, there is an effort to categorize public figures as conservative or liberal. Cardinal O'Connor like the church herself, defies this type of categorization.
CROWLEY: Indeed, Cardinal O'Connor's death brought together an unlikely amalgam of political power, bringing together within feet of each other people who have little in common save their desire for the same job. Former president George Bush sat across the aisle from President Bill Clinton. First lady Hillary Clinton sat just in front of her New York Senate competition, Rudy Giuliani. And Governor George W. Bush was just behind Vice President Al Gore.
Not a particularly comfortable scene, but discomforting politicians was not unknown to Cardinal O'Connor and those he left behind are ready to carry on the tradition.
LAW: What a great legacy he has left us in his constant reminder that the church must always be unambiguously pro-life.
CROWLEY: What followed was two minutes of sustained applause, a standing ovation, and an awkward time for President Clinton, first lady Hillary Clinton and Vice President Gore, all of whom support abortion rights. Many in the church full of Catholic clergy saw it as a final message on Earth from Cardinal John O'Connor.
LAW: I see he hasn't left the pulpit.
CROWLEY: Religion and politics are often an uncomfortable mix, but there were moments -- President Clinton talking with his wife's challenger, Rudy Giuliani, and George Bush reaching out to shake hands with the president. There were moments when you thought a couple of miracles in politics might not be impossible.
Candy Crowley, CNN, New York.
WOODRUFF: Well, even amid the show of non-partisanship at Cardinal O'Connor's funeral mass, many political observers took note of an election year reality: that Catholics make up a key voting group, which has undergone some changes over the years.
We're joined now by our Bill Schneider.
Bill, what has happened to the Catholic vote?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Catholics used to be a lot more Democratic than Protestants, but that difference has been disappearing. In the 20 years from 1952 to 1972, Catholics averaged 61 percent Democratic for president, that's 15 points more Democratic than the electorate as a whole. Now, that changed in the early 1970s. In 1972, the Democrats nominated George McGovern and moved to the left. In 1973, the Supreme Court legalized abortion rights.
In the 20 years from 1976 to 1996, you find much smaller difference between Catholics and other voters. In the last six presidential elections, Catholics have never been more than 5 points more Democratic than the rest of the electorate. The big Democratic edge among Catholic voters is simply gone.
WOODRUFF: Now, Bill, is that because Catholics are more conservative on certain issues like abortion?
SCHNEIDER: Well, actually, no. If you compare Catholics and Protestants, there are no differences on the abortion issue. Let me repeat, no differences on abortion. Catholics are more liberal than Protestants on gay rights, more likely to favor recognition of same- sex marriages, more likely to support gays serving openly in the military.
The one issue on which you find Catholics notably more conservative than Protestants is school vouchers, as you might expect, because they would help Catholic schools. But on social welfare issues like poverty, and health care and Social Security, Catholics tend to give Al Gore much higher ratings than George W. Bush. Those are the issues that have traditionally attracted Catholics to the Democratic Party, and they still do.
WOODRUFF: So why have the Democrats lost their edge with Catholics?
SCHNEIDER: Well, really because observant Catholics who attend church regularly have moved into the GOP. In March, just after the primaries ended, we found most church-going Catholics still voting for Bush, despite the controversy over his appearance at Bob Jones University. Where Bush really lost support was among non-church-going Catholics, who favored Gore over Bush by nearly three to one.
Now this is strange. Bush appears at an anti-Catholic institution, but it doesn't hurt him among religious Catholics, only among secular Catholics. Why? Probably because secular Catholics, many of whom already disagree with Bush on abortion, also resented Bush's association with the religious right. Religious Catholics didn't.
WOODRUFF: So where does that leave the Catholic vote this year?
SCHNEIDER: Well, basically, Judy, it leaves it up for grabs. Let's take a look at what happened. Before the primaries, Catholics favored Bush over Gore by 8 points. Then came the primaries and the Bob Jones controversy. In March, the Catholic vote tilted sharply to Gore.
The latest poll from NBC News and "The Wall Street Journal" shows Bush making something of a recovery among Catholics. He now has a lead of 4 points, most likely because Bush has been keeping his distance from the religious right since the primaries.
Bush's problem was never with conservative, church-going Catholics. They never saw him as anti-Catholic, especially after he wrote a letter of apology to the late Cardinal O'Connor. Bush's problem was with secular Catholics who don't agree with the religious right, or their own church, on issues like abortion.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider, thank you very much.
Well, we are joined now by Deal Hudson, who is the editor and the publisher of "Crisis" magazine, it is a monthly publication covering religion, culture and politics from a Catholic perspective.
Deal Hudson, what do you make of Bill Schneider's analysis of the Catholic vote?
DEAL HUDSON, "CRISIS" MAGAZINE: I think he is mostly right. Of course, I should say he is all right. But certainly it is remarkable that Bush rebounded so well from the Bob Jones appearance, but one other thing that may have been going on there is that Bush had been reaching out to Catholics for over a year, ever since he announced his campaign he had been meeting with cardinals, he had a wonderful meeting with Cardinal O'Connor and another great meeting with Cardinal Hickey (ph), other bishops.
He had met with Catholic leaders in Austin. He had tried hard to get some Catholic language and some Catholic ideas into this speech writing, especially the speech on education that was given in Indianapolis during the summer. So there had been a lot of groundwork already there and I think some of that helped him to rebound.
WOODRUFF: What are the issues that matter to Catholic voters?
HUDSON: Well, you know, it is interesting because issues -- you can't talk about issues with Catholics without talking about tonality. There was an article today by Rooney in "The New York Times" where he talked about Bush's use of language, staying away, for example, from the world "lying" and talking about Gore's disappointing him. This is extremely important when it comes to getting the Catholic vote, because Catholics -- and I am so glad Bill made the distinction between observing Catholics and self-identified Catholics, because that is the crucial distinction.
In the studies we've done in the "Crisis" magazine on this, we have found that if you look at that distinction, active Catholics are much more likely to have moved into the conservative mainstream or have become Republicans.
But the issues are, No. 1 by far. declining morality in the nation; No. 1, protecting the traditional family; and three, making sure the quality of education is restored.
WOODRUFF: Well, to the extent Catholic voters are the swing voters in this election, are you talking about then the practicing Catholics? Are you talking about -- or the active Catholics, as you put, or those who are less active?
HUDSON: Well, the swing vote, which is about 50 -- almost 50 percent of these 30 million Catholic voters, there are some active Catholics and some inactive Catholics in there. The active Catholics tend to be at this point in time more Republican than Democratic. But among the active Catholics, the thing that will be the most crucial issue is whether or not a presidential candidate, whether Gore or Bush, can address those key issues, and not sound moralistic, not sound condescending, not sound in short like the religious right. And that's why I think Bill is absolutely right.
WOODRUFF: And in terms of where these swing Catholics are, what states are we looking at?
HUDSON: The Midwest, the Mideast, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kentucky, Missouri, all the important swing states in this election where you get the electoral votes. This 2000 is the year of the Catholic vote: There's no doubt about it.
WOODRUFF: Finally, Deal Hudson, let me bring you back to Cardinal O'Connor, his funeral mass today. Talk about the intersection between his life as a religious leader and the political realm. HUDSON: He was a wonderful man. I met with him the day before he went to Sloan-Kettering, and we talked about the Catholic vote. And he had read all three issues of my magazine, and he knew those statistics better than I did. And here was a man with this tumor in his head he was going to go get diagnosed the next day. You tell me what kind of man that was.
And I asked him, I said, "Cardinal, do you think I be spending this much time on politics in my magazine?" He says: "You have to do it. You have to do it."
Catholics have got to realize what's going on in this country. They have to be informed and they have to get active. And they have to start voting according to their formed conscience. They should stop disappearing into the mainstream, the way, as Bill pointed out, has been happening for the last 20 years.
WOODRUFF: So he wanted Catholics to be more of a bloc?
HUDSON: Wanted Catholics -- yes.
WOODRUFF: To vote as more of...
HUDSON: Yes. He tried very carefully not to appear partisan, but, you know, when push came to shove he got up there and he made some enemies. But you know, he made a lot more friends than he did enemies when he spoke out.
WOODRUFF: All right, Deal Hudson, editor and publisher of "Crisis Magazine." We thank you very much...
HUDSON: It's good to be here.
WOODRUFF: ... for joining us. We appreciate it.
And still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS...
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BUSH: Whether we have an endorsement tomorrow or not is really not what's important. What's foreign is to sit down and visit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: ... George W. Bush prepares to meet John McCain face to face, but just how productive will their meeting be?
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AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I propose that we hold a debate right away on the crucial challenge of saving Social Security: how to do it effectively and responsibly. Governor Bush can argue for privatization and I can make the case against it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Vice President Al Gore has once again challenged his Republican opponent to a debate on a key campaign issue. At an Associated Press meeting of newspaper editors and publishers, Gore said he had accepted 13 debate offers while George W. Bush had not accepted any.
Tomorrow, George W. Bush is scheduled to meet with his former rival, Arizona Senator John McCain. It is their first face-to-face meeting since their bitter primary battle.
Our John King looks at the expectations for tomorrow's encounter.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Governor Bush says he's looking forward to sitting down with his former campaign rival.
BUSH: It's a meeting that has finally arrived and it's a meeting that's necessary.
KING: The McCain camp says there will be no formal endorsement for at least another month, but the senator will again make clear he'll support the Republican nominee. Advisers say they expect McCain to reiterate he has no interest in being the vice presidential nominee, discuss his role at the Republican convention and campaigning for GOP candidates this fall, and make the case that many of his supporters view Bush as too timid on campaign reform issues.
BILL MCINTURFF, MCCAIN CAMPAIGN POLLSTER: Believe me, that vote is looking for a change in Washington, and change in Washington also means how do we convince people that we are going to clean up the mess, which includes the money mess, in Washington.
KING: But Bush isn't prepared to move McCain's way on campaign finance issues.
BUSH: Yes, I don't anticipate any changes on his part or my part. But there is a lot of area for us -- on which to agree, and I look forward to having that discussion.
KING: The governor, for example, notes he and Senator McCain have similar views on Social Security reform.
BUSH: John and I agree that we need to give younger workers the opportunity to invest some of their payroll taxes in private savings accounts.
KING: But McCain advisers say the senator will make clear he still thinks the Bush tax cut is too big and doesn't leave enough money to shore up Social Security.
McCain bowed out of the race two months ago. He received 4 1/2 million votes, won seven states, and for a while stole the spotlight. But he'll go to the GOP convention with just 228 of the 2,066 delegates. That limits his leverage, but the senator's advisers say Bush ignores the McCain vote at his peril.
MCINTURFF: McCain doesn't have the biggest chunk of territory in this race, but he's got the most important chunk, and that's who's left to vote. That's the swing voters.
KING: Now Senator McCain, due here at this Pittsburgh bookstore in about 30 minutes -- he'll speak to reporters first, then conduct a book signing. Aides suggesting that he's here to give advice to Governor Bush, not to make demands, and sources in both camps suggesting that you will have a symbolic fence-setting (ph) at this meeting. But neither side expects any substantive progress on the significant policy differences between the senator and the governor -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: John, if the people around John McCain think that his voters are crucial swing voters, is that something the Bush people and Governor Bush himself agree with?
KING: The Bush people certainly acknowledge that many of the McCain voters have not yet picked their candidates. If you look at the polling date, the hard Republicans who were supporting John McCain, most of them have gone to Governor Bush. The Democrats who crossed over, most of them have now gone to the vice president. But there is a group in the middle of the more independent-minded McCain voters.
Right now, they've very soft. They split about evenly between Bush and Gore, and they tend to live in the states where Bush is the weakest: some of the Midwestern states, particularly in the Northeast, the Bush camp acknowledging it very much needs to get those voters, Governor Bush promising he will campaign for them. Still some hard feelings among the staffs on the eve of this meeting between the two former rivals -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, John King reporting, thanks very much.
And still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD KURTZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When John McCain sits down with George W. Bush in Pittsburgh tomorrow to discuss a formal endorsement, he'll have plenty of reporters in tow. It's like that wherever the Arizona senator goes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Howard Kurtz on McCain's unique appeal, and why the media are not walking away from the former candidate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAJOR GARRETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ignored for months by Congress, President Clinton turned on Monday to a new group of gun control lobbyists, the leaders of the Million Mom March.
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WOODRUFF: Major Garrett on the president's latest maneuver to push gun control back to the front burner.
And later, Charlie Cook takes a looks at the Senate races of note in New York and beyond.
WOODRUFF: We'll have more of the day's political news coming up, but now a look at some other top stories.
Investigators in the Philippines have searched an apartment where they believe the damaging "Love Bug" computer virus was hatched. A 27-year-old bank employee is being held for questioning, but investigators say that he isn't talking. They also want to talk his girlfriend. The bug invaded millions of computers worldwide, causing billions of dollars in damage and lost work time.
Scientists say that hey have successfully mapped another human chromosome. It is a small one, but as CNN medical correspondent Eileen O'Connor tells us, it could point the way to treatments for a host of diseases.
EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Scientists from Japan and Germany involved in the Human Genome Project announced their latest achievement: the mapping of chromosome 21, one of the smallest, with only 225 active genes.
But of the 46 chromosomes in the human body, scientists already know the genes found here play a role in some of man's most devastating diseases, like Down's syndrome, where there's a third copy of chromosome 21. Research as to its causes, says the project leaders, may now be greatly accelerated.
Dr. Roger Reeves, a genetic and Down's syndrome researcher, says that by looking at the difference of the genes of those with Down's syndrome and those without, they can identify exactly which genes cause the developing problems associated with the disease.
DR. ROGER REEVES, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: We now have a list of all the possible candidates. And more importantly, we can exclude the other genes in the genome that are not now any longer possible contributors to this. So it really allows us to focus our work in a very, very effective and important way.
O'CONNOR: Genes on this chromosome are also being linked to Alzheimer's, Lou Gehrig's disease and some cancers, including childhood leukemia. But researchers with the Human Genome Project say the significance of sequencing yet another chromosome goes beyond its role in a few diseases. revising our very view of human life.
(on camera): Profound information, scientists call it, potentially life-saving, but also in the wrong hands life-threatening. That is why scientists also say that the time to talk about the ethical consequences of knowing all there is to know about our genetic make-up is now.
Eileen O'Connor, CNN, Washington.
WOODRUFF: The Navy says it dropped dummy bombs on the military training ground at Vieques, Puerto Rico, today. It was the first use of the bombing range since federal agents removed some 216 protesters from the island last week. They had occupied the range for more than a year to protest the accidental death of a civilian guard.
Thousands of pro-government demonstrators poured into Freetown, Sierra Leone, today, protesting the recent rebel crisis. Four people were killed when rebel forces fired into the rock-throwing crowd. The United Nations has ordered all non-essential staff out of the country. Hundreds of U.N. peacekeepers are being held hostage by the Revolutionary United Front.
When INSIDE POLITICS returns, new crime statistics: ammunition for Al Gore.
WOODRUFF: Now to the political battle over gun control and expectations for the Million Mom March on Washington this coming Sunday. Today, President Clinton welcomed the event organizers to the White House, while the NRA tried to counter the march in advance.
More from our White House correspondent Major Garrett.
GARRETT (voice-over): Ignored for months by Congress, President Clinton on Monday turned to a new group of gun control lobbyists: the leaders of the Million Mom March
CLINTON: I am subdued. I'm frustrated and I'm very sad, because I don't want anymore kids to die. And I want them to come here on Mother's Day.
GARRETT: Jaquie Algree's son Kenneth died at 19, caught in the middle of a neighborhood gunfight
JAQUIE ALGREE, MOTHER: This is a picture of the last Mother's Day that I spent with my son. And I would only hope that more parents, mothers, families, in particular, would be able to spend many more days with their children. And it's up to us to make sure that that happens. GARRETT: White House officials and Republican congressional sources predict the gun control stalemate will last all year. As a result, both sides are stepping up their televised attacks. The National Rifle Association is launching a $30 million campaign to defeat new gun laws and counter the Million Mom March.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, NRA AD)
HOWARD: Can we talk woman to woman? You see, this week you're going to hear lots of disagreement about gun politics. But we can all agree on gun safety. We all want safe kids, and the NRA knows how to make kids safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GARRETT: Gun control advocates are firing back, criticizing the pro-gun record of Texas Governor George W. Bush.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, HANDGUN CONTROL INC. AD)
ANNOUNCER: He signed the law that allows carrying those concealed handguns in churches, nursing homes, even amusement parks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GARRETT: But analysts say the gun issue has never decided a presidential election.
THOMAS MANN, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: The intensity advantage is with the NRA, the numbers are with the gun control advocates. But since the latter tend not to vote on this basis, they usually end up canceling one another out. The question is whether this year will be different.
GARRETT: Organizers of the Million Man March hope to create something that's never existed before: a massive grassroots gun control movement. If they succeed, they could change the presidential election and the fight for control of Congress this November --= Judy.
WOODRUFF: Major Garrett at the White House, thank you.
Meanwhile, the Gore campaign also is trying to use the broader issue of crime against Governor Bush by seizing on new statistics released by the FBI.
(voice-over): For the eighth year in a row, serious crime, a category that includes everything from murder to car theft, is down. But while the nation may be getting safer, the report show many cities in Texas are getting more dangerous, giving the Al Gore campaign an opening to criticize Texas Governor George W. Bush and his crime record. CHRIS LEHANE, GORE SPOKESMAN: Crime is going down. That's a great sign for this country. That means that the Clinton-Gore approach to crimefighting is working. It's been predicated on community-oriented policing, putting more cops on the beat. There have been a few geographic areas where that has not been the case. One of those is the state of Texas.
WOODRUFF: According to the preliminary FBI numbers, crime fell 7 percent nationally and in every region of the country, down 10 percent in the West, 8 percent in the Midwest 7 percent in the Northeast and 4 percent in the South.
But the report looked less favorably on Texas. The FBI examined U.S. cities with populations over 100,000. Texas was one with just three states with more than one city where the number of serious crimes rose. In fact, half of Texas cities experienced rising crime. And in most of those, the crime increase was greater than the population growth.
Crime was up 4.6 percent in Dallas, 3.1 percent in Houston, and a whopping 10 percent in the border city of Brownsville. In all, Texas had 13 of the 39 American cities where crime went up in 1999.
The Bush campaign says crime rates for the entire state have fallen every year that the governor has been in office, down 3.1 percent in 1999, which the campaign attributes to his tougher sentencing and parole policies and his overhaul of the juvenile crime system. And Bush aides note that in those cities with rising rates, most of the increase comes from non-violent crimes.
WOODRUFF: Republicans traditionally have enjoyed an edge on the crime issue, and in the latest CNN/"USA Today" Gallup poll, Bush beats Gore on crime by a commanding 20 percentage points.
Now an update on criticism of Attorney General Janet Reno's handling of the Elian Gonzalez case. Several conservative groups are paying for a half-page ad in tomorrow's "Washington Post" which denounces the Justice Department's armed seizure of Elian from the home of his Miami relatives. They also call on Congress to hold hearings on the matter. The ad is signed by 30 political and legal figures, ranging from former Education Secretary William Bennett to attorney Alan Dershowitz.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments in the Gonzalez case on Thursday.
Just ahead, Howard Kurtz on Senator John McCain's relationship with the news media and why it didn't end when he left the campaign trail.
WOODRUFF: As we mentioned earlier, former presidential candidate John McCain is set to meet with George W. Bush tomorrow in Pittsburgh. And, as you might expect, there will be a heavy media presence.
Howard Kurtz of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES" has an inside view on the media's fascination with the Arizona senator.
KURTZ (voice-over): When John McCain sits down with George W. Bush in Pittsburgh tomorrow to discuss a formal endorsement, he'll have plenty of reporters in tow. It's like that wherever the Arizona senator goes.
It happened when McCain went to New York to campaign for Rudy Giuliani. It happened when McCain went to South Carolina to denounce the Confederate flag. And it happened when McCain visited his old prison cell in Vietnam, his eighth trip back to Vietnam, by the way, literally a made-for-TV extravaganza paid for by NBC and "Today."
Wait a minute, didn't this guy lose the presidential election? Let's face it, most journalists consider John McCain a fascinating character. He gave them access, and they provided plenty of good press during those doughnut-filled rides on the Straight Talk Express. So faced with a race between Bush and Gore, neither one exactly Mr. Excitement, they're doing their best to keep the McCain story alive.
When McCain went to Hanoi, many of the old regulars were there: Howard Fineman, Jay Carney, Roger Simon, Jake Tapper, Tucker Carlson.
TUCKER CARLSON, "WEEKLY STANDARD": I think a lot of reporters went to Vietnam with McCain because it was a lot more interesting than staying home and writing Social Security stories.
I think part of it is just a hangover from the primaries. I mean, it all ended so abruptly on March 7th that there was a sense, what do we do now? What do we cover? And so I think a certain momentum carried reporters forward. It just seemed natural to keep following McCain around.
KURTZ: And the talk shows can't get enough of McCain. Even Hollywood's interested: A movie version of McCain's bestselling book is in the works.
Other losing presidential candidates have attracted their share of attention by making life difficult for the nominee: Pat Buchanan in '92, Jesse Jackson in '88. But McCain says he doesn't want anything, certainly not to be Bush's running mate, and is just trying to nudge the Texas governor on campaign finance reform.
Some less-than-charitable observers say McCain is a grandstander who refuses to give up the spotlight.
ROBERT NOVAK, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": He's a pain. He's a pain in the neck, because he is the sorest loser I have ever seen in politics. He got beat badly for the nomination. He just won't endorse. He keeps hanging around.
KURTZ: McCain aides say that if their man didn't sell magazines or pull in the ratings, the press would have moved on long ago.
(on camera): With money from his Straight Talk PAC, the senator plans to spend the fall stumping the country for Republican congressional candidates, and you can bet that the press won't be far behind.
McCain may have abandoned his favorite bus, but he still knows how to take journalists for a ride.
This is Howard Kurtz of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES."
WOODRUFF: Well, joining us now to talk more about John McCain, his impact and tomorrow's meeting, David Broder of The Washington Post and Jay Carney of "TIME" magazine.
And Jay, you were justified by Howard Kurtz as one of the old regulars who did go to Vietnam with Senator McCain. What is the fascination that he holds for reporters?
JAY CARNEY, "CNN & TIME" CORRESPONDENT: Well, Howie's right, and I plead guilty maybe not to being an old regular, but certainly to continuing to be interested in John McCain. You know, McCain is a good story. He was a good story during his presidential run and he continues to be a good story, in part because losers sometimes matter in American politics. And John McCain may have lost the primary, but he still continues to be a significant political figure in this campaign, as we can tell by the importance of this meeting tomorrow with Governor Bush, the Republican nominee, and by the importance that Bush and his people attach to it.
McCain was voted for -- a number of people voted and a lot of people voted for John McCain in the primaries, millions of people, and those voters may be significant and important in determining who becomes the next president of the United States. So McCain's important.
WOODRUFF: David Broder, how do you explain this connection, ongoing connection between the press and McCain?
DAVID BRODER, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, I think what Jay says is certainly part of it, Judy. But let me give you a geezer perspective on this.
I think that for the younger generation of reporters, John McCain may be the first presidential candidate who actually acts as if he enjoys having them around. People of my generation had that kind of relationship with Hubert Humphrey, with Barry Goldwater and with a great many others. But in the last 10 years or so, the relationship has become so tense, the suspicions on both sides. The candidates' handlers didn't trust the press; the press assumed that anything a candidate told them was probably a lie.
This was the first time I think for many of the younger reporters that they actually felt that they could have a human relationship with a presidential candidate.
WOODRUFF: Well, David, as somebody who's been around as long about as long as you have -- you're certainly not a geezer -- but I can certainly accent your description of the relationship between the press and the number of candidates.
Getting back to this meeting tomorrow, Jay, is something -- is anything going to be resolved by this? I mean, for example, are they going to be able to put to bed once and for all the notion that John McCain doesn't want to be on the ticket?
CARNEY: I think so. Governor Bush still believes that it's possible that John McCain could say yes to a request to be on the ticket with him, but all indications are that that's not going to happen. McCain's been pretty categorical about not wanting.
What's going on tomorrow, however, is that Bush will ask the senator if he wants to be considered, and that's more of a gesture of respect from the governor to the senator of saying that matter, you would matter on the ticket for me. Would you consider it?
And this is the opportunity for McCain to say categorically no, which I expect he will say.
WOODRUFF: And David Broder, if that's what he says, does that put it to rest?
BRODER: Yes, I think it certainly will, because it's not in the interest of either of these men to keep this fiction going. It is a fiction. I don't think Bush really wants McCain as his running mate, and I'm very certain that McCain does not want to be in the No. 2 place on that ticket. So I think tomorrow's should put a fork in that part of the story.
WOODRUFF: Jay Carney, what about McCain's role, though, beyond tomorrow, through the convention and in the fall campaign? What sort of a role are we looking at here?
CARNEY: Well, John McCain will do several things. First of all, tomorrow, we can expect a very warm atmosphere, I think, surrounding their meeting and the media availability afterwards. And this will begin the process that Governor Bush wants very badly, which is a reconciliation between the two, and an indication from John McCain that he will do what he can to help George W. Bush get elected.
McCain will then play the role from now through November of a major political figure out campaigning for other Republicans, which will help Republicans, they hope, hold on to the House and Senate, as well as help George W. Bush get elected. And McCain by doing that will repair some of the strained relationships he has within the party, and perhaps position himself, if George W. Bush loses in November, to be the heir apparent or the front-runner for the nomination in 2004.
WOODRUFF: David, can John McCain make a difference in the outcome of this election? BRODER: Well, of course he can, because, as Jay has said, he has developed a real following in the country, and it's very much in his, McCain's interests to be seen as a loyal supporter of this ticket.
When I talked to Governor Bush in Washington a couple of weeks ago, he made the point that he will praise McCain and thank McCain for all that McCain is planning to do to help Republican candidates around the country. And then as John King said in the earlier piece, he will move as quickly as he can to the areas where they have substantial agreement, on Social Security, on budget reforms. And he pointed out to me, Governor Bush did, that even in the area of campaign finance, they agreed on the paycheck protection, the requirement that individually union members be allowed to sign off on the use of dues money for politics, and on knocking out soft money from corporations and unions.
They still have a couple of big areas of disagreement about individual soft money gifts and about the size of the tax cut.
WOODRUFF: But those things we won't be hearing much about tomorrow presumably. All right, David Broder, Jay Carney, thank you both.
And when we return, battling for a seat under the Capitol dome: Charlie Cook looks at some key Senate races of campaign 2000.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONNA HANOVER, WIFE OF RUDY GIULIANI: I appreciate all the love and kind thoughts that so many people have sent to me and my children during these difficult days. I will be supportive of Rudy and his fight of this illness, as this marriage and this man have been very special to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Donna Hanover, the wife of New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, commenting Saturday on how the family is dealing with Giuliani's diagnosis of prostate cancer. So far, Giuliani has not announced an official decision as to whether his treatment will affect his run for the U.S. Senate seat.
Well, earlier today I sat down with Charlie Cook of "The National Journal," and I started by asking him what factors are at play in the New York race.
CHARLIE COOK, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": Well, everything's on hold, obviously, until we find out, until we find out, until Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his doctors decide what course of action to take. But the range of possible outcomes go all the way from, you know, he has to slow down for six or eight weeks and he comes back, raring back...
WOODRUFF: This is to treat the prostate cancer.
COOK: Yes, to treat the prostate cancer -- and where he comes off a little softened, a little more human, maybe some of his sharper edges honed down, all the way to forcing him pout of the race and Republicans having to turn elsewhere. So the range is enormously wide, from somewhat positive all the way to huge change in the race. And we're just not going to know for a couple of weeks.
WOODRUFF: Charlie, what about some of the personal issues that have come up with regard to his marriage, the stories and even his own acknowledgment that he's good friends with another woman other than his wife, his wife's sort of cryptic statements? Are these kinds of things likely to have an affect?
COOK: In New York, I don't think so. I mean, maybe a lot of other places. Maybe in my hometown of Shreveport. But I don't think in New York it's a big deal. I don't think it will affect him at all, I really don't.
WOODRUFF: And the parameters for Mrs. Clinton in terms of what she can or can't say?
COOK: Well, she needs to play it -- take it easy and not go after him terribly aggressively right now, kind of give him a pass for a while and just sort of -- I'd just spend a lot of time upstate just sort of trying to bond with voters up there.
WOODRUFF: And if for some reason Rudy Giuliani does not make this race, what happens?
COOK: Well, you know, there's an interesting theory that dates back to last year. And that is that while, you know, a lot of us, you know, journalists, were wanting to see a Giuliani-Clinton race, just because it would be so fascinating between these two such polarizing characters, that either one of them might be more vulnerable to someone else.
You know, the theory was that perhaps a Nita Lowey, Congresswoman Nita Lowey from Westchester County might actually be a stronger against Giuliani because she wouldn't be carrying all Mrs. Clinton's baggage.
And conversely, that a Congressman Rick Lazio, for example, from out on Long Island might be a stronger candidate against Mrs. Clinton than Giuliani, who again has his own baggage, that a placebo would have a better chance of beating the other candidate than the controversial one themselves.
And I don't know that I buy that or not, but it's a, you know, a plausible theory. And I don't think Republican hopes are not necessarily hurt if Rudy Giuliani has to leave.
WOODRUFF: All right, just quickly, running down some of these other key races, Michigan: You have an incumbent not necessarily seen as an assumed winner here. COOK: This is a great race. Spence Abraham is a first-term Republican senator. He's been very low-profile in the Senate, not a strong, dynamic personality. He's always been a political operative, a back-scenes political operator -- operative. He came back -- came into the Senate, and he hasn't really, as I said, hasn't been very high-profile. And a lot of voters in the state, they don't know a whole lot about him, He hasn't really struck through.
His opponent is Congresswoman Debbie Stabenow, who represents a swing district, basically Lansing, and she is a very dynamic, hard- charging -- she was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor a few years ago, so is reasonably well-known statewide. This is one of the closest races in the country. I think it's going to really go down to the wire.
COOK: This could be two completely different races. The only thing we know for sure is that Bill Nelson, the Democrat, former congressman -- and actually was on the last space shuttle to go up before the Challenger, that he's going to be the Democratic nominee. But we're going to be watching very carefully that Republican primary. Tom Gallagher, the state education commissioner, is a moderate, sort of a mainstream-oriented candidate. Bill McCollum, congressman, conservative, one of the impeachment managers, on the conservative side in the primary.
Gallagher starts off ahead because he's better known, but McCollum has more money and is closer to the party base. And most people give an edge in the primary. And it will be very close, but Nelson seems to have a little bit of that edge in the general election.
WOODRUFF: And then we skip up the East Coast to another Southern state, Virginia: Chuck Robb, Democratic incumbent.
COOK: This race has changed a lot in the last year. You know, a year or so ago, most of us thought that Robb was toast. Ten, 12 points behind former Governor George Allen, who had been a very successful governor, just way ahead in the polls. And Robb seemed sort of lethargic. He didn't announce his candidacy until the last month, six weeks ago, but really came out swinging. And every time since then that George Allen has thrown a punch, George Allen has counter punched even harder. And...
WOODRUFF: You mean Chuck Robb has counter punched.
COOK: Has counter punched -- I'm sorry, Chuck Robb has counter punched even harder. and this race has closed up. Most of the polls are showing it two, three four points, even one point.
WOODRUFF: So if you step back, Charlie, and you look at the whole Senate, what are you thinking at this point?
COOK: Well, I don't think there's much chance at all of Democrats regaining control of the Senate. They need five seats if they hold onto the presidency, six seats if they don't. But a one-, two-, maybe three-seat gain I think is very, very possible. And, in fact, Republicans are expecting losses. The question is how many. If they could only get out with one seat, then the Senate would end up 54-46, and so not much change. But a three-seat loss would take it down to 52-48 and could set up a real fight for control of the Senate in 2002.
WOODRUFF: Exciting, right down to the wire, once again.
Charlie Cook, thanks very much.
COOK: Thanks, Judy.
WOODRUFF: And that's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. We'll see you again tomorrow, when our John King and Candy Crowley will both be in Pittsburgh for the meeting between George W. Bush and John McCain.
And, of course, you can go online all the time at CNN's allpolitics.com.
Tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. Eastern, you can join an online election 2000 discussion on the effect of the Bill Bradley he and John McCain campaigns.
I'm Judy Woodruff. "WORLDVIEW" is next.
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