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Inside Politics

Bush Puts Positive Spin on Gore's Attacks; McCain's Wages Battle Over '527s'; Is Gore Losing Public Opinion Battle On Social Security?

Aired June 8, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET



GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ideas he doesn't share are never just the other side of an issue. They are called reckless or radical.


FRANK SESNO, CNN ANCHOR: George W. Bush tries a little political Judo. Can he spin Al Gore's attacks to his advantage?



AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I'll start by making it a federal crime to buy or sell anyone's Social Security number. Let's put "security" back in Social Security.


SESNO: The vice president puts a new twist on an old issue. But is Gore losing the public opinion battle on Social Security reform?

And can Senator John McCain pin the future of political groups known as 527's to the nation's defense budget -- a look at his uphill battle.

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

SESNO: And thanks very much for joining us. Bernie and Judy are off today.

George W. Bush promised today to try to end the partisan malice in Washington. He said Al Gore is part of the problem. Campaigning in Tennessee, Bush criticized that state's favorite son during his plea for more civility.

CNN'S Jonathan Karl now, on Bush's mixed message.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bringing his campaign to Al Gore's home state of Tennessee, George W. Bush accused the vice president of poisoning the political process with negative attacks.

BUSH: All we've heard from my opponent are the familiar exaggerations and scare tactics -- words aimed not as constructive debate, but words aimed to frighten the elderly for political gain. Ideas he doesn't share are never just the other side of an issue. They are called reckless or radical. Proposals he disapproves of are never just arguable. They're always risky schemes.

KARL: Ironically, Bush's comments came as Gore has softened his rhetoric, rarely mentioning Bush by name and leaving the attacks to others.

BUSH: This kind of unnecessary rhetoric is characteristic of the tone in Washington, D.C. It's the war room mentality, the hostile stance, the harsh charges, the lashing out at enemies. We've had eight years of this and eight years is enough.

KARL: In response, a Gore campaign spokesman said, quote, "Bush's rhetoric is a political tactic to avoid a real debate on the issues like his plan for privatizing Social Security."

Even as Bush attacked Gore for being negative, he vowed to usher in a new era of bipartisan cooperation in Washington. He made his promise with a slip of a tongue.

BUSH: As president, I'm here in Knoxville, Tennessee to tell America that I'll set a new tone in Washington, that I'll do everything in my power to bring civility to the process and respect to public service.

KARL: Bush said he'd bring civility with a series of reforms designed to encourage more cooperation between Congress and the White House, including speeding up judicial nominations and changing the current one-year federal budget with a budget done every two years.

BUSH: If the discord in Washington never seems to end, this is partly because the budget process never seems to end.

KARL: Bush also proposed making it impossible to again have the kind of impasse that caused the government shutdown in 1995, when Congress and the White House couldn't agree on a budget. To avoid that in the future, Bush would make government funding automatic at the previous year's level if no new budget is signed.

By claiming to set a positive tone and making an issue out of Al Gore's attacks, Bush says he is practicing the politics of Judo, where you use the attacks of your opponents to your own advantage.

Jonathan Karl, CNN, Knoxville.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SESNO: And with Bush talking today about ways to reform the government, our new poll shows voters appear to be warming to at least one of his ideas.

Here now with a closer look, senior political analyst Bill Schneider.

Bill, how are voters responding and to what?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, they like his Social Security proposal. They really like it. We asked people how they felt about allowing individuals to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in private accounts, and the answer was better than two to one favorable.

Everyone likes the idea, with one conspicuous exception: seniors -- people 65 and over oppose allowing Social Security money to be privately invested by better than two to one. So you might think that Gore's criticism of Bush's proposal means he's winning the senior vote -- uh uh. Right now, seniors are split between Bush and Gore.

SESNO: Bill, why are people -- what does the evidence indicate as to why people are so receptive to Bush's proposal?

SCHNEIDER: Because they don't have much confidence in the current Social Security system. Gore calls Bush's proposal risky, but most Americans believe it is a greater risk to continue funding Social Security the way it's done now, than to change it to allow some private investments. In fact, we have evidence that Gore is not getting anywhere with his criticism.

We asked people, would Social Security become less financially- sound if Gore were elected president? Forty-six percent said yes, it would. What if Bush were elected president? Well, then just 38 percent said yes.

Younger Americans have confidence in the financial markets and in their ability to manage their own futures. They have less confidence in government and in the Social Security system.

SESNO: Very interesting, very telling, we'll see if it holds up.

Bill, let's take a look now at the presidential numbers themselves from this latest poll. Today's CNN-"USA Today" Gallup poll shows Bush leading Gore by four percentage points, 48 to 44. He led Gore by seven points in our poll taken two weeks ago.

What do you make of this?

SCHNEIDER: Well, nothing really has changed, Frank. Bush has held a single digit lead over Gore since January. But remember, most people still say they are not paying a lot of attention to this campaign, so maybe that's good news for Gore. He loses as long as people aren't paying a lot of attention.

SESNO: All right, well, we're paying attention, Bill, thanks -- appreciate it.

On the West Coast today, Al Gore was busy at work proposing a new privacy shield for Americans living in the Internet age.

CNN's Jennifer Auther is with the Gore campaign in Whittier, California.


JENNIFER AUTHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Acknowledging the new information superhighway presents new avenues for privacy invasion. Vice President Al Gore urged Congress to pass a Social Security protection act, introduced Thursday on behalf of the Clinton- Gore administration.

GORE: No one should be able to obtain or sell your Social Security number or your confidential medical or financial information. We need to make that against the law. We need to protect that information. If I'm entrusted with the presidency, I will not rest until that is the law of our land.

AUTHER: Gore's comments were issued at a training center of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, one of the nation's first law enforcement agencies with a unit to target cybercrime. Standing with Gore were the parents of Amy Boyer, a New Hampshire woman who was stalked and kill last year. Her killer purchased Boyer's personal information off the Internet.

TIM REMSBERG, VICTIM'S STEPFATHER: So he needed help from his friend the Internet, and he purchased her Social Security number for $45 from search companies. And that to me was wrong.

AUTHER: The vice president also called for tougher measures to protect medical records and personal financial information. Ironically, the L.A. County Sheriff's Department is faced with a white collar scandal of its own. Eleven of its employees, including four deputies, recently were accused of running an illegal credit card ring.

(on camera): The vice president also gave some details on what he calls his Progress and Prosperity Tour, which he is launching in battleground states over the next two weeks -- issues Gore says will include protecting Medicare, the environment, education and economy.

GORE: I'm going to be talking about the things I believe we must do together to open up a new era of prosperity and progress, to build upon the foundation of economic success we've had the last few years.

AUTHER (voice-over): Although California is not among the 15 states now running pro-Gore ads paid for by the Democratic National Committee using soft money, the California GOP Party issued a reaction outside of Gore's event.

SHAWN STEEL, VICE CHAIR, CALIFORNIA GOP: Republicans haven't used any money promoting Bush at all. The Republican party has kept soft money out of this campaign, but the first one to break the promise getting political party involvement is Al Gore.

AUTHER: The GOP even dispatched this Pinochio character to suggest how Gore continues to change his stances.

Jennifer Auther, CNN, Wittier, California.


SESNO: And joining us now, Tony Blankley, one time spokesman for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and President Clinton's former White House spokesman, Mike McCurry.

Gentlemen, good to see you both back on CNN, as we do from time to time. Let us talk about the "Progress and Prosperity" tour of the vice president.

Tony Blankley, go first on that one. Is it going to launch?

TONY BLANKLEY, FORMER GINGRICH PRESS SECY.: I don't think so. I mean, he's playing to the power of incumbency, which is essentially what the sitting vice president is. And they're going try to maximize the incumbency, as Nixon used the phrase. I don't think that's the situation. My sense is that this is an election where it's really Bush's to win, which means he's got make the sale to the American public. Gore doesn't seem to be getting much attraction with anything that he's himself pushing.

SESNO: Is that why this is happening, Mike?

MIKE MCCURRY, FORMER CLINTON PRESS SECY.: Well I obviously disagree with Tony a little bit. Look, this is summer rerun time. The campaigns I think are setting up their arguments for the fall when voters check in. As Bill Schneider just said, most people are not really paying close attention to the race now.

They're laying this fundamental predicate about the argument they're going to make in the fall, when people really are paying attention, and I think the vice president will be on strong ground. He talks about the strength of the economy. He's going to use the new mid-session numbers coming out on the surplus to really make this a debate about how you use the surplus, what do you use to it for, do you protect Social Security or Medicare, which are going to be very strong issues.

BLANKLEY: Well, the interesting thing is the numbers show that public thinks the economy is going great. About eight out of 10 Americans like the economy, but five to four the public thinks the country is going to the wrong direction. And so you don't usually see that kind of a gap between -- it usually is a close connection between the economy and general confidence in the country. The fact that there's a gap I think makes it harder for Gore to play the incumbency game.

SESNO: Mike, I was talking with a senior Democrat just the other day who said two things: First of all, he fretted that Al Gore exudes no warmth, and secondly that he's being outmaneuvered -- this is his take, anyway -- he felt, at least, up until now, outmaneuvered by George W. Bush on issues that should be Democrats and his, such as Social Security. Come back to the peace -- the Progress and Prosperity Tour, connect those dots.

MCCURRY: Well, I -- look, we're in that, you know, netherworld right now between the primary season when people did pay attention, the conventions coming up when I think things really launch again. That story will change two weeks from now.

Look, we just had a tightening of the numbers. CNN's own poll, we just talked about a second ago, showing a dead heat. About two weeks ago, three weeks ago, people are saying, looks like Bush is opening up this big margin. I think this will all change. Things are very unsettled in a period in which voters are paying only passing attention to this.

Now the vice president is doing what he should do. Frankly, Governor Bush is doing what he should do. Let's relish the fact that we're in a period where the candidates are talking about issues -- Medicare, missile defense -- and both of them kind of using the issues to position themselves. It's a substantive debate.

BLANKLEY: I think something very interesting is happening on that substantive debate and it's historic, because as this poll indicated just now, Bush is pulling ahead on Social Security. I've talked to the Bush camp. They see not only that they've closed on education, they're now closed on Social Security. And I talked to a strategist this afternoon who said he's anxious to do actually do Medicare also, because these are the three classic issues that have been winners for the Democrats. If Bush is even breaking even on those issues, it's very bad news for Gore.

MCCURRY: Tony, the other side of the argument -- remember all this polling data is only a snapshot of where we are right now. Yes, Governor Bush can make an argument that should put some of this money into the stock market and see if we can do better there. And that makes some sense to people.

The other side of that argument is, whoa, you're shifting the risk to the individual person. You don't have any guarantee that that benefit you're counting on is there. And when the Gore campaign checks in with the other side of the argument, those numbers are going to change.

BLANKLEY: You know, when you talk about the Gore campaign checking in, that's how different it seems to me the Gore rhythm is than the Clinton rhythm that we faced against you guys, where Clinton was checked in the year before the election.


BLANKLEY: And here we are...

SESNO: And it was all about usurping the agenda. It was all about...

BLANKLEY: Exactly. Clinton did...

SESNO: ... setting an agenda.

BLANKLEY: Clinton did to us what Bush is now doing to Gore, which is stealing their issues.

SESNO: All right, you were in the middle of that.

MCCURRY: They lost that opportunity, Tony. See, we went early before -- when the Dole campaign had that window they couldn't really protect themselves because they didn't have money. Bush just lost that opportunity. He had to spring to get out there and make that argument...

BLANKLEY: But, Mike -- Mike...

SESNO: Let's go back...

MCCURRY: And now the Bush campaign -- I mean, now the Gore campaign is going to go on here...

SESNO: But let's go back to '92...

MCCURRY: ... and frame that debate.

SESNO: Go back to '92, when it was Bill Clinton the outsider. What was it exactly he was trying to do in the lull period prior to the conventions?

MCCURRY: Well, that was such a long time ago. He was trying to figure out whether Perot was going to run or not...

BLANKLEY: Whether Perot was going to get in or not.

MCCURRY: He was running third at that point, remember? So that's the point. The point is, in this peculiar period where things are quiet, you can't count on anything.

BLANKLEY: No, but I remember Clinton very well at that time was making the point that he went to church regularly, he was being tough on crime, because he was trying to steal the traditional values and crime issues from the Republicans.

MCCURRY: He was introducing himself, much as the vice president is beginning to connect his own personal biography, his own story, to some of the issues he's talking about. He is -- in effect, the vice president's trying to get that, you know, second opportunity to make a first impression with the voters.

BLANKLEY: See, I think there's a little bit of a lag between the Gore camp and reality, just as, by the way, the congressional Republicans I've been talking with, they are not as positive about those issues of education Social Security, Medicare, as the Bush camp is. The Bush campaign is sort of leading the Republicans to this new Republican image he's trying to create.

SESNO: All right, very interesting. Tony Blankley, Mike McCurry, great as always -- appreciate it.

And tonight, Al Gore is attending, by the way, a Democratic dinner in Beverly Hills and George W. Bush a Republican dinner in Philadelphia. For updates on how the events play out, just exactly where they are and what they're doing, you should visit our political Web site. Click your way to for all the very latest on presidential politics and a great deal more.

And still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, because we've got you for a while yet this afternoon, the issue of fund raising and the 527 loophole. It goes to Capitol Hill.

Plus Stu Rothenberg and Charlie Cook talking money and the New Jersey House and Senate races -- very interesting.

We will be right back.


SESNO: Today on Capitol Hill, a fierce debate over the rise of the so-called "527s." No, not a new aircraft, independent groups that exist beyond the reach of the campaign finance laws. Republican leaders have long argued that the best way to keep the campaign finance system pure is to insist on full disclosure of campaign donors.

Well, today Arizona Senator John McCain tried to hold them to that standard when it comes to 527s, and he met with stiff resistance.



ANNOUNCER: Where will you be? Where will you be when the missiles...


SESNO (voice-over): To campaign finance reformers, so-called "527 groups," like the one that paid for this ad, are the biggest threat to the political system since soft money. Senator John McCain wants to shut them down.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Chinese money, drug money, mafia money -- anybody's money can come into American political campaigns, and there is no reason to disclose it.

SESNO: Section 527 of the U.S. tax code allows these independent political groups to operate in absolute secrecy. They may raise and spend as much as they want without disclosing their donors.

McCain is attempting to tack his 527 amendment onto the $310 billion defense bill. Senior Republicans say that would sink the massive bill and would be an insult to the nation's Armed Forces.

Senate Armed Services Chairman John Warner says the amendment would require new appropriations. And since appropriating new money is a House prerogative, Warner says the House would refuse the amended bill.

SEN. JOHN WARNER, (R-VA), ARMED SERVICES CHAIRMAN: And we know from consultation there are members of the House that will absolutely take that resolution to the floor. And there's no doubt that this bill will be blue-slipped, and it'll be torpedoed and go to the bottom of Davy Jones' locker.

SESNO: McCain says that's just the way for senators to a kill his amendment without appearing to undermine their own calls for full disclosure.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The American people will see through this. The American peel will understand what's being done here, an effort to contravene what literally every member of this body has said.

SESNO: Procedural arguments aside, McCain is up against some powerful forces within the Republican Party. Kentucky senator Mitch McConnell, who lead the drive to kill McCain's soft money ban last year says McCain's 527 ban would give a free pass to other independent groups, such as labor unions.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: But we ought to do it in a comprehensive way, I would say friend from Virginia, not leave out some of the major players on the American political scene, many of which are on the airwaves right now beating up Republican candidates for the United States Senate.

SESNO: House Whip Tom DeLay has a more direct interest. He's the top fund-raiser for one of the biggest 527s, the Majority Issues Committee, which reportedly plans to spend some $25 million in two dozen congressional districts this fall. By some estimates, total 527 expenditures, including conservative and liberal groups, could go as high as $100 million. McCain's latest crusade is consistent with his long-running effort to reform the campaign finance system, but he's also got a personal beef.


ANNOUNCER: Last year, John McCain voted against solar and renewable energy. That means more use of coal-burning plants that pollute our air.


SESNO: Back during the primaries, a group called Republicans for Clean Air went up with an ad in New York slamming then-candidate McCain's record on the environment. Two Bush backers were behind the ad. Their group was a 527.


The Senate is expected to vote on McCain's amendment this hour. To New York now. The campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton, which is criticizing GOP Senate candidate Rick Lazio for voting last month against closing that 527 loophole, today one of those 527 groups, the Republican Leadership Council, released an ad praising Lazio's record.


ANNOUNCER: Republicans and Democrats agree, Rick Lazio is a leader. Lazio fought to cut taxes, reform welfare and balance the budget. Even President Clinton repeatedly praised Lazio for his leadership in protecting health care for the disabled.


SESNO: And if you're keying track, the latest Quinnipiac University poll shows Lazio tied with Mrs. Clinton in the New York Senate race. They both have 44 percent.

In neighboring New Jersey, another Republican congressman is mounting a campaign for Senate. After winning Tuesday's Republican primary, Congressman Bob Franks now faces the Democrat's millionaire candidate, Jon Corzine.

My colleague Judy Woodruff talked with Stu Rothenberg of the "Rothenberg Political Report" and Charlie Cook from the "National Journal" about how money will affect this particular Senate race.


STU ROTHENBERG, ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT: The Republicans are going to have to make a difficult decision here: Are they going to invest money in this race, national Republicans at least, where they may want to invest also in Minnesota, Michigan, and Missouri and the like. We'll have to see if there's enough money to be competitive. I don't think he can count on big money out of Washington D.C. He's going to have to raise it in state first.

WOODRUFF: Charlie, can money be a liability in the fall for Corzine?

CHARLIE COOK, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": I've never seen anybody lose because they had too much money. I mean, we can sit here and wring our hands and talk about how it's terrible for Democracy. I've never seen anybody lose because they've had too much. It can become an issue, but not -- I'll tell you what, if I had a choice of the money or the issues, I'd rather have the money. But what you've got is Bob Franks, who's a very middle-of-the-road Republican Congressman, not terribly well known around the state, but with a fairly middle-of-the- road voting record that matches up actually with the state very well. And so ideologically, I would say he's better positioned than Corzine, but he's very, very, very liberal, but Corzine's got the money, and that sort of levels the playing field. There's a big -- but playing off something Stu said, this is going to be a tough decision for the Republican Senate people, because they've got a terrific -- Mitch McConnell and their folks, they have a great committee. They don't have enough money to match Jon Corzine, they really don't. And the thing about it is either Senate Republicans are going to have to pitch in and raise a heck a lot of money for this guy or they're going to lose a seat.

WOODRUFF: All right, let's talk about some of the House races in New Jersey. The one that I think people were the watching closest, fifth district, Marge Rockma (ph). She's now just barely won, defeating a conservative challenger.

ROTHENBERG: Well you know, this was a tight race two years ago. It's a tight race now. Club for Growth, a conservative anti-tax group, jumped into this race behind Garrett. I don't think this loss is going dissuade them. Rockma barely won. She was able to hold on, but not much more than that. She looks good for fall, but I don't they can this will dissuade conservative challengers to moderate incumbents.

COOK: Well, I think one of the hardest things an American politician can do is beat an incumbent in a primary, particularly one that's not damaged by scandal. I mean, that's just extremely difficult, and Scott Garrett just found it out again. But sometimes when you've throw everything in the kitchen sink at somebody a couple times in a row, sometimes you kind of layoff. I wouldn't be surprised to see Rockma not have quite as tough a race next time, because they've done this question already. Because she's shown that now twice in a row. Yes, yes, I mean, even those close, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenade.

WOODRUFF: All right, let's go over to Congressman Bob Franks seat. He's now the Republican Senate nominee. Twelfth -- I'm sorry, seventh district. What does that look like at this point?

ROTHENBERG: Well, this was a case where the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee got behind Mike Lapolla, a county administrator, against Maryanne Connelly, a former mayor and AT&T employee. She ran two years ago, did reasonably well against Franks, but the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee thought that Lapolla would be a better candidate. Connelly won. This is the second time trip the DCCC has stubbed its toes, suggesting that maybe their new strategy will be endure the other candidate that they really don't want, and the theory that that will help the candidate they do want. This race is going to be a toss-up I think in the general election. Republican is Mike Ferguson, who ran in a different Congressional district two years ago. It's kind of a quirky, uncertain race. I'm not certain how it's going to come out.

COOK: Folks at the DCCC -- he said that I didn't. I'm not sure why. I mean, I think you had some machine politicians in New Jersey sort of twists theirs arms, and say, this is our guy and go with him, and obviously it was a mistake. This is going to be a good race. I think it's probably going to be a race that's going to turn a lot on abortion. Mike Ferguson is a very attractive Republican and a very attractive candidate. He runs good campaigns. He's well funded, and fairly moderate on a lot of positions, but he is very, very, very pro- life, and this is a pro-choice district. It's going to be a very good general election.

WOODRUFF: Finally, let's quickly look at the 12th district, the Republican primary there -- Zimmer.

ROTHENBERG: Well, I think former Congressman Dick Zimmer beating former Congressman Mike Topas -- I think many people felt that Zimmer would be the stronger candidate in the general. They did not expect the very, very bitter, nasty primary, particularly at the end. We have to see whether conservatives decide to support Dick Zimmer. This district is a competitive enough district that Zimmer can't go it alone with moderate Republicans. He needs the conservatives as well.

COOK: Democratic prayers were not answered. I mean, they were just praying for Mike Pathis (ph), who's far more conservative, a weaker candidate, and I think Holt would have won easily against Pathis. Zimmer is going to be a very, very competitive race. I wouldn't like Rush Holt (ph), because frankly, neither of us thought that the guy was going to win two years ago. We were both wrong, so hey, I'm not going to write the guy off. It's going to be a very good race.

ROTHENBERG: And if Pathis and his supporters don't get behind Zimmer, well, I think then that Holt's got a very good chance of holding on.

WOODRUFF: And we might add, one of the very few times either one of you have been wrong, right, much less both of you?

COOK: And one of the key physicist in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rush Holt.

WOODRUFF: And we're glad you pointed that out.

Charlie Cook, Stu Rothenberg, thank you both.


SESNO: And there's much more ahead here on INSIDE POLITICS. Still to come:


SCHNEIDER: What happens when the old politics meets the new economy? Something's got to give, because the old politics may not be relevant to the new economy, and that leaves politicians like Al Gore and George W. Bush groping for answers.


SESNO: Bill Schneider on how technology is blurring the traditional political lines.



TONY CLARK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For nearly a hundred years, Billings has had a cafe here on Main Street. Thanks to this former first lady, it's still serving up homestyle meals to hungry farmers.


ANNOUNCER: Tony Clark on the new career of a former Oklahoma first lady. And later:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amazing talent, instantly recognized, in part, because it was so unusual to have a conservative political cartoonist.


SESNO: A look back at the work of Pulitzer Prize winner Jeff McNealy.


SESNO: We'll have more of the day's political news coming up in just a moment or so, but now a look at some other top stories.

The government is banning the nation's most common home and garden pesticide. The Environmental Protection Agency says chlorpyrifos, sold under the brand name Dursban and Lorsban, poses a health risk to children. It says the pesticide could -- we repeat -- could affect the nervous system and brain development, and therefore needs further testing.


CAROL BROWNER, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: The time has come to review these pesticides for safety and, where the science dictates, remove these chemicals that pose an unreasonable threat to human health and move to newer, safer alternatives.


SESNO: Dow Chemical makes Dursban. It says the chemical is safe when properly used, but has agreed to halt production for nonagricultural uses.

The prosecutor in the Microsoft antitrust trial says the Supreme Court should hear any appeal quickly. Joel Klein also says any settlement proposed by Microsoft must -- quoting here -- "meaningfully address the harm the software giant caused the industry." A rarely used law allows the Supreme Court to hear appeals immediately in major antitrust cases, the Justice Department is expected to invoke that law once Microsoft appeals a federal judge's decision to break up the company. Microsoft, meanwhile, has asked for a complete stay of that order.

Officers in Los Angeles make an arrest in the slaying of their police chief's granddaughter. 18-year-old Samuel Shabazz Jr. is being held without bail on suspicion of first-degree murder. Lori Gonzalez was shot as she and a friend drove away from a fast food restaurant. Gonzalez was the granddaughter of L.A. police chief Bernard Parks.


CHIEF BERNARD PARKS, LOS ANGELES POLICE: My family and me personally are very grateful to the Los Angeles community and the many groups of people who walk their neighborhoods to ensure that we would be able to find Lori's killer. At the same time, they denounced the violence and passed out fliers that were of great assistance. I would like to personally thank the personnel at robbery homicide and the personnel in the southwest area for the diligent work in bringing this case to this point.


SESNO: Police think the shots that killed Gonzalez were intended for another person in her car. That person saw the gunman and ducked.

The U.S. Census says it has reached 97 percent of American households now in its count. However, it still has about 3 million homes to go. The census director says the agency will increase efforts next month to find the people who have not yet been counted. Seven states have completed their cases; they are Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nevada, Utah, Montana and Nebraska.

INSIDE POLITICS returns in just a moment with a look at how the electorate feels about this economy of ours.

Also, Bob Novak's "Reporter's Notebook," coming up on INSIDE POLITICS.


SESNO: Our new CNN/"USA Today" Gallup poll indicates Americans feel pretty good about the high tech-based new economy. Nearly three out of four chose "enthusiastic" or "hopeful" to describe their outlook. Eight percent said they were "doubtful"; 16 percent "apprehensive."

Well, joining us now with more on the election year view of the economy -- he invented the new economy -- is Bill Schneider.

All right, Bill, they seem optimistic?

SCHNEIDER: That's right. He invented the Internet; I invented the new economy.

But by five-to-one, Americans say the changes in information technology, the new economy, has been good for the country. Now, as we reported yesterday, Americans have a very favorable view of the Microsoft corporation and of big Bill Gates.

The Microsoft case raises the issue: How relevant is the old politics to the new economy? In the old politics, Democrats say government should do more, Republicans say government should do less, and then they fight. That framework doesn't necessarily work when it comes to issues raised by the new economy. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Take the issue of privacy, all that personal information floating around on the Internet. Gore has jumped on that issue. The government will protect you.

GORE: You should have the right to choose whether your personal information is disclosed. You should have the right to know how, when and how much of that information is being used.

SCHNEIDER: Bush agrees that privacy must be protected, but he wants to look more carefully at different ways of doing it, without stifling commerce.

BUSH: I believe we ought to take our time before we make policy as regards to e-commerce, because we don't know where the evolution of e-commerce will take us. We don't have any idea. There's a lot of speculation out loud, there's a lot of people who think they know where the e-commerce world is headed. I don't know if we know yet.

SCHNEIDER: Should Internet sales be taxed? Sounds obvious. Republicans oppose new taxes, right? Right.

BUSH: I believe the extension of the moratorium makes sense. I don't believe there ought to be federal taxes on the Internet, any new federal taxes, and there are no -- none now. I think we ought to get rid of access taxes on the Internet.

SCHNEIDER: No new taxes -- for three to five years. Bush has been unwilling to support a permanent ban on Internet taxes. He's a governor and he's fully aware that as Internet sales grow, state sales tax revenues will disappear.

Gore backs a shorter moratorium to put pressure on Congress to come up with a new way to collect sales taxes on the Internet, one that applies to buyers anywhere in the country who can make purchases from businesses anywhere in the world. The digital divide -- that's a big issue for Democrats. It's about the gap between rich and poor, after all.

GORE: This next presidential term, America must finish connecting every classroom and library to the Internet.

SCHNEIDER: Except that spending money to wire everybody to the Internet may quickly become obsolete as new wireless technology becomes available. Technology moves a lot faster than government. Things have changed since Al Gore invented the Internet, and it's left both candidates groping around.


BUSH: E-mailed my mother the other day, as a matter of fact. She told me to stand straight, by the way, when I was at your debate.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: How familiar are you with the Worldwide Web?

BUSH: I'm familiar. I can click around, can surf around. But you know something?


BUSH; But let me tell you something, we don't have time, running for president.



SCHNEIDER: We are dealing with two cultures here. Government is the culture of regulation and control, it moves slowly and it sets boundaries. Technology is the culture of innovation and flexibility, it moves fast and recognizes no limits. The two cultures will never understand each other. They will just have to figure out some way to get along.

SESNO: Some way to get along, see you on the Web.


SESNO: Thanks, Bill.

And joining us now with his "Reporter's Notebook," Bob Novak of "The Chicago Sun-Times."

Bob, I understand you've been talking to some Democrats and they would like to see perhaps some changes in that Gore camp?

ROBERT NOVAK, "THE CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": It may be, because the polls indicate that Vice President Gore is trailing, but a lot of Democrats I talked to, Frank, outside of the Gore inner circle think it is time to remove former California congressman Tony Coehlo as chairman. All the investigations with Coehlo, they feel, make him a heavy burden to carry. And it's very peculiar when the chairman of the campaign can't go on television, because he doesn't want to answer questions about the investigations.

So that a candidate that everybody says should go into this campaign is the secretary of commerce, William Daley, had a very good record for four years, just got the China bill through the House. They they think he should be in some capacity down in Nashville, but I don't imagine he would take any thing less than the chairmanship.

SESNO: Is this murmuring, or the real thing?

NOVAK: I can't tell.

SESNO: OK, is there concern among the Gore people, Bob, about the failure to get an endorsement from some very important unions, the Teamsters Union and the UAW?

NOVAK: Yes, you know, the -- there's no question that the Teamsters and the UAW will never endorse Pat Buchanan, or George W. Bush, or Ralph Nader, but they may not endorse Al Gore and they may give him a very cheapened endorsement. That hurts in Michigan, Ohio, and the areas in the Midwest. And this attitude -- of course, they're angry for him because of the China trade bill.

This attitude of the unions being against supporters of the China trade agreement has now spread to Lois Katz (ph). You remember Lois Katz? She was the poster gal in 1998, she won that special election in Santa Barbara; she is not running very well right now against a former state official, former Pete Wilson -- political appointee of the California governor named Mike Stoker (ph), and the Teamsters say they will actively oppose Lois Katz.

SESNO: From California to New Jersey, what's your view of this contest shaping up between Jon Corzine, the Democrat, and Bob Franks?

NOVAK: Well, Bob Franks is a mystery man. I've been calling the Republicans I usually talk to, nobody knows Bob Franks. He is like one of these dozens of -- or maybe even hundreds of House members who never get any publicity. He is the kind who doesn't appear on INSIDE POLITICS, doesn't appear on "CROSSFIRE," and so...

SESNO: Doesn't appear on "EVANS & NOVAK, HUNT & SHIELDS."

NOVAK: That's right. And so, it's a -- really an uphill climb against this heavily financed -- now a familiar name -- the self- financed Jon Corzine. The Republican strategy is going to be to paint Corzine as a left-wing extremist who is for every spending plan known. That's something that Jim Florio, the former governor who ran against him in the primary, couldn't do, but it's something the Republicans will try to do.

SESNO: Well, you may be hearing from Bob Franks. We suggest getting a new book in there, Bob, thanks very much, good to see you.

When we come back, we'll remember someone who made a difference, Jeff MacNelly, the prize winner cartoonist who's skewered politicians and poked fun at us in the press as well.


SESNO: Jeff MacNelly has died, the prize-winning "Chicago Tribune" cartoonist succumbed to lymphoma this morning at a hospital in Baltimore. Those who perused the comics knew MacNelly has the man behind "Shoe," but it was his work that appeared on the editorial pages that one MacNelly three Pulitzers.

Author Stephen Hess of the Brookings Institution remembers MacNelly and how he got his start.


STEPHEN HESS, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Well, it's unbelievable that this very young man who died at 52, has been with us for 30 years. He was actually a student at the University of North Carolina, left in his senior year, went to a little paper in Chapel Hill. Within a year, he was on a small Virginia paper, "The Richmond News Leader," and within 15 months had won the Pulitzer Prize; amazing talent, instantly recognized in part because it was so unusual to have a conservative political cartoonist. All the cartoonists up to that point, the Herb Locks, the Conrads, the Bill Mauldens (ph), were liberal. And of course, editorial pages just love to have a conservative. He had a hundred papers almost instantly, eventually went to "The Chicago Tribune," but a remarkable, remarkable career.

SESNO (on camera): What was the tone of his cartooning?

HESS: He had two things that are very, very special that every cartoonist should need, but maybe don't have: First of all, he was a marvelous caricaturists, his things were just beautifully drafted. And the second is, he was very funny and ultimately, of course, had a comic strip as well, "Shoe," so you can see the degree to which the funniness could carry over into a daily comic strip.

SESNO: Interested in this sort of thing, what was different about him?

HESS: Well, he had a light touch that was fairly unusual for the time that he started. It was a period in which people had pretty heavy -- well, World War II, big Swastikas, big Hitler, type of -- big atomic bomb cartoons, and he came along with almost confection, like on the top of a cake, very, very skillfully done.

SESNO: Favorites?

HESS: Of his? Well, the first history of the American political cartoons that I did in '75, the first edition came out before he was -- virtually before he was born, had won that -- was marvelous funny of Ted Kennedy, Ted Kennedy is Winnie The Pooh with a balloon -- holding a balloon that he's just managed to cut himself and there are bees swarming around him.

I used another one, which was just terribly funny of a quite disheveled Uncle Sam in an oil barrel that doesn't quite fit him and so forth. And then in the second book that I did with Sandy Northrop, "Drawn and Quartered," there are some interesting ones because by now, it's quite clear where he's coming from. And there's a very funny one, for example, of -- in 1980 of Jimmy Carter looking like the Alfred E. Neuman in the "MAD" comics that I liked. And another one as Reagan, who had been a cowboy in his cartoons, turned over his covered wagon to George Bush, but the covered wagon in the second panel is sort of all alone on a peninsula and so forth.

So -- he had trouble, though, when Reagan came along. Fifteen years of attack which, of course, is what a cartoonist loves. And suddenly he had a president who he loved. And I think that bothered him a lot.

SESNO: All right. Remembering Jeff MacNelly.

HESS: ...remember.

SESNO: Thanks very much.


SESNO: Appreciate it.



BUSH: Just in case CNN or CSPAN are broadcasting this, let it be said, Mother, that I'm the first son of yours to get on national TV to wish you a Happy Birthday -- 75 years old and still going strong.


SESNO: Your welcome, Governor. George W. Bush, taking time out on the campaign trail today to wish his mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, a Happy Birthday. We send along our best wishes as well. Happy Birthday, Barbara Bush.

Another former first lady has taken up a new career in Oklahoma. Shirley Bellmon twice served as the state's first lady, and she also spent time here in Washington as the wife of a United States senator.

As CNN's Tony Clark reports, she's now a short-order cook in her home town and couldn't be happier.


CLARK (voice-over): Shirley Bellmon is frying up the chicken. It's the lunch special today.

SHIRLEY BELLMON, FORMER OKLAHOMA FIRST LADY: This is the mainstay for Oklahoma -- that and chicken fried steak.

CLARK: It's not surprising Bellmon knows what people in Oklahoma like. She was the state's first lady in the '60s and again in the '80s, and lived in Washington when her husband Henry served two terms in the U.S. Senate.

BELLMON: We lived up there, and you do what you have to do and do the best of it. And then you come back home and you're yourself again.

CLARK: She's left the political heat for her hometown, where the most important thing is harvesting wheat.

Home for the Bellmons is Billings, Oklahoma, a farming community of about 600. Eight months ago, Shirley Bellmon bought the town's only cafe to keep it from shutting down.

MAYOR JACK GRAVES, BILLINGS, OKLAHOMA: People are really grateful to her because she doesn't have to work. She's doing this to keep for the town.

CLARK: She didn't know anything about the restaurant business, but she knew how to cook for crowds. Growing up on a farm she had to. Even as first lady, Bellmon had to do a lot of the cooking at the governor's maximum.

BELLMON: The first four years, I made all the pecan pies. I'd make as high as 17 a day.

CLARK: Bellmon's cafe has become the social center of town.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We talk about everything, mostly farming, cattle -- that's the biggest deal.

CLARK: Don McEwen (ph) and his wife own the grocery store across the street.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If the cafe sells eggs, they come over here and buy eggs, take them over there. My husband goes in, eats breakfast, so it keeps the economy going.

CLARK: For nearly 100 years, Billings has had a cafe here on Main Street. Harold Carter's father used to talk about it.

HAROLD CARTER: He remembered coming through here and stopping out here a mile west of town and rounding up the cattle and coming into town to get a sack of hamburgers. He said he knew it was here in 1916.

CLARK: Thanks to this former first lady, it's still serving up home-style meals to hungry farmers.

Tony Clark, CNN, Billings, Oklahoma.


CLARK: And on that note, that is it for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. Thanks for joining us. I'm Frank Sesno.



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